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mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

the morning shakeout | issue 438

Published about 2 months ago • 6 min read

Good morning! As tends to be the case this time of year, I’m swamped on the coaching side of things and my typical reading/listening/watching/writing windows haven’t been open quite as wide of late. What follows here is an even more expedited serving of Quick Splits than usual. Let’s dive right in.

Quick Splits

— Sarah Gearhart, who I interviewed almost exactly a year ago about her excellent book, We Share The Sun, recently profiled Weini Kelati for Outside Run and it’s an incredible read about the sacrifices the 27-year-old Kelati has made to create a new life for herself all while helping to take care of her family from 8000 miles away. “Until 2022, Kelati hadn’t seen her mother in eight years; it’s been 10 years since she has seen her two younger brothers,” Gearhart writes. “Their image is preserved in a single photo that Kelati keeps on her nightstand and glances at daily. It is the only photo she has of her family, taken before her father died while serving in the military. Sometimes the photo makes her cry. Other times it makes her smile. The image represents a delicate dichotomy, a reminder of the exchange she charged upon herself when she left her family behind at age 17 to carve a better life in the U.S., not simply for herself, but as a way to also take care of them. ‘People never know how much I struggle,’ Kelati said.”

— My friend Sam Robinson turned me on to retired tennis pro Andrea Petkovic’s newsletter, Finite Jest, and it’s been one of my favorite things to read of late. This post in particular, a reflection about aging and letting go as an athlete, felt relevant to running, even for those of us who are nowhere near the professional level but have taken the sport seriously for a long time. She writes wonderfully and candidly about the challenges many of us navigate when those fast-twitch muscle fibers start to go, delusion starts to give way to reality, and both lifestyle and identity begin to untangle in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. “There are many reasons as to why it is so hard to let go when from the outside it can look very simple,” she writes. “There are two reasons in particular, however, that make it especially hard. It has become increasingly difficult to separate the tennis player persona from who you are as a person. Living a tennis player’s lifestyle is strongly intertwined with your identity. The way you eat, how you sleep, what you do in your leisure time – all of these aspects done wrongly can have a direct impact on your performance on court. Or done rightly just so. Hell, even reading an annoying text message moments before you go out to play can be your downfall. If everything you do is for tennis, everything you are is for tennis. And if everything you are is for tennis, now when you take tennis away – what remains?”

— A big thank you to my partners at New Balance for supporting my work this month (and throughout 2024). I’ve been test-driving the new FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 for a couple months now and the ride is super smooth. The fit is dialed and the shoe feels like an oversized extension of my foot. The FC SC Elite v4 has a new PEBA foam FuelCell midsole with a full-length carbon plate for the right blend of lightweight, plush cushion and snappy responsiveness. (As soon as you start running in them you’ll know exactly what I mean.) I raced a 10K in them a couple weeks ago and they performed admirably at high speed. (And it’s also the shoe of choice for most of my athletes racing Boston two Mondays from now.) The new FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 is available now on newbalance.com (men’s sizes here, women’s sizes here) and at your favorite local run specialty retail store.

— RED-S, or Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, which affects males and females alike, is discussed more openly in running circles these days, but still isn’t talked about enough in my opinion. That said, I’ll always applaud loudly when top athletes like Katie Rainsberger are willing to open up about their experiences with the condition. “For me, it was driven by a desire to be great and get the most out of myself, whatever the cost,” she admits. “My unhealthy habits began after observing unhealthy habits around me and thinking that this was what was necessary to take it to the next level. It became a vicious cycle because, for a while, I saw success, but the important thing I remind myself of is that I was great despite the restricted intake and overtraining, not because of it. These unsustainable habits may have led to some short-term success, but it was at the expense of long-term health and longevity.”

+ This is an important topic to me. I’ve written and shared extensively about my own past struggles with disordered eating and body dysmorphia, and while I was never diagnosed—I didn’t see a doctor for my issues and RED-S wasn’t even called that 20 years ago—I experienced most of the physical and psychological symptoms listed here. Most guys don’t like to talk about this stuff, much less admit to struggling with it, but if you suspect you might be having an issue, please seek out support.

— Mumford & Sons putting their own spin on Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” with an acoustic guitar, a banjo, an accordion, and upright bass at Lollapalooza 11 years ago is pretty great.

— From the archives (Issue 125, 6 years ago this week): Austin Kleon gave this “How To Keep Going” keynote for the first time a few weeks back at the Bond Conference in San Francisco and I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for it. Kleon, a self-described “writer who draws,” discusses the ten things that help him stay creative when life gets crazy or he’s feeling burned out. If you’re a writer, film maker, podcaster, or “artist” of any sort, do yourself a favor and watch this talk. I saw it live and have re-watched it twice already. Kleon’s strategies are invaluable if you’re struggling to get started or feeling stuck in your current situation. My favorite is #3: Forget the noun, do the verb. “If you let go of the thing you’re trying to be (the noun) and you focus on the actual work you need to be doing (the verb),” Kleon says, “it will take you some place further and far more interesting.”

Workout of the Week: Crazy 8s

It’s hard to go wrong with 800m repeats. Do them fast enough and you’ll stay pretty sharp; do enough of them and the strength gains will take you a long way. An example of a pretty standard session many coaches will assign their athletes consists of six reps at 5K pace with 2 to 2-1/2 minutes recovery in between, or maybe 10 reps at 10K pace with two minutes recovery between the two-lap intervals—you get the idea. These workouts will help you build the specific strength you need for race day, practice getting your pacing down, and improve your overall efficiency. Every once in a while, however, I like to throw my athletes a curveball and have them switch gears halfway through, running the final 400m 4-5 seconds faster than the first. Learn why (and how) right here.



The bottom line.

"It is simply this: do not tire, never lose interest, never grow indifferent—lose your invaluable curiosity and you let yourself die. It's as simple as that."

Tove Jansson, Finnish author


That's it for Issue 438. If you’re enjoying the newsletter, please forward this email to a few friends and encourage them to subscribe at this link.

Thanks for reading,

Mario

Support the morning shakeout directly on Patreon and help keep my work sustainable for years to come.


mario fraioli | the morning shakeout

Discover what’s possible through the lens of running with training tips, workouts, and other bits of goodness from coach Mario Fraioli. Every Tuesday morning, Mario shares his unapologetically subjective take on things that interest, inform, inspire, or entertain him in some way.

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