Episode 162 Stefaan Engels Guinness marathon record

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 162 – Stefaan Engels Guinness marathon record.

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi162.mp3|titles=Episode 162 – Stefaan Engels – world record 365 marathons]


Show intro by:



Hello and welcome to the Pruny fingers and chlorine reddened eyes podcast where we talk about the joys of spending hours pickling ourselves like kosher dills in the swimming pool.

It is I, Chris your host and this is the RunRunLive Podcast.  If you’re new to the RunRunLive experience and were not able to hit the ‘off’ or ‘next’ button on your stuck with me for the next 40 minutes or so while we inspire, inform and entertain, as much as humanly possible about running stuff.  Now, seriously if you were not able to hit that button because your iPod is buried in a protective covering because you are doing hill repeats in the freezing rain – well – then you are my kind of people! Yee Haw!

We have a great show for you today.  I interview Stefaan Engels who just recently set the world record for the most number of marathons in a row.  365 days straight as certified by Guinness for the world record book.

I’m kicking off a new multi-part series on injuries.  Not specific injuries and how to treat them, but how we get injured and how we deal with injuries.  With any luck our friend Lucie will read it for me.

I’m also going to give you my Hyannis non-race report.  Because I did not race.  I wanted to but my calf is still problematic and I am still not running.  I am injured.

If you remember last week I was going crazy with the injury mania, but this week I have gotten much more practical and am embracing the injury as an opportunity to learn something.  In this case I am learning pool running or, as some people call it, Aqua-jogging.

I’ve just started, but so far it seems like a great way to maintain fitness and even build strength.  You may not be old enough to remember the first women’s Olympic marathon in Las Angeles which was won by a young lady from Maine named Joan Benoit.  Joan had surgery only weeks before the race and used pool running as one of the ways to maintain fitness.

Another intense runner, Dave Dunham, who has been on this show twice uses water running consistently to keep training through injuries.

Basically what you do is get in the pool and do a running motion.  You don’t touch the bottom.  You do it in the deep end.

I had planned to do the aqua-jogging this week in the hotel while I was on the road.  I noted that the hotel had a pool, but when I showed up I found the pool was only 4 feet deep.  Undeterred, I figured out a way to hook my arms behind me through the ladder and do a running motion that way – sort of like how they run on the treadmills on the space station.

I’ve only done it a couple times but you do work up a sweat and there is no impact.  There is some cool negative resistance on the knee lift that I think will be really helpful in strengthening my stride.

I’m not sure how long the calf will take to come around but this is a fun adventure on the long path I’m running.  How many times have I said this over the last 3 years I’ve been podcasting?  There is always something new to learn.

And, at this point I bet you’re jonesing for something new to listen to, on with the show!

Audio clips in this episode:

Marshall Brain from the ‘How Stuff Works’ podcast, episode “How valuable is exercise to your health?” http://www.marshallbrain.com/

Runners Round Table on eating disorders – Diane Israel, Dave Dunham, Lize Brittin


Kevin Gwin and Geoff Galloway  – The Extra Mile Podcast- GALLOWAY EDITION is a podcast for runners of ALL abilities who want to learn everything they can about the GallowayRUN/WALK/RUN training method right from Jeff ! This podcast will Run/Walk you right through Jeff’s 30 week marathon training schedule and gently get you to the finish line of your fall marathon “INJURY FREE”!!!



Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

Story time:

Hyannis Non-Race Report.

DNS on the Cape

The snow fell in giant wet flakes like sloppy kisses when the siren sounded to start the 2011 Hyannis Marathon.  I stood at the starting line, but I did not start.  I wore my race gear, but I did not race.  I showed up to run, but I did not run.

DNS means “Did Not Start”.

The fast runners shot out down the road.  The midpackers ran behind them.  The back of the packers toddled on through.  It took 5-10 minutes for all of the estimated 4500 participants to clear the start.  And I stood and watched them all.

I wandered over the ports-johns and there were still stragglers, now close to 15 minutes after the start, finishing up their necessaries.  I warned them to make sure they crossed the start mat on their way out.

I wandered off to my car to trade my trash bag for some warmer clothes.  It would be 90 minutes before Blaise would be crossing the finish line.  My car was parked a long way from the start.  I moved it to a better spot now that the frenzy of runners was gone.  On the way I picked up another hot cup of coffee to warm my core.  It was raining a cold drizzle now.

Last weekend was my target ½ marathon, my ‘A’ race, the Hyannis ½ marathon.

This is a race I have run before. Actually I ran this half marathon as a warm up race in 1998 right before setting my marathon PR at Boston.  I have subsequently run the full marathon for a qualification time and, ironically enough I DNF’ed there a few years back, pulling out at the 15 mile mark of the marathon because I wasn’t going to make my goal time, I wanted to avoid a suffer-fest and I had a plane to catch.

On Saturday, a week before the race, beginning a relaxing taper I managed to tear something in my calf.  It really isn’t a bad tear.  It’s just in a bad place for running.  It is right in the middle of my power zone on the toe-off when I transition through my foot plant on the left side.  A sharp pain.  A ‘you can’t run without making it worse’ pain.  I got ready to run Sunday, the day after I apparently injured myself and only got 10-20 strides in before I knew I ‘d be smart to take a couple days off.

I waited until Tuesday before testing it again, because it really didn’t feel that bad.  I wasn’t walking with a limp and I wasn’t in pain.  It only hurt when I toed off with some force.  I thought maybe it was a stitch or cramp of some sort – when you get to be a certain age something always hurts – so I decided to give it a good test and see if it would go away once it warmed up.  It sounds stupid now that I’m saying it, but as they say denial is more than a river in Egypt.

I got a few pickups in and I was really limping on the treadmill after a couple miles.  I pulled the plug on that work out and set my sites on Sunday.  That would give me 4 days of rest.

Although I have been training consistently and with fairly high quality I was not very confident about this race.  I feel very fit, but I don’t feel very fast.  I like to go into races with utmost confidence that I can hold the required pace.  Coach has had me doing a lot of long tempo and progression runs but no speed work.

I also have been losing the eating struggle and was going into the race at 186 – 188 pounds.  I would feel much more confident if I was under 180.

For this reason I was wondering if the injury might not be mental.  I certainly felt a share of relief at not having to run the race, of having a good excuse not to go out and come up short again.

At the expo Saturday afternoon I started catching the race bug.  All that activity and all those people nervous and ready to go made me want to race.  To hell with my perceptions! When I get out there and get to it anything can happen.

I checked in with Eric from Boston Massage Associates who was manning his booth there.  He checked the calf over.  It was uncomfortable, but Eric couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with it.

At this point I felt I could give it a shot.  I was excited to race.  Blaise was coming in to pace me and I thought what the heck, let’s see what happens.  If I could get close I could tough it out.

I got up and rubbed the calf out with Ben Gay.  I taped it with KT Tape.  I put the Zensah compression sock over that to hold it in place.  I suited up with my Goon race singlet and declared myself ready to go.

There was a big traffic jam getting into the race start from the highway and I ended up having to park a few blocks away.  I was fueled and ready as I began my warm up jog towards the starting area.

But, as soon as I started to lean into my stride and push off the calf it began to hurt.  The more I ran the worse it got.  I was done.  To race would mean tearing the muscle to shreds.  Adding weeks to the recovery.  The body could not support the minds hubris on this day.

Instead I stood in the snow, sleet and rain and watched the runners go and I watched them come back again.  It is not a bad position to be in, being a spectator at a race.  For me it is fun because I can empathize so well with the racers, with what they are feeling as they bear down through the final meters and into the chute.

I met Jack Fultz, a winner of the Boston Marathon back in the day.  I met Dan McCarthy the race director of the New Bedford half marathon.  I talked with Dick Hoyt who is currently recovering from a meniscus tear.  I watched Blaise finish right on plan at 1:28 and change.  He didn’t hear the announcement and was looking for me throughout the race.

I saw many of my running friends and a few twitter friends as well.

It wasn’t a bad day, but I would much rather be running.


Equipment Check:

Injury series

Part 1 – “How do we get injured? “

This is the first part on a series I’m doing on Injuries called “Surviving a running Injury”. I’m not sure how many chapters it will have in it.  I thought it would be appropriate given what I’m going through right now.  I think the number is something like 80% of runners will get injured each year.

I’m not going to deal with specific injury types. I’m going to focus on the injury cycle and how it effects you as a runner.  I’ll give you some tips and tricks from my own experience and hopefully help you survive and strive through an injury situation.

This first chapter is called “How do you get injured?”

Most of us are road racers and I would venture that the majority of the injuries that we deal with come from training for and running road races.

I have found that trail running is much kinder on the body except for the odd twisted ankle or collision with an inanimate object.  I have also found biking seems not to cause the same type of overuse and intensity injuries, again, except for when you fall off or crash.  Swimming seems to be very kind to the body as well.

One lesson we might take form this is that maybe, if you are chronically injured by road racing you should broaden your portfolio of activities.  There’s plenty of fun ways to burn calories and keep yourself happy, why keep running into a wall?

How do we get injured road racing?

The most common way we get injured is by doing too much too fast.  This simply means that we increase our mileage or our intensity quickly, too quickly for our bodies to handle.

The old rule of thumb is the 10% rule.  This, like Grimm’s Fairy Tales is some sort of tribal wisdom rule of thumb that has no real research behind it and no known source.  It’s just easy to remember and puts a safe number around the sentiment “don’t do too much too fast”.

‘Quickly’ and ‘too much’ are relative terms.  Everyone is different.  Much of it really depends on your experience level.  I can usually increase my mileage and intensity very quickly when transitioning into a campaign because of my long history in the sport.  I know my body, I know the difference between a real pain and random soreness and I know where my weak links are.  This allows me to a) take preventative action to strengthen and stretch my weak links and b) pay particular attention to those places for symptoms so I can catch it before it turns into a chronic injury.

If you are just starting out you will be more prone to surprises because you haven’t done it before.  If something hurts you have nothing to compare it to.  I found myself worrying every ache and pain into a boogey-man when I first started training hard.  That’s a problem.  Without any experience you always imagine the worst.

When we increase our intensity or mileage we tend to find the weak links in our systems.  If you have a weak muscle, or tendon, or bone it is more likely to fail when you put a bigger stress load on it.

This is why most programs try to ease you into training increases.  It is also why training programs are set up as waves of hard work followed by easier work – to give you a chance to recover between hard cycles.

If you are in one of these training cycles you want to pay attention to your body obviously when you are in your peak load periods.  This makes sense.  What is a bit non-intuitive, that I have discovered is the few days after the peak week, when you have started an easier cycle is also when these overuse injuries will manifest.  It’s almost as if you let your guard down.

But, what causes these injuries and weak links to pop up and what can you do about it?

There are any number of things that can manifest in an injury when you ramp up your training.  These include, but are not limited to:

–        Poor mechanics – bad form

–        Weakness at some point in the muscular skeletal system

–        Bad shoes or incorrect shoes for your mechanics

–        Unexpected changes in training

  • Going to a new running surface, like road to trail without transition
  • Unexpected uphills, downhills or sidehills
  • Switching to or from the treadmill
  • Abruptly throwing in cross training like weight-lifting or stairmaster without transition

–        Over tiredness, poor nutrition, sickness.

It’s sad to say, but I have found that hard road training is such a specific activity that it makes you fragile and anything you do outside of your training is a risk for injury.  I once had back spasms at the Boston Marathon because I decided to rake my lawn the Saturday before.

A good core and/or total body strength curricula as part of your training will go a long way towards preventing this sort of injury, but you still have to think twice about every activity you do and keep you eyes and ears open for the early warning signs of injury.

Finally, injuries happen to us all.  There is only so much you can do to mitigate the risk of injury.  It’s not worth stressing out or ruining your life over.  When you do get injured there is a tendency to blame yourself.  That isn’t the least bit helpful.  It doesn’t really matter why or whose fault it is.  What matters is that you learn from it so that you can use that knowledge in the future to stay on your feet.

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