Episode 164 Dave McGillivray RD Boston Marathon

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 164 – Dave McGillivray RD Boston Marathon

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi164.mp3|titles=Episode 164 – Dave McGillivray RD Boston Marathon]


Show intro by:

@kelownagurl – http://kelownagurl.blogspot.com/




RunTriChat – Podcast Description

Originally inspired by Quadrathon’s “Fireside Chat” with Dirt Dawg, Run Digger, and Kelownagurl, various running and triathlon podcasters get together for a virtual chat about issues in running, triathlon, and the endurance sport lifestyle.


Hello and welcome to the Running Phoenix Podcast where we rise like a mystical magic fire bird from the ashes of our injuries to once again triumph!  Like the phoenix I have immolated myself on the pyre of training but have emerged reborn to continue my next 1,000 year cycle.

That’s right, This is Chris your host and this is the RunRunLive podcast and I Buddy and I are back.  We’re 14 or so road miles into my rebirth.  I still feel a little fragile and a little heavy but I’m certainly well rested.

Here’s your take away.  A muscle tear takes 2-4 weeks to heal if you do everything right.  I did 3 weeks on the nose but probably could have cut 4-5 days off that if I had stayed off it.  Nevertheless I am joyously ecstatic with being able to run again and pleased as punch with the sagacity with which I executed this injury cycle.

I’ll take it easy this week working in some easy runs with my pool work and cap the week off by racing the New Bedford Half Marathon with the boys on Sunday.  Then I’m back into the meat of my training cycle, if everything holds, into Boston in 4 weeks.

Speaking of Boston, we have a great chat with Mr. David McGillivray, the race director of the Boston marathon for you today.  I’m also going to share my aquajogging primer and continue with a guest reader for the injury series.

You may have noticed that I have an excellent new audio editor, Sabrina, who is available for more work if any of you other podcasters need some help out there.  Consider it our little college student support fund.

I know many of you are coming into your target races right now.  If you go back through my archives on RunRunLive.com you’ll find I do a lot of pre-race advice in these early spring, early fall timed shows, go take a listen.

I think the best advice I can give right now is that it has been a hard long winter.  Many of us are limping onto the starting line, beat up from training.  You may be scared that you didn’t get all your runs in or that your quality wasn’t as you had planned.  It’s ok.

Let me introduce you to a little thing called “the race day miracle”.  You will be surprised how well things can turn out on race day.  You have to stop worrying about what could have been and let yourself run your race.  When in doubt start a little slow.  Do the first half of your race at the low end of your goal pace and see how you feel.

My experience is that when you get into the race your training becomes much less important than you think.  You’re far more capable than you know.  Let you race come to you.

And let’s let this show come to us,  On with the show!

Audio clips in this episode:

Gina “OCG” Newton

James from “Early Morning Cruising” http://www.earlymorningcruzin.podbean.com/

Seth Godin from Mitch Joel’s podcast Six Pixels of Separation…Episode 243



Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

Story time:


Guest Blog Reading

Equipment Check:

Equipment Check – Aqua-jogging Primer

I may still screw things up, but for now I feel pretty strong and one of the keys to my successful and rapid negotiation of this current injury cycle was pool-running, better known in the vernacular as aqua-jogging.

So how does this work?

First you need a body of water that is deep enough that you can run without touching the bottom.  This is a common misperception.  You are not bouncing along the bottom.  You are running, or performing the running motion suspended in the water.  In this way there is zero impact.

How does a person as bottom heavy as a runner suspend themselves?  You need a flotation belt.  I was lucky enough to be able to cobble together a floatation belt form the big toy box over at the pool.

You can buy them too.  Basically it’s like an oversized version of BatMan’s utility belt.  It’s important to be suspended by your belt because this gives you the right balance and doesn’t get in the way of your arm swing.

I added floats to the belts that they had in various combinations because I wanted to bring my head up out of the water so I could breathe without breaking form.

Now, once you are suspended, what to do?  Simple start running.

It takes a while to get the balance right but before you know it your legs will be churning away with perfect form.  It is actually very easy to focus on your form when the impact is removed.

You have to gauge by effort level, HR and breathing what the right “Pace” is.  After awhile you can figure it out.

What’s it feel like?  It is interesting.  If you keep your form with a nice forward lean you will find that you actually move along in the water.  It’s not fast, maybe 10 meters in 30 seconds, but you definitely want to have room to move.

I tried tethering myself so I wouldn’t move but that screws up your balance.  The solution is to run either back and forth or in a box.  The balance is much easier and you run much cleaner once you get a little forward momentum.

Another interesting difference is that the water gives resistance in all directions, not just on the push off.  You have resistance to lifting your knees and resistance to moving your arms.  This helps strengthen the supporting muscles in the legs.

Once you get your balance you can bring your heart rate all the way up.  I am able to essentially sprint, working up a sweat, with no leg discomfort.

You want to keep a bottle of water on the pool curb so you don’t get dehydtrated because you don’t know you’re sweating.

Coach had me doing various workouts at various intensities.  Some of them were close to an hour and a half long.

This brings up the big issue about aqua-jogging.  Boredom.  Running back and forth in a 10 meter box for an hour and a half is brain numbing.

I finally solved this by wrapping my blackberry in a plastic bag and sticking it under a swim cap on the top of my head.  I ran a cheap pair of ear buds down to have something to listen to.  I’m not swimming, so my head is above the water.

The only issue I had was the little kids swamping me while I was running back and forth in my box.  And there was this one guy doing laps in the lane next to me.  I felt like dragging him out and forcing some total immersion swim form lessons on him.  He was lifting his head so far out of the water to breath he was like a breaching hump back whale, sending plenty of annoying water in my direction.

That’s it.  This is actually a revelation to me in the injury cycle.  The aqua-jogging is so similar to real running that you ‘get you fix’.   In this way it not only keeps your physical fitness but keeps you mental fitness as well.

Injury series

Mastering Injuries Part 3

Mike Olkin – some ways to avoid injury.

Mastering Injuries Series Chapter 3 – On being fragile and how to avoid injury


Hello, and welcome to chapter 3 of the “mastering injuries” series.  I’ve decided to play this out into a 10 week series.  My goal here is to help everyone engage their big brains and take control of their injuries.

As crazy as it sounds, if you approach the injury the right way the process becomes more educational and positive and less punitive.  Because I know how to surf the injury cycle I can get through it faster and come out the other end actually stronger than I went in.

The first week we talked about how we get injured.  The second week I discussed how emotionally the injury cycle is almost exactly the same as what psychologists describe as the “Grieving Cycle”, with Shock, Denial, Anger, Depression and finally acceptance.  Just knowing that is going to help you immensely.

It’s all well and good to talk about dealing with injuries, but shouldn’t we take a moment to talk about WHY we get injured and HOW to avoid them?  That’s what we will do today!

Most of the injuries that we get are overuse injuries and happen because we put too much of a load on our bodies.  Logically you would be able to avoid these by not putting that taxing load on your body.  The problem with that theory is we don’t want to lock ourselves in a room and live in a bubble.  We are runners and by definition we like to push our bodies and we know that the real gains happen on the other side of the effort  threshold sometimes.

This would appear to be a catch 22.  We get injured when we go faster and longer, but we don’t get fulfillment and performance until we find out how far and fast we can go.

It is non-intuitive, but training for road races, especially a road marathon, makes you very fragile.  Road racing is such a specific sport and hyper-focuses on specific parts of your body that it sets you up for injuries.

I have had this conversation with my marathon friends.  When we are in the heavy part of our training we are always terrified of getting injured.  We will avoid doing anything different because we know that it can lead to some fluke injury.

I’ll give you an example.  One year I was training for Boston and in very good shape.  I had set my PR at the 20 mile distance twice in training in difficult conditions and was running confidently.  The Saturday two days before the marathon was a beautiful sunny spring day and I was in my taper and bored.  I decide to rake the front lawn.  I ended up having to walk with back spasms half way through the race.  I left what potentially could have been a marathon PR under the bushes in my front lawn.

What can you do to make yourself less fragile?  What can you do to catch the early warning signs.

Much of how I avoid injuries now is being able to not just listen to my body, but understand what it’s telling me.  Some of this is obviously experience.  I don’t rake before the marathon anymore!

In order to listen to your body, you need to actually listen.  Leave all the electronics at home and as you’re running go through an inventory.  Start at the bottom and really listen and feel the feedback from all the systems in your body.

After awhile you will start to develop a feeling for what causes injuries, when they occur and when you are most vulnerable.

For new runners you will be most likely to get an injury about 4 weeks into your training program when you get past the hard part and you start feeling strong.  It is at this point that, like a teenager with a new car, you’ll do something stupid like extra miles or hill charges.  You need to avoid that urge and stick with your plan.

By the way, an excellent way to avoid injury is to have a plan, or, even better, have a coach.  Make sure the plan you use matches your ability.  Don’t choose an advanced plan for your first race.  Ease into it.

For the experienced campaigner, like me and my buddies, we are most likely to get injured during or right after the peak weeks in our plans especially if we do something different.

Some tactical things you can do to prevent injuries.  Remember I’m not a doctor and you need to do what works for you not what works for me.

Ice baths.  I am a huge proponent of taking a 20 minute ice bath during my peak training periods within an hour of finishing my long runs or even after a particularly hard effort.

Stretching.  Stretch you major muscle groups consistently before and most importantly AFTER your work outs.

Mix easy days with hard days.  You should not train hard every day.  Give your body time to rebuild.  A good coach will build your plan in weekly wave with rest weeks following peak weeks.

Massage.  Some of my serious friends have a good massage therapist on speed dial and go to get worked on often.  I would love to do this, but find it financially prohibitive!

To make yourself less fragile you need to cross train and strengthen.  If nothing else do some ab/core work and some simple pushups, crunches and leg lifts.  A healthy, strong core will keep your form clean and prevent injuries.  Do this from the START of your training not after you’re already injured!

Mixing things up and going multi-sport will make you less fragile as well but may take away from the specificity required for peak road efforts.  Training for triathlons will make you very core-strong.  Trail running will build up your horizontal shear strength and has less impact.

Folks, injuries happen but you can take some common sense steps to make yourselves stronger.  You can raise your awareness of when and why you are fragile and vulnerable.  Try to be proactive, have a good plan and be safe out there.



Featured Interview:

Dave McGillivray


BAA Boston Marathon® Race Director,
President, DMSE Sports, Inc.

As the founder and president of DMSE Sports, Inc., a special-event management company, McGillivray has produced or consulted on more than 900 mass-participatory athletic events throughout the world, including 23 Boston Marathons; the 2004 and 2008 USA Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials; the 1990 Triathlon World Championship, the 1998 Goodwill Games Triathlon, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Founded by McGillivray in 1981, DMSE Sports is a world leader in sports event management.  DMSE specializes in creating, marketing and producing mass participatory athletic events throughout the U.S. and abroad.  McGillivray is also an accomplished motivational speaker.  More than 1,600 audiences from corporate executives to high school students have experienced McGillivray’s signature ability to engage and inspire listeners.

His 30-year career in the sport of road racing and triathlon earned him the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award,” presented to him by Competitor Magazine.  McGillivray was also presented with the prestigious “Race Director of the Year” award by Road Race Management, Inc., and sponsored by Running Times Magazine.  In 2005 he was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions.

There is an intrinsic relationship between McGillivray and the sport of running. He is not only one of the world’s finest race directors, he himself is an accomplished athlete, perhaps best known for his extraordinary run across the United States from Medford, Oregon to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts in 1978 covering a total distance of 3,452 miles, benefiting the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Not one to rest on his laurels, he and ten other veteran marathoners ran across the country in May 2004 as part of TREK USA which raised money for five children’s charities.  McGillivray has also completed eight Hawaii Ironman Triathlons and has run 125 marathons, including 38 consecutive Boston Marathons. He has run up the East Coast of the US and completed a 24-hour run, a 24-hour bike ride and a 24-hour swim, all for charity.  In addition, each year McGillivray commemorates his birthday by running the number of miles that correspond with his age.  What began with 12 miles at age 12 will be a 57-mile run on his next birthday, August 22, 2011.

The Last Pick, (Rodale Press), authored by McGillivray (with Linda Glass Fechter), was  published in April 2006.  It chronicles his career while motivating and inspiring the reader to never underestimate their own ability to set and achieve goals.

Running is the tool he uses to set  and achieve goals, motivate others, maintain health, both mental and physical and give back to the community.  The DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation is McGillivray’s newest endeavor which supports non-profit organizations whose efforts are directed at solving the epidemic of childhood obesity by providing direct funding to treatment and prevention programs.

McGillivray creates event experiences that leave an indelible mark on the participants.  He has the respect, trust, experience, confidence, leadership, and vision of a pioneer in the sport.  Boston Marathon legend Johnny Kelley once described McGillivray as a “genius.”  Dave McGillivray serves as a role model for all of us who seek to be the very best in our professional and personal lives.  McGillivray lives in North Andover, Massachusetts with his wife, Katie and five children, Ryan, Max, Elle, Luke and Chloe.

Quick Tip:


Ok my friends, that is it you and I have risen from the ashes of another RunRunLive Podcast, hope you enjoyed it, I know I did, Episode 164 in the can.

What’s coming up?  I’m going to continue to ramp back up my running and push my fitness in the coming weeks.  I’m going to race the NewBedford Half Marathon this weekend and probably the Eastern States 20 miler the following weekend.   Both of these are races that I’ve run several times so the inly mystery is whether I show up or not and of course the weather.  I’m not going to kill myself, at this point if we have crappy weather I’ll find something else to do.  I haven’t actually registered for either race, but neither sells out and I know the races directors if push comes to shove.

Then Sunday April 10th is the Groton Road Race and that should be fun. We are in the phase of Road Race planning where everything that can go wrong does – you just have to smile and muddle through.

And the weekend after that is the Boston Marathon.  I usually head in to pick up my stuff on Saturday some time and I’ll hang around if someone is having a get together.

I’ve got a full week of travel next week so don’t expect a podcast until Saturday at the earliest.  I’ll see what I can do to get ahead this weekend.  I do have Jack Fultz, winner of the 1976 Boston marathon in the can for next week and have been chatting with some other interesting folks this week including Thom Giligan the CEO of marathon tours, Carrie who matches up lonely runners with shelter dogs and Steve from the Boston Chapter of Back on My Feet to talk about how he used running to beat addiction.  All compelling stuff.

I’ve got all my bikes fixed up and ready to go including the old Kona.  I had GearWorks get me a new middle ring and a bash guard for it and maybe I’ll pass it down to D2 to ride.  Yes, I’m definitely doing something multi-sport this summer but I’m thinking the Wilderness 101 ultra may still be in the cards because I know the course now and know what to expect, I think I could do a lot better even if I didn’t train overboard for it.

I couldn’t find a triathlon that I liked so I’m kicking around the idea of organizing my own off-road multi-sport, dog-friendly, Fat-Ass event for July or August.  I’d just have to spin up my swimming ad get a handful of others to do it with me.  I’m going to call it “The Buddy-Luv MultiSport”.

There is one more thing that I have committed to that you’ll be hearing about.  It is something that in all my years of running I have never attempted.  It is something that scares the heck out of me.  It is something that I’ve avoided for years.  Stay tuned for next week and I’ll let you know what it is.

Here’s a thought for you as you go about your life this week.

I digested a couple pieces of content around this same theme this week.  One of them, the clip you heard earlier was Seth Godin talking about the people waiting for permission to do something.  I snatched that from episode 243 of the Six Pixels of Separation podcast where Mitch Joel was interviewing Seth about his new book called “Poke the Box” which I haven’t read yet.  But, I love the sentiment.

He’s basically saying that most people wait around their whole lives waiting for someone to tell them what to do.  That’s crazy.  I don’t know about where you live, but where I live there is really no penalty for failure.

Ask any immigrant to the US and they’ll tell you that anyone can start a business and be successful here.  You may lose all your money but as long as you say within the laws of the land nothing really bad will happen.  I know what holds us back is fear.  Fear of hurting someone or looking like an idiot, but also fear of stepping outside the norms, going beyond the status quo and coloring outside the lines.

This is an interesting cultural Catch 22, and like Yossarian said, “that’s some catch, that catch 22”. We know factually that the only people who really make a difference, who really add value are those who do things differently, better and faster; who find a better way.  But, culturally we are told not to stand out too much.  No wonder we’re all crazy.

In another part of that podcast Seth talks about when he knew he was different.  There was a big circular rack for phone messages for his department with many slots in it.  You had the spin the rack to seek out your slot to get your messages.  His first day on the job, he looked at it, picked up a paperclip and marked his slot so he could find it without searching.  The next week there were different colored paperclips and markers all over the rack.

My friend Jon Gordon, who wrote “The Energy Bus” tells a similar story about getting off a plane and seeing people having to search through a big pile of identical black roller-board suitcases to find their own.  Why had no one picked a different color he mused?

Another example is when I go to races.  They will have 3 or 4 lines at the registration table sorting people by race and name or something, but invariably people will just get in the longest line without even checking.

Why are we programmed so heavily to conform?  To subsume ourselves?  To hide our little lights under our wicker baskets?  I don’t know.  But you assignment this week to take a different path.  Do something better, without being asked.  Stand out.  See what happens.

And I will see you out there,

Music tonight I absolutely love.  It’s a punk-ish song called “Bombs over Brooklyn” from fat_wreck_chords by Love Equals Death.  This one rocks so hitch up your athletic supporter and give me 3 and a half minutes of good solid effort.  Lean into it.  Feel the power.



From Podsafe




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Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy.  Chris is the author of “The Mid-Packer’s Lament”, and “The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy”, short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack.  Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at www.runnerati.com.  Chris’ Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at www.runrunlive.com. Chris also writes for CoolRunning.com (Active.com) and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners and the Goon Squad.

Email me at cyktrussell at Gmail dot com

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