53 episodes

We provide discussions focusing around The Hanson's Marthon Method, as well as many other running topics. Luke Humphrey has been a member of the Hanson's-Brooks Distance Project since 2004, qualifying for 3 Olympic Trials, finishing in top 12 in the NYC marathon, Boston marathon, and Chicago marathon. He is the owner of Luke Humphrey Running and has helped runners of all abilities since 2006.

Luke Humphrey Running Luke Humphrey Running

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9, 27 Ratings

We provide discussions focusing around The Hanson's Marthon Method, as well as many other running topics. Luke Humphrey has been a member of the Hanson's-Brooks Distance Project since 2004, qualifying for 3 Olympic Trials, finishing in top 12 in the NYC marathon, Boston marathon, and Chicago marathon. He is the owner of Luke Humphrey Running and has helped runners of all abilities since 2006.

    Runners and Supplements

    Runners and Supplements

    Yes, it is an age-old argument and the two sides will debate until they are hoarse. This argument is of course, do runners need supplements? If they don’t, how come? If so, why and which ones? It’s certainly a rabbit hole to go down and I have been on both sides of the argument. I certainly understand that we should strive for real food and am not necessarily a fan of getting food from a pill/ However, on the other side of the coin, runners are beating their body up with training and if we don’t get perfect nutrition in every day, then maybe a little help is warranted. Certainly, when you look at the definition of supplement, which is, “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it,” then it makes sense why someone would think that supplementation makes sense.

    The main argument I see against supplementation is the idea that we should strive to eat a well-balanced diet and that will cover our needs. It’s interesting because I have heard dieticians (who are usually working with sedentary or recreationally active people) loathe the idea of any type of supplement. Then I have seen nutritionists who work with hard training athletes say that if you want to succeed, you have to be on some sort of supplement. For a long time I was in the first camp but have gradually shifted my position to the latter. Let me explain why.

    The 3 E’s:

    Essential Nutrition for Survival and Basic Health:

    This is what is Recommended Dietary Allowances are built off, but these are government based standards and not meant for achieving optimal health. These standards are based on the average nutrient intake of an entire population. These guidelines make the assumption that everyone is already eating a healthy diet and that all nutritional needs are the same. In essence, it’s the bare minimum.

    Essential Nutrition for Optimal Health:

    This is the next step and means higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. It also means the inclusion of “non-essential” nutrients (but not unimportant). Things like antioxidants are required in higher doses to fight off our environmental stresses and help us recover. The quantities of these are needed in higher doses than the RDA (or DRI) states for basic survival.

    Essential Nutrition for Athletic Performance:

    The final level, where athletes are required to perform at a peak level, recover from training and outside stress, and maintain superior health. So, while I may not expect a person training for their first 5k in this category, I certainly would put someone who’s training consistently year-round for high-level competitions.

    Some examples

     







    Vitamin

    Men DRI

    Women DRI

    Tolerable UL

    PDI





    Vitamin C

    90 mg

    75 mg

    2000 mg

    500-3000 mg





    Vitamin D

    15 mcg-600 IU

    15 mcg-600 IU

    100-mcg-4000 IU

    400-4000 IU





    B6

    1.7 mg

    1.5 mg

    100 mg

    10-100 mg





    Folate

    400 mcg

    400 mcg

    1000 mcg

    400-1200 mcg





    B12

    2.4 mcg

    2.4 mcg

    Not Established

    12-200 mcg







    I chose these because they are common vitamins that are important to runners. As you can see, there is a big discrepancy between the essential amount needed for survival and what may be required for optimal performance. The same is true for minerals.

     







    Mineral

    Men DRI

    Women DRI

    Tolerable UL

    PDI





    Calcium

    1300 mg

    1300 mg

    2500 mg

    1200-2600 mg





    Magnesium

    420 mg

    320 mg

    350 mg

    400-800 mg





    Phosphorus

    1250 mg

    1250 mg

    4000 mg

    1k-4k mg





    Selenium

    55 mcg

    55 mcg

    400 mcg

    100-400 mcg





    Zinc

    • 28 min
    How fast do we lose fitness?

    How fast do we lose fitness?

    The topic of detraining has come up a lot, lately. At the time of writing this, we are under a stay at home shelter and our spring marathons have been cut short. A lot of folks feel like their hard fought gainZ are lost forever. However, I feel like there is a fair amount of confusion regarding what detraining is and what variations we typically encounter with training. So, today, let’s discuss what is really going on and if those feelings of having to start over are really warranted.

    First, there’s full fledged detraining.

    This is stopping training all together or reducing so much that a training stimulus is not elicited. This is what you’ll see a lot of blog posts and articles reference and when we talk about “use it or lose it” we are referring to this. The end result of detraining is loss of fitness over a period of time.

    The second is the taper.

    This is interesting because some folks buy into a very long taper and can actually dip into detraining if they reduce it for long enough time. That’s a discussion beyond today, but an interesting thought to expand on.



    The purpose of the taper is to improve performance through rest.



    I would define it as a calculated reduction in training through volume, frequency, and intensity, to maximize race performance through realizing the improvements made in previous training.

    Third, we have the maintenance.

    This would fall between complete detraining and taper. It may or may not be planned, as it may be done to try and mitigate downtime for injury, or, in our case, there’s no race to train for! With maintenance, the training stimulus is high enough to stop the downward trend of fitness loss (or at least slow it). However, it’s not high enough to promote further fitness development. I like to describe it as treading water.

    The last one, to me is early rebuilding mode.

    Some would refer this to reverse tapering, but I tend to stay away from that term. That would suggest that I am going to taper for may race, run the race, then follow my taper plan in reverse to get back to full training. However, I wouldn’t do that to my athletes! I couldn’t imagine giving an athlete a 10 mile tempo 10 days after their marathon! Early rebuilding, for me, would be the time post downtime (due to injury, illness, planned time off, or race) that takes us from reduced fitness to normal training volume and intensities. How I would approach this would vary on individual circumstances. This is one we will have to talk about later, too.

    For now, let’s focus on detraining and maintenance.

    During this time of forced shutdown, people have gone from peak training to forced downtime. Like I mentioned, there’s a lot of worry about “starting over” or at least losing a significant amount of fitness. The general consensus is that with a short amount of time off, performance will actually improve performance, but go past a few days and performance will start to decline. Specifically:



    * After 2+ weeks, VO2max decreases. I’ve seen a lot of numbers, but generally, 5-20% depending on time off.

    * Ventilation increases 10-14% within a few days. This would make exercise feel harder after a short amount of time.

    * Lactate Threshold starts to decrease after a few days off.

    * Capillarization decreases to pre training levels within 4 weeks.

    * Mitochondrial enzymes decrease 25-45% for up to 12 weeks.



    There are others, but the point is made. If you go full stop on training, you will begin to lose fitness. In terms of performance, what would that mean? After 3 weeks off, your times will slow 3-5%.

    What’s that look like on the clock?



    * 40 minute 10k: 1:15-2:00 slower (Ouftda!)

    * 1:45 half marathon: 3:00-5:15 slower (Yikes)

    * 4 hour marathon: 7-12 minutes slower (Ouch!)



    So that is pretty scary to think about!

    However,

    • 21 min
    Mental Toughness: Putting our attention on where we focus

    Mental Toughness: Putting our attention on where we focus

    It’s no doubt that being “mentally tough” is something that can improve your performance, but the way I hear runners discuss, it feels like it is something that you either have or you don’t. Personally, I found it a fluid ingredient to my personal performance. I was mentally tough in my outstanding performances, but was mentally weak in most of my bad performances. What does being mentally tough really entail? Is it a trait or is it learned? Those two things are what I want to explore today.

    What I have learned is that being mentally tough may not necessarily be about the amount of discomfort you can force yourself to endure, but maybe more about where you direct your focus. I have talked about this in race strategy discussions before- that early on, I don’t want to focus on too much because the more dialed in I had to be early on, the longer I had to maintain that high level of focus. For me, that wasn’t sustainable and I would often fade. Now, while I think my idea was solid in theory, my wording might have been off. I’ll explain more, later. The point is, that I was never any more, or less, mentally tough in good races than bad, but my focus was probably not set on the right cues. The idea is Limited Channel Capacity, or the ability to hold a limited amount of information at one time. Try to hold on to too much, or the wrong things, then there’s no room for what is relevant to the task and we lose performance.

    When we look at those we consider mentally tough, they tend to show the following qualities. One, they have the ability to focus on their own performance, despite any outside personal issues. Look at some of the all time greats in sports and how messed up their personal lives were. They possessed the ability to flip that switch and not think about those things while in their sporting activity. Now, in your own case, that might simply mean leaving what happened at the office, well, at the office instead of bringing it to the track workout. If it’s taking up space in your head during the workout, we tend to miss the physical and internal cues of how the workout is going and it can often be a sup par event.

    Maintain Focus

    Secondly, they have the ability to maintain focus on their own performance after both success and failure. I have seen so many times that people overestimate their potential after one good race. I have also seen as many people completely disregard their ability after one performance.

    At the end of the day, it’s a step, or a learning opportunity towards the ultimate goal.

    Moving Forward

    Third, the ability to recover from the unexpected, uncontrollable, and unusual events. This is good for right now. As we read of new race cancellations every day, I see both sides of the spectrum. I see people pull back and assess and then I see people who seem to be in complete despair while going right to the worst case scenario. How we decide to handle adverse situations says a lot about our mental toughness.

    Ignore the noise

    Fourth, they have the ability to ignore typical distractions in the performance environment. So, this might mean blocking out the dude who’s breathing like a locomotive engine instead of getting annoyed by it and letting it take up real estate in your head.

    Focus on YOU

    Fifth, they have the ability to focus on their own performance instead of being concerned with opponents performance.  This is a big one, and I see so often with people who train in groups. I also figuratively lived and died by this with my own teammates.

    The common theme here is making sure you are focusing or concentrating on the relevant things to your performance. With that, there are four practical aspects  of concentration. The first is selective attention. During a run a relevant cue to focus on would be your stride, effort, and breathing. Something irrelevant is thinking about where you

    • 26 min
    Spring Race Cancellation: Preparing for the fall

    Spring Race Cancellation: Preparing for the fall

    With all the questions regarding maintenance plans to reduce the impact of having races cancelled and then filling the void until you need to start training for your fall races, although Boston technically will still be summer. How weird was that to write? Let’s lay out some timelines and the courses of action possible.

    However, before that, I would say that scheduling any race before mid-May at this point will probably be in vein. I just have a gut feeling that this will be the earliest that races resume, but I even think that first part of June. I think the sooner it heats up, the faster this thing dies off and life returns to normal. Ok, so with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s hit it!

    4 weeks: 3/16 to 4/12: Rest and Recovery



    * 7-10 days OFF. Now if you made it through a training block and raced in whatever fashion, then this means no running. It doesn’t mean no exercise though. I think walking, leisure biking, light yoga is all great things and may actually help speed recovery.

    * Then, I usually prescribe 30 minutes a day or every other day. The next 10 days.

    * The 4th week is usually 5 days/week of 30-60 minutes of easy running.

    * If people start strides, I usually do that in the late stages of the third week.



    The point is regeneration and recovering from all the hard work that has been done.

    In this case, it just might be a good time to hit the reset button.

    Now, this doesn’t have to fit in perfectly, you can add, subtract, adjust how to fit your needs.

    Now, let’s look at timelines:

    For Boston:

    18 weeks out is May 11th. So, if planning on following one of the classic plans, this would be a start date for you. But that means from right now. From 3/15/20 to then that is 9 weeks total, then subtract your rest period. From Mid April that’s 5 weeks. In either case that’s not a lot of time. It’s not really enough time to get ready to run any kind of races. I would suggest just following a base plan of 6 weeks and adjusting to fit the timeline. Personally, I’d probably just cut the last week off. Build your volume to 75-80% of peak volume. Start with lower intensity workouts, and then put some speed in towards the end. Goal is general fitness. 

    London:

    If training for London, then 18 weeks out is 6/1/20, which leaves you 11 weeks from now, or 7 weeks from a 4 week recovery period. Still not a ton of time and I think you’d be better off just doing a base building plan as described above. I would rather see it spaced out, rather than cramming a mini-segment in. I would hate to start a new segment that means more to you with some aches and pains that weren’t necessary.

    Now, for most of you, an 18 week schedule after just doing a half or full marathon training block, and then a base building block is a long time. I would not be opposed to shortening that marathon segment up to 14 weeks and that will be plenty of time to recapture that fitness. So, in this case, the start date would be June 8 for Boston and June 29 for London. This would give you ample time to run a dedicated speed segment of 8-12 weeks (can adjust for in between weeks). This allows you to really work on some dedicated speed, some gears you don’t hit with marathon training, and an opportunity to get those racing flats out a few times.

    Just make sure to leave yourself 5-7 days of light running and a couple days off before starting the marathon segment again!

    What about other fall marathons or half marathons?

    The same ideas discussed above will work for other races. The biggest thing to do is take your race date and back up the desired number of weeks. Just remember that the longer you want to make your marathon buildup, the less time you’ll have between recovery now and the start of that segment.

    The shortest amount of time I suggest for a speed segment is 8 weeks.

    The longest would be 12-14, but 14 is really p

    • 18 min
    Last Month of Indy

    Last Month of Indy

    October 7-13





    * Another solid week. Took a few days extra, but mileage was still high. Thursday was a big long run with the guys, where we got rolling. Hit a lot of 5:20-5:30 pace during the last 10 miles. Watch died, but 20.4 miles in 2:00:21- 5:54 pace.

    * Sunday was a nice 4×2 miles





    October 14-21





    * Been pretty darn consistent with mileage. This week was more of the the same. Did 10×800 with Morgan on Wednesday at the track. Averaged sub 2:30 for 10 of them. Didn’t feel too bad.

    * Finished the week up with my simulator- aka the Detroit Free Press half marathon.







    * Felt pretty solid. Went out conservative. (that split is not right). Handled the Ambassador Bridge and the tunnel well. Those are miles 4 and 7. Really settled into a groove and was moving up the whole way. This was a pretty big confidence boost.



    October 21-27





    * Last big long run! Recovered well from Simulator and ripped sub 6 pace for the majority of the run.

    * Finished the week off with a big 2×6 Miles







    * Was a tough, wet, breezy morning. We got it in though! Glad to hit this one. Another confidence boost.



    October 28-November 3 (Start of taper)





    * Start of the taper, so was really just about being consistent with work and scaling back volume. Tried to keep intensity the same. Nothing special. A 16 mile long run at a pretty comfortable pace. Finished the week with a 3×2 mile @ MP. Did this one by myself and got it in. I definitely overlooked it though! Was probably tougher than it needed to be.



    November 4-10 (Race Week!)



    Alright, so nothing special. Leading to the day before the race, I felt great. No complaints about anything. I thought I handled everything well and I was on point. Going into the race, we knew it was going to be cold and it was going to be windy. We were right. It was 28 degrees at the start. The wind was out of the south at about 8-10 mph and increasing throughout the morning. Chilly!

    Start

    I felt ok, but seemed a little chaotic. The field was huge between the women and men, both half and full. There was a lot of folks wanting to be on the front of the line. But, the race started and all was well. I was a little behind the 2:19 group (probably about 10 seconds) at the mile. There were a few people around me, so all was well. I wasn’t rushed at all. I didn’t feel overly comfortable, but that’s common. I just tried to relax and chip away to the group.

    We weaved through downtown and I did gradually reach the group. I am not sure on splits because my Garmin was beeping way before, but after the first mile I do think it was close, but I did end up being about .3 mile long. So, essentially when I caught the group, I just focused on staying with the group.

    By about mile 5..

    I was in the back of the 2:19 group, right where I wanted to be. Again, not super comfortable- it felt a little harder than I was hoping, but being in the group was where I needed to be. At 10k, we had our first bottle, I grabbed mine as the pack scattered to the 10 tables. We regrouped and settled back in. I began sipping my fluids and it was freezing cold. My bottle held 10 oz and I’d say over the next half mile, I probably got 4-6 ounces in. I also had a gel taped to the side. However, I had two pair of gloves on and getting it off was impossible. So, I tried to focus on the bottle, but something got wanky and my stomach started turning sour. So. I put as much down as I could and had to toss it. This was the start of my problems.

    From about 7 through halfway,…

    it’s a near straight shot and it was with the wind. I just tried to settle in the back and not panic. My stomach was tightening up and my second bottle at 20,k was only a few sips before I thought I was going to barf. So,

    • 27 min
    Late Marathon Fade (but not hitting the wall)

    Late Marathon Fade (but not hitting the wall)

    This past weekend’s marathon mayhem (The first sub 2 hour marathoner and a new world record in the women’s marathon) provided a perfect opportunity to answer a question some posed to me some time ago-

    “How to avoid the late marathon fade?”

    Now many of you are saying “Nutrition!” While that might be part of it, the reader was really referring to a smaller loss of time later in the race, which may or may not be directly related to proper fueling. What’s interesting is that you can feel however you want about the sub 2 hour spectacle, the shoes, and doping (I forgot the Al Sal ban!) but along with all that, there’s been a lot of research into how much all the little details add up in order to eek out that last bit of performance. It has led to new revelations and expansions into what really happens in fatigue.

    In a July Outside Magazine article titled The real reason marathoners hit the wall, Alex Hutchinson provides some great insight from research regarding critical pace. This article was written after the first sub 2 hour attempt and what researchers had looked at.leading up to the attempt. Ultimately, they found two areas of interest- critical pace and anaerobic capacity.

    Now, what is critical pace?

    That’s a great question. At its simplest definition, it is really the point that separates really hard work from not as hard work. How is that for muddy water? Now, in 1991, Joyner proposed that

    “Running economy then appears to interact with VO2max and blood lactate threshold to determine the actual running speed at lactate threshold, which is generally a speed similar to (or slightly slower than) that sustained by individual runners in the marathon.”

    Interestingly, he then proposed that a 1:57:58 marathon is possible by a runner with a VO2max of 84 ml/kg/min and a lactate threshold of 85%- both of which are similar to Eluid Kipchoge. So, for this, you are essentially looking at the pace you can run at your lactate threshold as what your marathon pace may be- if you are an elite.  Now there’s a few tests one can do to determine your CP, but coach Tinman Schwartz has determined that it’s roughly the pace you can hold for 30 minutes. So, so for many of you, that’s somewhere between 5k and 10k pace.

    The other aspect being looked at was the idea of anaerobic capacity. How Mr. Hutchinson describes this is that look at it as a tank full of work you can do above your CP. The further above your CP you work, the faster the tank depletes. So, what that appears to mean (for elite runners) is that marathon pace is a percentage CP, anaerobic capacity, and the pace you can run that at.

    Now, for the research at hand- the runners CP was tested using a 3 minute sprint when they were fresh, and then after 20, 40, 80, 120 minutes of running below CP. What they found was that at 120 minutes of sub CP running, CP actually started to decline and did so by about 9%. As for anaerobic capacity, that declined steadily from 40 minutes by 10%, down to a 23% reduction at two hours. What’s interesting here is that elite marathoners can run within 4% of their CP for the marathon. What this means is that even if a pace feels comfortable at the start of the race, it may very well reach a sudden point where it no longer does.

    How nutrition plays a part

    By taking in 60g of Carbohydrate (via Maurteen) per hour, the reduction of CP was minimized. Carbohydrate did not affect anaerobic capacity. As this depletes, you may slow down very minimally, or you may be forced to stop in your tracks.

    What this means for the mortal runner

    As mentioned, elite athletes can run a pace within 4% of CP, or the pace a person can hold for 30 minutes. It’s safe to say that recreational runners are going to be much less than that. I haven’t seen anything concrete,

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

New to Schutzhund ,

Great Podcast

Lots of excellent information about running and racing. One of my favorite running podcasts!

Runner_Wyo_Life8293 ,

Great information, looking forward to the next one.

Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge about training for the marathon Luke. I’ve learned so much from reading your book and listening to your podcasts. Idea for your next podcast: how to train between marathon training cycles with an emphasis on making speed gains

Jose Mireles ,

Only if you're seriously serious

Last year, I made it my goal to qualify for Boston at age 50. After sifting through five marathon training books to train for my first marathon after 23 years, six kids, and a very busy life; I found Luke Humphrey's marathon training book and the Brooks Hansons team the absolute right fit.

I enjoyed the book, related to the type of training regimen that would work into a very busy professional and family life and started to apply his principles last fall to make it happen. Picking the goal was the hardest thing because at that time, I was not yet at the level of fitness to qualify. I trained steadily diligently three months to increase my distance, speed and strength just so I could get to the starting line of my first 18-week training cycle. I applied Luke's book to the letter (typically running at 4:15 AM or sometimes even 3:30 AM before catching a plane at LAX). I changed some other habits as well such as my diet.

After all that, I came within 14 seconds of my stated goal to qualify for Boston a couple months back. I could not be more satisfied and with no reservation recommend Luke's training books and coaching services if you are serious about achieving your goal. If I can do it, you can too!

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