Ask the Coach Episode (Part 2) + Books!

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In this episode we answer questions sent in by Academy members about finding time for strength training, when to stretch, how to avoid cramping at the end of a marathon, and more, as we bring you part two of our Ask the Coach Q & A.

In the quick tip segment Angie shares the top book picks from her summer reading.

Ask the Coach Episode | Part 2

Coach KristenOn this episode we were joined by Coach Kristen Williamson the newest member of the MTA coaching team. Kristen is a Registered Dietitian and Road Runners Club of America certified running coach. She is a 3:29:00 Marathoner, Boston Qualifier, and has a Master of Science in Dietetics as well as a MBA. To learn more about our coaching team see this page.

Questions Featured:

  1. Strength training. I hear so much about the benefits of getting into the gym, but struggling with how to fit that in with 5 days of weekly running and appropriate recovery. If I go to the gym on a rest day does that compromise recovery? If it does, how can it be fit in? if you add up all the advise out there it’s like run 5 days a week, but also make sure you are taking full days off for recovery. But also make sure you are getting into the gym twice a week for strength training, but not before or after a long run or quality run. And also add in a day for cross training. Would be great if there were 11 days in the week. -Eli
  2. How do you stretch appropriately before/after a long run or race? Especially when there is a lot of standing around before you actually start running? What about stretching in cold weather vs warmer weather? What are some of the ways you stretch before and after? -Yali
  3. How to avoid muscle cramps at the end of marathons? -Hanna-Leena
  4. What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on a run? -Pat

Book Picks from My Summer Reading

Non-Fiction: Running and Mindset

  • Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
    This book was my top pick for this summer. I read it at a time when I was gearing up for big physical challenges and I could directly see how the motivation gleaned from this book helped me perform my best. David’s narrative of his life, the things he’s overcome, and the challenges he took on are intertwined with great motivational lessons. This book will change your mindset forever. FYI- Book contains strong language.
  • You (Only Faster) by Greg McMillan
    If you’re the type of person who really likes to dive into the individual variations of running and training plans this is the book for you. He talks about how you can maximize your running potential, be a healthy runner for life, and the differences between more endurance based and speed based energy systems.
  • Running Outside the Comfort Zone by Susan Lacke
    This is a fun and relatable book that really makes you want to get outside your comfort zone and not let fear hold you back. Check out our interview with author Susan Lacke on episode #291 for more information.
  • The Long Run by Matt Long
    This is one of those running books that sat on my shelf for nearly a decade before I got around to reading it. I’m glad that I finally took the time to read it because it was very inspirational. Matt tells the story of how he went from a NYC firefighter, triathlete, and marathoner gunning for a BQ to being hit by a bus while cycling. He survived despite overwhelming odds, had multiple surgeries, and had to relearn all aspects of mobility again as well as deal with serious depression. This is one of those books where you end up feeling like any excuses you have are weak-sauce.
  • Run or Die by Kilian Jornet
    This is another book that I’ve had for a long time but finally read. It was fascinating to hear the story of how Kilian grew up and his mindset and determination to take on some of the world’s top running challenges. Impossible and give up are not in his vocabulary.
  • 14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar
    This memoir by Alberto Salazar was very interesting and provided a behind the scenes look at the way he was raised, how to turned to running, his long-time battle with career ending injury, his coaching, and the near fatal heart attack that he had at age 49. The only thing I knew about him previously was that he was head coach of the Oregon Project and what I’d read from Dick Beardsley’s book Duel in the Sun.
  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
    An interesting book about the humble and often tenuous beginnings of the Nike Corporation. Reading about the struggles that Phil Knight went through to bring his company to success gave me a new appreciation for the tenacity it takes to succeed in the business world. It’s truly amazing that the global phenomenon we know today almost didn’t get off the ground.
  • Presence by Amy Cuddy
    This book explores the power that being present has over our emotional, mental and physical state. She talks about how the posture of our body can influence our thought process and help us take on challenges. Even two minutes of doing a power pose can increase your testosterone and decrease your cortisol levels. You feel more confident, passionate, authentic, and enthusiastic. She encourages readers to, “Fake it until you become it and that tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.”

Other Books I Enjoyed This Summer

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
Make Your Bed by William H. Mcraven
Fearless-The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
Maid by Stephanie Land
Them by Ben Sasse
Running the Books by Avi Steinberg
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
Running- A Love Story by Jen A. Miller

The Circle by Dave Eggers
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
The Inkeeper Series by Ilona Andrews

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The MTA Virtual Half Marathon. Registration now open! Check out this year’s awesome medal and hat.

The Runner’s Toolbox -8 inexpensive items to keep at home to prevent and self-treat running injuries.

Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel. UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable, is gentle on your stomach, and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTACOACH” to save 15% off your order. Or if you’re new to UCAN, save 25% on your first order with code MTA25”.

On-Running Shoes -Try a pair of On’s for yourself for 30 days and put them to the test. That means actually running in them before you decide to keep them.

DripDrop O.R.S. An electrolyte powder developed by a doctor to treat dehydration. Go to to get 20% off any purchase.

5 Responses to Ask the Coach Episode (Part 2) + Books!

  1. Kim Engler August 27, 2019 at 2:32 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your books you enjoyed list, Angie.
    I just finished Can’t Hurt Me and love it!
    Kim Engler, Iowa

    • Angie Spencer August 28, 2019 at 12:53 pm #

      You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed that book 🙂

  2. Peter August 28, 2019 at 8:52 am #

    Glad to hear you like reading books. A totally underapprechiated book about running is Ronnie O Sullivan’s (the five times Snooker World Champion) “Running”. Apparently he loves running so much that he had to write a second memoir. Also, he has a sub 35 minutes 10K PB so he knows what he’s writing about.

    • Angie Spencer August 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks for the book recommendation! I’ll definitely check it out.

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