Listener Q & A with Angie and Athena

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In this episode we do a listener Q & A session!

Angie and special guest Coach Athena Farias tackle questions about recovery, what to do in the off season, back-to-back marathons, how to train for a 50k, dealing with taper madness, and more.

Plus we will give you a quick rundown of the 2018 New York City Marathon.

Listener Q & A with Angie and Athena

We like to do a Q & A episode about once a year because it’s always interesting to see what people are struggling with in their training.

Angie Spencer is the Co-Founder of Marathon Training Academy. She has a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University and has been a Registered Nurse for over 18 years. She is a RRCA Level 2 and USATF Level 1 Certified Running Coach, veteran of over 55 Marathons and Ultras, and a lover of books and dark chocolate!

Athena Farias is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and Exercise Physiologist. She has a Masters in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, has run 15 marathons (5 Boston qualifiers), 5 ultras, and numerous obstacle races. She’s an endurance junkie and lover of all things trail running! She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

“MTA Coach Athena has been a phenomenal coach, . . . She was a great balance of pushing me to work harder and also pushing me to rest and recover, and thanks to her I scored a 35+ minute PR and a sub four hour marathon this past weekend in Indianapolis! I’ve learned so much from Athena and MTA and am excited to take all that knowledge and use it to become an even better runner.” -Ripley Doten

Questions Featured in This Episode

For this Q & A episode we solicited questions from our email subscribers and got back so many good ones! If you want to subscribe to our email newsletter you can do so here.


After running a marathon, how long should recovery be? When can I start running again? -Hannah Trimble Brown

My question would have to be about recovery between marathons. As I’m shooting for very specific goals in the next few years, I’d have to ask how long is the
recommended minimum time to wait between marathons? For example, if training goes really well but for some reason I have a poor race day, how long would I want to
wait to run another marathon to have another try at my goal time? -Andrew Lorenzo

The Off Season

With the help of your podcast I completed my goal of completing my first
Marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall. I even hit my time
goal of sub 4 hours in 3:59:15!

My question is what now? This is my first year of running and I don’t know
what to do now until spring Marathon season. I have already signed up for a
spring Marathon in May.

Thank you for taking my question. -Anthony Barton

Back-to-Back Marathons

How would you train for back-to-back marathons that are 4-5 weeks apart? Kim Cannon


Wondering if it is “normal” to experience a sluggishness in the later
weeks of marathon training? Like the 18 and 20 mile weeks and after during the taper
weeks? I ask because this is my second time to run a marathon and both times I have
experienced a sluggish few weeks leading up to the marathon.
Thanks! -Wynnifred Hoodis

Hot Weather

Hi, I have a question about running in a tropical climate. Most of the year where I live it is very hot and humid. The temperature is usually over 35 celsius (100
fahrenheit), with extremely high humidity, and it only drops around 5-8 degrees at
night. Do you have any advice for training and racing in these conditions? In
particular, do you have any advice on heart-rate training and whether I should
adjust my aerobic threshold heart-rate because of these conditions? Thanks!
Geoff from Cairns, Australia


I would like to know how training for a 50km differs (or is similar to)
training for a marathon. Thank you! -Trista

I keep experiencing a whole variety of niggles after marathon
distances. I wonder if I’ll ever make the necessary adaptations so I can graduate to
ultra distances. Various foot, knee, hamstring, back, pelvic, shoulder… pains! 
 They are mostly bi-lateral, and go away if rested. Probably there because I’m over
zealous and taking on more than I should in my first year of running. Thank you!


Often when I finish a run I have a very distinct smell that could best be described as like cat urine. My question is what causes it, and how do I prevent it. Thanks, Russell from Cantonment, Fl.

Taking Advil

Hi Angie, When I finished the NYC Marathon I heard a runner on the phone saying she took two Advil about half way through the race. How common is this and is it
recommended? Is this hidden in what the pros drink? I think my body would have
welcomed that pain relief during the last several miles. Thanks for all. John

Knowing My Limits

I have been running for 5 years.  Completed 2 full
marathons, about 10 half marathons and 1 half Ironman.  I have never, ever been
happy with my finishing time.  My fulls were completed at 6 hours each and my half
marathons range from 2:30-3:00 finish.  I don’t mind being in the back of the pack,
but it is frustrating to see others celebrate their new PRs while I stay in the same

How do I know if this is my physical limitation and I need to accept it or if I need
to push myself mentally and physically?
Thanks for any advice you can give!
SaraRaleigh, NC

Becoming a Coach

How did you know you wanted to be a running coach and start this podcast? Learning to be a coach or stepping into some sort of career or side hustle geared towards running- something that makes me so happy and brings me so much peace, has been on my mind a lot lately.  I just wanted to get your feedback on how you got started in this field and any advice you have! Thank you guys for all you do!!
Whitney Young

How Coaching Works

If it is possible, I would like you to explain more in detail how does the
MTA personalized coaching services work taking into account that maybe most
clients don’t live in the same city as the coach: How do clients interact with coaches? How often do they communicate? How are training plans designed? Thanks and greets from Mexico, José Juan Cabello

Also Mentioned in This Episode

MTA Coaching Services -currently accepting new clients. See how it works.

cbdMD. Their all-natural CBD Oil Freeze Rollers help your body to heal and recover fast no matter how much you train. Roll it over your sore muscles and feel instant relief. It’s bio-freeze and natural healing rolled into one. Use coupon code MTA20 for 20% any of their products.

Anolon Cookware. Shop Anolon’s cookware sets, baking tools, even pasta makers and culinary torches – all at Macy’s • Anolon – designed for creativity in the kitchen.

Bombas Socks -With an Arch Support System that provides extra support where you need it most and a Cushioned Footbed that’s reinforced for comfort without added bulkiness, Bombas feel like a hug around your foot. Use the code MARATHON for 20% off your first order.

2 Responses to Listener Q & A with Angie and Athena

  1. Mauricio November 16, 2018 at 6:06 am #

    I cannot be More thankful listening to this episode. I am a huge fan and follower of your podcast and YouTube channel. You guys are my therapy, ma way out, my go to place when I am not feeling all that well. Running has been the most wonderful discovery I’ve had in the last 10 years . .followed by my beautiful and blessed family I owe running my life and health .
    This episode is in particular special do to a submission from a listener where he or she states ( apologies for not getting the name correctly, I listened to the episode while running). This wonderful person states that you can overcome ANYTHING in your life. I am going through and emotional period where I lost the job of my life that I had been a part for 8 years. Due to cutbacks and budget issues. They told me I was not saying goodbye but see you soon where they left the doors opened for next year if an opportunity comes along. Anyway this episode left my state of mind really high and I am feeling so grateful and thankful to be sharing this with you guys thanks!

  2. Angie Spencer May 30, 2019 at 9:13 am #

    Hi Mauricio, Thanks so much for being a listener and for the feedback on this episode! It’s wonderful to hear that running continues to help you navigate the challenges of life. It can definitely help us tap into more gratitude and become healthier versions of ourselves. Wishing you the best!

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