[Part 2] Ask the Coaches Q and A

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In this episode we bring you part of Ask the Coaches Q and A where the Coach Angie and Coach Nicole answer questions sent in from listeners.

In this session we discuss training by time versus training by distance, busting through plateaus, hill runs, pacing, lifting heavy, how Angie stay motivated when she was dealing with a hormonal imbalance, compression gear, and staying strong in the last 5k of a marathon.

Ask the Coaches Q&A Part 2

At least once a year we do a “Ask the Coach” episode where we solicit questions from our audience. It’s extra special when we are joined by one of our awesome coaches on the podcast to help answer questions. Since Nicole lives locally we were able to record with her in studio (before we left on our summer travels in Costa Rica).

Nicole was fresh off of a 12 hour race called the What The Duck Ultra in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. This was a looped course through a park. She finished 51 miles to celebrate turning 51 this year and was 1st in her age group.

Coaches’ Bios


Angie Spencer

  • Co-Founder of Marathon Training Academy
  • Bachelor of Science from Montana State University. Registered Nurse for over 18 years
  • RRCA Level 2 and USATF Level 1 Certified Running Coach
  • Has run 65 Marathons and Ultras; 3:19 marathon PR
  • Lover of books and dark chocolate!

Nicole Hart

  • Head Coach at Marathon Training Academy
  • Level 2 RRCA Certified Running Coach; Certified Personal Trainer; Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Boston Qualifier, Finisher of several ultramarathons up to 50 miles, more than a dozen marathons, dozens of halfs, and team relay races
  • Chapter leader of She Runs This Town and volunteer coach for Girls on the Run.

Questions Featured in This Episode

Hill Training

My question is about marathon training on a hilly course. I live in a hilly area and our outdoor courses have many gentle hills and several beasts. Nearby races are on such courses. When doing paced runs, I struggle to figure out whether it’s more important to keep my pace up and down hills or to keep my heart rate from getting too high. Should I still do hill repeats when most of my runs feature some beastly hills? How should runners adjust their training strategy when they’re stuck with a lot of hills? Kind regards, Jim Yocom Raleigh, NC

Training by time vs. distance

There seem to be two different schools of thought on marathon training plans. One that goes my miles, and one that goes by time. Can you explain the different philosophies behind each and why you’d recommend one over the other to a client? Michelle Cha-Kim

Breaking the barrier

I seem to be stuck in my distance at about 13 to 15 miles. How do I break the barrier and increase my distance? Thanks, Danny

Books for older runners

Most raining plans are one-size-fits-all and personalized training plans can be expensive. As a 65 year old runner, are there any resources (books or websites) that provide some direction on training as we get older. I’m running the NYC Marathon in November. It’s funny that when I hear podcasts or read articles about this they refer to “older runners” as those in their 40s. Thank you, Frank Cone

Staying motivated

For Coach Angie: How did you stay motivated to run, even though you were slower than you wanted, as you were working through the hormone issues with your doctor and MetPro? How did you stay encouraged throughout the process? Thanks, Jenn Martin

Compression Gear

Compression sleeves for calves vs socks. What distance makes them useful? I’m an older runner and my time is slowing can these help? Paula Fernald

Sore after strength training

I took a couple years off running post-college and got into lifting, so I am no stranger to strength training. However, when I started training for my first marathon, I struggled to combine heavy lifting with my training for a marathon. My lifting routine would leave me with DOMS for 3-4 days post workout, and so 2 strength sessions per week would essentially leave me barely able to complete my weekly mileage, much less hit my paces for speed training. Even after two years of consistent lifting, I was still getting sore after every workout. When I became more serious about marathoning (and BQing), I switched to short sessions of body-weight exercises a few times a week, and this lightened load has seemed to work well for avoiding debilitating soreness. But is there a middle ground here? Do I need to be lifting heavier to reap the benefits of strength training, and is there a limit to what I can do and avoid DOMS? Julie

Pacing for a race

I usually do well on my own doing 10km runs at my own pace, and have been training for a half marathon. My problem is, whenever I try to join a race, I tend to copy the other runners’ (faster) pace at the start so I end up getting tired easier and will have to stop to walk when I didn’t really have to when I was on my own. My questions are: How do I keep to my own pace from start to finish so I can avoid stopping in the middle of the run. Will I be able to train well for a half marathon even if I only have time to run once a week? All the run training plans I’ve seen involve 3 days a week running. I have a super busy schedule and wake up 5:30am every morning to work out indoors at home (HIIT, MMA, or barbell) so I can look after my son while I feed him breakfast before school. -Dr. Cristina Tolentino

Staying strong in the last 5k

How do you best stay strong in the last 5km of a marathon? Robert

Also Mentioned in This Episode

MTA Coaching Services -work with a highly experienced running coach on our team.

MetPro -Speak with a Metabolic Expert to review your current habits, discuss your lifestyle needs and receive actionable steps toward achieving your goals whether it is to lose weight or change your body composition. Tell them we sent you and get $500 off their concierge coaching.

UCAN -try their snack bars, drink mix, or new UCAN Edge performance fuel! Use the code MTAChallenge to get 20% off.

4 Responses to [Part 2] Ask the Coaches Q and A

  1. Katrin June 27, 2021 at 3:02 pm #

    where do I find the book recommendations that were in this podcast ? the ones for master runners

  2. Trevor Spencer June 28, 2021 at 10:57 am #

    Here you go!

    “Train Smart Run Forever” by Pierce and Murr

    “Run Strong Stay Hungry” by Jonathan Beverly

    “Older Yet Faster” by Heidi Jones and Keith Bateman

    • Lori Hawkins July 24, 2021 at 9:24 am #

      Thanks, I couldn’t remember these on my run

    • Noelia August 26, 2021 at 1:33 pm #

      There was a book Angie mentioned I think it was called “win”? Could you help me with that one?

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