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"Don't Do Math While You're Out There" and MOAR Half-Marathon Racing Advice!

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

#AskAway with Coach MK and Coach Sarah: 2/16/20

Coach MK and Coach Sarah livestream question and answer sessions each week on the Fitness Protection Program Facebook Page, The Fitness Protection Program YouTube Channel, and Twitch, simultaneously. Join us! They are a lot of fun, super informative, and anyone may ask follow-up questions during the live broadcast!

This week, the coaches tackle questions about training with high blood pressure and high cortisol, how to de-escalate from "mama-bear mode", and how to prepare for a HILLY half-marathon!

First, Coach MK and Coach Sarah chat about their weekends: Coach Sarah is TIRED from all that Slow Burn strength, but not too tired to take on fun baking projects that fill her back up! Meanwhile, Coach MK watched Ready Or Not and Knives Out back-to-back to get HER heart rate up a little!

13:38 Katie Kelso joins us for What You Didn't Miss to share what she doesn't miss when she finds herself having to step back from running. Never quitting and never not a runner, Katie takes a long view of her relationship to running and is currently prioritizing STRENGTH in our Slow Burn program, and she knows that even when the runs aren't getting done, the strength is giving her exactly what she needs.

Runner, Interrupted #weeklywins!

26:28 I've been coping by trying to really enjoy the little things that make me happy. TMI warning, this is boob focused. I'm starting to get itchy from radiation and wearing a bra is super uncomfortable. I finally decided to say screw it and didn't put my bra on after today's session. I then went to the grocery store before work. Pre-surgery, my boobs were huge and I literally never went without a bra. I can't tell you how happy I was bopping down the aisles like I didn't have a care in the world knowing that my temporary boobs weren't moving and no one could tell they were unrestrained. Liberating.


29:43 So looks like I’m somewhere between Rebuild and Runner Interrupted for the next while. Newest diagnosis is not so much high blood pressure, but hella stress and cortisol. I have been staying in Rebuild because I still can walk, usually 20-60 mins 3-4 times per week the last few weeks at a solid mosey pace. Will the daily strength or the Bosu series jack up my cortisol? If/when I do want to shuffle more than walk, would a cap of 120 be better than 140? Is there any other work I should avoid while I’m working on reducing stress/cortisol? I still hope to exercise the option of Slow Burn this year, but it looks like it’ll have to be the late offering not the next one.

35:54 Do you have a mama-bear mode? Where you jump into avenging-angel mode to accomplish something for your kid (or spouse or other necessary cause)- advocating for services, intervening in playground fights, etc? It feels like an adrenaline surge or something. I seem to have problems coming back down to “normal” from that surge. Sometimes it feels like I keep myself ready for the panic button all the time and don’t really get back down to “normal.” Are there any good strategies for defrag-ing once mama bear mode is no longer needed?


42:02 The M2 workout in the dedicated marathon ramp uses the A pace from the EAT. I didn’t do the EAT last week and haven’t done one in a long time. Is there another way I can come up with the faster pace for this workout? Thanks!

45:46 Hi coaches! I signed up for a 10k in early April, about 7 weeks away. Would you suggest modifying anything to get ready to race a shorter distance? Thank you for everything!

47:53 Long runs- I did 12mi in about 2h25 yesterday as last LR before half March 1. I start to feel things around the 2 hour mark and notice my HR creeps around that time as well. I slowed my pace to try and keep HR down but it stayed closer to 145-150 for the last 2mi or so. Is this normal/expected? Will my body adjust overtime? Or does this mean I should shorten LRs in the future?

50:23 Atlanta 1/2 March 1. I hear hilly course ending with uphill finish. My 140 time is around 12min/mi. I’d love a race strategy, target HRs? Or target paces? Words of wisdom?

53:53 I cut my long run short today(at 6 miles), due to sinus congestion, cold rain, and a worrying tightness in my calf. I have a half in two weeks. With the hope that I can get this calf situation under control with lots of foam rolling and possibly a massage, what should I do for my long run next week? My last 3 weeks of long runs have been 11, 10, 10. Should I try for 12 again next weekend and just have a short taper, or should I do a taper long run of 6-8 miles?

56:09 My son is getting married in April. It's fancy. MK and Sarah, do you wear heels when you glam up? Any brand recommendations?

59:32 Final thoughts on mama bear mode.


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Coach MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she trains her runners for $30 per month and gives marathon plans away for free.

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