I’ve found that one thing you most enjoy learning about is the mental side of running. This week’s podcast gets us back again to the subject but this time to the science behind training and racing rather than the psychological side. The episode will cover the 5 areas of Alex’s book, Endure: pain, muscles, oxygen, heat, thirst and fueling.

Alex and I explore why some athletes are able to push themselves harder than others can.  What defines our limits and how (or can) we actually change them.  Do recreational runners experience pain sooner in a race than the elites?  What learning processes can we employ to help us deal with pain and other discomforts?

Alex discusses pacing: how do we learn to ration our energy and how does it change from childhood to adulthood?  What can we learn from 8-yr old runners?  Is our urge to slow down real?  How do our expectations of our performance at a given pace impact how we feel about the level of pain we are experiencing during a race and our level of effort overall?

Alex also shows us how we can learn from both good days and bad days and how much mental fatigue can change the perception of what good days and bad days are.  I was amazed to hear him say that sometimes there is not all that much you can learn from a bad day, sometimes it is just a bad day.  What can you do to help control the mental stresses?  Do you get better at handling changes and stresses?  Can you plan in some bad days to learn from?

Alex gives us his impression of the Sub-2 Project and what we have learned from it and just how much inspiration we can take from the human performance of Kipchoge.

Are you ready to learn about what we can do about our limits and and what we can do at our ability levels?

Today’s Guest

Alex Hutchinson

Alex is an award-winning journalist who writes about the science of endurance for both Runner’s World and Outside.  He has also covered adventure travel for the New York Times, and earned a National Magazine Award for energy reporting with Popular Mechanics.  He resides in Toronto with his wife and children.

Alex holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia, a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge, and he did his post-doctoral research with the National Security Agency.   He started out as a physicist.  He was a middle and long-distance runner on the Canadian national team, and also dabbled in cross country.

His latest book, which came out in February 2018, is ENDURE: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

What you will learn about:

  • The impact of wearables on performance
  • Learning to handle pain – both the mental aspects and physical aspects
  • What you learn from both good days and bad days
  • How smiling can help you race better
  • What is a stile?
  • A peek inside his role on the Nike Sub-2 Hour Project and his feelings about the outcome

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6455434/height-orig/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/forward/height/90″ height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”bottom” theme=”custom”]

Apple (iTunes) Podcast|Sticher| Castbox| Overcast | Spotify| Google Play| iHeartradio|

Inspirational Quotes:

Sometimes I should have thrown caution to the wind and just gone for it.  There is a role for planning but sometimes we should just run as hard as we can.

The way we pace ourselves reflects how we approach challenges overall.

Sometimes you just have a bad day and it means nothing.


Last week’s episode on my update about life with Bailey

Tina’s Podcast Series

Alex’ book: ENDURE: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Running4Real Podcast Series on Mental Toughness Training featured in the episode

Alex’ Website

Alex’s Facebook page

Alex’s Twitter 

Thank you to BodyHealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

When I was running 90 miles a week as a pro, I would take 5-10 BodyHealth Perfect Amino tablets every day without fail. They helped me recover faster, and feel better. Now they have Perfect Amino XP, which makes it even easier. Get 10% off at Bodyhealth.com using coupon code TINA10

Click the banner for more information.

Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

To share your thoughts:

Leave a note in the comment section below.

Join the Running for Real Facebook Group and share your thoughts on the episode (or future guests you would like to hear from)

Share this show on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews will really help me climb up the iTunes rankings and I promise, I read every single one.

Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

Not sure how to leave a review or subscribe, you can find out here.

Thank you to Alex. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

mental training, physiology

Related Posts