A conversation with Coach Kelly Lutz on how to start running! If you are new to the idea of running or want to get better at running, this is the episode for you!
This is Joy & Claire Episode 122: How to Start Running with Coach Kelly Lutz
Episode Date: April 14, 2022
Transcription Completed: May 10, 2022
Audio Length: 44:39 minutes
Joy: Hey guys. This is Joy.
Claire: And this is Claire.
Joy: Welcome to another week of our podcast that’s been going on forever and ever, and you’re still here listening.
Claire: We’re so happy. We’re so happy.
Joy: Thank you for listening. Thank you for continuing to support the podcast this week. I didn’t think we’d ever have this topic with Claire on the show, just because Claire doesn’t love running. But we’re going to be talking about running. We have Kelly Lutz on the show, who we met through the interwebs. And also, you’re local. You live in Denver, right?
Joy: Arvada, close enough. You and I met at a local farmer’s market. Just very close connections in the Denver area. So you and I have talked off and on about running and talking through Instagram, and you’re like, “Hey, I should come on and talk about running because people have a weird relationship with running.” I am doing a race I’ll talk about in a second in May. And I was like, well sure, let’s talk about something that we all kind of have this weird relationship with. Either you love it or you hate it. There doesn’t really seem to be an in between. So let’s talk about running, Kelly. Tell our listeners who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re a running coach.
Kelly: Sure. Like you said, I’m Kelly. I’ve been a running coach since the end of 2020. Still fairly recent. But I’m also a data scientist, so half nerd, half runner. I became a running coach because I started training for my second 50k in 2020. I just remembered my first 50k and how awesome it felt. Claire is giving me a look right now.
Joy: Well the immediate thing is, when you said “how blank I felt,” I thought you were going to say “how awful I felt.” 50k is so much.
Claire: How long in time? How many minutes does that take you to run that long? Hours or days? I don’t know. How do you measure?
Kelly: It was like 7 hours and 15 minutes.
Joy: 7 hours, 15 minutes.
Claire: Of pure agony. I’m just projecting onto you. It’s fine.
Kelly: The funniest thing is, that’s the shortest ultramarathon distance.
Joy: Alright, well, that’s a thing. Continue. Our minds are already blown at just distance.
Kelly: Yeah. So I decided I wanted to run my second one. Then I learned there were running certifications so I could learn how to train properly. And I also learned that at ultramarathons, there isn’t a big presence of females in there, so I wanted to help other women learn how to train for ultras and get into it. So that was my primary driver for starting coaching. Since then, it’s evolved into helping other women with their relationship with running. Mostly helping them to ditch their perfectionism because it’s very common in all of us, and especially with running and working out.
Joy: For sure. My first reaction when you were coming on the show and just talking about running is I immediately go to the first time I started to really run for exercise. At the time, it was more about the very late 90’s, early 2000’s culture of you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to burn the most calories, that whole rhetoric around why people run. Because it “burns the most calories.” I had a very disordered relationship with exercise when I was in college, but that’s how I got into it. So when you were coming on the show, I was like, wow, it really is an emotional relationship with running. I’m sure people who have tried it for a significant period of time, whether it be for races or for exercise, significant time that you put into it, you have some pretty emotional ties to it, whether it be good or bad. I definitely had the moments where you do hit that runner’s high. You feel really accomplished after you do a race. I still remember the feeling of finishing my first marathon or running the New York City Marathon. To this day, it’s one of the top memories in my head. Or core memories, as Claire would say. I want to start out with how you view running and how important is it for us to be in that mindset of just, do you want to develop a relationship with running to have a healthy base? How do you approach it in general when you’re starting to coach people?
Kelly: Most of the runners that come to me, they have a race in mind. Most of them have been running for some time. But like you said, their relationship might not have been the best. One of the biggest struggles that I’ve found with myself and with my runners is following a training plan, we always feel like we have to do what is prescribed every single day. And if we don’t do that, then we’re a failure. Helping my runners see that sometimes just getting out the door is what’s best. Not completing a run to the prescribed time or mileage or whatever it may be is perfectly fine or sometimes better than trying to push through on those days. Just trying to rework the mindset that we need to be perfect, there’s only one way to train for a race, and starting to think beyond the race to a long-term relationship with running. Because you can only sustain rigid training for so long, and that’s not usually sustainable for your life. Also putting emphasis on figuring out what works for you in your life. Claire, with the HungryFitness I think you’re doing that works really well for you.
Joy: I think about a question we got from a listener a while ago. I answered this more in jest, but I think it’s a serious question that this listener asked, which was, how do I get to love running? I think when I answered it, I was like, well, you don’t have to run. Because my lens was coming from a place of don’t do exercise you don’t love. But what if someone truly has an interest in it? That’s important if they want to try it, but they’re scared or they feel like they’re going to hate it. How do you approach that?
Kelly: I think the biggest thing when getting into running, a lot of people think that you need to run without stopping in order for it to be “a run.” I really emphasize with newer runners, let’s start out with some run-walk intervals for a certain period of time. They can be unstructured or structured, whatever works best for that person. For example, going out for 30 minutes and doing 1 minute of running, 4 minutes of walking, just repeating that until you meet a half hour. That is a lot less daunting, and it allows you to ease into running without hating it as much. Obviously, there is more walking than running in that interval split, and that’s just more accessible for people getting into running. I feel like a lot of people hate running because they feel like they can’t run a mile without stopping.
Joy: Right. Or you see all these people out there, especially in Colorado. There’s just so many fit people. When Scott and I drive by Sloan’s Lake, people are just – we always say “killing it.” “That guy is killing it.” You compare yourself. How can you not? Or you see people on Instagram. Or I ran on the Peloton a lot last year. There’s one coach who I swear to goodness gracious is a gazelle. I would always try to keep up with her. But it’s impossible. That is impossible for me. I think we do that a lot, like we do with everything, of just comparison. Most people that are kind of wanting to get into something, they want to do really well, and they want to perform, and they want to succeed. But setting realistic expectations is what I’m hearing you say.
Claire: I really feel that from being born and bred in Boulder that the average just Boulder person, our annual – have you run the BOULDERBoulder? There’s this 10k over Memorial Day weekend in Boulder.
Joy: It is a very big deal.
Claire: I think it’s one of the biggest 10k’s in the country. It is so fun, but the more that I reflect on that being this huge cornerstone of the community is just so representative of this mindset in Boulder of, “What are you doing on Monday morning at 7am?” “Oh I’m going to run for six miles, and then I might go to a barbecue.” That’s just going to be this quick fun thing I’m going to do in the morning, and then I’m going to go out for the rest of my day and go to the Memorial Day festival. To what Joy was saying, I remember in college I’d be running on my favorite little trail in Boulder, and an 85-year-old man would just run past me. Like, cool. Or how many people just know off the top of their head a dozen people who have run 100 miles, who have done the Leadville 100. The baseline amount of athleticism, when I think of a runner – and I think this is why I’m so intimidated by it – when I think of a runner, I think of someone who is going to go in the mountains and run 100 miles. And I’m like, I can barely run more than a half mile without getting very uncomfortable. Or people say, “Just pick a conversational pace.” If I’m running, I am no longer talking. There is no conversational pace for me. I honestly would love to get into trail running. I think it would be so fun. I love the idea of being in the mountains away from all the people.
Joy: And you tried it a couple times, right?
Claire: And I loved it, yeah. But the thing that I keep getting up against is if I want to get better at trail running, I’m going to have to submit myself to some amount of neighborhood running because I can’t always just hop out onto the trails. I guess what I’m trying to say is I really relate to a lot of these problems that you’re talking about around the perfectionism, around having this really built up in your mind of what it’s supposed to be and having that be a huge barrier.
Kelly: Yeah, and I think today it’s worse with Strava and social media because you can see exactly what everyone is doing, their pace, how far they went at any given time. And like Joy was saying, you always compare yourself.
Claire: Can I admit that I’m multitasking right now, and literally editing copy for a 100-mile Strava run challenge that we’re hosting through the company that I work for? Right. Exactly. One thousand percent to what you’re saying.
Kelly: And we do live in a place where everyone is really good at running, or it seems like that. People think I’m really good at running just because I can run far when I’ve trained for it. But I still look at those people in Boulder and I’m like, wow, I could never be at your level.
Joy: Okay. So let’s break it down really quick. I want you to talk through the basics of someone who is brand new, just starting. What do they do? This is generally speaking. I’m sure it’s different for every person. Or you can cater it a little more to an individual. I don’t want to talk too much about the middle because it’s probably a mix of everything. Or maybe it is. But I also want to know, how do you train for a 50-miler? What? That sounds like so much time. I just remember when I was in my 20’s training for marathons. I was single, had a ton of time outside of work, didn’t really have a lot of responsibilities, and running was how I spent a lot of my time on my weekends, so I had plenty of time to do it. Talk through the beginning side, and then working up to the advanced – I would say 50-milers and beyond.
Kelly: Okay. So for beginners, I think there’s three big tips to keep in mind. The first one is to get yourself a good pair of shoes. Shoes can make or break a run. I recommend going into a store to get fitted so you can try on the shoes and make sure they feel comfortable to you. Bonus points if the store lets you run in the shoe and then return them.
Joy: Yes. Like Runners Roost here will do that.
Kelly: Road Runner Sports.
Joy: Road Runner is great. And a running-specific store will be really helpful with that. Yes, they should have treadmills in there. How helpful are those feet machines where they look at your gate and they analyze your foot strike?
Kelly: I think in previous years, people thought heel striking is bad, pronation is bad. If your foot is shaped like this or does this, then you need to wear this kind of shoe. But there’s been science that says that’s not always true. From my experience and working with physical therapists, they usually say that there’s not something wrong with your gait unless you start to feel pain somewhere, and then maybe we’ll pinpoint something in your gate or the shoes you’re wearing or how you’re running. But if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Joy: And on that note, a lot of people will ask what kind of shoes I like to run in. I’m always like, it’s so different for every person. I love a wide toe box. I will always run in a wide toe box. If it’s a smidge of too narrow… anyway. And you don’t know until you start running more, and you’ll be like, actually I like the feel of this. And that just takes time and experience. But yes, continue.
Kelly: So once you have a good pair of shoes, like we were talking about earlier, I would start out with run-walk intervals. If you’re really brand new to running, I would probably start out with two or three different times a week of 10-30 minutes, depending on the other activities you’ve done in your life, like how built up your cardiovascular system is. But the split I mentioned earlier, run 1 minute, walk 4 minutes is a good one to start with. And if you find that’s too hard, you can run less and walk more. If you find that’s too easy, you can run more and walk less and kind of cater it to where you are.
Joy: For how long would you say starting out? 30 minutes? 20 minutes?
Kelly: I would say 10-30, depending on your base level of fitness.
Joy: Sure. Okay.
Kelly: And I feel like 10 minutes is super accessible and the least daunting amount of time. We can all go for a 10-minute walk. And worst-case scenario, you start running and you’re like, “Wow, this sucks,” and you can just go for a 10-minute walk.
Joy: Yeah, that’s great. So that would be for beginners.
Kelly: Yes. Another point for beginners, I would go by time instead of mileage. So like we mentioned before, a lot of us are hung up on mileage. I have to run at least a mile for it to be a “successful run” or whatever. But the time, I think, is more helpful for a beginner because you know when you’re going to stop, which can be really helpful when you’re first starting something. Versus, I have to run three miles. I don’t know how long that will take me. I could be out here for this long, or it could be this long. Go by time.
Joy: Okay. So you have a beginner. You don’t need a lot of gear when you’re starting out, I would say. Again, the longer you want to run, the more you will feel a difference on where things might chafe. For example, when I was marathon training, if a certain tank top would hit wrong, after so many hours of running and your arm going front to back, I would chafe under my armpit. It was so painful. So you kind of have to learn – or even sometimes it wasn’t even the tank top. It was just sweat starting to accumulate, just the friction of running. I just remember being so raw under my armpit. That’s when Vaseline comes in. Aquaphor. I used to Aquaphor the crap out of my feet before I would run a long time.
Joy: Oh yeah. I mean, that was what I had to do. That’s what I had to do to get by.
Claire: I have a hard time if I put on too much lotion. I cannot imagine putting Aquaphor on my feet and then putting my foot into a sock.
Joy: Yeah. Yeah. That worked for me because I would get blisters after an hour and a half in this certain area. So I would just put that all over my foot. These are the things you learn over time of where you’re – this is where body mechanics, everyone is so different. You just might not have the angle to get a blister there. Or the angle for an armpit to be chafed or whatever. A lot of people get chafed in their thighs. We have things that rub together guys, and that just happens in running.
Kelly: It’s true.
Joy: So you’ll learn this as you get more advanced in running. That’s the beginner thing – I would worry too much about having the gear, of having the right shorts or leggings or top or whatever. Would you agree with that?
Kelly: Yeah, I would.
Joy: So then you’re advancing, let’s talk a little bit about longer distances. Let’s use me as an example of a middle ground. Then we’ll go to the ultra people. So for me as a middle ground-ish, I am going to run the Colfax 10-miler in May. I think it’s called the Urban 10 Miler. I have this tendency to just run here and there. I kind of do some cycling. I’ve been running 4-5 miles a couple times a week. But I have to work up to 10 miles. Where I am right now is pretty good fitness. What would you tell me to do to make this a pleasurable experience where I’m not hurting at mile 10… or mile 5?
Kelly: Are you consistently running the same number of times a week, or is it variable?
Joy: I’d say it’s consistent. I don’t have exact days I run. But I would say right now 2-3 times a week.
Kelly: Okay, I would say three times a week is great. If you can do four, that might be even better, just so you can spread out your mileage and not really load up one day with stress.
Joy: Okay, just spread it out. I like that even better. Shorter runs are better in my book.
Claire: I feel like that is counter intuitive a little bit.
Joy: If I have to run 10 miles in one sitting –
Claire: Right. If you are training for a one-time event where you are going to have to go out and run 10 miles once, isn’t that what you would be trying to replicate in your training and get to?
Kelly: Yes, I see what you’re saying. I would say spread out your runs across the week when you’re not fully ramped up. But yes, your long runs, you will increase towards the 10 miles, so that one will be your most stressful day. But with 4 days a week – for example, you’re running 15 miles a week. That’s not an even number for four days, but let’s roll with it. We’ll say 16. Four miles a day versus three – now the math doesn’t work as well. But you guys get what I’m saying. The less days you run, the more you have to run on those days, which is more of a stress on your body.
Claire: This is blowing my mind. So you’re saying the total that you run over the course of the week still counts even if you spread it out over many days. Obviously eventually you’ll want to get to that point where you do it all at once. But we’ll pick 12 miles since it’s divisible by both three and four. Running three miles a day for four days will train you in a similar way as running four miles for three days.
Kelly: Similar, yes. The thing I like more about four days versus three days is you get a little running stimulus every single day, and it’s easier to ramp up one day when you are used to the running demands. When you first start running, your cardiovascular system develops much quicker than your bones and muscles and tendons can handle the impacts of running. It’s really good if you can spread out your running so that the impact is not stressing you out too much as your cardiovascular system is, not overdeveloped –
Joy: I get what you’re saying. I was going to ask you this too. Lately I’ve been feeling like I am just a brick when I run. I feel tired. There’s very few days that I’ve been feeling good. And then I get frustrated because I used to be able to run a lot longer. I’ll average 4-5 miles each time, which is a lot more than I guess – I don’t know. If I’m running three times 4-5 each – so I am running more mileage per week than I’m going to be running in this race. So I could essentially cut it down and just do it more often and see how that feels. But full transparency, the ego thing in my mind is like, “Run more! It’s better for you. You’ve got to train hard.” So that is old school thinking of, I’ve got to go for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Put in the work. When that’s probably why I’m feeling so tired.
Kelly: Yeah, I would say even just cutting down one run a week might help. Because then cutting one of your runs to 30 minutes or three miles instead of four or five, that just mentally and physically might help you feel better. But it is funny how we all have our own minimum time or distance that we feel we need to do every time we get out the door.
Joy: Totally. What is yours?
Kelly: Mine is three miles.
Joy: Okay. Yeah. You’re like straight 5k. Got to get it in.
Kelly: Yeah, usually.
j: It’s funny. Mine is 45 minutes four miles. I know exactly the route. I go to Sloan’s and back.
Claire: I can’t relate to this. It’s helpful I think to talk about Joy’s case, but also just in general for people who are listening who are like, hey, this pertains to me, maybe not for ten miles. Not to give away all your coaching secrets, but when you start to help somebody train for an event, about how many weeks out do you suggest that you really start to focus on specifically straining for that event, versus if you’re just kind of a recreational, go out for a random run type of person. Then how close to the race do you feel like you really need to start focusing on getting those miles more all at once versus spreading them out.
Kelly: So in terms of how many weeks of specific training for the race, it depends what distance you’re doing. So a 5k would be less time than a 50k. But usually, 12 weeks is a good chunk of time for training for a race. Once you get up to marathon and beyond, you would want longer. And as far as ramping up your mileage, I would say the 6-8 weeks before the race is a good time to start ramping up, and then peaking probably like four weeks out so that your longest run isn’t at the end of your training cycle when you’re most fatigued. So right before the taper. That’s a common thing that I’ve seen and heard of. Usually you have a 1–2-week taper for anything less than a marathon.
Claire: If you are someone who has maybe done some runs in the past and followed the free couch to 5k plans, but you were always feeling like what Joy is describing where every time you run, you just feel like your body is made out of bricks – I have never been on a run in my life that hasn’t felt like that. I literally – when I hear people describe runner’s highs, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I felt like I was floating.” I have never experienced that. So maybe that’s just why I haven’t ever really enjoyed running. But what are some things that you see that people are commonly doing wrong if they are just generically training. Where would you say, okay, start by trying to change this or that up?
Kelly: I would say one of the really common things is people try to do too much too soon. Whether that’s going for one really long run each week when you’re not really prepared for that. Or trying to run every single day of the week and never taking a rest day. That’s a big one. And I think something that can help is developing a schedule or routine that you try to stick to each week. You don’t have to. It’s not for everyone. For example, I usually run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Sunday. Since I’ve been doing it for a while, it’s just kind of natural now to get out on those days. And then I make sure that I have my two rest days, which really helps. I feel like a lot of people, they don’t structure their plan in any way. Or they go out when they want and then they end up doing too much too quickly.
Joy: One thousand percent what I’m doing.
Joy: I’m not kidding, I’m doing all of those things wrong. Which is why I wanted to be like, maybe you can help me with this. The funny thing is, I could probably Google a good plan for a 10-miler. But I just can’t.
Claire: I feel like this is a common thing, whether you’re talking about running, whether you’re talking about CrossFit, whatever. When you first get started, you have this enthusiasm. You want to get momentum. You want to #nevermissamonday. So you really go out super hot with this assumption of I have to get this momentum going. I think that that is this fake thing that we’ve all been led to believe by the Shape Magazine headlines of our lifetimes. But I can totally see how it would be very enticing to be like, I’m just going to go after it right away.
Kelly: And there’s also people – maybe not a lot – some people like to do run streaks. So they are running at least a mile every day, which as a coach I don’t love.
Claire: Speaking of taking breaks.
Joy: Take a rest. Let’s take a rest from talking about running to talk about something that’s very relaxing, probably the complete opposite of running, and that is Ned, our sponsor. We would love it if you would try Ned if you’ve not yet tried their products. They have an amazing new Dream set. You know how much we love sleep. We’ve been talking about sleep and talking about the benefits we get from Ned’s CBD for their sleep. So Ned’s new dream set includes their best-selling Sleep Blend and Mellow Magnesium. Which I love their Mellow Magnesium. I immediately feel calm. It’s like a shot of get it in your nervous system to go [sigh].
Claire: Which one is your favorite flavor? I am all about the Meyer lemon. I feel like lemon drink powder, you can’t go wrong.
Joy: So yes, the Mellow Magnesium. Two products specifically developed to optimize your body for sleep and relaxation. It’s the ultimate combo to revolutionize your sleep. Mellow Magnesium is a powerful magnesium supplement with amino acids and trace minerals that propel memory, mood, brain function, stress response, nerve and muscle health, and sleep. You can support the podcast by supporting our great sponsor, Ned. If you’d like to conquer sleep with Ned’s Dream set, Joy and Claire listeners get 15% off with code JOY. Go to helloned.com/JOY or enter code JOY at checkout. That’s helloned.com/JOY to get 15% off. Thank you, Ned, for sponsoring the show and offering our listeners a natural remedy for some of life’s most common health issues.
Claire: Okay. Ramping up into people who want to run for an entire day without stopping.
Kelly: That’s a long time.
Joy: Isn’t that how it goes?
Claire: I mean, that’s the goal for some reason.
Kelly: [laughing] That would probably be close to a hundred miler depending on who you are.
Claire: Yeah, the people I know who do the Leadville 100, it takes them 30 hours. Why?
Joy: Do they sleep?
Claire: You can’t sleep. You don’t sleep. It’s very, very common for people to drop out because they are hallucinating.
Joy: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, no.
Claire: Just throwing that reality out there. I personally know many rational, normal people who just contribute to society and then once a year go run a hundred miles in the mountains like a crazy person. If you are one of those people listening and you’re like, “Stop judging me,” I can’t. I physically can’t stop judging you.
Joy: I’m just in awe that that happens. So we’re going to get over ourselves.
Claire: We’re going to get over it. Even Kelly, you were saying that for 50k it took you almost eight hours. That’s a full workday of running.
Kelly: That is true, yeah.
Joy: With no lunch break, even?
Kelly: I mean, there are aid stations along the way. You snack the whole time really.
Claire: I have seen that in the movies. The film festivals where they are pounding gels or whatever. So if you are somebody that is ready to take the leap – maybe you are Claire status runner where you’re like, I am not even a hobby runner, but I have this aspiration to one day run a hundred miles, or maybe you are more Joy status where you’re like, yeah, I like to go out for an afternoon run. I can dabble in a 5k pretty easily, I can dabble in a 10k without a lot of training. What does it take to get yourself to that next level?
Kelly: A lot of time mostly. So if you want to get up to a hundred miles and you’re going off the couch, you probably want at least a year of training. First you want to build your base and then go into the specific training for the hundred miler. Or if you are more Joy status, you could maybe do it in nine months. I know the most about the 50k distance.
Joy: Let’s just start there. We don’t need to talk about a hundred yet. Maybe next episode… maybe you’re going to convince me to run a 50-miler. When you said nine months, I did have a moment where I was like, maybe I could try that.
Claire: Because 50k is what, 35 miles or something like that?
Claire: So it’s like a marathon plus.
Joy: It’s a little mini marathon. No, I’m just kidding.
Claire: Can you imagine, Joy? Getting to the end of a marathon and you have another five miles to go.
Joy: Nope. Nope. Nope.
Kelly: My first 50k, I went from a half marathon to a 50k. So my first marathon was in the middle of my 50k. So I experienced that where I was like, oh, I still have to run for five more miles.
Claire: No. Just hard no. I do have a tangential question which is what do you do to stay entertained that whole time?
Joy: That’s a good question.
Kelly: Usually in an ultra race – first of all, there’s people all around you, so sometimes you make friends and talk to them. I spend a lot of time in my own head thinking. I actually get a lot of my content ideas on long runs. I’m just zoning out and thinking about things. Or solve problems. That’s what I used to do in school too. I’d go for a run when I needed to do my math homework and I was stuck. I know.
Claire: I’m really impressed by that actually.
Joy: I mean –
Kelly: The juice is flowing.
Joy: Yeah. And there’s a lot of – I think of EMDR with right-left brain, right-left movement and how your brain starts to move. It’s a thing. I think there’s something to that. When I was running a lot, there’s a lot of thoughts. You do work a lot out. You feel better. So, you think. You don’t listen to music?
Kelly: In the races, I take my headphones. Or towards the end, it gets pretty rough, and that’s when I start to listen to the music. I don’t usually do podcasts on races, but I do podcasts on my road runs during the week when I get bored. Usually Thursdays are my bed runs, not going to lie, because I listen to you guys.
Joy: Oh my gosh, really?
Joy: That makes me feel so good.
Kelly: I wake up, and I’m like, it’s Thursday. I want to go running because I get to listen because I don’t commute anymore.
Joy: Can’t stop now. We can never stop now because you need to get your runs in, Kelly.
Claire: So this is weird. But sometimes I’m like, people listen to my voice in countries that I’ll never go to. And now I can imagine people listening to my voice doing activities that I would never do. That makes me feel good.
Joy: You’re practically an ultramarathoner.
Claire: I am practically an ultramarathoner who also lives in Dubai and sometimes Japan.
Joy: Yeah, it’s kind of how people get honorary doctorates. You’re winning honorary races.
Claire: Thank you. Okay, let’s go back to building up from being a small to medium runner into being a large and extra large runner.
Kelly: Yeah. So if you wanted to train for a 50k, you’d probably want anywhere from 4-6 months of training. If you need to build your base, that would be your first eight weeks. And if you’re already at that point, then you could go into starting speed workouts, which are really fun. I personally think they are the best. They are the most exciting runs.
Joy: Are you talking about tempo, or are you talking about intervals?
Joy: Tempo runs are rough. Do you want to explain what a tempo run is? Because those would murder me. Murder.
Kelly: Yeah, the different types of speed workouts. Tempo runs are runs where you’re running at your lactate threshold. Usually that’s a pace that you can hold for about an hour. Those intervals are longer. They are usually 8-20 minutes long. So yeah, you’re running hard for a pretty long time. Continuously.
Joy: But you like them? Okay. Alright.
Kelly: I like the shorter ones better.
Joy: Okay. So if you’re saying 4-6 months if you have good base, how many hours a week? Break it down to that. How many miles a week would you need to train for, let’s say, a 50 mile?
Kelly: At the peak of your training, the minimum number of hours per week you would need to run for a 50k or 50-miler is six hours, which is usually a lot less than people think.
Joy: Six hours a week? That’s it?
Joy: Wow. That’s at your peak?
Kelly: Yeah. Your highest-volume week should just be six hours for three weeks in a row before you start tapering.
Joy: This makes me think I could actually do this.
Kelly: If you ran a marathon, you probably could.
Joy: Oh no. Oh no. I know, but it’s been a long time. And the last one I did, I’m so traumatized by it. I did it, but that was very dumb. You probably remember I didn’t train well for it. Just a complete idiot. Six hours a week, that’s not a lot. So how are you mixing it up? Are you doing an endurance run? Are you doing HIIT?
Kelly: So usually during the peak weeks, it will be on average most of my runners run five days a week, so similar to my schedule. During the week, they are easy runs at that point. Let me back up for a second. When you’re building your training plan, you want to train from least specific to most specific. So once we get to the peak weeks for ultra training, most specific is the slower-paced runs. Your easy runs.
Joy: Got it. Because that’s what you’re going to get doing. You’re not going to be running at your tempo pace for 50 miles. Okay.
Kelly: Exactly. Then usually on the weekend – depending on the person’s schedule. Let’s assume it’s a weekend warrior. You usually have two long runs back-to-back. Usually Saturday will be 3-4 hours, and Sunday will be 1-2 hours, depending on how you’ve ramped up and how your training has gone.
Joy: Got it. And how you’re feeling. Wow, this is great. Okay, just as a plug really quick too as people are hearing us talk. And before I forget, where can people find you if they want to work with you specifically for training?
Kelly: You can find me on my website coachingklutz.com or you can find me on Instagram or TikTok, both at @coachingklutz. My Instagram and TikTok have everything linked in my bio. You can also just DM me. TikTok doesn’t let you DM people that don’t also follow you, so DM for Instagram.
Joy: That’s perfect. Because I know there are maybe people that are listening to this, like, “Hmm, this is sounding doable, so I want to talk to Kelly.” So we’ve kind of glossed over a lot of this. I know there is so much more detail. I want to ask you a couple more questions before we wrap up. If people want more information about this, email us firstname.lastname@example.org because we can do a Part 2 if you have more questions or you just want to talk about running. Kelly also has a podcast. What is the name of it, Kelly?
Kelly: I just rebranded to The Multifaceted Athlete with Coaching Klutz.
Joy: Coaching Klutz. I love it because your name is Kelly Lutz, and it just goes so well together. So let’s talk really quickly about the fallacy that you need to be smaller or be in a small body to be a runner.
Kelly: Yeah. I feel like especially growing up with road running, that was always very prevalent. And I ran cross country in college, so it was even more prevalent there. Funnily enough, I never consciously thought I needed to be smaller in order to run faster, but I do know many people who do have that though. I’ve talked to a lot of women, specifically, who think that they don’t see as many runners that look like them, so they feel like they can’t be runners. Mostly because all of the elites are pretty small. But I will say, in the trail running world, you do see a lot more body types. Because trail running isn’t as straight forward as road running. Road running is all about your running economy, your fitness basically. But trail running, there is so much more involved. Like can you climb hills? Can you get your nutrition dialed? How far can you go? Can you mentally push through? It seems to be a lot more varied in the body types that you see.
Joy: I really appreciate that because even when I was starting out running, like in Runner’s World, you think of Runner’s World magazine. And back then, they were just putting small bodies on the cover, very unrealistic for someone like me to attain. So I was like, “Do I need to be that?” So what are your go-to resources that you like? Whether it be blogs or magazines, online magazines, anything you feel is a really good resource for talking about running or getting into running. Other than you. Who are the people that you really look up to?
Kelly: I learned a lot from Jason Koop in the realm of ultrarunning. He actually just came out with a second edition of his book. What’s it called… Training Essentials for Ultra Running. He also has a podcast called Koopcast, so I’ve listened to a lot of his episodes. He’s been coaching for decades.
Joy: Can you spell his last name?
Joy: Okay. Because I was like, Coup as in Couper? Koop with a “K.” Kind of like you. Klutz.
Kelly: Yep. And another ultrarunner that I really love is Sally McRae. She is an ultrarunner and she also lifts a lot, so she really embodies mixing the two, which hasn’t been as common until recently. She also speaks a lot about her body size and how it’s not the “ideal” body size for a runner, but she is an elite ultrarunner. I really like her.
Joy: That’s great. I know everyone is going to roll their eyes at me, but I do get really inspired. I do love running. I really enjoy it. It’s always been kind of a home base for me or just something I can do if I’m traveling. It’s always been a great way for me to site see. If people are not super into running, you’re going to be like, “Why?” My husband and I love to travel to do races. We’ve done that a handful of times. It’s just so much fun to be involved in the community. The race fee usually goes to something of a great cause in the community. You get to go to the expos and meet people in the community. Usually they have local products that they are selling that we can buy. You always feel like you are doing something really integrated into that city, and that has always been really important to me. Especially when we go to Hawaii – we haven’t been in a while – we’ve run a handful of races in Kona and Kauai. It’s just such a beautiful… I don’t know, I just really love that. You’re making me feel nostalgic about getting back into it in a more formal and deliberate way, let’s say, because my training has just really been all over the place. I don’t know why… well, I do know why, but that’s neither here nor there. Lastly, let’s just browse over injuries. Let’s gloss over it real quick. How do you handle that? If someone’s really got a goal and then they get injured, what the heck? What do we do?
Kelly: I’ve actually had this happen recently with one of my runners. She was supposed to run Boston, but we’ve been dealing with an injury for about a month.
Joy: Oh no, Boston. That’s in April right? That’s soon-ish. Oh my gosh.
Kelly: Yeah. When it first started, we altered her training to scale back her running. I encouraged her to really take notes of how it felt during the run, how it felt before and after, and to keep track of it that way so that we could tell if it was progressing in a good direction or a bad direction. If it is getting worse, then I usually refer out to a physical therapist. That’s their scope of genius, and they can really help out there. And to get their guidance and to see what they think is going on. If it continues not to get better if you’re training for a race, then comes the time for a hard conversation. You might have to make a decision not to run your race, and at that point it’s about reassuring that even if we don’t run this race, your training wasn’t for nothing. Most of us are in running for the long-term. Missing a race, it really sucks in the moment, but there will be more races. Just reminding yourself why you love running, why you want to continue doing it, and that taking some time off is best for your long-term running health. That can kind of help. And just finding some other activities you can do in the meantime so you don’t go crazy.
Joy: Wonderful advice even though it’s so difficult. I had to pull out of the New York City Marathon a couple years ago for an injury. It just wasn’t feeling good. And it was devastating. I cried and cried and cried. So tell me really quick what – and sorry, can you hear Joe barking?
Joy: That’s Joe wanting his dinner, everybody. Puppy raising at its finest. Tell everyone, what are you up to? What races do you have coming up?
Kelly: So I’ve actually been dealing with an injury myself since the beginning of this year. It’s getting better. But I ran my second 50k last year, and after that I decided I wanted to work on my 5k time, and then this injury happened. I’ve actually been focusing more on lifting and wanting to increase my deadlift max. I am running my favorite trail race this summer up at Vail. It’s a 10k at 10,000 feet. I try to run it every year because it’s just really fun.
Joy: That sounds beautiful. What’s it called?
Kelly: You should do it.
Joy: I should. Send it to me. Let’s do it. Joy is going to start running again.
Kelly: It’s called 10k at 10,000 Feet.
Joy: Oh my gosh, okay. And Vail, why not? That sounds so fun.
Kelly: You get to ride the gondola up, which is really fun.
Joy: Is it all downhill? Is the race downhill?
Kelly: No. So you start at the top of gondola one and then you run around for a bit and end there too.
Joy: Got it. Oh, that sounds really fun.
Kelly: It is, and very pretty.
Joy: Very pretty, yes. Well, thank you so much for joining us this week and giving us all the scoop on running. A topic, again, I never thought we would spend a whole hour on, just because Claire is like, “What?” So thank you, Kelly, and thank you for supporting us all these years. Lovely to meet you in person when I get to see you. Listeners, I’ll post all the links that you mentioned in the show notes of where to find you. As always, listeners, you can find us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. Send us an email email@example.com. Share it with a friend. The best way to support our podcast that is free is to tell a friend and keep listening. We will talk to you next week. Thank you, guys.
HELLO NED DISCOUNT CODE JOY for 15% OFF
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS | More