Phil Maffetone – 1:59 Marathon

I talk with endurance coaching legend Phil Maffetone about his latest book, 1:59: The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon Is Within Reach. Phil has coached elite endurance athletes such as Mark Allen. He supports a long-term approach to training and racing, favoring a Lydiard style of base building followed with anaerobic sharpening. He talks about why he thinks the sub 2 hour marathon is within the reach of elite athletes and how small tweaks to ones training and lifestyle can give big results in racing. Maffetone argues that a well-rounded aerobic training program, barefoot running, a high-fat diet, and certain types of strength work can help athletes run faster.

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1:59: The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon Is Within Reach—Here’s How It Will Go Down, and What It Can Teach All Runners about Training and Racing

Elite runner Lauren Fleshman required to remove temporary tattoo at NYC Marathon

Michael Joyner on the sub 2 hour marathon

Phil’s favorite minimalist shoes

Magic Mile: 5:29

Quotes from the show:

“One of the most basic things athletes can do is eat a healthy diet. It doesn’t get any more fundamental or important than that. Do a diet analysis and compare it against the RDA. When you see a professional athlete not even reaching RDA levels in half a dozen vitamins and minerals it’s just shocking. Just eating a healthy diet is a very important consideration.”

“The real important consideration has to do with carbohydrates. Running a marathon isn’t like running a 5K. They are two very different races. When you’re running a 5k you’re running pretty close to your max output. When you’re running a marathon you’re somewhere around 83% of your max. Even for elite athletes. In order to compete on a high level in a marathon, the aerobic system needs to be the system that works the best. For the marathon 98% of our energy comes from the aerobic system. So it would makes sense to eat so that our aerobic system is properly fueled, and that fuel comes from fat. The best way to ensure a high amount of energy is coming from fat, is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates we eat; including eliminating all refined carbohydrates. That would be white flour and sugar.”

“I’m not talking about taking a glucose drink during the race. I’m referring to the daily meals that athletes are eating. It shouldn’t contain bagels, bread, pasta, cereal, and energy bars, because it suppresses the body’s ability to convert fat to energy.”

“Every animal on the planet knows how to eat except for humans. The problem is we are bombarded with misinformation from companies that make junk food. The whole idea of having a carbo loading meal before a marathon didn’t come about because of scientific validation or studies showing athletes need more carbohydrates.”

“What athletes need to do is listen to their bodies. Often I get asked if people should listen to music when they run. Instead of listen to music, we need to listen to our body. If our energy isn’t as good that day or maybe it’s slightly better; if something isn’t quite right and you’re focusing elsewhere, you’re not going to learn to be intuitive.”

“Many people are second guessing themselves. Of course we know how to run! We’ve been doing it for millions of years. I can show you the right way for me to run, but I can’t show you the right way for you to run. If someone wants to know how to run, I’ll ask someone to take off their shoes and have them run. You’d be amazed at how different you run when barefoot.”

“A lot of people are running in shoes that are just too thick. Which forces them to change their gait. They are in a shoe that is so unnatural and abnormal. The market is flooded with techniques on how to run. The mistake people make is to look at élite athletes do and try to emulate them. Leave your body alone and let your brain do the work.”

“Spending more of your time barefoot is going to help develop your foot muscles. The neuromuscular development occurs during the first 5 years of life. If you have shoes on during that period, then development is impaired. So, keep your kids out of shoes. One of the reasons the Kenyans and east Africans do so well the marathon is because they grew up barefoot.”

“Can Ryan Hall run better barefoot? Probably not, because he didn’t grow up barefoot. But he can improve foot function by spending time barefoot and maybe doing a little running barefoot and making sure the shoe that is worn for racing is a shoe that fits well and doesn’t impair normal function.”

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Paleo lifestyle enthusiast, Minimalist runner