What’s the secret to mental toughness in an ultramarathon?

By Mario Fraioli |

Self-care. In fact, it’s the good kind of grit. Don’t believe me? There’s research to prove it. “The kind of grit that comes with self-sacrifice and self-criticism actually leads to an inability to learn from one’s mistakes and to bounce back from trials,” Emma Seppälä PhD, write for Psychology Today. “It is linked to anxiety and depression and makes us feel beaten down when we mess up. However, there’s another kind of grit and mental toughness that will get you ahead over the long run–not to mention increase your happiness in the process. It’s the kind of grit that is linked to self-compassion.”

Check out the complete morning shakeout issue #191.

Podcast: Episode 68 with Tyler McCandless

By Mario Fraioli |

“I don’t care if somebody wants to criticize my 5K time from July 4—I mean, I got an opportunity to go and race and I went out a little too hard, I made a few mistakes, I learned a bunch from it. It was awesome. That’s the point of it, that’s the point of racing. So I think that’s a really critical component: nowadays people race less because there’s too much pressure on those results instead of focusing on the process.”

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I was in Boulder, Colorado last week and had a chance to sit down with Tyler McCandless, a 2:12 marathoner whose career I’ve been following closely for the past 10 years. McCandless is not only one of the most underrated road racers in the U.S., he’s also one of the nicest guys in running, and you’ll see why in this episode.

We covered all kinds of ground in this conversation—which we recorded just a few days before the birth of McCandless’ son, Levi—from why he trains without a GPS watch to learning how to race aggressively and with confidence, balancing his full-time job as a Machine Learning Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research with being a professional long-distance runner, his relationship with his coach, former marathon world-record holder Steve Jones, and how that’s evolved over the past 6-1/2 years, the importance of having interests outside of running and not losing sight of the purity of the sport, and a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: The Weekly Rundown | A Teaser

By Mario Fraioli |

Subscribe, listen, and review on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Soundcloud | Spotify

I’m excited to share a little something different with you this week: a recent episode of The Weekly Rundown, a Patreon-exclusive podcast I’ve been recording the last few weeks with my friend and collaborator, Billy Yang of Billy Yang Films and the Billy Yang Podcast.

In this teaser episode, which we recorded last week on July 2, Billy and I talk about the Western States Endurance Run, The Prefontaine Classic, and Billy’s recent trip to Austria for the Infinite Trails relay race. It’s not Billy interviewing me or me interviewing Billy—it’s just two friends talking casually and unscripted about what’s been going on in our lives, the sport, and the industry over the previous week.

Right now, this show is only available to our respective supporters on Patreon, so if you’re into it and want more, you can support my work directly at themorningshakeout.com/support. If you like this informal format, or even if you don’t—or if you like it and think it needs to be longer than 30-ish minutes—let me know by dashing me a note on Twitter at @mariofraioli.

Eventually we may make this show available to everyone but for now it’s only available to our respective Patreon supporters. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled interview-style show next week but in the meantime, please enjoy this sample of The Weekly Rundown. (more…)

Running: A Beautiful Teaching Tool

By Mario Fraioli |

“One of the beautiful things about running is that even after you’ve been at it a while—22 years and counting in my case—you can always learn something about yourself. Sometimes these lessons are profound, other times they’re more practical. And every once in a while, they’re a bit of both. Recently I’ve come to realize that as an athlete, I can only keep the proverbial water running at full blast for 8-12 weeks at a time before I need to dial it back for an extended period to refill the tank. And that is exactly where I’m at right now…”

Read the full excerpt from the morning shakeout issue #175.

Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: Time

By Mario Fraioli |

“If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know?” the writer and artist Austin Kleon told Eddie Shleyner for verygoodcopy.com. “Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done.” This short blog post resonated with me as I’ve been trying really hard the past couple of months to adopt a time-based method of working—i.e. setting specific “office hours” for the various things I need to get done throughout the week rather than mindlessly working on whatever strikes my fancy at a given time—which isn’t so easy when you work for yourself, have a lot of people that you communicate with throughout the day, and could feasibly be working on something at all times. The reality of work, regardless of your field, is that there’s almost always more that you could work on, but that doesn’t mean that you should (or need) to work on it. At the beginning of the week, I block off chunks of time on my calendar for when I’ll be coaching workouts, writing training schedules, working on the newsletter, recording or editing the podcast, doing research, making phone calls, replying to emails, etc. I try to stick to those hours as best I can—and the hours vary depending on the day and the week—and while it wasn’t the easiest adjustment to make, this new way of doing things has kept me more organized, helped me to prioritize what’s important in and outside of work, allowed me to do better work, and, most importantly, kept me sane.

From the morning shakeout issue #184.

Podcast: Episode 67 with Gwen Jorgensen

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Talbot Cox

“When I was younger I really struggled with separating myself from sport. I really believed that how I performed is what defined me and I started to perform way better once I was able to separate myself from sport and realize that sport does not define me. And that’s something that’s just been huge for me.”

Subscribe, listen, and review on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Soundcloud | Spotify

Really enjoyed talking to Gwen Jorgensen for this week’s episode of the podcast. The 33-year-old Jorgensen is the reigning Olympic champion in triathlon, who, in late 2017, announced she was retiring from multi-sport racing to turn her attention to running full-time. Her goal: Olympic gold in the marathon. In early 2018, Jorgensen signed with Nike and joined the Bowerman Track Club to train alongside 2017 New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan and reigning Olympic Trials marathon champion Amy Cragg under the watchful eye of coach Jerry Schumacher.

We covered a lot of ground in this conversation, including Jorgensen’s recent surgery to repair a Haglund’s deformity in her right heel and how she’s dealt with it from both a training and psychological standpoint, the importance of separating yourself from sport and having balance in your life, last fall’s Chicago Marathon and why she didn’t feel that it was a fair representation of what she’s capable of in that event, reflections on her first full season of training as a runner, learning from Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, what it’s been like going from being at the top of one sport to an underdog in a different one, how she’s learned to get comfortable sharing her story (and struggles) with a large audience, why the Olympic gold medal in the marathon is still her goal, and a lot more. (more…)



Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.