Remembering Sir Roger Bannister

By Mario Fraioli

I was saddened to wake up to the news of Sir Roger Bannister’s passing at the age of 88 two Sundays ago, and found myself at a bit of a loss while sipping my morning coffee and scrolling through the mini memorials in my Twitter feed. Eventually I decided to put on my running shoes and head over to the local high school track to honor his legacy with a hard mile of my own. It just seemed the appropriate thing to do. Bannister, the first human to run under 4 minutes for the distance, inspired a generation with his performance on May 6, 1954. He made the impossible possible and showed that barriers largely exist in our minds. (more…)

Gwen Jorgensen’s Got Some Wheels

By Mario Fraioli

Reigning Olympic triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen hadn’t raced since before giving birth to her son Stanley last August, and she hadn’t competed in a straight-up track contest since 2009, but in case there were any questions—yes, this woman can flat out run. Jorgensen went 15:15 for 5,000 meters—a 37-second personal best—at the Husky Classic in Seattle two weekends ago, telling Flotrack afterward, “I felt like I could run that but it’s also really exciting when you can run a fast time.” (more…)

Vin Lananna’s Conflicts of Interest

By Mario Fraioli

Vin Lananna. Photo:

Vin Lananna, the president of USA Track & Field, has had a lot of his authority—and influence—curtailed by the board of the sport’s governing body. Why?

“Vin has been engaged in complete conflict of interest,” Steve Miller, the track and field association’s chairman, told The Oregonian. “The outcome of the vote is that he has to recuse himself from the vast majority of what he does as president of USATF. Your effectiveness as leader is greatly diminished when you can’t be in the room.”


The Parallel Realities of Writing and Running

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Ali Yahya | Unsplash

“Professional writers quickly learn one reality of the job: you have more bad days than good. It’s the rare day that the writer finds that the words come out exactly the way they were in their head.”

Eliminate the word “professional,” substitute “writers” with “marathoners” and “words” with “miles” in the above quote from author (and runner!) Ryan Holiday, and he’s described marathon training to a T. Holiday’s post on the timeless link between running and writing, and the claim that writers have more bad days than good, parallels what it’s like to train for a marathon, even though he argues just the opposite. (more…)

Support The Morning Shakeout On Patreon!

By Mario Fraioli

Putting your work out into the world is scary business. And doing it on a consistent basis is no easy task. I launched the morning shakeout in November 2015 as a weekly email newsletter about running and other worthwhile topics, and haven’t missed an issue since. It’s evolved and grown tremendously over the past 2+ years, and the interest, engagement, and feedback has been humbling to say the least. (more…)

Learning To Let Go On Race Day

By Mario Fraioli

When it comes to race day, I tell my athletes that they need to be near-sighted and have a short-term memory. No, this doesn’t mean they should go get new contact lenses or have their head checked for a concussion before taking the starting line. It’s about adopting an “in the moment” mindset in regard to how they go about tackling the task at hand.  (more…)

The Pressure of Performance-Enhancing Deadlines

By Mario Fraioli

I don’t know much about esteemed author George R.R. Martin, and I’ve never read or watched Game of Thrones, but I did come across a post of his from a while back that caught my interest. In it, Martin writes about his disdain for deadlines, and shares his thoughts about having missed a couple for his highly anticipated but yet-to-be-published novel, The Winds of Winter.

“Here it is the first of January. The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that,” he writes. “I tried, I promise you. I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I’ve now blown the end of the year deadline.” (more…)

Of Words and Miles

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Dan Cruz

It’s fair to say that writing and running play important roles in my life and have each influenced me in profound and unique ways. The two activities share many parallels, and even connect and overlap with one another from time to time. Running and writing both take some degree of desire, diligence, discipline and planning for it to go well; occasionally, however, I’ll fly off the cuff and go with the flow, sometimes resulting in a pretty special outcome (and sometimes not!). (more…)

Competition and Connection: What Does Running’s Future Hold?

By Mario Fraioli

What’s happening to the sport of running? Forgive me if that’s a loaded question but this recent piece from The New York Times paints a pretty good picture of where shoe and apparel companies will be spending their marketing dollars in the years to come. “The sport’s future may be more about connecting than competing,” writes Gina Kolata. (more…)

Houston, We Have An…American Record

By Mario Fraioli

Most of the domestic pre-race hype at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon this past Sunday centered around Molly Huddle and Jordan Hasay, and whether or not one of those two women would take down Deena Kastor’s American record of 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 34 seconds. Well, Huddle outran the hype—and Hasay—breaking the tape (which, as an aside, is weird because she finished seventh overall, but that’s another discussion for a different day) in 1:07:25. Before I go any further, think about that for a second: Huddle ran under 1:07:30 and finished seventh. (For what it’s worth, Kastor was second when she set her mark back in 2006 at the Berlin Half Marathon.) Hasay ran well under 1:09 (1:08:38) and was eighth. Four women ran under 1:07. That is some serious depth. (more…)



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