What I’ve Been Thinking About: The 2018 Boston Marathon

By Mario Fraioli
Lead women’s pack at Boston just past 10K. Eventual winner Des Linden is to the far right. Photo: Christine Gould

For a number of reasons, the event is still at the forefront of a lot of peoples’ minds, including my own, a whole month after the fact. Here’s why: (more…)

Disorder(ed): Between the Sacred Silence and Sleep

By Mario Fraioli

Hopefully by sharing my story you’ll get to know me a little bit more and find out that athletes are a bit more vulnerable than you’d expect. And also, hopefully, commiserate with any sort of issues you may be having and start a dialogue here.

As someone who has struggled with disordered eating in the past, and has encouraged other men to share their stories, I commend ultrarunner Chris Mocko for opening up about his battle with binge eating on a recent episode of The Mocko Show. I know firsthand how challenging it can be to share something like this with a wide audience but I’ve also seen how impactful it can be on others who are struggling in silence. Respect, Mocko.

This Is Your Body On No Sleep

By Mario Fraioli

Wes Judd, writing for Outside

The first signal that your body is overtired will be a sluggish mind. Your reaction time will begin lagging around hour 18; after a full night without sleep, it will nearly triple—which, for context, is about the same as being legally drunk. Your ability to form memories will start deteriorating, and after a while, your capacity to create any new memories at all will shut off entirely.

This piece hit home. Most of the week I do alright in the sleep department but I have a terrible habit of staying up way too late on Mondays when putting the finishing touches on the morning shakeout, which, heroic as it might sound to some of you, is not something that brings me great pride. In those final few hours before I go to bed, which is usually between 2-3 AM and somewhere around 20-22 hours after I last woke up, I’m definitely not thinking clearly or making the best decisions. I’m prone to missing things, making mindless mistakes, and forgetting important or necessary details. When I wake up the next day, which is usually 4-5 hours later, 6 if I’m lucky, I’m usually feeling sluggish and overtired, almost hungover in a way. And more often than not, I have a craptastic run to boot. That one poor night of sleep usually sets me back 3-4 days before I can re-stock on enough Zs to feel like I’m back on my game. It’s a bad habit I’ve got to break.

Aim For Prolificacy, Not Perfection

By Mario Fraioli

At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, Issue 125 marked the 125th straight week that I’ve published the morning shakeout. It arrives every Tuesday morning between the hours of 2 and 3 AM PST, without exception, which is something I take a great deal of pride in. Some issues have been exceptional, others have been just OK, but every week there’s between 1500 and 2500 words from me in your inbox waiting to be read (unless your email provider sends it to spam, but that’s a different topic for another day). (more…)

Creating ‘Teamness’ In Individual Sports

By Mario Fraioli

“The U.S. ski team’s mantra remained throughout the training season,” Annie Pokorny writes for ESPNW. “Do what’s right for me in a way that’s right for we.”

This piece is about the U.S. women’s cross-country skiing team but the lessons contained herein about building a team mindset, promoting healthy habits, customizing training, and celebrating every achievement can be applied to virtually any sport, especially similar ones like running, where it can oftentimes be challenging to get a bunch of individuals to work together toward a collective goal.

Relevant Reading For The Ultra-Interested

By Mario Fraioli
Euro-Mario, circa 2015.

I coach many an ultrarunner and have dabbled in a few myself, so the sport is constantly on my mind. There’s been a fair amount of interesting ultrarunning coverage making its way through the media in recent weeks that’s worth sharing here. Here’s a sampling of a few of my favorite bits: (more…)

Austin Kleon On How To Stay Creative In Chaotic Times

By Mario Fraioli

Author Austin Kleon gave this keynote for the first time a few weeks back at the Bond Conference in San Francisco and I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for it. Kleon, a self-described “writer who draws,” discusses the ten things that help him stay creative when life gets crazy or he’s feeling burned out. If you’re a writer, film maker, podcaster, or “artist” of any sort, do yourself a favor and watch this talk. I saw it live and have re-watched it twice already. Kleon’s strategies are invaluable if you’re struggling to get started or feeling stuck in your current situation. My favorite is #3: Forget the noun, do the verb. (more…)

Cheating In Sport: Gradually, And Then Suddenly

By Mario Fraioli

In his most recent installment of #thefourminutemull, Ross Tucker of The Science of Sport uses the recent example of Australian ball tampering in cricket to make a larger point about cheating, or more specifically, athletes who are playing in the “gray zone” of sport.

“Once you enter the gray areas, then you get progressively darker and darker and darker gray,” Tucker says. “And at some point, there’s a line, but by the time you get to that line, you’re so deep in the gray that you can’t see a black line on a dark gray background. And you cross that line.”


Burn The Boat In 2018. Are You On Board?

By Mario Fraioli
Just a bunch of regular dudes helping one another run really fast. Bromka is the guy in the middle rocking the red singlet. 

I’ve shared Peter Bromka’s writing in the morning shakeout once or twice before. His most recent post, Burn The Boat, in which he declares his intention to go after a big personal best and an Olympic Trials qualifying time later this year at the Cal International Marathon, will resonate with many of you even if you can’t imagine yourself aboard the same ship. Why? Bromka is just an average person going after a not-so-average objective, one that a few years ago wasn’t even remotely on his radar, and one that, as a husband, father, and workingman “has not been a lifelong goal, and it will not be our defining moment. But it will be remembered—by us if no one else—that when the opportunity arose, we stepped up.” (more…)

What I’m Listening To This Week:

By Mario Fraioli

Cal Fussman on The James Altucher Show

I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned Fussman in this newsletter but this certainly isn’t the first and it likely won’t be the last. Fussman, a longtime columnist for Esquire who has interviewed hundreds of world leaders, famous athletes, and award-winning musicians—you name it—is reinventing himself at 61 years of age. I’ve mentioned his relatively new podcast a few times now, but on this occasion he’s the guest and provides a good glimpse into his path as a writer and interviewer, while also explaining why learning how to ask good questions can set you apart, regardless of your field.

“Now just about any question you have, you can put it into Google, or Quora, and you’re going to get an answer,” Fussman says. “If you’re looking at the laws of supply and demand, the supply of answers is filled. We got answers up the gazoo, but how many great questions do we have? How many people who ask great questions are left?”

Alex Honnold on The Rich Roll Podcast

Honnold is a badass climber, Roll is an incredible interviewer, and this is just an amazing conversation about risk taking, death, preparation, curiosity, adventure, and a whole lot more. “For me, the hard part was constantly thinking you’re going to die,” Honnold said of a recent expedition to Antarctica.

“While I was there, each day was pretty stressful because you’re making so many little decisions that you think is the right decision, and it’s probably the right call,” Honnold explains. “But there were a lot of times where if Cedar and I just wound up dead at the base of the wall, people would have said ‘well, that’s what happens when you’re repelling big mountains like that that nobody’s ever been on.’ Stuff happens.”

Tristan Harris on The Ezra Klein Show

Important conversation about technology, social media, and why it’s bringing out the worst in us, as well as a discussion on how to take back control of your time.

“This is the thing that needs to change. This is why I was working on this for so long,” explains Harris, a former Googler who who recently co-founded the Center for Humane Technology. “We actually have to change the thing that we are exporting to the world, which is distraction, outrage, slot machine-style rewards, constant stimulation, social validation, making it harder for people to tell what’s true.”

Thievery Corporation and Willie Watson

Total opposite ends of the musical spectrum, but I’ve been bouncing back and forth of late between Thievery Corporation, an electronic/reggae/hip hop/Brazilian mashup of sounds I’ve enjoyed live four or five times, and folksinger Willie Watson, whose rendition of Gallows Pole is quite good. Check ’em both out if your tastes are as eclectic as my own.



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