My Podiatrist is Pinched for Training Time: Staying Race Ready With Less Time

“So, I was talking to my podiatrist this afternoon.” No, this isn’t the intro to some corny joke, we’re at a runner’s blog so naturally this sentence should roll off the tongue and everyone should nod knowingly because they were doing the exact same thing a few days ago.
girl runner
Back to what I was saying, I was seeing my podiatrist and we got to chatting afterwards. He’s not so much a runner because of ankle issues but is really into cycling. This year he’s going to take part in an especially grueling bike race, it’s 140 miles and a killer climb…he mentioned the exact incline but I’m fuzzy on the number, sorry.

Now the man is a doctor and has two young children too, so he was a little nervous over whether he’d have enough time to actually put in the amount of training necessary. Typically you need to ride the bike longer than you do running (it’s about a 3:1 ratio of bike miles to running miles) and that could mean hours and hours dedicated to a long ride. Runners can relate to the multi-hour long runs too.

I told him not to worry too much and he also mentioned that he’d read that one of the top cyclists is bucking the traditional training method focused on volume and more on shorter, intense rides. I piped in and told him, “Look, if you’ve only got an hour to train, do intervals, jack your heart rate up there. You can do it, you’ve just got to make those shorter rides count.”

The good news is that he’s already built himself a strong base, he’s got years of cardiovascular fitness to draw upon so from here it’s more a matter of maintaining that. Maintaining your fitness is far easier than building, and this holds true to running.

You’d be surprised at how well you can keep that endurance so long as you are still consistent and get in your regular, weekly long run. From there, if you’re limited on time then pick two days and pound the intervals. The other days of the week still put in the steady cardio but it doesn’t necessarily have to be an epic amount; realistically most of those days are going to just be recovering from the last hard workout anyways. You could even split the workout time up into two shorter sessions; a ride/run in the morning and then at night.

foot cartoon

Hmm, I wish there was some kind of sale going on at his office today...nope.


The key thing is keeping your heart rate elevated in the correct level. Even on those recovery days you’re going to still be working, and not totally plodding along. Then when it comes to the hard days, do a short warm-up and remember to cool-down but for those intervals really get after it. Aim to feel like you’re working on a level 8 or 9 (scale of 1 to 10, 10 being all out)…we know what it feels like to work hard.

Play around with the length of hard intervals and the recovery time…do a day more endurance based with longer intervals (sets of 800′s, milers…or do 3 minutes or 10 minutes going hard) and the second day focus more on speed with shorter, faster bouts. This could be 200′s, 400′s, or alternating 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy.

So long as you are CONSISTENT, keep at least one longer run, and get that spike in heart rate you’ve got the staples. Sure, if you’ve got extra time to devote to doing more miles or biking, then by all means go for it…though you want to be smart there and not over-train yourself. In the end training is really personal to the individual and it’s more a matter of finding what works best for you and makes you feel ready come race day.

1) How do you go about coming up with your training? Do you have a coach or do you make your own program?

2) What are some of your staple workouts? Do you prefer the longer intervals or shorter?

3) Are you on a first name basis with your podiatrist? Not that you necessarily want to be, I mean we tend to seek them out with something is wrong!

4) Speaking of corny jokes, do you have one to share this fine Tuesday??
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18 thoughts on “My Podiatrist is Pinched for Training Time: Staying Race Ready With Less Time

  1. Love that your podiatrist was seeking our your advice!

    I totally agree with you here, you’ve got to make those short intense sessions work. But a lot of people miss the second step of giving their body the time to recovery from intense sessions, and I see this a lot with some of the runners I coach. For some crazy reason, it seems like 99% of runners don’t think that their workout counts unless they are squeezing quality out of every workout and end up over doing it and burning themselves out. That’s a tricky habit to break, and I’ve fallen victim to it myself on one too many occassions.

    My staple speed workout is the good old fashioned tempo. Love them!

  2. My podiatrist and I parted ways when he told me that he thinks a job on my feet is the worst idea. When I told him my passions and dreams his response was to not follow them and find another dream. Sorry buddy, not worth then money.

    And thanks for the advice on fitting in workouts. It’s something I’ve been struggling with since going back to school. Ahh, to be young again where you either are in school or work, not both.

    • pssshhh…i’d have drop punt kicked that podiatrist if i were there listening to him! and u were smart to mooooove on…if we all listened to naysayers (doctor’s included sometimes) not many of us would still be running.

      good luck with school and work and fitting in those workouts…u can do it! :)

  3. gotta love when your doctor’s also an athlete! I feel like they just understand us so much better….and true that about making the runs COUNT! I’ve been guilty of doing miles just for the sake of running and while that’s lovely sometimes, too much gets you burnt out. I’m in charge of my own training, and every run’s gotta have a purpose!

    • i actually think if ur an athlete u HAVE To have a doctor who is on the same page and understands that saying, “just don’t do anything and maybe it’ll get better” isn’t an option ;)

  4. I actually really enjoy some hard intervals. As I get myself back into training more seriously for the new year I am going to have to incorporate some of these. The way you feel when you hop off the treadmill and you look like you have been dunked in a bucket of water – nothing compares :)
    Some of my key intervals are hills. I alternate walking at 4.5mph with running at 6.2mph with the treadmill on an alternating incline between 9.5-15.0 grade. Hard for 60 minutes but feels great when you finish!

  5. I think this rings true even when you’re injured. If you commit to cross training and getting your heart rate up and actually doing some quality sessions, it will be so much easier to transition back into running! I think a lot of people miss out on the benefits of intervals. They really do help you to become a better runner, especially when you are low on time. My podiatrist is a little wacky, so we don’t see him that often, but I am on a first name basis with my sports medicine doctor. I love her!

    • so true, in the end it all comes down to the amount of effort u’re putting in. and i kno that cross-training during an injury works wonders and u’ll snap back so much faster! okay…a wacky podiatrist but glad ur sports med doc is awesome. :)

  6. so i am FINALLY coming around to intervals…but have been sticking with the longer ones. like i may actually enjoy mile repeats. anything shorter i start going into panic mode about “how fast” i will have to run! haha! but i am definitely liking the variety that these workouts add to my week :) and i try not to be on a first name basis with too many doctors…but a podiatrist is definitely one i have seen far too often!

    • say what…u’re liking those milers now?!?! ahhh, the stress about shorter intervals, i know it well. but the crazy thing is the more u stress about ‘trying’ to go faster the slower u end up going. so try just relaxing and go with it…maybe even chuck the watch for a few. u’d be amazed at how trying ‘less’ actually leads to going faster. :P

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