Borrowing an idea from our mutual friend Nicole Antoinette, Kate has decided to choose courage over comfort when it comes to showing up and racing.
When it comes to getting the most from our bodies, all of us have some trepidation about the discomfort of racing. It can be unpleasant and downright painful. But deciding to "go all in" and embrace that fear is the only way we can reach our potential.
It's not an easy choice. Comfort is far easier: the comfort of sleeping in, not signing up for that big race, or not pushing hard during the final mile.
But comfort can be the invisibility cloak that masks failure. After all, if we're only operating at 85%, are we really thriving?
Today's conversation with Kate Grace covers many areas of training and mastering your inner psychology:
You’re about to listen to Strength Running’s first live show with author Matt Fitzgerald. If you’re not familiar with Matt, he’s written more than 20 books about sports nutrition, endurance, running, and the marathon including my favorites, The Endurance Diet, Brain Training, Racing Weight, and Diet Cults.
This was recorded in front of a live audience at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, Colorado.
Matt's latest book is a memoir called Life is a Marathon that chronicles his career as a coward when it comes to the suffering that inevitably accompanies endurance running. But he learns to overcome that suffering, and in doing so discovers the person he wants to become, for himself and for his wife Nataki who has severe bipolar disorder.
It’s a very different type of book about running that I highly recommend, especially if you want a moving read that isn’t heavy on training jargon.
I ran competitively against Peter while we were both in college. He was at Tufts University while I ran for Connecticut College.
Bromka was faster. In college, he was consistently a Varsity runner for their competitive Division III cross country team. But while he was a very good college runner, I wouldn't say he was a standout athlete.
Things started to change post-collegiately when Peter started running marathons. His first was 2:56 - a relatively pedestrian time by a former collegiate runner (one who was capable of running 25:xx for a 5-mile cross country course).
Soon, he dropped his time to 2:47. And then 2:41. His progression of improvement over 26.2 miles is eye-popping. After that 2:41, he ran:
His fastest finish came last December at the 2018 California International Marathon. His official time - 2:19:40 - missed the Olympic Trials Qualifying standard by a mere 40 seconds.
This progression gives Peter Bromka one of the most fascinating stories in marathon running today. It's rare. It's unique. And we just don't see DIII runners flirting with Olympic Trials Qualifying times very often!
I brought Peter on the podcast to talk about this progression and the mental and physical adjustments he's had to make to continue improving.
In this episode, we talk about:
Peter Bromka is like a philosopher of running. You'll love hearing him wax poetic about the marathon distance and what it means to run it well.
Brad Stulberg is a polymath whose first book with coach Steve Magness, Peak Performance, was one of my favorite reads from 2018.
His work focuses on helping athletes, business executives, and other top performers improve their chances of success by work on:
His latest book is also coauthored by Steve Magness, titled The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life.
In this conversation, we spend time focusing on the nuances of passion, obsession, and building interest in things that we like.
His book is a defense of passion. It's a more nuanced, effective perspective on passion that acknowledges that it's hard to find, that it must be cultivated, and that too much of it can indeed be a bad thing.