Juggling work-life balance can be a real three-ring circus, which Lauren & Jesse know first hand. Led by listener questions, the Work, Play, Love Podcast is all about sports, biz, and family. [ASK YOUR QUESTION]
When you’re trying to strike the balance of Work, Play, and Love, there’s a lot of experimenting, seeking, learning, testing, and re-trying things. And that’s totally normal. Jesse and Lauren answer questions and share their experiences about striving for a goal vs. being content with where you are, how to navigate mental health issues as they relate to sports and personal well-being, how to stay sane while solo parenting, and how to end a coaching relationship that isn’t quite working out. Plus, Lauren talks about her recent Wilder retreat, and the Work Play Love duo offer some advice about improving speed during long runs, how to think about heart rate during training, and more.
Lauren’s just back from a refreshing and energizing weekend of work at the autumn Wilder retreat where she stepped up to lead both the running and writing portions of the weekend. The challenge was freakin’ awesome, and though it was hard work, she’s back home feeling pumped from a weekend of connection, writing, and running. She shares how coming back from this retreat was different from her return from the recent Wilder Lab, and talks about some self-care practices she’s putting into place, including heading to the doctor for a good ol’ fashion checkup.
Meanwhile, Jesse was also engaging in a series of challenges back home with full-on solo parenting. He shares some amusing anecdotes about the struggles of reasoning (or not reasoning) with a headstrong toddler entering their terrible twos. But on the bright side, he’s five months post-surgery and shares the experience of completing his first successful outdoor run.
13:49 - Are you silent during sports massages, or do you yelp when the therapist gets you good?
Yeah…sports massages can be intense! Usually we’re pretty silent and stoic and breathe into the pressure. It’s good to try and stay relaxed so you can get the most benefit of the massage. But not all pain is good pain, and if you’re feeling particularly sore, it’s good to give feedback to your therapist.
16:18 - What are some tips and tricks for improving speed while running long distance?
Speed work is important for amateur endurance runners, but few include speed workouts in their training. Try doing intervals for a shorter distance than your goal race distance, and work at that pace. For example, if you’re running a half marathon, try intervals at a 10k pace for 8-10k. Strides are also a really great exercise for increasing speed (here’s an instructional video on strides from C Tolle Run).
Lauren, Jesse broke up with you three times. What made you decide to go back to him?
Not everyone deserves 3, 4, or 5 “second chances,” but it was clear that Lauren and Jesse had a special connection. Whenever they were apart, they thought about one another. And each time they got back together represented a period of growth from time spent alone. So for their relationship, they were able to do the growing necessary to be in a long-term relationship, and they also got an idea of what it would be like to be apart from each other—you know…not as good.
21:27 - Jesse, what laptop stand do you recommend getting to do work while on your trainer?
Zwift set up Jesse’s trainer, and they set up the stand. Jesse doesn’t really have or know of any stands, but please send recommendations if you have any you love!
22:26 - Which heart rate zone is ideal for long runs?
When it comes to long runs, Lauren and Jesse keep an eye on their heart-rate ranges. For long runs they generally keep their heart rates in the lower part of their range—slightly above a recovery rate. If you’re training for a long distance, however, it’s expected that you’ll be running at high intensities, and using that long distance as your workout. For long-distance training, maintaining a higher heart rate is normal.
23:50 - For new triathletes, do you have any suggestions for inexpensive bikes? Or would putting in time on a stationary bike be my best bet for now until I can afford a good bike?
Indoor cycling is the best way to get your fitness up in the least amount of time, so stationary bikes in your fitness center are an awesome way to train for triathlon. And that’s awesome. Because when it comes to bikes, fast legs are better than fast bikes. You don’t need a super fancy bike when you’re getting started. Try finding a used road bike and putting a cheap pair of aero bars ($20-50) on the bike to use while racing and on a trainer. You could also do what Jesse did early on and borrow a bike when it comes time to race ;)
26:03 - What exercises are helpful for tendinopathy?
Here are some exercises that can be helpful when you’re struggling with tendinopathy or other high-hamstring tightness.
29:03 - What is your take on setting high expectations—or striving for a goal—and settling for what you have, or being content with the present?
These things can go hand in hand. The reality is that you will probably want to set goals for yourself at some point. But once you’ve set a goal, the act of planning for, striving for, and hopefully achieving that goal can very much be an exercise in engaging with the present and celebrating all of your wins along the way.
34:34 - I’ve been struggling with energy consistency due to mental health issues, and possibly issues with vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Do you have any advice on keeping my energy up? Is it foolish to enter races when I lack consistency?
Mental health, diet, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, energy and performance are all interconnected and play off one another. It’s one of the complexities of being human! We’re not medical professionals, but when you’re considering athletic performance in the midst of some of these issues, it can be helpful to adjust your expectations and reframe your experience. It’s not foolish to enter races if you’re focused on being outside, enjoying the scenery, spending time with friends and all of the other great benefits that come from staying active. Even if you’re not consistent in your race, the race itself, and the training can give you energy and satisfaction in unexpected ways.
How do you get tested to figure out which hormones (and their fluctuations) affect your mood? What are ways you've managed or found to reduce your depressive symptoms associated with normal hormonal fluctuations that come with your period?
There are a number of tests and approaches to measure your hormones and other bio markers that may affect your mood. It’s important to consult with your doctor and mental health professionals to see what the best approach is for you. Aside from working with a medical team, if you are consistently down around your period each month, consider taking steps to pre-empt your mood during that time period. Lighten your schedule where possible. Ask your support group—your partner, your friends, your family—for more nurturing and care during this time. It can have a big impact on your quality of life during those few days each month.
49:34 - What are some survival tips on staying sane while solo-parenting?
Here are a few things you can try to make parenting a little easier while your partner is away:
53:28 - How do I break up with my current coach?
It’s a normal part of being an athlete to be in coaching relationships that aren’t the best fit. You may want to break up with your coach. Your coach may break up with you! Here are some tips on how to break up with a coach:
57:33 - Episode 55 Follow-Up
A mom wrote in to ask Jesse and Lauren about how to cope with the demands of the role of mother. She shares how Work Play Loveadvice changed how she approached the issue with her partner, and talks about the things that have helped since she first wrote in.
58:56 - TV Shoutouts
59:31 - Episode 40 Follow-Up
A runner wrote in back in April who was dreading training in the summer. They took Jesse’s and Lauren’s advice and ended up shattering their 5k PR once the cooler fall weather rolled around. Pretty awesome, and congrats on your great run recently!
1:00:35 - Episode 53 Follow-Up
A listener wrote in to ask whether they should quit the job they loved in order to give them a little bit more time for play in their life. Instead, they took Jesse’s and Lauren’s advice, and had an honest conversation with their boss. Tune in to see what happened after they talked to their supervisor!
1:01:34 - Episode 58 Follow-Up
Dealing with nervousness in a race or any situation can be tough, but reframing your nervousness as excitement is a great way to feel positive about challenges you face. A listener wrote in about nervousness and took this advice to heart. It ended up helping them on the field and with their family.
1:03:09 - In another Episode 58 follow-up, a listener writes in to share why kids are the gift that keep on giving. They talk about what it feels like to see kids grow into their own individual people pursuing their own dreams and how fun it is to go and cheer them on as a family.
As always, submit your work/play/love question at pickybars.com/workplaylove - Thanks for listening!
Gift ideas for athletes, how to fit in exercise in an already packed schedule, when to have kids, and lastly, why are age-groupers peeing on the bike during triathlons?
Lauren's NYT Op-ed, marathon performance, finding love, avoiding burnout while pursuing your career, and what success for Picky Bars looks like to them.