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How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon with Bobby Barker

By September 23, 2017April 14th, 20224 Comments

Bobby Barker is a 41 year old marathon runner from Frisco, Texas. He has transformed in the past 5 years from couch potato to Boston Marathon Qualifier. A few weeks ago he ran a marathon PR of 26 minutes and qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3 hours and 13 minutes!

In this episode of The Extramilest Podcast, we discuss:

  • How he improved his marathon time from 3:55 at his first marathon to 3:13 a few marathons later. We look exactly at his training schedule for every day of the week, between regular training, cross training and nutrition.
  • How Bobby motivates himself to wake up at 5am to train before work
  • Tips and tricks for athletes to improve their running and become a healthier, happier and faster runner!

Bobby and I have experienced a lot of the same challenges and learnings as we strive to be the best versions of ourselves. I had a blast on this show and hope you enjoy our conversation!

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Win Free Stuff!

Another weekly giveaway! This week you can win 2 pairs of Stance Running Socks. Congrats to Nathan Armstrong for winning last week’s contest, a copy of Dr. Phil Maffetone’s latest book The Overfat Pandemic. One winner for the Stance Socks will be announced on 9/30/17 on the contest page and per email.

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Show Notes

  • Bobby’s journey to get off the couch and start working out (5:00)
  • Rookie mistakes with nutrition during his first marathons (8:30)
  • How 2 biking accidents changed Bobby’s direction from triathlon to marathon (10:00)
  • His first few marathons were hard and very uncomfortable, completely out of energy (12:00)
  • How he discovered Dr. Phil Maffetone and changed his training approach (14:00)
  • His first experiences with low heart rate training, training much slower at 12 min / mile (7 min 27 second per km) (16:10)
  • Bobby trained at a low heart rate for 1 month and noticed he started to improve (18:00)
  • How he measures his monthly progress with a MAF test at a running track (18:15)
  • How Bobby changed his nutrition and dropped 13 pounds in 1 month (21:00)
  • Dropping a few pounds of extra body weight makes you a much faster runner (27:00)
  • Bobby found a coach to guide him towards his Boston Marathon goal (29:00)
  • There are people just like you and me who struggle to get to the next level. Patience is key to see small improvements every month (32:00)
  • A breakdown of each training day of the week, low heart rate runs, hills, bike rides, long runs and rest (35:00)
  • His longest training runs include 15 minutes warm up, 2 1/2 hours low hear run, 15 minute cool down (41:00)
  • Be aware not to follow formulas too strict, importance of listening to your body (44:00)
  • His pace dropped from 12 minutes per mile to 7 min 27 sec / mile (47:00)
  • High temperatures can have a huge negative impact on your running pace at the same heart rate (48:00)
  • The race strategy that qualified Bobby for the Boston Marathon with a 3:13 time (49:00)
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Month after the month consistency in training is key for long term progress (54:50)
  • Bobby ran 35 to 40 miles per week (56 to 64km) in training + 2 bike rides a week (56:00)
  • Motivation to get up every day at 5am to train, by praying, meditation, looking for inspiration, and helping inspire others (57:00)
  • Recommendations for runners to improve your running and qualify for Boston: consistency in training is key, put training structure in place, train mostly in aerobic zone, nutrition in training and on race day (1:01:00)
  • Hiring a coach vs creating your own training schedule (1:03:00)
  • Bobby’s involvement in the Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K on April 14, 2018 (1:06:00)
  • Low HR training and improved nutrition make Bobby and Floris feel like healthier and happier athletes (1:08:00)
  • Don’t get discouraged, reach out to the Extramilest Group and Maffetone


See Full Transcript Below

Floris Gierman: Hi guys, my name is Floris Gierman from The Extramilest Podcast. We are here to connect with athletes, rukus makers and coaches from around the world to really help athletes reach their full potential. Today we’re going to connect with Bobby Barker, he recently ran a massive PR in the marathon and he qualified for Boston. He went from a 3:39 marathon all the way to a 3:13 time, so he PR-ed with 26 minutes.

In today’s episode we’re going to dive into his training program, what he did every day of the week. From the regular training, the cross training and strength training. We’re also going to talk about motivation, he wakes up very early to train before work, just like some of you guys do as well. So what motivates him every day to get out of bed. We also talk about several tips and tricks for athletes, like yourself, on how you can improve your running and how you can become a healthier, happier and faster runner. And who knows, you might qualify for Boston as well, or run a PR in your own marathon.

Also, I wanted to bring up, we recently launched a contest page, so we’re doing weekly giveaways on my website at www.extramilest.com/contest This week you can win 2 pairs of Stance Socks, so check it out and I’ll announce a winner once a week for different prizes.

Without further due, I’m very excited to introduce you to my new friend Bobby Barker.

Flo: Hi Bobby, welcome on the show. Stoked to have you over here. I think it will be good for the listeners back home to get a bit of an understanding of what some of your running background is. Maybe you can tell a little bit more about yourself, about where you’re from, what your age is and how long you’ve been running just so people get a better understanding.

Bobby: Absolutely. My name’s Bobby Barker. I live in Frisco, Texas. Frisco is about 20 miles north of Dallas, downtown Dallas, Texas. It’s a pretty large community. It’s one of the fastest growing communities in the US. It’s really family oriented, and we’ve got a lot of weekend warriors. A lot of those people like to get out run, cycle. There’s a lot of triathletes in this area as well.

Basically, my journey’s been pretty typical for someone my age. I’m 41, currently. I’ve been doing weekend stuff like P90X is really what got me into working out. It’s almost like a mid life crisis. It’s like I’m getting a little chubby a little bit, can’t get rid of the fat around my waist and that’s where things– then you start finding things that seem to work with people. You hear P90X is great, so you start that up. I did that for a while. This was probably in 2012, 2013.

I decided to get off the couch and get a little bit more active. This has been about five years ago. I met some people down at the gym, and they were doing P90X as well. One guy says, “You know what Bobby, I think you might do well at triathlon”. I’m like, “What? Are you kidding me? I’m not a triathlete. I don’t know how to swim or how to ride a bike or anything”. It’s interesting. I’m going to get to how I got into running through this story, but he challenged me.

He was like, “You know what Bobby, you can actually do this”. I was like, “Well sure, I’m going to do it”. We actually signed up to do the New York City triathlon, and there was a lottery system. You didn’t have to qualify or anything like that. Me and two other buddies signed up, and sure enough, they drew my name-

Flo: Of course [laughs].

Bobby: -to be in the triathlon.

Flo: There was no way out at that point.

Bobby: No. Absolutely not. Luckily, my buddies went along for the journey, so I went out and bought a bike, went out and bought a wet suit and did all this stuff to actually go out and compete in a triathlon. Long story short, got into triathlon a little bit; loved it; loved the running aspect. By the way, the New York City triathlon was in July 2014. I did my first half marathon in September of 2014. Just to give you a little perspective, I’m not doing Maffetone or anything like that. This is strictly burning sugars and that sort of things.

But I did my first half marathon on a whim. It was a couple other friends said, “Hey you know what? We’re running a half marathon this week. Go ahead and get your shoes life step. We’re going to run this thing”. I’m like, “Okay, I guess I can do this”.

Flo: This was 2014?

Bobby: Yes. This was September 2014 was my first half marathon, and it was really hot. It was actually my birthday that day, and I said, “You know what, let’s just go out and have fun”. Mile 10 or mile 11, I realized that I hate this. I cannot stand running. I’ll be honest, I hated it, couldn’t stand it, and actually finished the race respectively. It was a hour and 55 minutes. I felt like I was in great shape, but I felt like I really accomplished something. When I did my first half marathon, I was like, “Dude, I’m like a legit runner here. I’m like the man”. After I finished, I said, “I’m not doing this anymore, I’m done running”.

Flo: What’s the easier feel because you ran at a heart rate that was so much too high, and you used all of your energy that you had in you or–?

Bobby: Absolutely. Mile 10 I felt pretty good, and honestly, I was eating chomps and things like that. Nutrition was an after thought. Drink some water whatever, doing all that stuff. I was like, “You know what, I can run this. It’s not a big deal”B but mile 10, 11, I was breaking down. Mentally, I was in a fog. I couldn’t see what I was doing, and I don’t even remember crossing the finish line. And then I grabbed the bananas. I grabbed their haven waffles and pancakes, and I would just–

Flo: Anything did you could get in you face at that point. I recognize that.

Bobby: That was my first taste of actually racing a running race. Shortly after that, I got in a bike wreck. Actually no, I take that back. That was in 2015. My friends decided to go ahead and do another half marathon in Dallas. Half marathon took place in Dallas, and I did – let’s see. I wrote that down- hour and 50 minutes. It was pretty respected again. Not much improvement but decided to do it, and then my friend says, “Hey, let’s do a marathon”. I said, “I’m not going to do it, but I’ll train with you guys”. They were training for the San Francisco marathon. Let’s see here. That’d be July 2015.

Flo: That’s a nice and hilly course as well.

Bobby: Absolutely, it was. I was training with these guys. We were doing the thing; still not doing Maffetone. About a month before the race, I decided to put my name in the hat, and I decided to run with them. Because it was one of my other friends first marathon as well, and I thought, “You know what he’s going to experience the full”– I want to do it as well. I decided to jump in as well. I thought if I could do a sub four hour marathon I’m going to be happy. Sure enough, I actually did finish that marathon in 3 hours and 55 minutes.

Flo: That’s good for your first marathon in particular especially.

Bobby: Absolutely. Again, it was mile 20, 21, 22, where I started hitting the wall. That’s what we all talk about. Mentally, I didn’t know what the wall really felt like, but now I know. Along the way, nutrition again wasn’t a big thing for me. It was like I’ll eat some guo every once in a while, and I’ll drink water. I didn’t drink any Gatorade.

Flo: But no strategy of let’s set a time or let’s, yes. It was more whenever you felt like it.

Bobby: Yes. [crosstalk]

Flo: That seems to happen quite often for people doing the first marathon or initially. I think nutrition is such a big part of that for sure.

Bobby: It’s huge; trust me. The newbies out there they need to realize that if you don’t have the right nutrition along the way, you’re going to hit a wall and things like that. After that marathon, I realized I didn’t have any electrolytes. The only salt intake I was getting was maybe through the gue and things like that which wasn’t enough. I was getting loopy along the way the last 20 or 3 or 4 miles, mile 20 or so. I just was in a fog. I just knew my body was running, but I went down hill from there, and my pace just really fell off. Then I said after that marathon I’m going to get back into triathlon just because I knew that was going to be more fun for me. I liked running; it was fun but. I started training for a half Ironman. In September of that year 2015, I got hit by a car. I won’t go into details, but it woke me up. It was God spanking me in the rear, saying, “Hey, you need to figure out what you’re doing with your life”. [chuckles] That’s what I felt like.

Flo: What is that bad? Did you get physically really injured?

Bobby: Honestly, I wasn’t. That’s what’s interesting. The guy hit me directly from behind. We were on a straight road. My tailbone took the brunt of the impact and put a huge dent in the front of the hood of his car, and then when he slammed on the brakes, I rolled forward. I got a bunch of road rash from the incident, but I walked away. People were saying, “You’re going to be sore for days”. I didn’t feel that. I think I was physically fit to take that, but I said, “You know what? I’m going to not do that at this point”. I decided, “You know what? I’m going to run the Dallas Marathon”. I’m just not going to do the triathlon because I didn’t want to get on a bike at that point.

I ran my second marathon that December. My first marathon was July. Then, December of 2015, I said, “You know what? I’m going to focus these next three months”. Because this was September when I had the bike wreck, and December was the marathon. I said, “You know what? I’m going to go out and try to do it my way”. My way was I want to run a sub-330 marathon.

What do I do? Like anybody else, I go Google it. I Google, “How do you run a sub-330?” What do you get? You just a bunch of stuff like, “Do an easy run”. “The next day, you’re going to do some speed work at a seven minute pace”, and then do all this stuff. I’m like, “I’ll try to do that”. When it comes down to easy run, what does that mean? To the average person, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s an opinion. I could run an easy run and have a conversation because they say, “If you can talk and things like that, that’s an easy run”. To me, I could talk easily at 165 beats a minute, and I’m like, “That’s easy”. Now, if I’m really running fast, it may be 170, 175, maybe I’m out of breath. That’s how I gauged it.

Flo: There’s so many factors impacting that as well whether it’s the temperature, if you’re on elevation, if you’re running in the hills, any of these things impact it. That’s where it’s sometimes hard to gauge, really, of where you’re at.

Bobby: Absolutely. The two and a half months of marathon training which is not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but back then, two and a half months was a long time for a newbie. I ended up running a 339, so that was the best. I was trying to get sub-330, but I was 339. It’s okay, but I felt awful. At the end of the run, I just was toast. Again, hitting walls, just walking the last few water stations. Everyone else was doing it in the race, too. Why can’t I walk the water stations. You know what I’m saying? I’m guessing that’s normal.

I felt good. I felt like I accomplished something. Still, it was like, “Man, to get to the next level, what’s it going to take?” I had no idea what it was going to take. What did I do? I get back to triathlon. I said, “I’m going to sign up for the next half Ironman in Galveston in April. “I said, “Let’s just do that again, and then we’ll see what happens”. You would not believe this. One week prior to the Ironman Galveston, which is in April of 2016, I went out the weekend before on a bike ride, just an easy bike read with a team, the Frisco Triclub Team. I fell off my bike and broke my radial head bone on my arm, so it was out. It was done.

Flo: Wow. That was bad luck twice. Something in the universe was saying, “You shouldn’t be on a bike”, or at least not for that period of time.

Bobby: Yes, exactly. I had to go into work the next day. Obviously, they knew about my incident being hit by a car prior to that. I had to go in with a sling. It’s almost like my pride had me. This is kind of embarrassing. I’m like, “How often do you have to get hit by a car or break an arm that you say, “You know what? This probably not for me right now. This might not be the season”. I said, “Forget it. I’m going to rest”. So, I rested for about six weeks. I said, “I’m just going to start running”. I like running. Plus, it’s a little bit more safe.

This is how I got into Maffetone. I had a buddy that went to the San Francisco Marathon with me. He and I started running. His name is Jason Reizer. He said, “You know what, Bobby? Let’s go run but, let’s do it a little different”. I said, “I don’t care. You can do whatever”. He said, “I’m going to send you a white paper. I want you to read this Dr. Phil Maffetone’s White Paper”. You’ve seen it. It’s on the Internet. I read that thing. I’m like, “Okay. You got to run 180 minus your age. Okay. That seems simple enough”.

Flo: For those who are not familiar with Dr. Phil Maffetone, this is 180 formula that he has developed over time? Correct?

Bobby Barker: Correct.

Flo: It’s 180 where you deduct your age and you adjust it by a few different factors, whether that is how long you’ve been training, whether you have recent colds, and everything. We’ll put a link to the formula for those who want to find out more, so they can calculate it on their own as well. You did the formula for yourself?

Bobby Yes, absolutely. I did the formula. At the time, I was 40-years-old. The formula’s easy. It’s 180 minus my age of 40. I targeted running at 135 to 140. 135 to 140 beats a minute is kind of was my target. He and I were about the same age. We decided, “Let’s just start running that way”. We did. I said, “Are we actually running here? Because this is not what I’m used to seeing”. We were running– Let’s go back to my marathons. We’re doing 330 and odd marathons. We’re doing eight something minute miles. I’m going out and running like a high 11, low 12 minutes miles at 140 beats a minute.

It was a huge wake-up call. I was like, “Dude, this is not running to me. This is a big jog. Are we serious?” He’s like, “Just give it a try”. I said, “You know what? I have nothing to lose here”. So, we tried it. We tried it for a few weeks. He says, “Let’s do this. I’ve read where you can do a test, just to see where you’re at”. We ran five miles. We tried to find the same track. We would just do that. I found that my time was improving at that same heart rate. I was like, “Okay, I haven’t changed anything. I’ve just been running for the past month at a low heart rate”.

Flo: Initially, when you started out, it was a high elevens, low twelves.

Bobby: Yes.

Flo: Those were your initial miles, and then you did the MAF test, right?

Bobby: Yes.

Flo: Where you go to the track, you warm up for 15 to 20 minutes, and then you run five miles and you time every single mile?

Bobby: Yes.

Flo: What was your first MAF test like?

Bobby: This is great. My first MAF test I did on July sixth. My MAF test is a little bit different. I’m going to explain how I do my MAF test. It’s very similar. I do a 15-minute warm-up. It starts at 3 minutes, 80 to 90 beats a minute, and then 3 minutes, 90 to 100; 3 minutes, 100 to 110, and then up to 110, 120. And then at 15 minutes, I start my MAF test. It’s done on a track. I warm up around the track, and then after the 15 minutes, I run three miles. Then, I’ll incorporate that with a long run or something like that. But I run three miles straight, and I record that total time. Then we can do pace off that. But I run now on time only. I don’t do mileage or anything like that.

My time for three miles was 33 minutes and 39 seconds which equates to 11 minutes and 10 seconds a mile. That was my first MAF test. Mind you, I had been doing this heart rate training for about a month, at that point. I hadn’t done a test before, anything like that. Technically, if I was first getting into it, I would do a test right at the beginning. I would say I probably improved about a 30 to 45 seconds a mile, easily, in that one month.

One month later, on August 10th, it went from a 33:39 down to a 30 minute and 17 seconds total which is a little north of a 10 minute mile. Now, two months in at that point, I went from a high 11 down to a ten minute mile.

Flo: Those are huge improvements.

Bobby: Absolutely. I was like, “This thing’s working”. I then started gathering information. At that point, it was, “Okay, now I need to consume info. How do I improve on this?” What did I do? I join the Maffetone method Facebook page. I start getting on there, and people are going through the same thing I’m going — just started Maff. I’m falling into these pitfalls. Anybody else doing it? Yes, and we start texting. This is what I did. It’s all this consuming that information, but at the same time, it validated what I was doing: that I’m actually doing the right thing. You know what? My diet wasn’t there, and that’s when I saw the two week test.

Again, you might point at that link as well, but I did the two-week test. I really think when I did the two week test which was a couple of months into my MAF training or MAF method of running, that’s when I saw the big improvements, as far as more of a fat burning; it’s taken over my body. Before it was still consuming a lot of carbs and things like that, but I decided, “You know what? Let’s do the two week test”.

Just so you know, the two week test was a nightmare for me because after three days, the third day– I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but if you’re like me and you’re 40 years old now, your whole life you’ve been consuming carbs and sugars and all that stuff because that’s what’s around; that’s what’s available. For your body to not have that for three days straight, it goes into shock, so mentally I was like, “Something’s wrong with me”.

But after four or five days on the two week test, I could feel my body transitioning because it now has no sugar at that point for energy. When I’ going out for a run during that two week test, it’s saying, “Okay, there’s nothing here to sustain me. I’m going to have to pull energy from somewhere”, and that came from fat.

Flo: That is when the fat burning starts improving?

Bobby: Yes, exactly. I honestly think for your followers, if they’re in the same boat as me when I was starting off, it’s doing the 180 formula and doing the low heart rate running. But I really think when I want to kick in the two week test, that’s when I started really seeing the change in my body physically because then it became– I was weighing about 160 pounds prior to the MAF test or the MAF method. Then after that two week test, I went from 160 down to 147 pounds. So, I lost about 13 pounds doing that two week.

Flo: In a two week window?

Bobby: No, it was about a month. I ended up losing about seven pounds during the two week test, and then it just kept falling off.

Flo: That is a lot.

Bobby: Yes. I lost a ton of weight, but I’m just thinking that’s just all the excess weight that I’ve been carrying around unnecessarily. I was really structured. I wrote down everything I ate; when I consumed it, what my body felt like; mentally, what I was thinking about. I went back through those notes, and I realized, “Okay, this is my body actually changing and getting off of carbs and sugars”. You go to the Maffetone Facebook page, and people are going through the two week test too. And you’re seeing them going through what you’re going through, and it’s validating, “Yes, this is what”–

Flo: Absolutely. For you, some of the biggest changes were you cut out the carbs, and you cut out probably the majority of other sugary items like the breads, the pizza, the bagels, the fruity drinks, the sodas.

Bobby: Absolutely.

Flo: What was it during that two week test that you did end up eating?

Bobby: Here’s what my diet consumed of: I would go run– Let me give you background on how I do my workouts. Obviously, I’m a typical– I go to the office Monday through Friday. I don’t have a real flexible schedule, so all my workouts are first thing in the morning. I get up at 4:30 in the morning-

Flo: You’re a early bird.

Bobby: Yes, but that’s the only way I can do it. I get up at 4:30. I’m typically out the door by 5:00 AM, and I’m typically done by 6:00 in the morning. I get about an hour workout. During that time, what I was consuming for breakfast, for instance, I would come home right after the run, and I would make an omelet, an egg and cheese and spinach omelet or scrambled eggs with cheese, also would get some avocado, get some — It’s this typical stuff you would see on the two week test, and they have a big blog of things you can eat and can’t eat.

I’m like, “Can I have this?” “No, you can’t eat that”. But I consumed that. I consumed a lot of fajitas without the tortillas. I would get the big pan, and then have all the vegetables, it have all the meat in there and the sour cream and the guacamole, avocados and all that stuff. Just pill it on; ate a lot of that during the two week test. I hit up Zoe’s. I don’t know if y’all have Zoe’s in California. Zoe’s is more of a Mediterranean style, no rice or anything like that but lots of vegetables, which I’m not used to consuming.

I did find this: after the two week test, I could eat things after that that I typically couldn’t eat and it not give me a problem like indigestion and things like that. For instance, bell peppers was a deal for me. Prior to the two week test, I couldn’t eat bell peppers, but now I can consume, and it doesn’t have an issue with my body. It doesn’t fight it. I think it’s the fact that I had all those carbs in there it just counteract– I don’t know the technical way this thing works, but it worked for me. I could now consume those vegetables and it not be a problem.

The whole point of going back to this was the fact that once I did the two week test and got on to that low carb high fat diet, that’s when I really saw the fat come off, and then I eventually got down to 145. Another thing that changed with me on my body doing the MAF method and doing that low carb high fat diet was I noticed the veins in my calf muscles being more pronounced. I think my body at that time is becoming more efficient with getting oxygen to my lower extremities; that was another thing. And then obviously just the weight coming off my waist–

Flo: That is one of the biggest things. It’s probably you’re just shrinking down everywhere in your body.

Bobby: Yes.

Flo: I’ve gone through similar things as well where I’ve dropped in a few months off after I changed my nutrition just like you. I’m from Europe myself. I used to eat eight slices of bread a day. For me, it was so normal to eat it pizza, pasta, bagels, any of those things. Even for me to switch that all the way around towards eating much more like real food, eating much more vegetables– I eat quite a few nuts as well like high fat, definitely. I saw that change happening in a short period of time.

I also went from about 170 pounds to 145, probably over three, four months period. It’s even the smallest examples: I have a wedding ring from 2009 that right now, it keeps falling off. I still need to have it resized because it’s just everywhere in your body you seem to have just shrunk some of your additional body fat.

Bobby: Absolutely.

Flo: Even one pound less already makes running so much easier.

Bobby: Yes, absolutely.

Flo: If you over that period of time dropped 13 pounds, that alone already makes you much a faster runner without even trying really.

Bobby: Absolutely. Imagine carrying around a 15 pound dumbbell on a run on, a marathon. I mean just like crazy; I want to drop that. It’s not something you just to carry along. Again, my hat’s off to Dr. Phil Maffetone and all his followers and those sorts of things. It was just trying to get that knowledge. I knew I was doing the right thing, but I was all in at that point. It’s like, “Okay, this is what I want to do”.

After that two week test, my friend picked up a coach. He found him in the Maffetone method Facebook page, and his name is Nick Carling. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Nick Carling, but Nick Carling was–

Flo: I’ve heard his name.

Bobby: Yes, he’s out of Australia, but he’s been interviewed by Dr. Phil Maffetone as well. He was on the website and basically promoting what he does. I call him up and said, “Hey I’d like to get a coach”. I thought if I could find a coach that was inspired by Dr. Phil Maffetone and that method, I felt like it would just reiterate what I’m doing because in the end, I’m a rule follower. That’s just my personality, and I need structure. If someone says “Hey, here’s the plan you’re going to do, and this is a heart rate”, and all that sort of thing, I could follow that plan pretty much without anyone overseeing me. That worked out that he’s in Australia, and I’m in Texas. So, I said “Here’s the deal, Nick”. I’m telling my coach this, “Nick, I want to get to Boston. This is my ultimate dream. I want to run at Boston in 2018, if possible. What do I got to do to get there?” He said, “Well, we got to keep doing what you’re doing but just going to take some time. We’re going to see how you progress. We’re going to do these MAF tests. Eventually, it’s going to chip away, and you’re going to get faster and faster. I said “All right, I’m in. Let’s just make this happen”. That’s what started this journey of really the MAF method for me.

It started June of 2016, so I’m about 15 months into this thing at this point. We’re going eventually get to where I got to today, but just to give you an idea on my MAF test because again, if I’m a new person– The people that are listening to this podcast, I really want to reach the people at are now just starting out because a year or 15 months sounds like a whole lot of time. But you need to realize this is not just a long term play or a short term play; this is a long term play for me.

This is a lifestyle change. This is what I want to do. This is what brings joy to me and to others around me because when I’m a happy person, the people around me are happy. You know what I’m saying. So, that’s the approach I take.

If I’m a new person that’s just now starting this long journey, just realize you might be taking some short term of setbacks or maybe your pace is a lot slower than what you typically used to running. Just realize that this is a test. This is just a little snapshot or just a little slice of the pie, so to speak, to where you’re eventually going. So, my purpose of this meeting or this interview is just give people a little bit of encouragement that there are people that are just like me and just like you that are out there that are struggling to get going and to find the next level for them, but just know we’re all in this together.

To me, I would start off with the MAF test because early on for me, that’s where I found the joy was the little improvements, the 30 seconds a mile coming off the pace. But I could see that every month because I do a MAF test every month, and I was like, “Wow, I’m getting some huge progress”.

Flo: And that progress is what helps motivation right because–

Bobby: Exactly.

Flo: That is the biggest thing that I see with people starting out training at low heart rate is the frustration levels are definitely there for some people when they’re used to training seven, eight, nine minute miles and all of a sudden they have to slow down so significantly. And some people have to take walk breaks as well, or quite a few people actually have to take walk breaks, especially after little bit of time. Once you start seeing that progress, even for myself, once I was running and I saw I believe a 40 second progress from month to month per mile, I was like, “Wow, if that’s 40 seconds per mile, look at what that does over the length of a marathon”. At the same effort, you’re going to be running so much faster.

Bobby: Exactly. Again, my MAF test started at high 11s, the next month 11,10; the next month 10 minute miles; the next month I was at a nine minute mile. September 4th I ran a MAF test in 27 minutes and four seconds, which is a nine minute mile because again, I’m doing a three mile test.[crosstalk]

Flo: Why do you do three miles and not five miles?

Bobby: My coach recommend just doing three miles. I don’t know the methodology or the reasoning behind that, but that was just my coach said. It seemed to work, and it was consistent with everything else. The way my MAF test work though was typically on the front end of long run. My structure is like this: Mondays or Sundays are my long runs. They would average depends on what point of the marathon training I’m in. It couldn’t go anywhere from an hour and a half upwards to 2 and a half hour run.

Mondays were 30 minute zone runs, and when I say zone run, that means in my MAF zone of call it 135 or 140 somewhere in that neighborhood 30 minutes. But each day, I would have a 15 minute warm up and a 15 minute cool down. So, if 30 minutes zone run means I was running for 60 minutes, for 60 minutes of activity; that was Monday. Then Tuesday was typically hills for me, which was about a 40 minute zone of hills.

Flo: Can you verify or explain a little bit more about that?

Bobby: Yes. So, the whole idea is to get about three miles worth of hills in. What I do is I find a hill that– I can’t remember the percentage or grade, but it might be like a 10% grade or something like that. I would warm up for 15 minutes, not on the hills, get to the base of the hill and I’d run up. This hill is about a third of a mile or quarter of a mile to get to the top. During that, my coach said, “It’s okay if you go a little bit over your MAF, but try not to get much too over”. I might get up to 145, somewhere in that neighborhood and then drop back down to– when I’m coming back down, my pace is a lot faster, but I try–

Flo: So, you have that quick turnover still?

Bobby: Yes.

Flo: Exactly.

Bobby: Exactly. Then I get to the base of the hill and I do that four or five times. It would equate to about 40 minutes. Then I would do a 15 minute cool down, so that was the Tuesdays. Wednesdays were a 30 minute zone bike ride for me. So my coach says “Hey, let’s try to do some things where you’re not pounding the pavement with your joints but still doing aerobic activity”. So, that’s why I would do again 15 minute warm up on the bike, and this is a stationary bike. I’m not going outside and ride because I’ve learned my lesson. But it’s basically getting there and doing that cardio or the aerobic zone for about 30 minutes doing that. And then Thursdays were track work. Track work didn’t come to me until earlier this year, so I didn’t do any track work last year hardly at all.

Flo: So, you’re first build that full aerobic base until you almost hit a plateau or until you start seeing less progress?

Bobby: Yes. I didn’t have any track work. What he did do though early on last year, last fall and winter, we trained up to the Dallas Marathon again. That was my third marathon. We had some freedom runs, is what he call them. Thursday would be a freedom run, which no heart rate monitor. It’s kind of run off field-type thing, just how do you feel, just run that. Fridays were my days off, and then Saturday I would have a long bike ride again, typically anywhere for 60 minute to 90 minute zone bike ride. And then back then back to Sunday would be a long run. That’ how my schedule worked: six days of activity, one day off, and two of those days are bike rides.

That last Dallas Marathon in December, that was my first really marathon. At that point, I’d done six months worth of MAF training. It wasn’t a PR, but let me just tell you how I felt. I decided to run on that marathon just strictly on heart rate, so I’m doing 140s, low 140 heart rate. I’m getting average eight and half to nine minute miles.

I ran into some buddies at mile 19 because they took off first, and I said “Well, y’all go ahead. I’m going to just do this”. I caught them at mile 19, and they were just struggling. It was funny. I love these guys. I said “Guys, I got to keep going. I’m sorry. I can’t run with you guys anymore”, but just took off but felt amazing. So, I had negative splits in my last mile in December was a 7:16 mile. I was like, “This is how you’re supposed to probably run these races”.

Flo: And actually have energy left at the end.

Bobby: Yes. It was amazing. The last three or four miles were sub a in– Like I said ,the last mile was 7:16, and I was like I felt like on cloud nine. Now, I ran a 3:45. So, if you recalled the prior year I did Dallas, I did 3:39, but I was trying to do a sub 3:30, and I felt terrible. Then–

Flo: Sorry to interrupt, because this is interesting. You’re saying you were racing at basically your MAF heart rate, whereas typically with a marathon it’s very frequent that you train at or below MAF. However, at an actual marathon race you can race 10-15 beats higher than that. Why did you decide 140 and not 150-155?

Bobby: Yes, that’s a great question. Because, I knew this marathon wasn’t going to get me into Boston. I knew if I went out and ran a 155 average heart rate somewhere in there, that my recovery is going to be a lot longer; so sacrificing this race for the long-term plan, which was to get into Boston. I said, “You know what? I’m just going to run a decent race.” I’m not going to try to blow it out of the water, or PR, or anything like that. I just wanted to see how fast I could run at MAF.

I could do eight-and-a-half to nines at the time. But then I was like, “You know what? There’s five miles, six miles left in the race, I’m going to–” Now my heart rate went up, obviously, to get to a 716. But at that point, I was only running five or six miles at a higher heart rate. But it felt good too, because for six, seven months, I hadn’t really gone out and run fast. I had no idea how fast I could run.

That was an interesting thing, because I was like, “Wow. I’m actually going fast and I feel good” and all that stuff, had a lot of energy. But I loved it. I said, “You know what? Now the focus is, “How do you get to Boston?” That’s when I signed up for Chicagoland, which is in Geneva, Illinois. They had a last-chance Boston qualifier, which was actually last weekend; it was September 9th.

I said, “All right. I’ve got basically nine months now to really gear up and see what I can do.” My coach, Nick, he put me on a great plan, where it was some of the same stuff. It was the same structure, but the track work was a little bit more intensive. The mileage didn’t really ramp up until let’s say maybe May in that neighborhood. It was really methodical the way we ramped up.

We don’t do anything based off mileage; it’s all based off time. The idea was, every three weeks we would increase our long runs by about 10 minutes, which is about a little over a mile. That’s all. You would do that every three weeks. By the time we peaked on the long runs in let’s say the middle of August — again, the race was September 9th. In the middle of August, we were peaking at a three-hour run. But again, that three hour was includes a 15-minute warm-up and a 15-minute cooldown, so I had two-and-a half hour zone run.

I was peaking at about, when you add those warm-up and cooldown, about a 20-mile run at that heart rate. It wasn’t over or anything like that. Let me also add; I was doing the 180 minus my age, the whole time. But I started tweaking back up, because if you recall, obviously, Dr. Phil Maffetone says, “Depending on your condition, you can add five.”

Well, I had done 180 minus my age which is 140. I didn’t tell my coach this, but mentally I said, “You know what? I’m going to go up to like a 144.” I was like, “144 is now my–” because I was I’m 41 now, 139, was my 180 minus the age which is 139 added four or five to 140 to get to 144.

Flo: The five, basically once you train for two or more years consistently three or four times a week, you are able to add five beats according to this formula, right?

Bobby: Yes. Also, another good gauge like you say, I’ve heard you mentioned this as far as getting colds and things like that, my body is not subject to that anymore. I don’t have any colds. I haven’t been sick in a couple of years as well, so I felt like I could add five comfortably and not feel like I’ve cheated myself.

Flo: You listen to your body, and once your body says that it’s the right thing to do — that’s why it’s also, sometimes, I feel you have to watch out with some of these formulas as well, that if you follow it too strict with some of these things — of course, it is a guideline.

However, on some days you might not feel like running at this heart rate, or you might even have a hard time keeping up with that heart rate, or other times you might go a few beats over it. Sometimes, I see certain people are so black-and-white about this thing, where at the end of the day listening to the body is most important; absolutely.

Bobby: Yes, absolutely. I’m in the same boat. When it came to this running — early on, I was black and white; let’s just be honest. I was a rule follower, “This is what I need to do.” But as those long runs progressed, and as I get to hills, I would get up to a 148 or 150, and then I just slow down a little bit. I’d have my watch alarm would go off and say, “Hey. Look, you’re over your whatever.” Sometimes I’d tell it to be quiet; I just do my own thing, but most of the time I’d slow down. What was interesting; I enjoy consuming information about people that have gone before me.

For instance, you; you’re a person that now I follow, because I’m like, “Well, this guy, he’s done it for several years now. He’s probably two or three years ahead of me” and so I’m interested to hear what his feedback is. But along the way, you just find ways, or people, to get information. Perhaps, they’ve had the same pitfall. You actually ask the group. You said, “Hey. What are some interesting topics?”

Well, one of the topics for me — at the time it was really relevant — was, now I’m getting into the summer months here, and I live in Dallas Texas and it’s really hot and humid. I was like, “I’m not seeing any improvement on my MAF test.” At this point, I’m averaging about — let’s see here — an 810, 807 pace per mile. I knew to get to Boston I need to probably be around at 735, because to me I had to get to a sub 315 to get to Boston.

Flo: For your age group that is, right?

Bobby: For my age group, yes. Mentally I was thinking, “That means I got to run about a 727 pace to qualify.” But I was thinking, “I got to get to like a sub 740, at least, on a MAF test before I know I have a legitimate shot at this.” I’m getting 820s, 807s, 810s on these MAF tests, and I was like, “I know it’s hot now, but what does that play on my heart rate when it’s 25 degrees hotter, when it’s humid here; versus when I know in Geneva, Illinois, on race day, I’m going to be racing in low 50s?”

Flo: Ideal race temperatures.

Bobby: Yes, absolutely. I didn’t know. I’m like, “What am I going to do when I get there? Am I going to be able to perform?” Well, luck would have it; we had a cool spill here locally. You’re not going to believe this. A week before I went to Chicago for the race, so this was just a couple of weeks ago, I did a MAF test. Mind you, I was doing 807, 805, 804; those were my three prior MAF tests. Then I did an eight-minute on August 19th, MAF test.

Well, September 3rd I did a MAF test in average to 737 mile. It was cool.

Flo: What a difference that is.

Bobby: Yes. I’m going to attribute that to training, but also the weather; the weather had a huge impact.

Flo: I’ve noticed it myself; temperature makes such a massive difference. Over here, I live in Costa Mesa, and I run in Irvine; it’s a bit more inland. During the week, even this week, it was 80-85 degrees out. The difference right there, like in temperatures that’s, or like in Celsius, that’s 28, 30 degrees sometimes. It made a massive difference this morning when I ran 15 miles at MAF. All of a sudden, I saw my page drop 45 seconds per mile or something, just that temperature difference right there.

I’ve even done it back-to-back days, where one day I ran during the day. It was a hundred-something degrees. The next day I ran at five in the morning, and it was 70 degrees, and the difference was, I believe it was more than a minute per mile. Absolutely, temperature makes a massive difference.

Bobby: Yes. We’re all get to this last finale here on — I guess why you reached out to me, because I finally reached my dream. That happened last week. It was an amazing feeling. Let me just tell you. My coach had a great plan for me. The nutrition by the way, was excellent. What I consumed was about 50 to 60 grams of carbs. Now I’m talking in grams of carbs, where two years ago, I would say, “Okay. I’m going to take a [unintelligible 00:50:12] 45 minutes” or whatever.

Now it’s, “Okay. This is what it looks like.” I ate those Bloks; those Clif Bloks. I would do one of those Bloks every 15 minutes, and then I would consume Gatorade along the way. I would get that that nutrition. I also consumed electrolyte tabs every 45 minutes. I think there was three of them throughout that; but started the race off really strong. We had a pacer that was pacing us at average of 717 a mile. I didn’t know what that really felt like.

Training wise, I thought what it would feel like, but stayed with the pacer as long as I could. We were going anywhere from 708 to 720 pace miles. Honestly, that was probably a little faster than what I should have been doing based off my MAF test and things like that. I probably should have been pacing around a 720-725.

Flo: What was your heart rate at?

Bobby: Hear this, this is the great thing. My coach says, “Bobby, I think we are going to go off pace alone.” He said, “This is what I want you to do,” and mind you, I’ve been doing heart rate training at this point 15 months. He says, “You know what? I want you to ditch your heart rate monitor, just not even wear it,” and I said, “Are you sure?”

He said, “Yes.” He says, “I’m a data guy,” he said, “but the last thing I need you to do, is focus on heart rate, because ‘If you go off and your heart rate is at a high 150, or low 160s, mentally, you might not be prepared.’” I said, “Fine. I’m not going to wear it.” Well, that was the first time I hadn’t worn my heart rate monitor in 15 months. It was weird. But, I listen to my body. I just went off how I felt.

Honestly, if I was to be wearing a heart rate monitor during that race, I probably would have averaged mid 150s I’m thinking, or high 150s, throughout most of the race. Maybe even a little higher; it might be low 160s. It’s hard to gauge. But I averaged about, anywhere from 708 to 720s for the first 16, 17 miles. Then my pace started slipping a little bit.

I had 725, 727. I knew at that point I was really close. Because, again, to get a sub 315 I needed 727 average is what I needed. My last three miles, I ran at 745, at 750 and at 752. Those were my last three miles, so I fell off obviously right there.

But I think what happened was, I had muscle fatigue. I think more than anything, my quads were just short. My calves were just not there. But I really think I went out too hard based off my fitness level at the time, but I wanted to get there. Sure enough, after the race, I finished in three hours and 13 minutes and 16 seconds.

Flo: Wow. That is so amazing. That was a massive PR for you right there.

Bobby: Yes, yes. Yes. My prior PR was a 339. Basically I shaved off 26 minutes or a minute a mile, is what I did. I averaged at 724 and felt great. I’ll be honest, at the end of the race, I felt dead. I felt beat. I felt exhausted.

Flo: You gave it your all.

Bobby: I gave it my all. Here’s the deal. We all know people that are trying to get the Boston, it’s not about qualifying but it’s getting to the start line. I knew a minute 44 was going to be close. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough; I’m going to find out in the next couple of days because they are going to open up registration for my group tomorrow.

Three and four years ago, it would be enough. The last two years, it wouldn’t be enough. The question is, “What’s it going to be like?” But here’s the deal; I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, because my goal a year-and-a-half ago — and I’ll be honest, this goal of mine to reach Boston has been longer than a year-and-a-half — it’s just been a dream. But to really start that dream and actually live it was about a year and a half ago. I achieved my dream. I say I’m a dream killer, you know I’m saying?

It felt really good to just say, “Hey. I technically qualify for Boston. I can legitimately sign up and run Boston. At the end of the day, I might not be there on 2018. But you know what?” You even said this, I’m progressing and I’m getting faster.

Flo: That’s the thing. If you have progressed 26 minutes right now, and it is a marathon not a sprint, right? You said it really well. That is the biggest thing with this thing; month after month consistency and training. Eventually, you are going to continue improving.

Obviously, it also depends on how many hours a week are you willing and available to throw at this. If you are able to increase your training volume significantly, or keep even at what you have been doing at this point, yes, you’re going to continue progressing, most probably. For me at one point, yes, it’s great if I can run 70, 80 miles a week and I would start seeing progressions.

I just at some points go through training cycles and other priorities as well, whether it’s with family or with work. At some point, you want to find where that balance is, but you still have so much progression ahead of you as well. Whatever it’s going to happen, I’m super excited for you just how much progress you have made already.

Bobby: It’s been great. Again, it takes a village here. There’s a lot of support. Like you say, the families got to be there, the stress has got to be out of your life. Honestly, we went through a lot this year. We built a house. We moved and all that stuff, in the middle of all this training and stuff. But at the end the day, I do what I do because I love it. I love getting up in the morning and challenging myself. But it doesn’t take a lot of volume.

Honestly, I’m doing mid 30s to low 40s average miles per week, but I’m also doing the bike as well. Six days a week, I’m putting in an hour a day; on the weekends, a little longer. But, anyone can do this; you just got to be willing to do it.

Flo: Absolutely. For my last marathon that I ran last month, I actually ended up averaging only 31 miles in total, which was much less than I initially wanted. I planned on 35 to 50 miles. However, just I had other priorities come in the way as well. I do want to look at one thing that you had mentioned earlier, because you said, “I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 to get my exercising,” how do you motivate yourself consistently to get that done?

Bobby: That’s a great question. A lot of praying, a lot of meditating, a lot of surrounding yourself with people that are like-minded. I have a buddy that’s been to Boston before. He’s run 305 Boston. It’s people that you find that have been there. It’s you. It’s getting on Facebook. It’s find the people that are where you’re at now, “Where you’re at, I want to be in a year or two.” It’s that motivation. It’s things like that. It’s the little things. But honestly, I try to pride myself on, “Why do I get out of bed every morning?” It’s a great question. What motivates me? What is it?

Ultimately, the thing is never about the thing but it’s just about every good thing. What do I mean by that? I mean but it’s not about the running. It’s ultimately, to be the best version of you as you can possibly be. That’s not so that I can benefit, but that’s so people can see what I do and they can be inspired to become a better person for themselves. I do the things that I do to help raise the denominator for everyone around me. How do I do that?

I look to people like you first, and people that have gone before me who’s done the same thing and say, “Hey. This is how I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten.” I want to share my story with everyone else who’s just starting off, that, “You know what? If you think of running as just a way to improve yourself, you’re going to be much better off as opposed to, ‘Well, I got to get a pace or a mile or whatever.’” But you know what, you’re bettering yourself, and so people are going to benefit from that. That’s what I would implore other people to do.

Flo: Absolutely. I was thinking about that question for a bit as well. Even this morning — like last night, I went to bed; didn’t get that much sleep, but I still knew I want to get an early morning run in, because once the Sunday starts and we’re surrounded by the kids and there’s a lot of activities happening, I just don’t get my running. I set my alarm at 5:00 this morning, and I already put my phone away. I have my wristband with my Fitbit, that first does the initial that wakes me up, so it’s the vibration alarm.

Then I have my phone, three minutes — I have an alarm on my phone three minutes later that’s on the other side of the room, so I’m automatically getting out that way. It’s purely routine. I have everything ready by the door. I already like, “I’m going to be quiet not to wake up the family,” and it’s just going through the steps.

Eventually, as soon as you have your shoes out and you’re outside of the door, you’re good. Sometimes, even when you don’t necessarily get your hours of sleeping, although sleep is very important, it just doesn’t always happen. I feel like once you’re out of the door running, it’s all going well. But I do tend to look at what is my goal as well? I know I have a race coming up in October, and I do know that I need to put in my miles.

Although I might not always necessarily feel like doing that run at that point, I know once I’m running, I’m absolutely enjoying it, and it’s purely getting over that initial hump. That’s one for me that helps as well.

One more question I want to — I know we’ve already been talking for an hour so, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time here, but I do want to ask you; what is your advice or your recommendation on people who want to improve their marathon times, people want to go to Boston? You’ve already touched on several good points, but maybe you can summarize over here, and if you have any additional things to add.

Bobby: Absolutely. The one thing I would say more than anything is consistency. Above everything that I could basically talk about is, if you get up every day and you do the same thing over and over and you know that you’re doing the right thing, you’re going to see the improvement.

I think if you are just consistent over time, stay at that heart rate, the 180 formula, if you can continue to do that over time, you’re going to see those progressions and do your MAF tests every three to four weeks. You’re going to see those improvements, and you’re going to just build and build, and you’re going to get that momentum. Early on, it’s consistency.

I think after that, ultimately — my hat’s off to my coach; I need structure. You got to find someone who can put that structure in place that says, “On Monday, you’re doing this. Tuesday, this,” and go out the whole week, “This is what your workout looks like.” At that point, I don’t have to worry about when I wake up in the morning, what am I going to do? Well, I know what I’m going to do. It’s right there.

I would implore somebody to find a great coach, or somebody that can put that structure in place for you, that’s going to have you know 75 to 80% of your routine’s going to be in that aerobic zone. You want to make sure you stay in that. Those are some things that I would definitely take to heart, and then, nutrition.

I’ll be honest. I’m not a picture-perfect guy when it comes to nutrition. I have my downfalls; I like certain things. But definitely, nutrition is definitely a plus, and also, nutrition on the actual run itself, the marathon. I think there’s a lot to learn with regards to that, and you can really mess up sometimes if you don’t have the right nutrition plan in place.

Flo: That’s where some of the trial and error on the long runs comes into play as well, right?

Bobby: Absolutely.

Flo: I enjoy doing the 20 mile runs purely, exactly the same as what I’m going to be doing on race day. That will right away tell you if your stomach is going to get upset or not, and even train the night before with the same dinner as what you’re going to eat before a race; any of these kind of things.

Bobby: Absolutely.

Flo: I do want to go back to what you said earlier because you mentioned, for you it worked really well to find a coach, and to have the guidance and to go that route, right? I think there’s two train of thoughts there, that some people or quite a few people actually, do need that guidance or that consistency. For me, personally, purely because I have a bit of a crazy schedule like many other people do. There’s quite a bit of modification of my training schedule.

Although I pencil in, I make my own training schedules, and I have certain guidelines that I follow there. I do know a certain mileage that I want to get to, or a certain training time that I want to get to. I know I absolutely need at least one, if not two, rest days in my training schedule. I do know I can run more in the weekends. I have less time during the week, but at least I can get my lunch runs in. Then from there on, I typically do three weeks of building volume, 10% a week, and then the fourth week I step back 30 to 40% less. For me, I pencil out my own training schedule, and I tried to hold myself accountable.

That being said though, having someone else, especially once you pay him, or having someone that you feel holding you accountable, and checks back in with you, and who gives you shit when you don’t do certain things, or at least ask you questions about it, I think puts another layer of a barrier of doing it versus not doing it. It’s just more the self-motivation versus the guide of motivation over there, but I think you make several valid points over there.

Bobby: Also, Strava is another thing I use as well. In my group, I’m typically the first one out of the door, so I’m the first one to record the activity during the day. Honestly, I take it a badge of honor, like I’m laying a foundation for everybody else that day. Maybe they’re getting out of bed and look at Strava and they’re like, “All right. Bobby has gone out and done 10 miles today. I need to get in shape.” Strava is another great motivation tool as well.

Flo: Yes, I think Strava is a big one for me. It’s a fun way to connect with other people as well and see what your friends and other runners are doing out there.

Bobby: Absolutely.

Flo: I do think what you mentioned earlier, the [Mapleton] Facebook group, it’s really good to have build up a solid community of I think three or 4,000 members at this point, to have really good conversations in particular about heart rate training and nutrition going on; that we started our own Extramilest Facebook group. There’s a lot of good conversations happening over there as well, and people running into the same things.

Then, you have mentioned the importance of community as well, and running together with other people from time to time. You also volunteer at some of the races. Can you tell a little bit more about one of the races that’s coming up that you’re volunteering?

Bobby: Yes. I appreciate you giving me the time to do this. I’m wearing this shirt right here. It’s the Texas Big Star Half Marathon & 5K. This is our third annual marathon. It’s local race. It’s the first endurance race in the city of Frisco, Texas. Basically, it’s my second year to volunteer on the race committee.

Last year when I did for the first time, was I helped do the aid stations, the water stations. I helped put up the water coolers and tear them down; those sorts of things. But we had eight or nine water stations we had to man, but it’s doing that. The beauty of this particular race here is it benefits in North Texas charity-giving foundation. Basically we raise money for local nonprofits through grants and things like that. They’ve raised over $150,000 to local charities, which is wonderful.

Flo: That’s incredible. Yes.

Bobby: Yes, it’s great. Actually, next year will be our third race. It’ll be April 14th. Those people that didn’t get into Boston because Boston is that Monday, if they want to come out and run the race, we’d love to see you guys there. It’s April 14th. That’s Saturday. I think the admission is like 65 bucks for a half marathon, and maybe 35 bucks for the 5K.

Ultimately, I love doing this because it builds a sense of community in the running community. It’s people that decide, “You know what? I think I can do a 5K,” or “I can do a half marathon,” but it’s been that inspiration that they learn say, “Hey, look. If you achieve a half marathon, just think what you can do now.”

After my first half marathon, I felt like I was on cloud nine like, “Wow. I can really do something.” It’s a great feeling. I know that people will benefit, their health will get better as well through the exercise and all that stuff. Again, I love doing it. It’s just a way for me to give back. It’s all about, like I said earlier, “Bringing the denominator up,” and everyone else around you can benefit.

Flo: I want to wrap it up over here. But one thing that I thought was so interesting earlier, you said, because you discovered the low heart rate training and improve nutrition, you feel like an overall happier runner as well, healthier runner. I’ve experienced the absolute same thing, and that’s why I’m actually doing what I’m doing right now as well.

It is purely feeling that so many other people who can benefit from this, and the impact that it has made on my life by actually going out there and having more fun on my runs, and it becomes so much more comfortable. But even in general, just because of the improved nutrition, how much better you end up feeling just 24/7.

It’s more of a holistic approach to running in health than just a low heart rate training over there. That was very valid. Do you have any closing thoughts, anything else that you feel like sharing with the group they can benefit from?

Bobby: Yes. I think I’ve hit almost everything. Again, if I’m a new person here which I want to reach those people, “Don’t get discouraged,” would be my ultimate thing to say. Look for people like the Extramilest group, the [Mapleton] group; those Facebook close groups. Ask to be part of that. Reach out to those folks. There’s a lot of blogs; there’s things like that.

Get with your local communities. Get with the local runners like the Frisco Run Club. We’ve got one here. They’re great to reach out to. But, don’t get discouraged, and just be consistent. Again, I’m going to go back to this, and this will be my closing thought, “At the end of the day, it’s not about running, but it’s about being the best version of you, possibly. Not so that I can benefit, but so that I can give it to others,” that’s really the ultimate goal.

Flo: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I’ve really appreciated it.

Bobby: Thank you.

Flo: I think a lot of people are going to be benefiting from this.

Bobby: Awesome.

Flo: Is there any place that people can find out more about you? Do you write anywhere? Do you post any of your own running photos anywhere, or?

Bobby: No, I don’t. Actually, I’m on Facebook. They can reach out to me, Bobby Barker. I’m in Frisco Texas. That’s probably where they can find me. I’m on the Extramilest group as well, and on the [Mapleton] group; I frequent those sites as well.

Flo: Great. Please make sure to continue to share your progress. We’d love to hear from you. It’s really fun to follow your journey along the way.

Bobby: Absolutely. I appreciate that.

Flo: All right.

Bobby: I’m following yours, by the way, just so you know.

Flo: Good. [laughs] Awesome. All right, you have a great rest of your day.

Bobby: You too. Thank you. I appreciate you.

Flo: Thank you.

Flo: Hey, what’s up guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Extramilest Podcast. I had a lot of fun talking with Bobby and I hope you learned a few things along the way as well. New episodes are coming up again soon, so make sure to subscribe here.

Last but not least, every week we have a giveaway contest going on to win awesome prizes. Last week we gave a way a copy of Dr. Phil Maffetone’s latest book. This week we’re giving away two pairs of Stance Running Socks. So check out www.extramilest.com/contest for a chance to win.

Hope you enjoyed this episode. I’m looking forward to connect with you again very soon. Have a good one! Later



  • Brent Keller says:

    I really agree with the nutrition aspect of training, racing, and your life as a whole. Since I’ve gotten on a LCHF/Keto diet my health has improved and with the lower body fat, I am starting to become a more efficient runner. Keep up the great work you do for us Floris!

  • Marwan says:

    What helped most with my running was consistency. I run 5-6 times a week.. If I’m low on energy, I just do a small run. It doesn’t matter how hard or how far, as long as I run. I’ve done five marathons so far and hopefully many many more to come. Thank you for all the great info and tips!

  • Thanks for the info/motivation. Training with the lower heart rate is helpful and more enjoyable, also agree, diet makes a huge different.

  • Jose da Silva Roque says:

    Congrats with the achievement and lets hope that that Bobby will make it for Boston!
    I’ve been running MAF for a year and saw some improvement, but still 1 min/km slower than my Marathon goal pace..so just a little jealous..:-)
    My challenge is that I don’t want to loose more weight. I’m 41 and I weight 70kg and body fat 10%.. so I’ve started doing some weight training for extra strength..prefer to look like a triathlete, than an elite runner.
    After all, it should be fun and not obsessive.

    All the best and thanks for the inspiration..will follow Bobby on Strava.

    Cheers from Aruba

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