Pro ultramarathoner and trail runner Abby Hall joins us to discuss transitioning to longer distances after being a middle-distance athlete, when she thinks it’s a good idea to drop out of a race, what surprised her most when she started competing in long trail races, and what she considers her biggest failure.
Abby has placed in the top 10 at races like UTMB CCC, Lake Sonoma, and North Face 50 Mile Championships. She's a global athlete for adidas and is also sponsored by Ultimate Direction, LEKI, Unived, and CTS.
Our sponsor for this episode is SteadyMD. SteadyMD pairs you with a primary care doctor, online who’s available via phone, text, or video for all of your needs. And not just any doctor, but a fellow runner who understands the training process and can easily order you blood work, referrals for specialists, and more. Go to steadymd.com/strengthrunning to learn more and reserve your spot.
Don't miss Episode 113 of the podcast where Jason asked Abby as well as two other pro runners how they fuel for different types of runs, races, and what might change if the distance of their race was a lot shorter.
I first became aware of Max King in 2014 when he won the World Warrior Dash Championship. I realized - after winning my own Warrior Dash in 2012 - that runners are often the best OCR competitors.
Before I first interviewed Max, I studied his career and was absolutely amazed by his accomplishments in virtually every discipline there is in the sport of running:
If it involves mostly running, Max King is a dominant athlete.
And he's not just a finisher - or even a medalist. He's often the ultimate victor, having won world Warrior Dash and mountain running championships and trail and ultramarathon national championships. He's even dabbled in triathlon and adventure races.
That's a major reason I asked Max to contribute to our Little Black Book of Recovery & Prevention (9 pro runners shared their favorite injury prevention advice). I wanted to know how such a versatile athlete stayed healthy and prevented injuries.
But today, we're discussing something different: how Max King trains.
Anna Mae is actually a recent entry into the world of ultramarathons. She debuted at the 2015 Way Too Cool 50k - only to have her finish time qualify as a top-10 all-time performance.
Today, her sponsors include:
She's the current course record holder (and 2019 winner) of the Speedgoat 50 Miler. You can usually find her exploring trails and mountains near her home in Marble, Colorado.
Anna Mae joins me on the Strength Running Podcast to discuss her training. Specifically, we talk about:
Please support our sponsor Inside Tracker (code strengthrunning saves 10% on any test) who help athletes determine if they have any overtraining problems, hormonal imbalances, or vitamin deficiencies. These problems could lead to reduced performance or injury so learn what's wrong so you can take action to improve.
Today you’re going to hear from three Ultramarathoners on how they fuel for races, what their post long run fueling looks like, and how things might be different if they were training for shorter races.
It’s helpful to study ultramarathoners when it comes to fueling, even if you have no interest in running ultra distances, because it’s here that fueling becomes virtually as important as the training itself. It doesn’t matter how fit you are if you don’t fuel well as an ultra runner...
We’re doing this today because we’re celebrating the relaunch of our fueling program Finish Strong. I’ve added new material, updated our fueling schedules, included more expert interviews, and there’s now an extra discount for Tailwind Nutrition. You can see all the details of Finish Strong here.
Abby Hall placed 8th at CCC earlier this year (which is known as UTMB’s sister race). Anna Mae Flynn won the Speedgoat 50k this year and Abby Levene placed 9th at this year’s Way Too Cool 50k.
I’m going to ask all three of these athletes the same 3 questions:
Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CISSN, CSCS is a former strength coach and the current Performance Nutrition Lead for Canada Basketball.
He's written the new book Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That is Revolutionizing Sports that discusses:
He regularly presents at health and medical conferences around the world and has consulted with the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL professional sports leagues in the United States.
On the Strength Running Podcast, we're discussing a host of issues related to mastering your mindset:
Base training gives runners a foundation of fitness in three major areas: aerobic capacity, strength, and neuromuscular coordination (or leg speed).
Aerobic capacity is built through easy mileage, long runs, and workouts like tempos, progressions, and fartleks.
Strength is also built with high mileage and long runs, but also includes strength routines and core workouts.
Neuromuscular coordination is built through strides, hill sprints, and small amounts of race-pace running.
Just like the foundation of a house can’t be built without concrete, plumbing, and reinforcements, you can’t build a running foundation without all of these ingredients. If you do, it’s not as strong as it could be.
But is the Maffetone Method effective for this phase of training? MAF as it's known has you run under your aerobic maximum heart rate at all times - which means all of your running will be quite slow.
In this discussion, Jason goes over the many priorities of base training and (hint, hint) why the Maffetone Method isn't ideal.
Jason is back with another coaching call episode, this time featuring a runner named JT who is committing to train more diligently for his upcoming 5mi race on Thanksgiving.
He's currently training through the Texas summer heat and curious about setting an appropriate time goal, how to work through tune-up races, whether time trials work the same way, and how to pace his goal race.
JT is a member of Team Strength Running, a group coaching program for runners passionate about improvement. You can sign up here to learn more.
This episode would not have been possible without Inside Tracker, who is offering a 10% discount on any of their tests with code strengthrunning.
They test over 40 biomarkers, like various stress hormones, to determine if you’re training too hard, too little, or have any physiological weaknesses that can be remedied by either diet, exercise, or lifestyle changes.
In other words, you learn about problems that have actionable solutions.
After getting your results, they communicate what you can do to lift or lower your results into the optimal range. For any runner who wants every advantage, to see what they’re truly capable of achieving, I highly recommend Inside Tracker. I’ve personally used their ‘Ultimate Package’ tier and loved the process and results.
Don’t forget to use code strengthrunning to save 10% on any test (including their affordable DIY and Essentials)!
Our conversation today features the creative lead and owner of XPollination Productions, Mr. Jeremy Green. Jeremy is a road cyclist and was damn close to being a pro during his younger years.
He’s taken that same drive and intensity to his filmmaking. His company makes educational video courses for coaches and athletes and has focused on several track and field disciplines as well as golf and tennis. Now, it’s time for endurance running with the release of Running Smarter, Running Stronger.
We’re going to talk about the origins of the program, how it was made (I was being filmed on a $50,000 camera), the lessons Jeremy learned about running that surprised him, and who this course is designed for.
You can also watch the trailer and learn more about the program here.
I also want to let you know that I’m inviting anybody who purchases the course to a live Ask Me Anything webinar in the coming weeks. If you’d like to hang out with me, talk running, and ask me anything you’d like, just email me your receipt and I’ll take it from there.
To help us think more clearly about our mental skillset, I'd like to introduce you to Matt Pendola.
Matt Pendola is a polymath and exactly the type of person I love bringing on the podcast. His diverse background includes success in not just coaching, but his education and his athletic career.
Athletically, he's posted quite a few major accomplishments:
He’s also a Road Runner Club of America certified running coach, massage therapist, creator of Pendola Training, and has a host of continuing education certifications in strength training, performance, and even Jack Daniels' coaching program.
In this interview, Matt and I are discussing the mental factors that contribute to our success in running. Because after you get your training right, the next big avenue for improvement is mastering your mindset and improving your confidence, drive to train, willingness to suffer, and finding the intrinsic motivation to always run consistently.
BTW, I haven't explored this topic on Strength Running at length. We have programs for injury prevention, strength training, dialing in your nutrition and fueling, coaching, and for beginner runners. But not for fine-tuning our mental fitness.
So if you have any questions, or suggestions, or ideas that you’d love for me to cover, find me on Instagram and send me a message (my direct messages are always open and I want to hear from you).
Today's episode is all Q&A about strength training for endurance runners featuring a guest cohost, Ms. Tina Muir!
Tina is the host of the incredibly popular Running for Real podcast, a past guest here on the Strength Running Podcast, and a former professional runner.
We're discussing many aspects of strength work:
The answers to these questions - in much more detail - are also found in Strength Running’s email series about weightlifting for runners. It’s an email a day about the benefits of strength work, common myths that many of us believe, case studies, mistakes to avoid, example exercises, and a lot more.
Sign up today at strengthrunning.com/strength/ and let’s plan your strength training a bit more strategically.
What you’re about to listen to is a coaching call where we talk about Riley’s running background, the types of training he has experience with, and how he can structure the next 4 months of his running to not only finish his first half, but also race it well.
Riley is a member of Team Strength Running, the most affordable virtual coaching group you can join. These behind the scenes coaching call opportunities are only available to team members so if you’d like to learn more about the team, just sign up and I’ll send you more details. I think you’re really going to like it.
Riley and I are also going to talk about the enviable position he’s in right now (you’ll notice how excited I am for Riley because of where he’s at in his life), the types of long runs and workouts that work great for the half marathon, and the obstacles he must avoid this fall if he’s going to stay healthy and run his first marathon.
Us distance runners are used to metering out our effort, cautiously sipping fuel to conserve energy, and waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
We're creatures of patience, willing to grind for miles and execute a well-planned pacing strategy over the course of a race.
But none of that happens in the 800m.
In the half mile - possibly the "perfect" middle distance event - caution and patience are liabilities. Sipping fuel would be competitive suicide; blasting the after-burners is the only way to race it.
And such a fast, aggressive race demands training that's very different from what distance runners are used to.
In fact, 800m training looks like a blend of sprint and distance work: long runs and speed training, traditional track workouts with more strides, drills, and top-end speed reps.
During my track days, I certainly didn't do any 800m training. But I raced a lot of 800's in a few situations:
And while I'm firmly a distance runner (and distance coach), I love the 800m race. It's a beautiful expression of speed.
So I brought a middle-distance coach on the podcast to discuss this distance, 800m training, and how adult runners can get started with shorter, faster races.
Tom is an 800m specialist coach for the District Track Club in Washington, DC. He used to hold the General Manager role as well but is now working exclusively in a coaching capacity.
The DTC was started (and is still directed) by Matt Centrowitz, Sr. (father to Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Centrowitz) and features a range of elite middle distance runners.
Tom is on the podcast today to discuss how an elite running club like the DTC works (its funding, how it recruits members, and its origin) and the intricacies of 800m training.
He'll be answering questions like:
We also discuss how to find all-comers track meets (there needs to be more of these!) so you can test yourself at the 800m distance.
Katy Sherratt joins us on the podcast today to discuss the mission of Back on My Feet and the power of running to combat homelessness.
And it is quite powerful! The organization has helped more than 7,000 and every dollar invested into Back on My Feet returns $2.50 to the local community. Talk about a positive return on investment!
In this conversation, we're discussing:
Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to run requires commitment. And for those who can commit, they'll be rewarded with a supportive community, housing and employment resources, and other tools that will help them achieve more of their goals - both on and off the road.
After 100 episodes of the Strength Running Podcast, Jason announced a survey to get your feedback.
What format episode is your favorite? Do you prefer longer or shorter episodes? What would you like to see MORE of? And of course, what can be improved?
After analyzing hundreds of responses, there are some clear trends on what you like and would like to see in this podcast.
In this episode, Jason talks through the main takeaways from the survey and what changes to expect in the podcast.
The survey is still up so if you would like to add your voice, please do so! Visit strengthrunning.com/survey/ to give us your feedback.
Matt Phillips is a running injury and performance specialist from England who's written for most major media platforms and has spoken at numerous international conferences. You might recognize him!
He's a massage therapist, video gait analyst, and is also the host of the Run Chat Live Podcast (I was recently a guest here!).
In this conversation, we're covering a lot:
If you'd like to reinforce proper form, improve your efficiency, and make running more economical you can do so using "form cues." They are simple to implement ways of automatically improving your gait.
Menachem Brodie is an exercise scientist, USA Cycling Expert level coach and USA Triathlon certified coach, and a graduate of an American College of Sports Medicine Accredited program with a bachelors in Exercise Physiology.
He also has experience working in physical therapy, Emergency Medicine, and even with sports like basketball and CrossFit.
By now, you've noticed that I love speaking with guests on the podcast with a wide diversity of experiences. And Menachem clearly fits the mold.
Today, we're discussing strength training for endurance runners.
More specifically, we're focusing on:
As the author of two strength training courses offered on the Training Peaks site, Menachem is uniquely positioned to offer us new perspectives on weightlifting for runners.
Alexandra Ellis is a polymath, having studied and worked in many different areas of exercise science, fitness, and coaching.
She has a degree in Exercise Biology and has amassed nearly 1,000 hours of yoga training. Alex also has additional education in:
As you can see, she has experiences that most coaches would envy (human dissection and NSCA training in particular).
And I'm always looking for new perspectives that will help us improve our running. Alex delivers in a fun episode that highlights her knowledge about the body, movement, recovery, and injuries.
In this conversation, we discuss:
To celebrate our 100th episode, I invite you to take a short (3-question) survey to help us make it better. I really appreciate it.
Today's episode is about recovery, and specifically recovery through three different perspectives: acute recovery - or what you do immediately after a hard workout or race, recovery as preparation - or what you do in training that makes recovery easier, and finally long-term recovery from season to season so you can avoid over-training and burning out.
It’s helpful to talk about recovery from different perspectives but also different time scales. Because recovery can happen in the micro and in the macro.
And I think this is really important because we runners tend to get caught up in this one dimensional form of thinking about recovery where we’re only focused on recovery after a run. It’s what we do after a race, or long run, or workout, that defines recovery.
But recovery is bigger than that and we’ll be better runners if recovery is more 3-dimensional.
Don't miss our free foam roller guide to expedite the recovery process at https://strengthrunning.com/roller/
Today's podcast episode features one of the lead coaches for Rogue Running, a massive running group in Austin, Texas.
After discovering the Running Rogue podcast and learning more about the group, I instantly recognized Chris McClung as a thoughtful coach who truly "gets" training (he's not going to tell you to run less, run faster...).
In this conversation, we focus on three key areas:
This episode is an excerpt from Team Strength Running, our group coaching program that connects you to me as your coach, a team of your peers, and a new monthly expert interview.
Sign up here to get notified the next time we open!
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.
You might know Craig as the 2013 Pan-American Jr. Games 1500m champion or the 4th place finisher at the 2016 US Olympic Trials in the 1500m. More recently, Craig won the USATF indoor mile and set a blazing 3:53 mile PR.
His list of personal bests is eye-popping:
Craig is a fun guy to talk with because he doesn’t take running too seriously. He’s a fierce competitor but you’ll also see how his running really took off in college when he was able to have fun with his team.
(it's funny how you perform better when you're having more fun outside of training...)
He also doesn’t take himself too seriously, which I find incredibly refreshing. He rocks a mullet and an absolutely perfect 1980’s style Burt Reynolds mustache. The RV only came after the mustache because he wanted to keep the 80's theme going.
In this wide-ranging conversation, Jason and Craig talk about how his career exploded in college, his affinity for running fast, and why your next breakthrough might require you to take running less seriously.
After college, Deena traveled to Amarosa, Colorado to train under Coach Joe Vigil. That's when her running took off.
To discover why and how this happened (it wasn't better training), Deena joined me on the Strength Running Podcast to discuss the mental journey she's taken throughout her career.
Our conversation focuses on several topics:
These are all major themes of her award-winning memoir Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory.