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The Strength Running Podcast

Coach Jason Fitzgerald shares running advice for new and veteran runners who are passionate about getting stronger, preventing running injuries, and racing faster. Featuring guests like Olympians Nick Symmonds and Shalane Flanagan, best-selling authors Alex Hutchinson and Matt Fitzgerald, and other Physical Therapists, Sports Psychologists, and Coaches. You’ll learn what it takes to run fast, stay healthy, and become a better runner with practical no-nonsense advice.
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The Strength Running Podcast
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May 20, 2019

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.

May 9, 2019

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:

  • 2:36
  • 2:34
  • 2:29
  • 2:23
  • 2:19

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:

  • How did Peter's mindset about training and racing change as he got faster?
  • What role does fear play in how you think about breaking certain time barriers?
  • Did he ever think he had reached his physiological limit? What then?
  • What is it about the Boston Marathon that makes it so special (and difficult!)?

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.

May 2, 2019

Brad Stulberg is a polymath whose first book with coach Steve Magness, Peak Performancewas 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:

  • Defining a path for long-term progression
  • Mental toughness
  • Developing sustainable motivation and purpose
  • How to get into a deep-focus "flow" state
  • Building resilience
  • Development of optimal routines

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.

Apr 24, 2019

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:

  • 800m: 1:46:03
  • Mile: 3:53.93
  • 5k: 14:20.27

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.

Apr 16, 2019

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:

  • How to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts - while running or in everyday life
  • Why Deena used to race "with fear" (and how she recovered from this dangerous mindset)
  • The mental expectations she's had to abandon to reach higher levels of performance
  • How to "participate in the process" rather than overly worry about results

These are all major themes of her award-winning memoir Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory.

Apr 3, 2019

You don’t have to just “hope” that your motivation to run will be there in the morning when the alarm blares…

But motivation is fickle and unpredictable. Some days, you’re ready to crush a track workout or long run. Other days, you can barely bring yourself to jog for 30 minutes.

You don’t have to be a hostage to the whims of your running motivation, though. Relying on motivation is a fool’s errand. 

Instead, you can structure your running life in such a way that missed runs or skipped workouts are virtually nonexistent.

You can do this without:

  • the latest productivity app
  • getting up at four in the morning every day
  • joining a convent or becoming a monk…
  • “biohacking” your way to the podium

I want to share with you a simple framework for automatically improving your running motivation and increasing the chances that you train hard – so you can race faster.

And it all starts with the other people in your life. Discover more about Strength Running's team.

Mar 28, 2019

Sanjay Rawal is a filmmaker, runner, and the man behind the documentary 3100: Run and Become.

Before becoming a filmmaker, he spent 15 years in over 40 countries working on human rights and international development. His new film is about the longest certified road race in the world: the Self-Transcendence 3100 Miler.

It's an event that boggles the mind: 3,100 miles around a single city block in Queens, New York for nearly two months in the heat of summer. To win, you have to average about 60 miles per day (for nearly two months).

A race like this is less of a race and more of a journey of self-discovery that reveals the limits of human ability.

In this wide-ranging discussion about the spiritual side of running, Sanjay Rawal and I discuss:

  • Why this race is more of a pilgrimage than a race
  • The mechanics of a 52-day, 3,100-mile race
  • What we can learn from traditional running cultures like the Navajo and Kalahari
  • How we can train our minds to be more resilient
  • What separates a runner who completes 3100 miles from the rest of us
  • How the mindset of a spiritual runner can improve your competitive goals
Mar 21, 2019

Meb's legacy is cemented as a world-class runner: he's the 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, winner of the 2009 New York City Marathon and 2014 Boston Marathon, and 4-time Olympian.

He's also the author of three books guaranteed to get your competitive juices flowing:

Perhaps more impactful is his approach to the sport of distance running and the marathon. Free from any personal scandal, Meb is a true ambassador to running. In 2017, he was recognized as an 'Outstanding American by Choice' by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

He's also run 26 marathons over the course of his decades long career. And anybody who has completed that many marathons at a world-class level has a lot to share.

In this conversation, Meb and I have a wide-ranging conversation about:

  • His childhood in Eritrea and how it prepared him for distance running
  • The surprises he learned when running his first marathon
  • Why cross-training is so valuable for him
  • How running has prepared him for setbacks in his personal life
  • When running is particularly hard for Meb

We also talk about his new book 26 Marathons and the many lessons he's learned from each of the 26 marathons he's run over the last two decades.

Finally, I ended our conversation with a simple question ahead of next month's Boston MarathonIf you could talk to the entire field at Boston as they lined up in Hopkinton, what advice would you have for them?

Mar 14, 2019

Don't be surprised if a Metcon workout includes:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Gymnastic movements
  • Strength exercises
  • Any combination of these forms of exercise

They're put together to condition the metabolism. In other words, to enable you to work at a near maximum intensity for a prolonged period of time.

They sound very much like a running workout - like a challenging hill workout, for example.

But the crucial difference is that they don't have to include any running. And that makes them useful for runners who may not be ready for a hard workout (or who want a different, less-specific workout).

I've brought Dr. Mike Young onto the podcast to discuss metcon workouts for runners (and more topics) in more detail.

You can also sign up here for our free course on runner-specific strength training.

Mike Young, PhD is the Director of Research and Performance at Athletic Lab. A Lead Instructor for both USA Track & Field and USA Weightlifting, he also works with elite athletes and has consulted with the MLS, MLB, NFL, PGA, and NHL.

An internationally recognized researcher, coach, and educator, Mike has the unique distinction of attending all three US Olympic Training Centers as an athlete, sport scientist, and coach.

He has degrees in exercise physiology, coaching science, and biomechanics – not to mention his prowess publishing multiple peer-reviewed journal articles.

This conversation focuses on strength training for runners and how to think more productively about certain types of strength workouts and whether or not machines are appropriate for runners.

Feb 28, 2019

Running nutrition can be confusing.

To begin with, there’s your day-to-day diet. The debates will forever rage on in running circles on how to fuel your training, from keto to high carb to whole 30 and everything in between.

At the end of the day, simple whole foods are your best bet, not following specific, restrictive rules on quantity and substance.

On top of that, there’s a general sense that running means you need “extras” in your diet. Extra iron, extra protein, extra…. fill in the blank.

Runners frequently turn to supplements to satisfy these “needs.” There are thousands of articles and blog posts, not to mention advertising, dedicated to convincing you that as a runner, you need to add specific nutrients to your diet.

This episode discusses what's needed (and what you can skip) and how to dial in your nutrition for better running performance.

Feb 19, 2019

Beth Skwarecki is the author of two books and the Health Editor of Lifehacker. She's here to dispel fitness and health myths that might be leading us astray.

Beth is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the Association of Health Care Journalists. After getting a BA in biology from Alfred University, she received her Master's in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Rutger's University.

She also has previously taught nutrition and environmental sciences at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Her two books will interest the science nerds out there:

This conversation focuses on the many side aspects of a healthy lifestyle that make running easier.

After all, it's critical to have a lifestyle that supports running. You can't train well if you barely sleep and drink a lot...

We're talking about:

  • DNA trivia for runners
  • How her job has changed her outlook on health and fitness
  • How to engineer a less groggy morning (for the morning runners out there!)
  • Whether elderberry supplements are a waste of money

Beth and I also discuss running in the dark, the cutoff point for running in extreme cold, and the warning signs of frostbite.

Feb 14, 2019

Lindsey has always been a runner. She ran cross country in high school and after running for fitness and health in college, started running marathons post-collegiately.

To date, she's run 14 marathons and is currently preparing for the 2019 Boston Marathon. She's also a RRCA-certified running coach.

Her podcast is one of the most popular running podcasts out there: I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein has more than 160 episodes and features the most talented runners on the planet:

Lindsey is in a unique situation after being able to explore the training, lives, mindsets, and careers of so many world-class athletes. I couldn't help but have so many questions:

  • How do we relate to elite runners who have physical gifts that we simply do not?
  • What separates the best from the rest of us?
  • How do we learn from these runners to enhance our own training?

In our latest episode for the Strength Running Podcast, we discuss the drawbacks and opportunities of interviewing elite runners, mindset shifts related to running when you start having kids, and a lot more.

Feb 4, 2019

Recovery means much more than what you do - it's also about what you don't do.

For example, many runners think foam rolling or taking an ice bath are effective recovery methods. And if you enjoy them, I won't argue! But what you're not doing is equally important:

  • Are you using your day off from running to do your own taxes and run 34 errands?
  • Did you plan your big (i.e., stressful) family vacation for your post-marathon recovery week?
  • Do you stay out late enjoying one or several too many adult beverages?

If the answer is yes, then it almost doesn't matter what you do for your post workout recovery.

Because the addition of stress - whether physical or mental - derails our best recovery efforts. That's why when I was in college, our track coach was very understanding of poor workout splits during mid-terms. You simply can't perform physically and mentally at a high level for very long.

We previously discussed a hierarchy of injury prevention strategies and how some tactics are far more effective than others. The same is true for recovery strategies.

I want you to understand the best, most productive, and effective ways to recover from your hardest workouts.

And I'm thrilled to present you with today's podcast episode with Ms Christie Aschwanden.

Christie is the lead science writer for FiveThirtyEight and a former health columnist for the Washington Post. She's also a finalist for the National Magazine Award and her work has been featured in DiscoverSmithsonian, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

A fellow Coloradan like myself, Christie was a high school state champion in the 1,6000m run, a national collegiate cycling champion, and an elite cross-country skier with Team Rossignol.

Her new book is Good to Go: What The Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery.

She's on the podcast to discuss individual post workout recovery strategies but also the bigger questions:

  • How do we know if we're fooling ourselves that something is working (when it isn't)?
  • Why isn't it enough to simply ask, "Does this recovery method work?"
  • Overall, have we made recovery too complicated?
  • How do you prioritize mental recovery?
  • If you were to speak to the entire Olympic Team about recovery, what would you say?

This episode is an excerpt of my full conversation with Christie for the Team Strength Running group coaching program.

Jan 28, 2019

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending an hour talking to Sarah Canney. She's a Road Runners Club of America and USA Track and Field certified running coach in addition to being a competitive mountain runner and member of the 2018 US National Snowshoe Running Team.

In fact, she recently placed 9th at the World Championships in Val di Non, Italy on January 5th.

Now, I've never gone snowshoe running. I don't own any snowshoes. Frankly, I don't even like the cold.

But after hearing Sarah speak more about the sport and how fun it can be, it's something I'm dying to try (and you can't get a better snowshoe running venue than Colorado's Front Range!)

And while snowshoe running might be a lot of fun, it can also be an extraordinarily helpful method of cross-training:

  • There's less impact running slower on snow (and less injury risk)
  • It's incredibly specific to running (in fact, it is running)
  • Because it's more difficult than running on the road, less time is needed for a great workout

The more and more I think about this sport, the more that I think runners need to try it!

In this episode, we talk everything snowshoe running:

  • How it's very similar to cross country
  • The gear and equipment required for success
  • The training: how is it different from running?
  • What you need to know before getting started
  • How difficult it can be and how that relates to pace and effort

We also discuss her running retreat Rise. Run. Retreat. for women and how she's making a big impact in the world of women's running.

Jan 10, 2019

Megan Roche is a professional runner for HOKA ONE ONE and the 2016 USA Track & Field Trail Runner of the Year at the ultra and sub-ultra distances.

A five-time national champion, she’s also the North American Mountain Running Champion and a six-time member of Team USA.

Her new book The Happy Runner: Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer was written with her husband David Roche (also an elite runner who contributed to our Little Black Book of Recovery & Prevention) and presents a unique and compelling view of how to excel as a distance runner.

In it, she discusses a wide range of fascinating topics for runners:

  • The difference between hard and fast – and when to prioritize each
  • How to define “the process”
  • Why kindness can help you become a better runner

And of course, Megan and David cover the training side of things with a focus on how to get the most out of your body.

In this podcast conversation, Megan and I talk about:

  • Can positivity make you a more robust runner?
  • Does running make people more optimistic?
  • Why is running “meaningless?”
  • How her medical degree has impacted her training
  • A lot more…
Dec 10, 2018

Over the last two years, I've been learning more and more about strength training. In fact, our new strength program High Performance Lifting (details here) has rocketed to our most popular training course.

Like many runners, I'm not in love with weightlifting (I'd rather be running!) but I've come to appreciate just how valuable it is for endurance athletes. Higher levels of strength almost always lead to faster race times.

 

That's why I'm thrilled to present a new podcast with strength coach Tony Gentilcore.

Tony previously joined us on the pod to talk about why runners should lift.

He's back on today to go into more detail. Tony pointed out during our conversation that all of us deadlift all day long. Whenever we pick something up from the ground (a child, a bag of groceries, your running shoes), we're performing a deadlift.

If we practice that movement and get stronger moving in that way, it will make life - and our running - a lot easier.

And that's the mentality we should all have when we think about strength training: it's exercise that makes other exercise easier.

But we're going to talk a lot more about the deadlift in this episode:

  • Is there such a thing as "perfect" lifting form?
  • Should we chase ideal form or make adjustments based on our own anatomy?
  • The similarities between running and strength training

If you're not sure where to start, don't miss SR's free strength series.

Dec 6, 2018

Now, my goal at Strength Running is to always show you the most effective approach. The training that will most likely get you to achieve your biggest goals.

That’s why we don’t waste time on minutiae. We don’t chase shiny objects like CrossFit Endurance or wonder if we should go keto or run all of our miles barefoot.

We focus on what has been shown to conclusively work for runners.

As you can imagine, some prevention strategies are better than others:

  • If the goal is a fast marathon, great long runs are more effective than pool running workouts
  • If the goal is a fast mile, speed development is more critical than foam rolling or core routines
  • If the goal is to stay healthy long-term, a good dose of strength training is better than regular ice baths

This episode will rank the most effective injury prevention strategies so you know which one to choose for your needs.

Dec 3, 2018

Verrelle Wyatt is a 2:24 marathoner, 4:18 miler, and an Athletic Hall of Famer for his high school. He received his doctoral degree in Physical Therapy from Walsh University in Ohio.

He has two medical licenses in both Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy in addition to being certified as both a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).

In this conversation, we discuss a lot:

  • His experience working with Cirque du Soleil athletes
  • How having a doctoral degree in PT has informed his running
  • The training that led Verrelle to a 2:24 marathon
  • How to avoid the common injury mistakes that land runners in his office

This episode is an excerpt from our full conversation for Team Strength Running, Strength Running's affordable group coaching program.

Nov 19, 2018

As a runner himself, Jason Koop has two top-10 finishes at the Leadville Trail 100 and has finished some of ultrarunning's most challenging races like the Badwater 135, Wasatch 100, and the Hardrock 100.

He's the Director of Coaching at Carmichael Training Systems where he's been for over a decade working with runners, cyclists, and triathletes.

Today, coach Jason Koop focuses more on trail ultramarathoners, guiding some of the best ultra runners in the country:

  • Dakota Jones, winner of the 2018 Pike's Peak Marathon (after he cycled 250 miles in the four days before the race...)
  • Missy Gosney, 4th at the 2015 Hardrock 100 Mile
  • Timothy Olson, former course record holder of the Western States Endurance Run

This wide-ranging conversation covers a lot:

  • The nuances and pros/cons of progression runs
  • Why (and how) to never let yourself become more than 10% detrained
  • The impact of climate change on the sport of running
  • What Jason Koop wishes he could tell his 20-year old self
  • How he continually learns about running, coaching, and exercise science

Our conversation is a must-listen for aspiring coaches, ultrarunners, and running geeks who want to dive a little deeper into training theory.

Nov 15, 2018

Running injuries are formally called repetitive stress injuries. Do the wrong thing (over a prolonged period of time) and you can rest assured that you’re probably going to get hurt.

Here’s a great example from outside the running world. Recently I interviewed Staci Ardison in our monthly interview series for Team Strength Running about weight lifting. She’s become a very competitive powerlifter over the last few years and asked about injuries in the weight room. What causes them? How do you stay healthy while lifting?

Her answer was surprising. It wasn’t a neat new trick or fancy wrist strap for dead lifts.

It had nothing to do with what shoes you’re wearing (in fact, she frequently lifts barefoot or whether or not you were wearing compression socks.

Her answer was this:

Not doing things correctly. Don’t ego lift.

How simple. And also, how accurate.

In the sport of weightlifting (just like in running), injuries are caused by doing things you’re not prepared to do.

I want to provide a bit more detail on and examples of these training errors so let’s dive into the top 5 mistakes we make as runners.

 

For more on injury prevention, get our free email series here.

Oct 25, 2018

With some runners hesitant to brave the yoga studio – and the benefits unclear – I wanted to get a leading expert on the podcast to discuss yoga for runners.

Please say hi to Sage Rountree.

Sage isn’t just an internationally recognized yoga expert with the highest level of training possible. She hasn’t just worked with Olympians, NBA and NFL players, and collegiate athletes.

She’s also a running and triathlon coach and the author of eight books, including:

With a PhD in English Literature, race experience from 400m to the ultramarathon, and experience teaching yoga at venues ranging from the local Turkey Trot to the Pentagon, Sage has a breadth of experience unlike most other fitness experts.

She’s also the owner of the Carolina Yoga Company, the Hillsborough Spa and Day Retreat; and the Carolina Massage Institute.

And she’s on the podcast to talk about the many benefits of yoga for runners.

Oct 18, 2018

Today I want to help you avoid the most common mistakes among new runners. These "unforced errors" derail your progress, invite injury, and make running harder than it needs to be.

Simply not doing the wrong thing can be the difference between success and failure.

It’s like Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said:

“It’s not the great play that wins the game. It’s eliminating the dumb play.”

Here are three of the most common mistakes I see beginners make with their running – whatever you do, avoid these at all costs!

For more on beginner running, get our Bonus Podcast for new runners at https://strengthrunning.com/new/

Oct 9, 2018

Pam is a Team Strength Running member. Every month, I get the team together for a live video coaching call. We talk about workouts, scheduling races, planning around vacations and injuries, and how to strategically plan a season.

I recently asked the team if anybody was planning a BIG goal and wanted to come on the podcast to talk more about how to achieve that crazy goal.

[These opportunities are only available to Team SR members. Learn more about the team here.]

Pam stepped up. She’s not new to running but wants to run a marathon even though she’s never run longer than about 9 miles. Her longest race has been 10k.

This is a unique place to be: an experienced yet low-mileage runner who wants to make the leap to running 26.2 miles.

We’re left with a lot of questions:

  • How can this transition be done safely with as little injury risk as possible?
  • Can Pam train for a marathon now or should she wait?
  • How can Pam build her mileage over the long-term to make running her first marathon easier to achieve?

These are the questions we’re answering on today’s podcast episode about running your first marathon.

This is a behind the scenes coaching call that I occasionally do for team members, highlighting their unique goals and struggles and how they can keep improving.

The format of the call is three parts:

First, what is Pam’s background as a runner?

Second, what are her goals and current training like?

Finally, we strategize on how she can make those goals a reality.

Oct 5, 2018

To kick off 2018, we’re focusing on strength training for runners. And there’s an undeniable advantage from getting the fundamentals right before you learn how to start lifting weights:

Progress is faster (you get better sooner!)

Risks are mitigated (far fewer injuries!)

Results are more substantial (you get stronger!)

My goal is to help you limit the early mistakes as you start lifting weights so you can enjoy all of the benefits of strength training exercises:

  • power
  • fewer injuries
  • speed
  • coordination
  • lean muscle
  • efficiency

We cover a lot more on Strength Running’s free weight lifting ecourse here – don’t miss it!

Sep 17, 2018

If you don't know Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, you're missing out.

He’s a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine and a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force Reservists. He designed the US Air Force Efficient Running Project and has presented running workshops on over 50 military bases.

Mark has been a national-level Masters runner, completed more than 100 marathon and ultra-marathon races, and is a two time winner of the Air Force Marathon. His PR? A staggering 2:24.

He's also strongly involved in the local West Virginia running community:

Mark's new book, Run for Your Life: How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain or Injury and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy is all of his expertise and experience distilled into one manual for preventing injury.

He's also on the Strength Running Podcast to discuss these topics in more detail.

We're focusing on three main areas of prevention:

  • Running form: cues, mistakes, and big picture principles
  • Barefoot running: how to get started and avoid injuries
  • Lifestyle: what factors predispose you to getting hurt?
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