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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Now displaying: 2020
Apr 9, 2020

Luke Tyburski has overcome more in his relatively short life than most of us. His dream as a child was to play professional soccer on the world stage. And he accomplished exactly that as an adult, playing in lower-level professional leagues in California, Louisiana, and the UK.

But his dreams were cut short after a series of debilitating injuries. He couldn't maintain the workload of a high-level soccer player without getting hurt.

Soon, he succumbed to severe clinical depression. With no backup plan and thoughts of suicide running through his mind, Luke felt lost.

But then he discovered endurance sports.

Reinventing himself as an ultra-endurance adventurer, Luke started competing in the most brutal events on the planet:

  • The Ultimate Triathlon - a 12-day, 2,000km triathlon across multiple countries
  • Marathon des Sables - a 6-day, 156-mile ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert
  • The Everest Ultramarathon - a 40-mile ultra going down from Base Camp (elevation 17,000 feet)

And these are just the most extreme events!

Now, Luke is still focused on ultra-endurance events but also in sharing his journey.

In this episode of the podcast, Luke and I talk about his background as a soccer player and how he decided to become an ultra-endurance athlete.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • What he learned from being injured so frequently as a soccer player
  • How those injuries influence his training for running events
  • The shifts in mindset that were required to transition from soccer to ultra running
  • How running helped him fight his clinical depression
  • What keeps Luke motivated today

Luke is a teacher and has a way of lifting up those around him. I felt inspired, motivated, and in a positive state of mind after I spoke with him and I know you will, too!

Show Links & Resources:

Thank you SteadyMD

Our sponsor for this episode of the podcast is SteadyMD. They pair you with a primary care doctor, online, who’s available via phone, text, or video for all of your needs. It's tele-medicine at its finest.

And not just any doctor, but a fellow runner who understands the training process, your recovery needs, repetitive stress injuries, and can easily order you blood work, referrals for specialists, and more. Dr. Josh Emdur leads the program and he's a sub-3 marathoner!

Visit SteadymD to learn more about this innovative medical service for endurance runners and reserve your spot.

Apr 2, 2020

Today on the podcast, we're talking with Emma Coburn on the incredible success she's had over the last few years.

For nearly a decade, Emma Coburn has been a force to be reckoned with in the 3,000m steeplechase - a notoriously difficult race that requires strength, coordination, and an unwavering focus.

In this conversation, we're discovering how Emma has engineered such a tremendous career over a long period of time. Emma and I talk about:

  • What she's doing right now to maintain her momentum now that the 2020 Olympics have been postponed
  • The training staples that are consistently present in her training
  • Advice for runners who've had their spring races cancelled
  • The elements of her training that have changed over time
  • Her advice for high school girls transitioning to college track and cross country
  • When she knows its time to move out of her comfort zone

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Show Links & Resources:

Thank you Elevate Running Camp

A big thanks to our new sponsor, Elevate Running Camp! This is an awesome opportunity to enjoy some of the best trails in the country and a mecca for distance running in Boulder, Colorado.

Elevate is a 4-day, 3-night adult running camp with pro athletes, doctors, and other experts to help you make the most from the retreat. You'll be able to get a post-run massage, do some outdoor yoga, and most importantly, connect with other runners just like you. Plus, you get a swag bag and professional camp photos to post all over your Instagram account!

All ages and paces are welcomed and the price, excluding travel to Boulder, is all-inclusive with lots of great food for runners as well.

While registration is currently closed because of the coronavirus, I encourage you to sign up for their email list on their site. You’ll be the first to know when registration reopens and when it does, you can use code elevatestrength200 to save $200 off a camp of your choice.

Mar 26, 2020

Abby Stanley is the assistant cross country and track coach for Cal Baptist and the cohost of the Up and Running Podcast.

She's also my teammate for Rambling Runner's Virtual Race Series Podcaster Challenge. And I'm happy she's on my team - she's a 2:52 marathoner, too!

Her first race ever was a marathon in college - not the best introduction to racing, but it got her hooked. Now, she surrounds herself with running as a coach and podcaster.

On the Strength Running podcast, we're discussing a wide-ranging set of issues designed to help you improve:

  • What aspect of fitness do most runners need to develop?
  • How does she focus on injury prevention - and what are the most effective prevention strategies?
  • Should beginners race "complex" or challenging races?
  • How can we adapt the lessons she's learned working with college athletes to us adult runners?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

This episode would not have been possible without Inside Tracker, who is offering a 10% discount on any of their tests with code strengthrunning.

Mar 19, 2020

This episode answers the #1 question runners have asked over the last week: 'now that my spring race is canceled, what do I do now?'

You'll hear from Jen Miller, author of Running: A Love Story and the person behind the New York Times weekly running newsletter. She had a marathon and a 50k on her plate this spring but both races are canceled. Jason and Jen discuss what she can do now and her unique circumstances that take priority over running.

Team Strength Running - our virtual team - is open indefinitely to help you stay connected to the running community. This is our group coaching program where you get a coach, a library of training plans, strength and core routines, ongoing education with a new expert interview every week, and the support and camaraderie of having a network of other runners just like you. It’s a team, after all!

If you’d like to see more details and potentially join, go to to learn more.

A virtual race series that I’ve joined is The Rambling Runner series. You can find more info at or you can simply search for the rambling runner club on Strava and join from there. It’s entirely free and this is one of the best opportunities to stay connected in the coming months.

Mar 16, 2020

This is an extra episode this week about the coronavirus. All of our lives have been disrupted over the last few weeks and things seem to be getting worse, so I wanted to give some advice to runners out there on how to handle their training and race schedule in a time like this. 

Beth Skwarecki joins us to discuss pandemics from a historical perspective, talk more about why this is unlike the flu, and what you can do to keep yourself and loved ones healthy and safe.

Beth is the Health Editor of one of the largest blogs in the World, Lifehacker and runs their health and fitness vertical called Vitals. She has published two books - Genetics 101 and Outbreak! 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World. Her work has been featured in Science, Medscape, Scientific American, and many other major media sources.

Be sure to stay tuned after our conversation; I’ll be talking about what you can do to stay fit if you’re isolated at home or if your spring race has been cancelled.

Use these routines to stay fit and strong at home:

Mar 12, 2020

Justin ran his first marathon last year in 3:53 after a few years of consistent running. But he's recently taken the last 6 months off from running for a move and a new PhD program.

His goal is to run a much faster marathon this fall. Without much race history and a relatively low training age, we're left with many questions:

  • How will he do it?
  • What aspects of his training demand improvement?
  • What elements of training from his last cycle should remain the same?
  • Should he start training for a fall marathon now?
  • How can he take "the next step" with his running but also stay healthy?

The marathon is a uniquely difficult event so our preparation must be methodical. It's the longest distance that's not considered an ultra marathon. And while many ultras are on trails, most marathons are on the roads, providing far more stress and impact than a trail race.

Moreover, the human body is only capable of storing enough carbohydrates for about 20 miles of hard exercise. Hitting the wall - or the infamous marathon bonk - is because runners don't have enough carbs to fuel their high-intensity running.

Clearly, we need to take the marathon seriously.

And Justin is ready to do just that. In this episode, we're going to learn:

  • His background and how long he's been running
  • What his training was like for his first marathon
  • His history with injuries and other race distances
  • The strategy from March - October for a faster marathon
  • What he should right now (note: it's not start training for his fall marathon)
  • The concrete training upgrades he ought to make for a faster race

Justin is a regular runner just like all of us. He's a 25-year old PhD student living in Philadelphia who started taking running more seriously after he fell in love with his progress.

And now, he's starting to think about qualifying for Boston and potentially running a sub-3 marathon.

Mar 5, 2020

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Metzl is one of the most highly regarded doctors for runners. He delivers lectures around the world and has published numerous peer-reviewed papers.

In addition to his medical practices in New York and Connecticut, Jordan has written several books for athletes including:

He’s the creator of the IronStrength workout for runners and is a multiple marathon and Ironman finisher.

Today on the podcast, we’re discussing how to keep you healthy and running stronger.

Our topics of discussion include:

  • The importance of having a strong butt
  • Strength training’s (bloated?) injury prevention benefits
  • Balancing high mileage with staying healthy
  • The injury risks of highly cushioned shoes like the Nike Next%

Links & Resources From the Show:

Mar 2, 2020

On Saturday, February 29, 2020 history was made in Atlanta Georgia as hundreds of athletes vied for the top 3 spots in the men's and women's Olympic Trials Marathon.

This episode was originally recorded for the Road to the Olympic Trials podcast, where it was released one day before this episode. It features a recap of the 2020 Men’s & Women’s Olympic Trials Marathons with Matt Chittim, host of that podcast as well as the Rambling Runner podcast.

This episode is sponsored by Inside Tracker, a company that helps endurance athletes optimize their training after taking a simple blood test. Figure out if you’re over- or under-training so you catch these problems early and train more effectively. Use code strengthrunning (no space) to save 10% on any of their blood testing kits at

At this Olympic Trials, history was made, lifetime dreams were accomplished - and shattered, and Olympians were minted.

Nothing is more exciting than a 4-year quest to represent your country in the most competitive contest on Earth. The Olympic Games represent the best in humanity - and you’re about to hear from two very excited running geeks who just watched the trials marathon. Matt and Jason had a blast talking about the breakaway performances, the unique difficulty of the Atlanta course, and surprises from this Olympic Trials.

Feb 27, 2020

Chris Johnson is a physical therapist, Ironman triathlete, coach, and a three-time All-American triathlete.

He started studying physical therapy as an undergraduate while he was captain of the tennis team at the University of Delaware. Chris then earned his PT degree while completing an orthopedic and sports graduate fellowship before working in New York City as a physical therapist and researcher.

Chris then moved to Seattle where he started Zeren Physical Therapy. He's also a certified triathlon coach, three-time All American triathlete, two time Kona Qualifier, and is currently ranked 16th in his age group in the country for long course racing.

I’m excited to bring you this conversation focused on injury prevention. We’re exploring a lot of fascinating topics:

  • Stride smoothness
  • Form drills and corrective exercises
  • Injury assessments (like the Functional Movement Screen)
  • Predicting injuries
  • Rehabilitation exercises vs. prevention exercises

Chris possesses a wealth of information about movement fluency, injury prevention, and treatment. I was honored to speak with him and I hope that you get a lot of value from this conversation.

Show Links & Resources:

More Prevention Advice From the Best

One of my favorite projects recently was asking nine elite athletes about their favorite injury prevention strategies.

The result is The Little Black Book of Prevention & Recovery. It features:

  • Dathan Ritzenhein – 3x Olympian, 3x National Cross Country Champion
  • Devon Yanko - 100k National Champion and 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier
  • David Roche – 2x National Trail Running Champion
  • Amelia Boone – 3x World’s Toughest Mudder Champion
  • Andy Wacker – Trail Half Marathon National Champion
  • Ian Sharman – 3x winner of the Leadville Trail 100
  • Joseph Gray – Mount Washington American Record holder and World Mountain Running Champion
  • Kelly O'Mara - Professional triathlete
  • Max King – US National Ultra Running Champion and 2x winner World Warrior Dash Champion

Each of these athletes share their most effective recovery or injury prevention strategy – and you'll see a lot of options for staying healthy.

Strategies include post-race recovery, why eating is critical for prevention, how to come back to running after you get hurt (and what mistakes to avoid), and the power of eliminating busyness from your life.

Pick and choose the tactics that most resonate with you. Start using them and you’ll start feeling a lot more resilient.

Click the image below to download the free book. Enjoy!

Feb 20, 2020

I first met Doug in 2012 for a trail run in Rock Creek Park. At the time, he had only been running for a few years but was quickly smitten by the peaceful grandiosity of trail running and exploring the woods.

As someone who ran his first marathon on a whim (he agreed to it after a few beers one night...), Doug quickly transformed himself into a competent and experienced trail ultramarathoner.

He's now run 100 miles (or more) five times. His idea of a fun weekend is going on a 12-hour adventure summiting peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains. And he has a 100-mile race coming up in May...

You might know Doug as the creative force behind Rock Creek Runner or as the cohost of No Meat Athlete Radio with Matt Frazier.

Or, from one of our earlier conversations about trail running.

But today we're not talking about trails or ultras. We're talking about development, progress, improvement, and growth.

We're discussing how Doug went from non-runner to ultra endurance athlete - and how you can, too.

Show Links & Resources:

I also want to thank SteadyMD for sponsoring this episode. 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, your recovery needs, repetitive stress injuries, and can easily order you blood work, referrals for specialists, and more.

Visit SteadymD to learn more about this innovative medical service for endurance runners and reserve your spot.

Feb 13, 2020

A Senior Staff Editor and OpDocs producer at The New York Times, Lindsay Crouse's most-read and watched work includes:

Lindsay is one of the foremost voices for women in running, helping us better understand structural inequities that lead to gender inequality and power disparities in the sport.

After earning a history degree from Harvard University while competing in track and field and cross country, Lindsay moved to New York City and worked in a variety of editing and journalism awards before finally landing at The New York Times.

As a senior producer of OpDocs, she's produced memorable videos about the marathoner Memo and Walk, Run, Cha Cha (which earned a nomination for an Academy Award).

Lindsay is at the forefront of current affairs in the running world, highlighting how power is often unjustly wielded by the powerful against those with very little of it.

But she's not just a running journalist - she's a runner! And quite a fast one at that... just this past fall, she raced 2:53 at CIM, scoring a sub-3 marathon and improving on her PR by a massive 6 minutes.

In this conversation, Lindsay and I discuss her work, its real-world impact on the running community, and what draws her to these stories.

We also talk about:

  • The changing culture of distance running
  • Why representation matters, particularly for female athletes
  • How we shortchange women runners through coaching and science
  • Whether being a runner has helped her break these huge stories
  • Why so many runners consider quitting (but shouldn't)

Lindsay Crouse is someone to watch in the world of running. As a near-Olympic Trials Qualifier working for the "newspaper of record," breaking the biggest stories in running, she's an exciting figure in the industry.

This episode would not have been possible without Inside Tracker, who is offering a 10% discount on any of their tests with code strengthrunning.

Jan 30, 2020

In high school, my indoor track coach always told our team to “get out of your comfort zones!” This valuable mental toughness training always reminded us that racing is certainly not comfortable…

And over the years, my ability to hone mental toughness into a skill to be used at will became easier and easier.

In the beginning, it wasn’t that way:

  • I sandbagged workouts just because I didn’t feel good
  • I “settled” on placing 2nd or 3rd in races because I was afraid to believe in myself
  • I’ve even dropped out of races for no good reason other than my head wasn’t in the right place

Even now, I have experiences that shake my sense of self-belief.

In 2015, I DNF’d an ultramarathon (my first and only attempt).

In 2019, I was disqualified for cutting the course (by accident) of a trail race.

These experiences shook my self-confidence and made me question whether or not I even possessed any mental toughness.

But I soon realized that I wasn’t approaching mental toughness in the right way. It’s not an issue of whether you “have it” or “don’t have it” – it’s an issue of, “are you working on it?”

That’s because mental toughness training is an ongoing practice that must be cultivated over time.

You’re never “done” with developing this valuable mental skill – just like you’re never “done” with workouts, long runs, or recovery runs as a runner.

This episode also includes an announcement about Mindset Mastery, our new coaching program. It's now open for up to 20 runners but registration closes on Monday, February 3rd! 

Jan 15, 2020

Dr. Justin Ross' areas of expertise include:

  • Mitigating anxiety, depression, and stress
  • Managing the psychological impact of injury
  • Developing high performing athletes
  • Mindfulness and pain management

He uses cognitive behavioral therapy, performance psychology, and mindfulness training to help athletes improve their inner self-talk and develop the mental skills to lead more productive and successful athletic lives.

Justin joins us on the podcast to discuss a wide variety of issues:

  • The most important psychological skills for endurance runners
  • How to teach performance psychology for runners
  • How mental fitness skills impact the rest of our life
  • Reinforcing habits through mental training
  • And more…

Every runner has struggled with the mental side of the sport: doubts, despair, boredom, anxiety, lack of confidence, and no motivation.

Dr. Justin Ross is here to help us conquer that inner critic, use performance psychology to stay motivated, and get in control of our mindset.