But we almost never discuss the failures of the world's best runners.
What does it feel like to never achieve your biggest goal throughout your entire career?
How does an elite keep perspective? Do they ever think about quitting?
Most importantly... how do elites bounce back from setbacks? Do they have a different mindset than us normal runners?
What enables them to continue training at high levels for years?
How do they overcome a bad workout, long run, or race?
These are the questions that I couldn't get out of my head.
So I interviewed six pro runners to get their hot take on failure:
They're the stars of Episode 39 of the Strength Running podcast. I think you're going to love this episode.
We talk about their own personal failures, how they bounced back, and whether their approach to failure has changed over time.
Meet Devon Yanko. On August 19, 2017 she won the Leadville Trail 100 - a race where 9,200 feet altitude is the lowest you'll experience on the course.
She finished in 20:46:29, averaging 12:28 per mile - a half hour ahead of her nearest competitor.
With nearly 16,000 feet of elevation change through Colorado's gnarliest mountain terrain, the course is so difficult that in most years, less than half of the field finishes the race.
Having run in similar places, I can vouch for how strenuous this terrain can be (even for experienced runners). With precious air at a costly premium, the steep grades and uneven footing make traversing these trails a form of slow-motion torture.
Going uphill burns the lungs after just a few steps. Each muscle contraction seems to draw double the amount of oxygen to fuel their movements.
Running downhill isn't much better. The rocky terrain is a nightmare for those with weak ankles.
Try running fast on a technical downhill trail after running for 3+ hours (in the dark, no less). It's terrifying.
To win Leadville is like single-handedly winning the World Series or the Superbowl.
Leadville is one of the top ultramarathons in the world. Winning it is a career-defining moment for trail runners.
But for Devon, it's just one more race on her long list of achievements:
Not to be outdone, she's also the owner of M. H. Bread and Butter bakery in San Anselmo, CA with her husband.
Strength Running readers will also be familiar with Devon - she joined eight other elite athletes in sharing her best injury prevention and recovery advice for The Little Black Book of Prevention & Recovery (it's free - download it now).
You're going to love my conversation with Devon - but not just because she's one of the best long distance runners in the world.
She's also hilarious.
Alexi's talents extend far beyond the track and screen. She's been a...
As you can see, Alexi has done a lot more than just running. That's why, in this interview, we don't talk much about running.
I didn't ask her what it was like being a multiple All-American for Dartmouth College. Or how it felt to set the Greek Record at the Rio Olympics of 31:36 in the 10,000m.
Instead, we talk about what it's like to pursue so many goals, what she's reading, and how she differentiates between her creative pursuits and being an elite athlete.
This conversation will show you how to pursue many goals and interests (while still prioritizing what's most important to you).
Alexi is a boundless source of quotables and wisdom that I found refreshing. I hope you enjoy this episode.
And please, don't criticize my Haiku poem at the end of the show. I'm not a poet!
You might know David from drdavidgeier.com where he simplifies the complex area of sports medicine.
David's most notably an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.
He was Director of MUSC Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina for eights years and is currently the Communications Council Chair for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Board of Directors.
Major media have featured his advice in interviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, The Atlantic, Forbes, and many others.
Check out David's new book, That's Gotta Hurt! The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever.
As you can see, I was quite excited to chat with him about the best injury prevention practices for younger athletes.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
In Episode 33, I introduced you to Joel Runyon who recently ran an ultramarathon on every continent - and raised a staggering $190,000 in the process.
Today, we're diving deeper into the obstacles he faced, lessons learned, and what he'd change if he were to do it all over again.
In part two of our conversation, Joel opens up about the obstacles he faced while attempting to finish the 777 Project.
They included injuries, unrelated lawsuits, brutal trail races in the mountains of Thailand, and the normal logistical nightmares of running races all over the world.
Of course, Joel didn't quit.
It didn't matter that he had to take 6 months off to rehabilitate a peroneal tendon injury.
He didn't care that every race - and the travel that went along with it - was self-funded.
Nor was it even an option to quit during a race (how's that for commitment?).
More important than the mindset that allowed Joel to leapfrog these obstacles is the impact and lessons learned from the 777 Project.
We cover all that and more in today's episode of the Strength Running Podcast.
To help you shatter your perception of what's possible, discover the training necessary to run 100 miles, and inspire you to chase your next stretch goal, I've invited Magdalena Boulet onto the podcast to talk about her performance at this year's Western States Endurance Run.
One of the biggest names in the world of ultramarathons, Magda Boulet has an impressive list of credentials:
She prepares methodically for challenging races, leaving no stone unturned as she strives to compete with the fastest endurance runners on the planet.
This unique "testing mindset" helped her identify potential injury warnings before this year's Western States, vaulting her onto the podium.
Using a blood analytics service called Inside Tracker, she identified biomarkers outside of her optimal zones - and then went to work fixing them through diet and lifestyle changes.
She's on the podcast today to talk more about:
Joel smashes through goals normally considered impossible.
Recently, he completed an ambitious project to run 7 ultramarathons on 7 continents for charity to build 7 schools in developing countries.
He succeeded - raising over $190,000. The 777 Project brought him to:
Joel's philanthropic quest brought him around the world to extreme locations and terrain that nearly broke him.
But his persistence led to the constructions of seven schools through Pencils of Promise, a charity where 100% of donations go toward its mission of school construction, scholarships, and trains teachers.
Joel is on the podcast to talk about what it takes to run a series of ultramarathons in rapid succession, in varying climates, on very different terrain, all over the world.
What are the travel logistics like for such an audacious project?
How do you train for so many different races?
What kind of gear is necessary to race in Antarctica?
We cover that - and a lot more - on today's show.
Jonathan Beverly was the editor-in-chief of Running Times for 15 years. He’s run nearly 30 marathons and hundreds of road and trail races around the world.
He’s also coached with the New York Road Runners Club, taught several college running classes, and has coached junior and high school track and cross country since 2003.
Jonathan’s new book quickly became one of my favorites. Your Best Stride: How to Optimize Your Natural Running Form to Run Easier, Farther, and Faster – with Fewer Injuries is a holistic look at how to run with better form.
He does not promote a certain brand of form (like Chi or POSE).
He won’t make you run on your forefoot (that’s a big no-no).
And he isn’t even gung-ho about “cues” that make you run slightly differently.
Instead, the goal is to bring you back to when you were 10 years old. Remember back then? If not, just know that you ran with a lot better form back then.
Jonathan is on the podcast today to discuss how to reclaim your youthful, smooth, powerful stride.
Tina is a professional distance runner, Great Britain Olympic hopeful, and 11-time All-America Track and Field/Cross Country athlete for Ferris State University.
She's run in two British Olympic Trials, finishing 3rd in the 10k in 2012 and 5th in the Marathon in 2016.
Her personal bests, as you can imagine, are out of this world:
Earlier this year, Tina made a stunning announcement that she was taking a hiatus as a pro runner. She's recovering from amenorrhea (she didn't have a period for 9 years) and is hoping to start a family soon.
But she realized that she just didn't enjoy her running anymore.
Every run was a struggle. She dreaded upcoming workouts and just wasn't excited about training anymore.
I consider this to be an unspoken problem in the running community. Amid calls for consistency, putting in the work, and training "no matter what" there lies a deeper issue: once you've done that, when is it ok to stop?
Tina is on the SR Podcast today to talk about her journey and give hope to runners everywhere whose hearts just aren't set on hard training anymore.
This is an honest, real, and personal conversation that I hope you enjoy.
I invited Simon Marshall, PhD and his wife Lesley Patterson to talk about practical strategies for building confidence, reducing pre-race anxiety, and managing fears.
Their new book The Brave Athlete is a handbook for the athlete's brain, showing you how to:
This husband and wife team is quite the duo. Simon is former professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of San Diego and a professor of sport and exercise psychology at San Diego State University.
Currently, he's the performance psychologist for BMC Racing - a World Tour professional cycling team.
His wife Lesley Patterson is a dominant triathlete, having won three world off-road triathlon champions and an Ironman Triathlon. A professional mountain biker, she's also a former national champion in cross country.
And I think all of us get how important our brain is to our running.
How many times have you been halfway through a long run and dreaded every step?
How many races have you wished in hindsight that you had sucked it up and ran harder instead of settling?
It's happened to me more times than I can count. And it happens to world-class athletes (like Lesley, which we talk about) all the time, too.
This podcast will show you how to turn your brain into an asset, rather than a liability.
What we put into our bodies has a profound impact on our ability to train effectively.
In short, if you care about you running, you have to care about your eating habits.
And I've brought a Registered Dietitian on the SR Podcast to help.
Over the last few weeks, I've surveyed the Strength Running Twitter and Facebook communities about dieting, weight loss, nutrition, and race fueling.
I collected about a dozen of the best questions and got my friend Anne Mauney to help me answer them for you.
Anne worked with me to create one of SR's flagship programs, Nutrition for Runners.
She's one of the busiest RD's I know with a private practice in Washington, DC and a popular lifestyle blog. She also gives healthy eating presentations and workshops to organizations like Whole Foods.
Her work has been featured in Glamour, Self, The Washington Post, and Fitness Magazine. When she's not helping athletes improve their diets, she's usually running around DC or tackling yet another half marathon.
There are also two more Q&A podcasts that we did together - download them here for free.
On this episode, we cover a lot of questions:
But sometimes, life gets in the way. I simply don't have the time to answer all of your questions - especially when a single SR email goes out to about 80,000 runners...
That does not, however, mean I'm not paying attention.
In fact, I often save your running questions to get to them later. And that's exactly what we're doing today.
Joining me as the SR Podcast's first co-host is my friend, fellow coach, and ultra runner Doug Hay.
Fresh off his sub-15hr run at the Ultra Run of Champions (snagging him a sweet belt buckle!), Doug is helping us get to the bottom of some of your toughest questions.
Let's dive in.
I met Ian in August, 2016 one day before the Leadville Trail 100. We got coffee with a friend of ours and then watched a Beer Mile (it took place on the road behind us in the above picture).
Ian officiated – starting the race and cheering on runners as they raced and chugged beers.
Two days later, Ian crossed the finish line of the Leadville Trail 100 in first place – his third victory.
He’s no slouch in the world of ultra running. In fact, he’s one of the best ultramarathoners in the world:
And over the last year, I’ve been fortunate to work with Ian on a few different projects:
Now he’s back to talk about running an 11+ minute personal best at the Mt. Charleston Marathon.
But it’s not all training geekery. Did you know Ian has run dozens of marathons in costumes?
In fact, he’s run a 2:40 marathon as Spider Man!
This is going to be fun 🙂
I invited Tom Foreman on the podcast to philosophize about running, goals, and racing throughout life.
You might recognize Tom as an emmy-award winning journalist at CNN. He's reported on wars, natural disasters, and political skirmishes across 20 countries.
He's also quite the runner.
Author of My Year of Running Dangerously, Tom has a handful of marathons and ultramarathons under his belt and is chasing a BQ soon at the Cincinnati Marathon.
More than anything, Tom has a unique perspective on what running means at various stages of life.
Speaking with Tom is always a treat so I hope you enjoy this conversation. I think it will bring you new appreciation for running!
Is it surprising that I don’t think strength workouts are cross-training? Rather, strength work is just part of your training as a runner.
Cross-training is supplemental exercise that can be helpful to your running, like cycling.
But just like form drills, strides, or dynamic flexibility exercises, I consider strength training to be an integral part of how to train distance runners.
If you’re not strength training, then you’re not training.
And to help you get things right in the weight room, I invited top strength and conditioning coach Tony Gentilcore on the Strength Running podcast to talk about:
Cofounder of Cressey Sports Performance, Tony now owns his own gym outside of Boston and trains top-level athletes and everyone else.
A frequent contributor to major fitness and media outlets like T-Nation, Women’s Health, and The Boston Herald, Tony also runs a popular strength training blog.
Tony made my job easy as podcast host because he has a great sense of humor and can make exercise science seem easy. I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I did speaking with Tony.
Even if you’re comfortable in the gym, you won’t want to miss this episode.
You might recall George from episode 6 of the Strength Running podcast.
We talked about a lot:
George wanted help planning for a PR attempt at the half marathon. Episode 6 was a “behind the scenes” coaching call where we strategized on how he could make it happen.
Now, he’s back on the podcast to see if my ideas actually worked!
For a long time, George’s episode was the most downloaded show because folks loved listening “over my shoulder” as we strategized.
And I think you’ll enjoy this show just as much.
It's not every day that you meet somebody with so many varied interests.
And when you do, pay attention. Their insights and mental models are light years ahead of the average person.
Simon Donato is one of these "Renaissance Men." His many accomplishments include:
He's on the podcast today to help us find more adventure in our life.
I think runners are uniquely suited to be adventurers because of our endurance, appetite for suffering, and thirst for new experiences.
This episode is an excerpt from an interview included in Team Strength Running - affordable coaching with teammates, proven training, me as your coach, and team perks like discounts and other bonuses.
If you'd like to learn more about the team, sign up at http://strengthrunning.com/tsr/ (we're opening soon!).
Boston is unlike any marathon in the world. It first started in 1897 with a whopping 18 runners. In 2011, nearly 27,000 runners ran the race on “Marathon Monday,” also known as Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts.
In one of the most famous stories, Kathrine Switzer finished Boston as the first woman with a race number in 1967. She registered as “K.V. Switzer” to avoid detection since women were not allowed to run at that time. When officials found out she was running, they tried to physically eject her from the race. Luckily another runner body checked the official to the ground and she was able to keep running.
Her historical finish proved that women could run marathons and sparked a women’s running revolution. Race officials eventually recognized the female race winners from before they were officially allowed to compete in 1972.
After Bill “Boston Billy” Rodgers, a Boston legend, won the race four times in trademark style in the 1980’s, the race has become one of the most competitive marathons in the world. With a prize purse approaching $1 million in 2011, the best marathoners in the world show up to give it their all.
Showcasing the extreme competitiveness of Boston, in 2011 Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai overtook early leader Ryan Hall and crushed the last 10k to finish in a mind-blowingly fast time of 2:03:02.
Yes, you read that right: the world’s fastest time is an average 4:41 mile pace over 26.2 miles.
In this podcast, Jason shares some words of wisdom before you line up in Hopkinton to race the world's most prestigious marathon.
Nate is the cofounder of The Run Experience. And he doesn't just have a USA Track & Field coaching certification. He's also completed continuing education courses in:
Like me, he recognizes that injury prevention and athleticism are what make faster, healthier runners.
And in this conversation, we dive deeper into mobility work for runners and how to implement a daily mobilization routine into your schedule. Plus, the differences between mobility and flexibility.
You'll notice that Nate has quite the background in CrossFit. While I've gone off on CrossFit in the past, we acknowledge the helpful parts of this sport that runners can use to design smarter training.
If you're injury-prone or looking for ways to level up your training, you don't want to miss this episode.
Diet is more important than most runners realize - and the effects of poor eating habits can derail anybody's running:
But if you dial in your nutrition then performances will improve, recovery will be faster, and you'll just feel better.
And I think every runner would benefit from that.
To help optimize our dietary choices and approach to fueling, I invited author Matt Fitzgerald onto the podcast today.
Over the last several years, Matt has been investigating the eating habits of professional endurance athletes around the world.
And his findings are powerful. World-Class runners in the United Sates, top swimmers in Australia, and champion triathletes in South Africa all have one thing in common: their diet.
There's overwhelming evidence from around the world - and indeed, from every type of endurance sport - that the best runners in the world all eat the same way.
Matt calls this approach The Endurance Diet and outlines five foundational habits that shape how elite runners fuel their training.
And on the podcast, we outline each of these habits and how you can apply them to your life. Enjoy!
Ritz has more career highlights than there are spectators at the Boston Marathon (ok maybe not but still!):
A Generation UCAN-sponsored athlete, he is now preparing to run the River Bank Run 25k this May.
I kicked off the episode with an embarrassing story - one I debated sharing but I thought it was funny. Enjoy!
On more serious topics, we chat about:
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dathan Ritzenhein!
James doesn't look like the "typical" runner - he's 6'6" and 250 pounds. A former professional rugby player, James has a degree in Sport Rehabilitation and is fully insured member of the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers (BASRaT).
He's the founder of Kinetic-Revolution and has an ongoing fascination with the functional biomechanics of running (in other words, how you move while running).
In this far-reaching discussion, we talk about quite a few issues:
Enjoy my conversation with James (and don't miss the announcement at the end of the show!).
In this short episode, Jason shares a letter from a runner named Colleen. She experienced self-doubt and was afraid of failure before a race. But with a positive mindset and a few inspiring lessons, Colleen successfully finished her race.
In this letter, Colleen shares her journey. And I hope you find it motivating as you push through with your training.
Long runs, weekly mileage, and faster workouts are all important - but they won't help you improve if you don't prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
Without proper nutrition, you won't have as much energy to tackle your training.
Without enough sleep, recovery will be sub-par and some of your hard work will be wasted.
Without reducing stress, the risk of over-training and injury increases (and you'll rarely feel good).
So it makes sense to give yourself every advantage and set yourself up for success, especially if you're gearing up for a big race or attempt at a personal best.
When you get these "little things" (which are not so little) right, it makes training much easier to accomplish.
After all, success in running depends on the lifestyle that surrounds the training.
So I invited No Meat Athlete founder Matt Frazier on the podcast. In just the last few years, Matt has implemented a staggering number of changes to his life:
If you've ever tried to start a new healthy habit, you know how difficult this can be on top of your other obligations like work and family.
And I wanted to know how to make all of these "little things" easier to implement in your life.
Because if you're not sleeping well, eating right, and eliminating stress the other 23 hours of the day, then running a longer distance or racing a Personal Best is going to be that much more difficult to achieve.
Dr. Mike Young is the Director of Research and Performance at North Carolina-based 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.
He has degrees in exercise physiology, coaching science, and biomechanics – not to mention his prowess publishing multiple peer-reviewed journal articles.
Mike has coached seven national champions in Track & Field and at four Division I NCAA programs.
He’s on the Strength Running Podcast today to talk about how distance runners can benefit from speed development – from specific workouts to other ways of getting faster (it’s not all sprint work).