In this interview Lisa sits down with one of the most successful running coaches in America Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running.
Jason is a USATF certified coach and he and Lisa whose running training philosophies collide get deep into the weeds about what makes up a good running program, how to listen to your body, why mindset is so important and how strength and mobility work is an integral part of running success.
Jason has a wealth of knowledge and with a PB in the marathon of 2:39 he also walks the talk.
and check out his blog on common mindset mistakes: https://strengthrunning.com/2020/06/mindset-traps-mental-self-sabotage/
Jason Fitzgerald is the host host of the Strength Running Podcast and the founder of Strength Running, an award-winning running blog with hundreds of thousands of monthly readers. A 2:39 marathoner and USATF-certified coach, he's coached thousands of endurance athletes to faster finishing times and fewer injuries with his results-oriented coaching philosophy.
He's the winner of the 2011 Morraine Hills Half Marathon, 2012 Maryland Warrior Dash, and the 2013 Potomac River Run Marathon. During his collegiate career, he was a member of the 2002 National Championship-qualifying cross-country team and a top ten finisher in the steeplechase at the 2006 New England Championships.
Jason is a member of the Greatist Expert Network, a speaker for industry conferences and major brands like Anheuser-Busch, and an instructor at adult fitness retreats and running camps. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Runner's World, Health Magazine, Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, and other major media.
He lives in Denver, Colorado where you can find him trail running in the nearby Flatirons or at the playground with his wife and three children.
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Lisa's third book has just been released. It's titled "Relentless - How A Mother And Daughter Defied The Odds"
Visit: https://relentlessbook.lisatam... for more Information
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When extreme endurance athlete, Lisa Tamati, was confronted with the hardest challenge of her life, she fought with everything she had. Her beloved mother, Isobel, had suffered a huge aneurysm and stroke and was left with massive brain damage; she was like a baby in a woman's body. The prognosis was dire. There was very little hope that she would ever have any quality of life again. But Lisa is a fighter and stubborn. She absolutely refused to accept the words of the medical fraternity and instead decided that she was going to get her mother back or die trying.
This book tells of the horrors, despair, hope, love, and incredible experiences and insights of that journey. It shares the difficulties of going against a medical system that has major problems and limitations. Amongst the darkest times were moments of great laughter and joy.
Relentless will not only take the reader on a journey from despair to hope and joy, but it also provides information on the treatments used, expert advice and key principles to overcoming obstacles and winning in all of life's challenges. It will inspire and guide anyone who wants to achieve their goals in life, overcome massive obstacles or limiting beliefs. It's for those who are facing terrible odds, for those who can't see light at the end of the tunnel. It's about courage, self-belief, and mental toughness. And it's also about vulnerability... it's real, raw, and genuine.
This is not just a story about the love and dedication between a mother and a daughter. It is about beating the odds, never giving up hope, doing whatever it takes, and what it means to go 'all in'. Isobel's miraculous recovery is a true tale of what can be accomplished when love is the motivating factor and when being relentless is the only option.
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Transcript of the Podcast:
Speaker 1: (00:01)
Welcome to pushing the limits. The show that helps you reach your full potential with your host. Lisa Tamati brought to you by Lisatamati.com. When everyone,
Speaker 2: (00:12)
Somebody here back at pushing the limits, and it's fantastic to have you with me again today, I have a very special guest all the way from Denver, Colorado, Jason Fitzgerald, who is a man I'll have followed for many years on social media, enter his website. He is a fellow running coach USA, certified track and field coach. And he's an incredible man with an incredible following, uh, a great authority around in the area of running. And he also has a very similar philosophy to our training system. Um, and you might say, well, you compete competitors, but it really doesn't matter because this guy is impact. And I really love what he does and what, uh, how it aligns really with what we do as well. So I do have you enjoy the session with Jason Fitzgerald. He's a really awesome guy. Um, he has a podcast called strengthrunning.com and his website is also strengthrunning.com.
Speaker 2: (01:09)
So make sure you check him out there. Now, before we go over to Jason, I just wanted to let you know, we are running every couple of weeks, our epigenetics webinars. Now this is a health program that we run that has all about your epigenetics, your DNA, and how it influences your life and your health and what you can do to optimize. This is like getting a user manual for your body. So if you want to join us on the next webinar that will be taking place, please go to epigenetics.com and you can register for the next webinar. We're holding these every two weeks at the moment. Um, and you can find out all about this program, what it does, how it can personalize everything to your health needs. It's not only covering in nutrition, which certainly does, uh, but also your fitness, but even things like your personality or mind how it works, what parts of your brain you use the most, it's a very robust system that will help you in every area of your life.
Speaker 2: (02:13)
Now we use this in the corporate seating for individual athletes and for the general public for their health. So it's a program that spans all of those areas and as a really, really exciting, uh, thing that we'll be doing now for a couple of years, it's just like to remind you too, that we, um, my book relentless, how a mother and daughter defied the odds is still available. Uh, it's in bookstores all throughout New Zealand. And I would love to, uh, for you to check that out and to read that, um, and if you have read it, uh, really appreciate our writing and review on that book. Of course you can email me with that. Uh, or you can do it on something where you're like good reads.com. It's a real passion project doing this book. It was a two year project, and I really wanted to share the journey back to health that my mother and I, we taught together getting her back from not much over a vegetative state with massive brain damage at the age of 74 and with a prognosis from the medical professionals saying that she would never, ever have any quality of life.
Speaker 2: (03:15)
Again, two, three years later being fully rehabilitated and now having a fully independent life, even as a driver's license in a full power of attorney back over her life. It's an incredible story. It's an empowering story. And I would love you to read it and to understand what goes into the mindset of winning in something like this and overcoming the odds, not to mention the fact that we all need to take control of our own health and take responsibility for our own health and not give up our, our control to any one person. And that's what this podcast is really all about. It's empowering you, it's giving you the latest information. It's all around health. It's all around fitness, it's around mindset. It's about the latest and breakthroughs in science and health science. And I love doing this. So if you do enjoy the podcast, I would also really, uh, appreciate you giving the show a rating and review on iTunes as especially important.
Speaker 2: (04:18)
Um, or if you're listening on one of the other platforms, please do it there. It really helps the show. This is a labor of love. So I really appreciate you all doing that right now, without further ado, over to Jason Fitzgerald in Denver, Colorado with everyone. And welcome back today. I have a very, very special guest Jason Fitzgerald, who is in Denver, Colorado. Uh, you've probably, if you're a runner, I heard this name. Um, Jason is one of the most successful online running coaches in the world and, and an incredible athlete himself. And Jason, I was on Jason show not long ago, which was a real privilege. Um, and he's agreed to be on my show. So welcome to the show, Jason, how you doing?
Speaker 3: (05:03)
I'm doing greatly. So thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here and it's always good to connect with you.
Speaker 2: (05:09)
That's fantastic. You know, I I've admired your work for a long, long time. And, um, you know, we seem to have quite a few, some of the philosophies we've come from very different backgrounds, but I wanted to, you know, give the listeners a bit of a, um, a background into you in case they haven't heard of you before. Can you tell us a little about your incredible running career and now your incredible coaching career?
Speaker 3: (05:34)
Yeah, sure. So I got started running as a freshmen in high school, just trying out for the cross country team. I actually really hated running at the time and thought that I could high jump on the cross country team. And I didn't even know what cross country was like. My mom said, Oh, it's like track. I think you'll like it. So I showed up in big mess shorts, never actually gone on a run a day in my life beforehand. And then I realized that my God, okay, all we're doing is running every single day. No, I was the kid in middle school who was throwing the shot put as like 110 pound eighth grader. Cause I just wanted to avoid all of the running events during track and field week. So I kind of did an about face. I went from being a basketball player as a young kid.
Speaker 3: (06:23)
And then in high school, I started with cross country and indoor track then outdoor track. And I just got addicted to the sport of running very quickly, partly because I just had a great time with the guys on my team. And I really respected my coach, but also because just that feeling of being in control of your athletic destiny, it was such an objective sport to me, you know, who can run the fastest over a certain distance. It's so pure. And I really liked that. I loved seeing personal progress for myself in the sport where, you know, I could put in the work and then I would run a race and I would get faster. And that sense of accomplishment and achievement is what really hooked me on the sport of running. So yeah, I went from being a basketball player to being a three season endurance runner practically, overnight.
Speaker 3: (07:16)
And yeah, I ran all three seasons throughout high school. I ran cross country and two seasons of track every year for Connecticut college, which is a small liberal liberal arts school in new London, Connecticut. And, um, you know, once I graduated a lot of my teammates and, and really good running friends, you know, they stopped running, but I just couldn't, I, I wanted to race other distances. I got into some of the longer distances that 10 mile, half marathon, the marathon I ran an obstacle course race started getting into triathlons, you know, just for fun, just to experiment and experience these new events. And, um, yeah, you know, I, I just been in love with the sport for over 20 years and it's something that, you know, I'm going to be doing for a very long time. And I always knew that I wanted to be involved somewhere in the running community, whether that was a coach or some other element of, uh, the running world, you know, I wasn't good enough to be an elite runner.
Speaker 3: (08:17)
So I thought, you know, maybe I can be a coach somewhere, you know, uh, I think it was about, let's see, my God, 13 years ago, I bought the domain name, strength, running.com cause I thought it sounded cool. And a couple of years later I eventually did something with that and I started strengthrunning.com. And the reason for that was I really felt like I had something to share with the world because I had such an injury prone running career where, you know, everything from Achilles tendinopathy, plantar, fasciitis it band syndrome. I used to get my SSI joint all out of whack pretty consistently. And you know, I just missed all this time and you know, like any runner, you know, the worst experiences to get an injury and not be able to do the thing that you love so much, which is running. So, you know, after my first marathon, uh, I got this six month long, it band syndrome injury, uh, and I almost didn't start running again.
Speaker 3: (09:17)
I, it was a very kind of depressive period in my life where, you know, I was just sitting on the couch, eating Oreos and watching reruns of house because, uh, I just didn't know what to do with myself, but eventually I thought, you know, I can't just not run anymore. It's just such an integral part of my identity that, you know, I just went all in on recovery. I started seeing way more physical therapists. I started doing a lot of independent research on my own and, you know, I finally got healthy, finally was able to run without any pain. And I did make certain adjustments and changes to my training so that I wouldn't get hurt so often. And you know, it's been great in the last nine years. I've really only had one major injury compared with the previous nine years where I had, you know, six, seven or eight.
Speaker 3: (10:06)
So it's been a big turnaround over the last, um, you know, nine years or so since that first marathon that I ran and that really was the impetus for me, starting strength running was, you know, let's make sure that runners are training appropriately. Let's avoid all the common mistakes that I made in my training. And I knew that for me, you know, for someone who's had more than 10 coaches themselves, for me to be making these big mistakes, I can't imagine that an adult runner who starts running when they're, you know, 30 or 40 or 50, they're probably going to be making even more mistakes. So the thought about the broader running community, and I thought to myself, I don't, I don't want people making these big mistakes because, you know, it leads to injury. It leads to the inability to accomplish your goals. And you're just not really having as much fun as you could with the sport of running. So that was why I started strength running. And that was back in 2010. And here we are a decade later, still going strong.
Speaker 2: (11:05)
That's an incredible, nice little summary. And you know, when you say you went to an elite runner, I mean your, your top marathon time is two 39 people. So, you know, just is right up there. It was a very, very good, very, very good runner. Um, and it's funny, isn't it like people when they think then they don't run and they, first time they come to running and or they do it at school. And I have to admit, you know, I did cross country at school and I hated it, you know, and it's quite funny that you grow up to be a runner, so to speak. And, you know, I think it's really important to see this journey that you've been on, where you head injuries, you had some issues and now you've managed to do a deep dive, really, you know, cause I love your material that you bring out on this. I think, you know, our philosophy is really collide and the whole strength running, um, thing is, is just so important. Can you, can you delve into why, why is it that runners Tinto when they don't have a coach, especially just want to run and why is that they just want to click miles or kilometers and they don't necessarily want to do all the other pieces of the puzzle. What are the other pieces of the puzzle in your opinion? Uh, people probably know what minor and why is it important that you don't just collect miles?
Speaker 3: (12:28)
That's a really important question. And it's one of the big things that I had to address in my own training. And I think when you have a coach who has experience and perspective, not just a basic understanding of running fundamentals, but really has perspective on, you know, what drives performance and what drives you to not achieve a good high level of performance. Then the coach has a much better ability to view a runner, not really as a runner, but as an athlete that specializes in running rather than a runner. And you know, some people might say, Oh, this is just semantic. And I really don't think so. I think it shifts our perspective. And I've been talking more about this over the last maybe year or so, because I think it's so fundamental and important runners are not just runners. We are athletes. That means our training.
Speaker 3: (13:22)
Can't just be running, you know, and we can look at any other sport and see this at play. And so we shouldn't think that we're special. We are not snowflakes. We should, we should abide by the same rules as other athletes. If you look at a football player, let's use you as American football. They don't play football every day as their only form of exercise, they are doing drills. They are in the weight room lifting weights and they are doing so many other things with their bodies to make them physically capable for the sport. You can see that in soccer, you can see that in a rugby, you can see it in almost any other sport. They don't just play the sport, they do other things. And so it's that frame that I think is super helpful for runners to really embed and engrain in their mentality. So, you know, when they're looking at our training,
Speaker 2: (14:14)
That's a really good way of looking at it. So I never sort of thought of it like that. I mean, you know, I would always explain what the aspects of a training plan are for me that work, but to actually put it in the perspective of what other sports do, that's brilliant. I really like that.
Speaker 3: (14:29)
I just think it's a helpful way of, of having a good perspective on things and, and thinking about it a little bit differently because you know, like I said, you know, basketball players, aren't just playing basketball. It would be crazy for runners just to be running all the time. And so, you know, the next question is, well, what's all the others stuff that the athlete that specializes in should be doing. Of course, we're gonna focus on mileage and hard workouts. You know, that's our sports specific activity that is, what's going to make you into a better runner, no doubt hands down. But with that said, there's other things in our training that are equally important. Everything from form drills that you can do before workouts, uh, that help not only help you warm up, but help reinforce good mechanics, those good movement patterns, uh, and that reinforce proper running form there's strength training.
Speaker 3: (15:23)
You know, I don't even like to consider strength. Training, cross training is just part of the training that runners have to do to achieve their potential. So, you know, there's the, you know, there's the, uh, the strength training you do in a gym, which I think is very valuable though, the lifting heavy weights, some of the explosive movements that's certainly has a place in runners training, but then there's also the body weight, strength exercises, the pushups, the planks, the bridges. So many others that I think are really important, primarily more for injury prevention. Um, and then there's also the way in which we run, you know, everything from, are you only running on the sidewalk or are you getting in some trails to get on a more uneven surface to work on, you know, your body's ability to handle a variable terrain? I think that's really important.
Speaker 3: (16:14)
Uh, and then of course there's there's Hill training and all the other different ways that you can develop strength and balance and proprioception and coordination. Um, you know, uh, sprinting is another great example. You know, even if you're training for an ultra marathon, should you run really, really fast every once in a while? I think so. I think again, something helps to develop, yes, it helps develop good form. Uh, it reinforces good mechanics, uh, and it does help you get into better shape, although it's not very specific to the ultra marathon distance being in better shape, being a better athlete is always going to put you in a better position to succeed.
Speaker 2: (16:51)
You touched a point there. Can I just interrupt you there for a sec, Jess, um, doing sprinting and doing these high intensity type of workouts is going to get you in better shape in long distance running. Would you agree with that statement?
Speaker 3: (17:04)
I think if it's used in conjunction with the distance work in an intelligent way, then yes, absolutely. There's gotta be that balance.
Speaker 2: (17:12)
Yeah. And I think this is a really, um, just an important point to, I think this is especially for a woman in my, in my experience, um, they're doing the super long distance type of running can actually make you put on weight or not do with me. Um, and, and that's quite a mental shift as a what, why would you know that your body becomes more efficient? Your metabolism comes super efficient and goes, okay, I'm going to keep everything. And especially if you're an overtraining all the time, which in my, uh, certainly the first half of my career, I was constantly and over-training, um, then you can actually end up being a PB, a puffier, holding water, normally these sorts of things. I just sort of drop that in there as a bit of a, um, you know, it's, it's, it's counterintuitive for when you do the high intensity type of workouts. Even if you are an ultra marathon runner, it's going to change your shape and it's going to change the way you run. And it's going to change a whole lot of things that are going to be beneficial for your long distance running and also your health course.
Speaker 3: (18:17)
Absolutely. And, and a big part of that is hormonal. You know, the things that happen in your body when you go run at an easy effort for two hours is very different than the things that happen in your body when you are doing, you know, maybe six or eight times, 200 meters really fast, you know, that is a whole different animal. And it's going to elicit lots of different changes in your body compared with that really long workout. And, you know, we're mentioning strength training earlier. That's another great example of, you know, you get in the weight room and you're doing heavy squats or dead lifts. That is also a very strong hormonal stress that is going to increase testosterone and growth hormone, which is really great for weight loss. And even if you are a woman, you know, there is still a testosterone and growth hormone stimulus from strength training that I think is really important.
Speaker 3: (19:07)
Um, the other thing I wanted to clarify too, is that, you know, just because we're talking about running fast and how valuable that is, that doesn't necessarily mean, we mean hard workouts, you know, running fast and something being hard can, can, can be two very different things. You know, there's definitely a lot of overlap, almost like a Venn diagram, but you could look at, you know, a series of strides, a hundred meter accelerations, where you get up to about maybe mile race pace, but then you're only holding that for about two seconds. You coast to a stop. A stride is very fast, but is it hard? I would argue, no, you get full recovery. The whole thing is only about a hundred meters. And you know, only a sliver of that full stride is at that fast effort. So you can practice running fast to get some of the benefits of speed work without it necessarily being a super intense work.
Speaker 2: (20:01)
Wow. That's a really good at perspective, cause yeah, it doesn't have to be both sort of walls. So to speak every time either when you're doing high intensity training and this is another mistake I did make, we know started doing more of the high intensity workouts, um, uh, speed workouts. It would be absolute to the wall every time thinking that that's what was required for the change and absolutely hating it. And I think it's really important to point out too, that you, um, you need to be able to read your body on the day, like following a plan. And this is what we try and get out athletes to do is yes, you have a plan. You have a coach this through this, this and this and this, but if you are not up to it today, because I don't know the kids for sickle nights, uh, you've a bit of a cold coming.
Speaker 2: (20:48)
You've got a really stressful day behind you. You know, all of these things are going to perfect your performance. If we learn to be intuitive and listen to our body, sometimes would you agree that that sometimes brings more benefit because sometimes what is high performance athletes or it just everyday warriors, we tend to just go hard or go home. And that is the mentality of is not hurting. Uh, if it's not difficult, you know, isn't a workout. Do you think that there, there's starting to listen to your body as well as following it completely Richmond, Richmond, a program.
Speaker 3: (21:25)
Yeah. I'm in complete agreement with you. I like to look at training plans as a roadmap to your final destination. Can you take a wrong turn and still get to your final destination? Absolutely. So the training plan is really an ideal set of directions. You can go off course, you can make modifications. And that doesn't mean you're not going to get to where you want to go. So it's very important to look at a training plan that way and to make changes. If you think that your body is not up to the task, you know, I like to say that, you know, the best workout for you today is what your body is ready for. And sometimes you might have a hard workout planned, but your body simply isn't ready for that. And so if you were to push through and try to complete that workout, you are potentially risking an injury, but you're also just not going to feel good.
Speaker 3: (22:16)
It's going to SAP your motivation, your drive to train. And you're not going to get as much out of the workout because you're not going to be able to perform as well as you were really hoping to. So I think you have to be flexible with training plans. Um, you know, of course this doesn't mean that at every hint of fatigue or soreness, you abandon a workout, but you know, if there is something substantial going on, then it does work in your best interests to maybe shorten the workout. Maybe you're on the workout a little bit slower. Maybe you even delay the workout a day. If you need an extra, you know, few kilometers of easy running just to shake your body out before the harder effort, the following day. And, you know, most runners are so type a that we just want to be crushing our training plan. And, you know, you know, like my athletes, they want to email me and say, coach, I did everything exactly the way that you lined it out in the schedule. And sometimes I'm like, you've been doing that for like a couple months now. And I'm honestly getting a little worried. You're going to have to change the schedule up. Sometimes I don't think I've ever written a training plan for myself that I haven't had to change within two weeks. So, you know, there's always changes that you can make to a training plan and that's just fine.
Speaker 2: (23:29)
Perfect. And, and just, yeah, it gives people permission to just stop to listen to their bodies and not always go hard out. Um, so that brings me to another point that I wanted to discuss with you. Is there a difference when you like you, that you find between training men and women, um, and the different age groups as well? So, um, if you're, if you're training say a 45 year old woman, who's got three children hasn't run before, um, versus, you know, a 20 year old male athlete, who's done track at school. Um, how do you see some major differences in the, in between men and woman, um, firstly, and the way that they get performance? Or is it like, what, what am I trying to say? I'm what I see is a very big component from the hormonal side, from the genetic side, uh, and then your age. So you've got to bring all of these aspects to beer when you are creating a training regimen for somebody. Um, do you see, uh, this one size fits all? Cause a lot of people will say, and I know you probably come across this problem. Oh, I just downloaded a marathon training plan off the internet. I don't need a coach, you know?
Speaker 3: (24:52)
Yeah. That always happens. Yeah. I mean, there, there are certainly some differences on, you know, everything from the physiological. Uh, but what I have discovered through my coaching and I typically work with the, these, these slightly advanced to beginner runner, you know, if you're running marathons and you're a male, I'm probably working with like the two 45 and slower group, you know, I'm not really working with the super elite athletes. Um, so, so knowing that what I've found to be the biggest difference between men and women is simply, uh, not necessarily their biology or their physiology, how they respond to training. Uh, but it's more like, you know, what's going on outside of your running that is then affecting your training. So, um, you know, and this is going to be stereotypical, but I mean, a lot of it is, is because it's true, more women that I work with are either staying at home or working part time or caring for children compared with more men who are working, you know, a normal kind of a schedule.
Speaker 3: (25:57)
And so the way that we have to work around their schedules is a lot different. So I have discovered that. I mean, that's, that's just kind of what you do with a coach. You work around your schedule and your time availability and things like that, so that you can really hit the priority workouts and things like that. Um, I think a big part of it too, is simply like you were saying, you know, be kind to yourself. If you have to give yourself permission to delay a workout or run a workout a little bit slower or shorter than that is totally fine. And that's sometimes has to happen if you've been up with your kids. You know, if, if you're a mom, you have a bunch of kids, you're home with them, you know, something has to give and not everyone's number one priority is their running.
Speaker 3: (26:40)
Um, another big issue with age is just the, the ability to recover and how much intensity isn't appropriate to be scheduled into a training plan. Um, so any training plan that I write, whether it's for one of my one on one coaching athletes that I'm working with very, uh, uh, you know, closely with, or if it's someone who just wants me to write them a custom training plan for some goal that they have, you know, I always ask how old they are, because if they're 25, I might be much more aggressive with the progression of mileage, the progression of workouts and things like that in intensity, rather than the person who's 60, uh, and, and simply doesn't have the ability to recover. So a lot of that is simply your background, you know, if you're 60 years old, but you're used to running 50 miles a week, then you're probably in a better position than someone who's 25, but has only been running 15 miles a week, apologies for using the Imperial system podcast. Lisa, my American side is coming through.
Speaker 2: (27:43)
We sort of thought I'd say that. So yeah, those are the
Speaker 3: (27:46)
Big differences that I see. Uh, but yeah, I mean, I'm not in the lab taking like blood tests and calibrating workouts to that level of detail. No,
Speaker 2: (27:56)
No, we aren't really there. And, and to be honest, you know, I don't think that's, um, I mean there are the specialist ones, you know, for, if you're going to go to the Olympics, you're going to need all that stuff. But, uh, for, for most of us, for, for, for weekend warriors, with people who want to actually achieve something fantastic distance wise, or for them a personal base, then that level is usually not required so much. You know, it's more about, uh, understanding how not to injure yourself, how to get the best out of yourself and how to have, uh, uh, get your mind in the game as well. So let's, let's do the next thing that I want to talk about is how big is mindset for you as a coach and as an, as an athlete and stuff.
Speaker 3: (28:36)
I mean, I think mindset is, is almost just as important as the physical training itself, because how you think about the sport, how you, uh, uh, you know, grapple with some of the training decisions that you have to make makes all the difference. You know, if you don't have the motivation to train the drive to get up early in the morning, to get your workouts in, uh, if you don't know how to set your goals appropriately, if you get distracted by every little new training fad, kind of ignore the fundamentals, you know, those aren't problems with your, your talent or your ability to train it's really problems, you know, between the ears up here. And those things can really be changed and upgraded and really improved for the better, through working on your mindset. And so, yeah, it's huge, you know, and I think one of the most important things when it comes to, uh, building that mindset is to look at it as a skill.
Speaker 3: (29:33)
You know, this is not something that people are born with. This is something that people work on regularly, and it's the only way that you're going to improve from, you know, how confident you are. Well, what is confidence? Confidence is an inner belief that you can do something. And the only way that you build that is by going out and doing things. And so you have to actually have some success to start developing confidence and you have to be okay with failure. And so it's just this constant process of exposing yourself to stress being okay with failure and gradually building up all of the mental skills that are important for runners, you know, everything from, you know, confidence to, uh, having the right intensity level, you know, like you're, you're probably gonna be very different on the starting line of a 1500 meter race than you are at a hundred mile ultra marathon. The level of intensity that you need is so dramatically different. And so that is a big part of being successful runner is being able to modulate that intensity to go up, to go down and, you know, to not attack your recovery run with the same vigor that you attack a series of intervals on the track. So, yeah, I'm sure we could talk about mental toughness and focus, uh, and some of the other aspects of mental fitness, which is the kind of term I use to describe all these skills that are so beneficial for runners.
Speaker 2: (30:55)
And, and I think it's, I think it's the biggest part of the puzzle. You know, like we can, we can follow the regimens and we can follow all the planes, but if we haven't gotten our mind in the right place and learning, and this is an ongoing forever growth area for all of us, but it fixed. What I find also is that the mental side of being an athlete general really benefits everything else that you do in your life. And therefore it has a benefit, not just in the, in the running scenes, but also for, for every, every problem that you've tackled with it, you're about to take off. Um, it's why I think, you know, athletes do really well in the corporate setting or in the education setting or when you careers or whatever, they decided to have a go at because they do have a framework of being able to push through and be disciplined resilience. We've all failed, you know, dozens of times, because if you're not failing and you probably haven't been pushing yourself really to the, to the Instagram. And I think that the, the mental side of the game for me is probably, yeah, it's right up there. I mean, you can't do that. You can't do the running without the, um, the mileage, but by the same token, you're not going to get very far if you haven't worked on your mental game. And there's lots of this speaks to that whole,
Speaker 3: (32:16)
For sure. One of my favorites is talking about mental toughness, because I think this is the sexiest skill that runners, they want to have it. They think it's this great panacea that will solve all of their problems. And, you know, we've been talking about these, uh, mental skills as skills, right? And I think that's a really important frame to use because like any skill, it will atrophy over time. If you don't practice it, if you don't use it, if you don't further hone that skill. And so when we're talking about mental toughness, you know, that really comes from your ability to stay calm and be proactive whenever you face adversity, you know, what is the path forward rather than on, you know, getting, getting anxious or not knowing how to make a decision and letting any kind of anxiety or fear make you succumb to those feelings.
Speaker 3: (33:09)
And so, you know, if you can proactively look around when you're in a race situation and something happens, your shoe falls off your first, uh, you know, two K is way too slow or even way too fast. Um, or, you know, you show up to the start of the race and it's pouring rain and they're like, we're going to run the race anyway. You know, how do you proactively respond to those situations? And the more that you can flex that muscle and develop that skill, the more that you'll be able to encounter nearly any situation and just have that framework, like you mentioned of responding to it constructively rather than on woe is me. I'm going to complain about everything and all that. And I completely agree with you, Lisa. I do think that athletes go on to be more successful than non-athletes because of the skills that they've learned in sport.
Speaker 3: (34:04)
And we're not talking about how fast your mile time is or whether or not you've run a hundred miles in one go, we're talking about the mental aspects of sport, you know, and this really transcends running and I think is very much applicable to almost any sport, but, but running is fairly unique. Isn't it? It's, it's one of the few sports where you have to actively want to experience more and more discomfort, because the more discomfort that you experienced, the more successful you're going to be when you're crossing the finish line faster, you're going to be, so this is very odd, kind of a dynamic, but I think that does just make runners incredibly, mentally tough. And they do bring that toughness into many other aspects of their life.
Speaker 2: (34:48)
Yeah. Do you think we miss a [inaudible] cause a lot of people come to me and go, what you do is absolutely mad. And why would you put yourself through that? And it's the same, you know, like if you're doing shorter distances, this is another misconception. Um, you know, people come and say, Oh, I want to run my first 5k. Ah, but I'm not a real runner like you because you did the less long distance and I'm going to hang on, hang on here in the distance is different. So every distance that you want to attend as a complete different beast, if I'm doing a hundred meters, it's a hundred meters off for intensity and I need to train for years and hone that particular skill. If I'm doing a five kilometer, same deal. If I'm doing a team they're all different Sonos. So no comparison between apples and oranges status
Speaker 3: (35:38)
And then, um, you know, understanding that, you know, you're just, I think, do you agree with it, like it's a, the apples and oranges comparison as, as, as a silly one for a status? Yeah, I think so. I think the idea that real runners just run a lot. Well, non real runners just focus on the shorter distances is just insane because those shorter events are arguably more difficult than some of the longer events. They are more technical. They require much more refined sense of pacing and strategy. Um, you know, any look, watch almost any final of the 1500 in the Olympics and you'll see that it is an extremely tactical race. And so those elements of those races make them very difficult. It's almost like the difference between, you know, whether or not you want to put your hand in a fire, like if you were racing 1500 meters, or if you just want to go out on the beach one day when it's really, really incredibly hot without any sunscreen for 10 hours, you know, very different both in both situations, but it's just a different experience. It just kind of depends on whether you want to condense the pain into a very short period of time or you want to stretch it out a little bit longer.
Speaker 2: (36:57)
So that goes back to the masochistic side of it all. Why is it, why is it important? Yeah.
Speaker 3: (37:03)
As human beings to actually want to push through pain barriers, to want to struggle, to encounter more and more resistance, you know, what is the benefit of doing something like that when it's compared to sitting on the couch and eating Oreos? Yeah. Well, both can be fun, but yeah, I mean, I think it is part of the human condition that we want to explore. We want to cross that final frontier and see what lies beyond, you know, everything from, uh, you know, the, the Spanish sending Columbus over to the new world to Lewis and Clark moving across the United States to going to the moon, to seeing what you can accomplish in a marathon. You know, they're all kind of the same human drive to explore the frontiers. And I just think it's very exciting, but you're absolutely right. We are slightly masochistic. And, uh, you know, sometimes I joke around with my wife and I say, I'm going to go to the track and do this workout. And she's like, Oh, why are you doing that workout? That sounds terrible. I just, I just want to feel alive
Speaker 2: (38:09)
Afterwards. I'll feel very pleased with myself. I'll have that nice BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor. They run as high and I will feel like
Speaker 3: (38:20)
Exactly, exactly. And you know, there's a, there's a saying that I loved that was on the boxing for a while. There was a sign on the wall. Strength comes from struggle, everything that we do in life. If you think about the more resistance
Speaker 2: (38:36)
We encounter and have to, uh, do something to overcome that the stronger we come out at the other end of it. So whether that's weightlifting, which is the obvious analogy, the heavier weights that I progressively in progressive the important word there, aggressively lift the stronger I will be. The more I train the better I'll be. The more I box, the better I'll be at there or whatever the resistance is that I'm having to overcome. It will make me as a human being stronger in some, some way shape or form. It seems to be, uh, you know, one of the rules of physics, you know, we cannot be strong without a weight on us without a stress on our bodies. You know, that whole hermetic stress causing an adaptation and making us stronger is valid in the sporting realm, but also in, in the realm, just everything in life. I think that's why we do this.
Speaker 3: (39:37)
I think that's, that's completely true. And it's just, um, you know, it's, it's almost part of the reason why we are who we are. Uh, we are human beings and we only adapt when there is a stimuli to prompt that app adaptation. So it's, it's definitely true. And it's, it's not just in the physical too, you know, I can look back on, you know, my own personal running career and see all the times when I was told I couldn't do something and that made me want to do it even more. And I went on to achieve it. You know, I remember when I first started, uh, someone in my family telling me, Oh, you'll never run a sub five minute mile and you better watch out. Now, now they're run that sub five. And I did. And I did, I remember someone in college telling me the steeple chase, which is a crazy event with barriers and a water pit. And they said, this race is extremely challenging. It has chewed up and spit out much better runners than you. And, uh, I ran the race anyway. I want it qualified for the regional.
Speaker 2: (40:37)
And you know, it's just one of those things where
Speaker 3: (40:39)
You better not tell a type a runner that he can't do something because that is going to light a fire under him. And that's a form of struggle. I think the struggle of other people telling you things that you can't do or getting injured and being on the couch, watching episodes of house for six months, not being able to
Speaker 2: (41:00)
Yeah. And having to overcome those lows. I mean, that's definitely my career too. I've been told so many times in my life, you can't do something. And that just really gets me going. And one of the interesting things, he say type a personality. And I, um, uh, I, I studied, uh, functional genomics in genetics and, um, I, there's a, there's a gene, there's a, there's a gene called the [inaudible] without getting too technical. But this is the one that looks at how much dopamine your body, how many, how much receptors you have on your sales foot to take out dopamine and dopamine is our reward, uh, neurotransmitter fuel. Um, and why this is interesting is that I just got my gene test back. And my DIA D two gene, I have the lowest level of receptors for document. Now what that makes me and the, the scientists who was explaining this to me, you said, well, no one that you've done what you've done, because you're never going to get the reward that normal people would get.
Speaker 2: (42:02)
If they had a, if they had doubted gene variants where they actually getting more diaper means. So they get that satisfaction and that fulfillment much quicker. Um, with my combination there, I don't get that reward very much. So it's very small and very short. Um, so I'm constantly chasing the next mission or the next thing that is going to give me a reward. So this is a very addictive, uh, it can work itself out as being, if you go into the negative, you can become, you know, have addictive problems with drugs, alcohol, whatever, um, addictions you can go into, or it can be that you become a workaholic or, or run a holic or, and I was just like, Oh, wow. So this is an actual physical reason or a genetic reason why I am always on a mission and why I am the type a personality. And, and, and I, I just wonder if a lot of us have fat, low dopamine receptors who are really very driven and determined to, to achieve all these goals. Whereas another person who has a lot of dopamine might go, Oh, I ran a mile today. Great. I can go and settle the couch down, happy. I'm happy with myself. Whereas for me, it's like, well, I did this, this, and this and this, and it's not enough. I'm going to go out and do that as well. You know?
Speaker 3: (43:32)
Yeah. I mean, I'm kind of the same way. And I, and I feel like it's, while I haven't had a gene test to prove that, you know, I definitely kind of look back on my life and I see, wow, I have really gotten quote unquote addicted, certain things in my life. And, you know, I'm, I go all in, whether that is running, whether that is my business strength running, uh, whether that was, you know, my, my wife and, you know, I met her in college and I never let her out of my sight since now we're married with three kids and yeah, I mean, it's certainly a double edged sword and you need to make sure you wield that personality trait of yours appropriately. So you don't go down a dark path.
Speaker 2: (44:11)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. But I think, yeah, a lot of us would have it. If we, if we look at various, uh, you know, high performance athletes or people who start a lot of businesses or do anything, we've probably all got problem and it is a double edged sword. So we need to be a little bit careful. And I think for me, what has been tough is an athlete too, in coming from a background where toughness was expected, uh, from a, you know, a family that was mentally and physically into toughness, um, is actually been kind to yourself sometime and realizing that less is sometimes more. And that sometimes maybe doing a yoga session is more important than the interval session. Um, and learning to just read your body and be a little bit more intuitive because sometimes if you have that type a personality, you do tend to override everything and that can be unhealthy physically and unhealthy mentally as well.
Speaker 3: (45:07)
For sure. In the way I think about that type a drive and the toughness just to persevere is that, you know, if you want to be the toughest person on the starting line or even better the toughest person at the finish line, then I think, you know, how do you do that? Well, you could be one of the fastest people across the finish line. And so in my mind, I was always thinking, okay, if I want to be the best then, and I never really became the best in almost any endeavor that I've ever done, but it's always the process of trying to do it. I've always found that, you know, you have to kind of be kind to yourself in order to,
Speaker 2: (45:44)
Yeah, if you want to
Speaker 3: (45:46)
Be the fastest person across the finish line, that means you need to have the best training or more, probably more accurately the best training for you. And sometimes that means not running that workout. Sometimes that means sleeping in and getting an extra hour of sleep because your body needs the recovery. If it's in service of the ultimate goal, which is, you know, maybe running a PR qualifying for a certain race, reaching a new distance that you've never run before. You know, that is the tough thing that you are trying to do the personal best, you know, the qualification and you have to be kind to then get the tough results. That's the way I look at it.
Speaker 2: (46:28)
Yeah. That's a really super analogy. Sometimes looking at the bigger goal rather than the immediate, this is the next step they'll meet to take, but not feeling it. And looking at the bigger picture and saying, is that actually going to get me there in the long run? That's stress,
Speaker 3: (46:44)
A lot of runners. They, they look at all the little steps that they have to take to accomplish the big goal. And they think that every single little step is absolutely 100% critical, and it's not actually that necessary. You know, we're talking about training plans and how it's like a roadmap. You can take a different set of directions. You'll still get there. And it's almost a similar analogy here. You can skip some of those steps. You can do some of those steps twice, maybe, and we get so obsessed with those little steps that we lose sight of the bigger picture, you know, the goal isn't to run your 15 kilometer run today. The goal is to qualify f