Building an Ideal Training Plan with Strength Running's Jason Fitzgerald

Building an Ideal Training Plan with Strength Running's Jason Fitzgerald


Hey RaceMob Family! We have a really special guest this week: Jason Fitzgerald is a running icon, and creator of Strength Running - consistently ranked one of the top running podcasts in the world - and has a thriving youtube channel and fantastic content.

In today's episode, we dive into the nitty gritty of training plan creation and strength training routines for runners, and find ways to personalize training for your specific goals. Plus - we get some of the behind-the-scenes when our Coach B roomed with Jason and Matt at a recent Endeavorun retreat.



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Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

Episode Intro

[00:00:00] Jason: I like to say that there's a lot of race magic on race day. Your hormones are gonna be in this optimal state, you're gonna have competitors.

There's gonna be spectators on the side of the course cheering you on. There's the announcer and he's gonna fire the gun.

And it's very exciting. You can usually get a little bit more out of yourself on race day.

[00:00:17] Kevin: Hello and welcome to the RaceMob Podcast!

I'm Kevin, entrepreneur, technology and fitness nerd, and I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator at the incomparable Bertrand Newson.

Hey there RaceMob family We have a really special guest this week!

Jason is a running icon and creator of Strength Running, consistently ranked as one of the top running podcasts in the world, and with a thriving YouTube channel and fantastic online content.

In today's episode we drive into the nitty gritty of training plan creation strength training routines for runners and find ways to personalize training for your specific goals.

Plus we get some of the behind the scenes of when Coach "B" roomed with Jason and Matt at a recent Endeavor Run Retreat.

This conversation is a ton of fun and extremely informative!

All of the show notes can be found online at https://racemob.com/podcast And without further ado here's our conversation.

Start of the Interview

[00:01:13] Bertrand: Hey, there RaceMob family! We're happy to have coach Jason Fitzgerald back for round number two. Yes. Backed by popular demand.

Coach Jason Fitzgerald, one of the most popular podcasts in America, routinely ranked in the top one, two or three.

We've all learned lots via his YouTube channel, from running tips, nutrition, and how to stay consistent and at it.

Welcome back, coach Jason.

[00:01:39] Jason: Oh, thanks for the warm welcome Coach. "B". It's so good to be here and chat with you guys again. I think we talked maybe two years ago, so, excited for a round two.

The Endeavour Run Experience

[00:01:48] Kevin: Yeah. And I know that you've been up to a lot. You and Coach "B" recently were out in Boulder for the Endeavor Run. Tell us about the experience from your perspective.

[00:01:55] Jason: I have been going to endeavor run retreats... now this was my second retreat. I was there in Boulder in 2021 and it's just such an amazing opportunity for the running community to come together and really geek out on this sport that we love so much. we get to hear from amazing coaches like Coach "B" and do workshops with physical therapists and book talks with authors.

And then there's of course all the running. We get to run on beautiful trails and we did a track workout. We went up to Magnolia road and did a very famous. Long run on that venue, which was made popular in the Running with the Buffalos book.

So it's just this opportunity for runners to come together, celebrate the sport, and more importantly, to learn more about training and the whole training process, so that you really come away from the experience having a better picture of what to do to accomplish your goals.

So there was a lot of one-on-one conversations between the coaches and the attendees on what are you trying to do, how maybe have you failed with doing that in the past, how can we do things differently so that you can now have a better chance of accomplishing these big ambitions that you have, and really sitting down with folks and coming up with a plan. It's a great opportunity for all those amazing things.

And I think even just today with how online we always are there's something special about coming together in person and just having that kind of community over the course of a four day retreat, where we get to run together, we're having meals together, we're jumping in ice baths together and, and suffering a little bit and, and really just enjoying the entire process of everything.

So it was a lot of fun. Probably the highlight was sharing a room with Coach "B". We were roommates for a couple days and you know, I had Coach "B" on my podcast just a couple weeks ago, and I joked around that we were roommates for a long weekend and we're still talking. So, it was, it must have been fun.

[00:03:52] Kevin: Yeah, I love some behind the scenes too. I know that you guys also ran with author Matt Fitzgerald. And, and I think you guys are jumping on a podcast here in a little bit as well. So podcast community, which is fantastic. Give us some behind the scenes. What was that like?

[00:04:04] Jason: It was great. I mean, you know, we all sort of were respectful of each other, which I think is important for a bunch of grown men to do who are rooming in, in one small room.

I was on a very rickety metal bunk bed on the top bunk with Matt, Fitzgerald. Coach B is on the other side of the room in this luxurious queen or king bed that he had all to himself, spreading out. I think he had six to 10 pillows just for himself. I only had a very thin sheet and no pillow. No, I'm just kidding.

No, it, it was a great time. You know, we were pretty much living and breathing and working, running for like four days. So we didn't spend a lot of time even sleeping. You know, we were going to bed a little bit late and getting up pretty early every morning. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

You know, two, two great guys to share a room with and all the opportunities that we had to connect with other runners and connect with each other and to talk some shop about coaching and working with runners uh, such a rewarding experience for everyone, especially me.

[00:05:01] Bertrand: Yeah. Coach Jason, I mean, you hit the nail right on the head. The fellowship, the camaraderie, and lots of, of laughs.

And for me, who's still kind of finding my way around in this space, it was fantastic. So it's the gift that keeps on giving.

[00:05:13] Jason: For sure. And you know, one thing I'd like to add too is I had a lot of conversations with folks who attended the retreat and I would say much more than half of them initially had some reservations about signing up for a, a running camp.

You know, I'm an adult, I'm gonna go to this retreat. We're gonna all just hang out together as adults. And it's a little bit difficult to get out of your comfort zone and do something like that.

But you know what, at the end of the retreat, every single person who had those reservations was so glad that they came because Jake, who's the CEO of endeavor run, he does a wonderful job, planning everything and, and bringing the community together. He does an incredible job at making everyone feel welcome.

You know, these retreats are not just for pro runners or sub elite runners or competitive runners or Boston qualifiers. It's really for anybody who wants to learn about the sport, who wants to celebrate their running, themselves, and just learn more about how they can keep progressing forward.

[00:06:10] Kevin: That's fantastic because you know, I think that there's a couple of things that runners may take away from one of these conferences.

One is tips, tidbits you know, some of the ways that you could tweak running form or other pieces of it.

But the other is being able to connect with a coach and talk through training plans and talk through, Hey, am I doing the right things? Am I focusing on the right areas? Are there other ways that I can better reach or, or get to my goals?

Training Plans

[00:06:31] Kevin: So I would love to just talk a little bit more about training plans. We know, again, Matt Fitzgerald was there proponent of 80/20 running.

You're a big proponent of strength training and incorporating strength training in running would love to just kind of understand what are some of the ways that you're able to help runners tweak their training plans or what are some of the, things that you gain from the conversations or that runners gain from the conversations with you.

[00:06:54] Jason: Yeah. So the way I think about it is number one, I always like to start with what the runner is trying to accomplish, and that's usually different for every athlete.

Are they trying to just stay healthy this season or are they trying to run their first marathon or do they have a more aggressive goal?

Like, I'm gonna try to run a new PR in a certain race, whether it's the mile or the a hundred mile ultramarathon distance. So I love to start with the goal. What are you trying to do? And then I like to see, what are you doing right now? What does your current training look like?

Because all of us as runners, we have to start where we're at. You know, if we're currently running 30 miles a week, we can't just start running 10 miles a day next week, we have to start with where we're at and then we can sort of take the next logical step with our training from there.

Training Guidelines - Training Volume

[00:07:41] Jason: There are a couple easy guidelines that I like to have runners follow that, make it a little bit more simple to choose a training plan that's appropriate for you personally.

Let's make sure that, number one, the beginning mileage of a training plan is doable. It's manageable. It's not gonna be too fatiguing. And then look at the entire training plan and see how is it going to progress over time from a mileage perspective.

And then the peak mileage, the highest mileage week of the training cycle, that should be a challenge, but it shouldn't be impossible. It should make you a little bit nervous, like, oh wow. I'm gonna maybe run five miles a week more than I ever have before. Okay. That seems to be manageable, not necessarily impossible.

So that's always a good benchmark. Let's first look at volume.

Training Guidelines - Fast Workouts

[00:08:26] Jason: The next thing to look at are workouts. Typically in higher mileage training plans, those are more advanced training plans. So the workouts will also be a little bit more advanced. They might be longer.

So instead of say two or three miles worth of total volume of speed work in a workout, it might be four or five miles worth of total volume in the speed workout.

The other thing that can be really helpful to look at is the number of faster workouts during the training week.

You know, a lot of runners run fast once a week, they've got their weekly workout, they've got their long run and maybe they're doing some strides or some other type of, of speed development work on the side that isn't truly , a formal workout, but some runners are running two workouts a week. You know, I think for most adult runners , one to two workouts is the sweet spot.

So a lot of runners will be comfortable with what I'll call an A workout and a B workout during the week. The A workout is gonna be their main workout. It's challenging. It's it's gonna be more difficult. And then the B workout is gonna be a little bit shorter. It's not gonna be as challenging.

So for shorter distance runners , it might be more of a , a speed development session where maybe you're running mile pace or 5k pace, but maybe early doing four by 200 meters.

Maybe you're only doing something really short where you're touching speed. You're experiencing speed, but not in a way that it's truly difficult or a marathon, or for example, might do a workout where they, they might do three or four miles of goal marathon pace running. That's not that difficult and it certainly shouldn't be as difficult as the main workout of the week.

Training Guidelines - Scaling Back

[00:09:55] Jason: So that's a couple different ways of thinking about how to choose a training plan that's appropriate for you. And then, if you do have a plan and you're looking at it and you're thinking to yourself, okay, this is the training plan that I have, but it's a little bit too difficult for me. We can always scale back a training plan.

So if you have a plan that you're committed to, but you also recognize that it's a little bit too advanced for you. You don't need to throw it out the window and abandon it. You can just scale things back, maybe as simple as removing a mile or two from each run during the week or removing one run during the week.

Maybe the training plan has six days of running, you really usually only run four or five days of, maybe you take a day out, maybe the shortest day of the week so that you're not running six days a week, the volume comes down a little bit and now all of a sudden the plan is a lot more manageable.

So lots of different ways that you can choose a plan that's right for you.

You know, if you have 12 weeks until your goal race, you don't wanna choose a 20 week training plan and vice versa. You have to choose a plan that is, is gonna fit within the timeframe that you have.

More About Speed Workouts

[00:10:57] Kevin: I I'd love to pick your brain on speed sessions and some of these, either A workouts or, or B workouts. Are you planning different types of workouts for beginner or intermediate? How do you go about planning speed?

[00:11:09] Jason: Yeah. That's man, we should write a whole book on this question. That's a tough one.

Yeah, it does depend on the race that you're training for because the workouts you do as a marathoner are gonna be very different than the workouts you do as a 5k runner, someone who's training to run a really fast 5k.

So maybe we can start with the 5k. This is a, a somewhat simple example. It's always helpful to work backwards and the ultimate achievement of a training cycle is potentially a PR in your goal race.

You run your goal race, you have a great effort. You run faster than you ever have before. In my mind, as a coach, that's a very successful training season. You just did something you've never done before. You have reached a new level. That's very exciting.

And what is one step below a PR performance? Well, I would say it is a workout where you're running your goal 5k pace for about 3.1 miles with short recovery. So it's a workout that looks very similar to the 5k itself.

And, at a very simple level, that could be something like three times a mile at your goal, 5k pace with maybe a minute or 90 seconds recovery. That's a very difficult workout.

And then if an athlete can do that workout, they should be pretty confident that they can hit their goal time in a race. They're gonna be a little bit more well rested because of the taper.

And then I like to say that there's a lot of race magic on race day. Your hormones are gonna be in this optimal state, you're gonna have competitors. There's gonna be spectators on the side of the course cheering you on. There's the announcer and he's gonna fire the gun. And it's very exciting. You can usually get a little bit more out of yourself on race day.

And so from there, you kind of work backwards and sort of create workouts that lead up to that goal race and that very specific 5k type of workout.

And so, 16 weeks out from your goal race, you might just be doing a tempo run or maybe your B workout is four by 200 meters at your mile pace with a two minute jog recovery.

So decent recovery there, the interval is very short. It is fast, but it's very short. And the total volume of fast running is also very short. And then over time we can sort of blend these two workouts together where we're running faster than 5k pace, and one workout we're running slower than 5k pace in another workout.

And over the course of the season, we're eventually gonna get to a workout where we're actually running our goal pace for three miles , about three miles and that is gonna lead us to have the fitness and confidence that we need to run our goal pace for the actual 5k race. So that's sort of how I think about building workouts for different goals.

The marathon's a little interesting because even something as simple as a tempo run is considered a speed workout for the marathon, cuz you're running substantially faster than your actual marathon pace.

But we don't necessarily have to over-index on those faster, more challenging workouts for marathoners. It's much more of a game of overall mileage, consistent long runs, and then enough goal marathon pace running that it feels comfortable to you.

You know, your brain remembers this pace neuromuscularly, you can execute this pace on race day under a variety of different levels of fatigue, and that will hopefully put together a good peak performance for this marathoner.

So yeah, I mean, workouts are, the most complicated aspect of running , if we look at any running training plan, I think the, the faster workouts are arguably the most complex part of the training process.

And we can manipulate the distance of the interval, the pace of the interval, the recovery interval length, are you resting for a minute or two minutes or three minutes, and then what are you doing during that recovery period. Are you jogging very slowly or maybe you're walking and you're taking just a complete standing or, or just shuffling around sort of recovery.

So lots of different things to think about, but I think it always has to go from general to specific.

And I do like to see runners working on fast running and their specific goal pace almost at the same time. So they're getting exposure to both as they're building up to their goal race.

Strength Training

[00:15:06] Kevin: And like you mentioned, we could probably write a book on this because I think there's so many different aspects that are interesting, especially as you get into, longer distance races, how much time should you be spending in the early portions of your training plan versus, towards the latter.

I'd also love to just dive into the strength portion as well. How often should runners be thinking about strength training? How should they be incorporating it? And I know you've talked before strength might also include hill workouts.

And then how do you actually make incremental improvements throughout a training cycle with with strength? What are you looking at there?

[00:15:35] Jason: Yeah, so I think strength training is so important. I, don't even like to refer to it as cross training. I just like to think of it as this is the training we must do as runners, if you want to achieve your potential.

If you wanna really see what you can do, if you wanna keep improving and progressing, we've gotta include some strength training.

So it is true that you can get strong through a whole variety of ways. You know, if you're running a hundred miles a week, you are strong if you are really fast , maybe you're only running 40 miles a week, but you're a four minute miler you're strong.

The ability to run that fast and produce that amount of force for four minutes around the track is an example of strength. So we can run a lot and get strong. We can get very fast and that will indirectly help us get strong. I like to see runners do a little bit of all three.

Yes, we're gonna try to push the envelope with mileage because at the end of the day we are endurance runners. That's the number one thing we can do to become better runners is to simply run more.

And yes, of course, we're gonna try to get faster. We're gonna do workouts. We're gonna do things like strides, maybe hill sprints, maybe some formal speed development work, just so that we know how to run very fast.

And then of course, let's actually do some real strength training. Let's get in the gym and lift weights. And the way I like to think about strength training for runners, I'll sort of outline what I think is the ideal strength training structure for every runner.

So twice a week, we're gonna be in the gym. Those sessions can be 45 to 60 minutes. We're gonna focus on the basics, the fundamentals, the building blocks of. The deadlift, the squat. I also like some upper body work.

We don't wanna completely ignore our upper body. We can do a whole variety of different types of presses, specifically presses, where you're standing up. You know, anytime we're standing, we're making an exercise a little bit more specific to the demands of running.

Maybe you have a home gym with some good equipment. You can do the, this type of lifting. And then all of the other days that you're running, I like to see runners do a 10 to 20 minute body weight, core, or strength training routine at home.

You know, it doesn't have to be complicated. This is gonna be a mostly body weight type of strength routine. We are really focusing mostly on injury prevention.

So we're doing a lot of exercises taken from the world of physical therapy. This is where we might actually do a little bit of isolation work. You know, things like side leg raises or clam shells are really good at isolating the hips and the glutes, the glute need in particular.

And those are really important muscles for runners, not just for performance, but also for injury prevention. And so now we have this structure where most days of the week, we are doing a relatively easy body weight strength session. It's focused on injury prevention.

Now the flip side to that is we also don't want to lift for endurance. We don't need to do five sets of 25 repetitions. We get enough of an endurance stimulus when we're out there running. So instead, let's start with something like three sets of 10.

Three sets of 10 is a very classic rep scheme because it allows us to, you know, get comfortable with the exercise. It allows us to build general strength and then as the season progresses, hopefully our weightlifting is periodized to meet the demands of our running.

So in other words , at the beginning of the training cycle, our running is similar to base training. Our weightlifting should also be similar to base training. It's building that foundation. It's developing that, that foundation of strength that we can then do more challenging things later on in the training cycle.

We can then focus a little bit more on power. So now we're gonna do some explosive movements.

Now, full disclosure. This is for high performing runners and, and I don't mean fast runners. I mean, any runner who cares about performance. So if you're someone who just runs three times a week for general health, you're just trying to stay generally fit, you don't really have any interest in racing or setting PRs or anything like that, you probably don't have to worry about this at all.

You know, you can hopefully strength, train for general health. It's really good for you. It's one of the best things for you, but you don't have to structure it this way because the way that we're doing it now is almost entirely geared toward helping your running.

And I think thinking of strength training as this, this activity we do to supplement and really enhance our running is one of the best ways to think about it because that's, that's exactly the goal.

Our strength training should be making our running better. So if there's any ever someone who is getting so sore from their lifting, that they have to skip a run, or they have to slow down their paces and a workout, we have to make our strength training easier in that case.

So as long as a runner is doing some strength training, I always like to say something's better than nothing, but here's the ideal structure.

[00:20:09] Kevin: If you like our podcast and sign up for our newsletter where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process, just go to RaceMob dot com and sign up today.

First Time Training

[00:20:19] Kevin: How do you go about teaching proper form, proper mechanics especially in this more remote world? I know a lot of our runners are afraid to go into the gym and, and learn how to deadlift you know. If you do it improperly, you could throw out your back or you know, it could lead to other injuries.

So, are there tips, do you have, I know you have videos for a lot of these things online. Where do you kind of send runners when it's their first strength training?

[00:20:42] Jason: In an ideal scenario, you'd meet with a strength coach in the gym for at least a couple sessions, just so that they can look at your form. They can teach you the right movements for the basic exercises, and they can also spot check any red flags that they see. And this was actually a really great experience we had at the endeavour run retreat.

You know, we're probably much more interested in our running form than our deadlift form, but like you said, there is a risk with weightlifting. So we have to get the form right.

So seeing a strength coach just for a couple sessions, I think is the ideal way to do it.

Now in our very online world that is often either not possible or someone doesn't feel comfortable going into a gym. We have some programs where I try to make it as easy as possible so that runners can lift with good form.

So we have a program where number one, we have a mobility assessment. Let's make sure that there aren't any red flag mobility issues that are going to impact your ability to squat or deadlift.

Now, almost everyone passes the mobility assessment. It's really to catch big red flags. The other thing that we do is we provide a written description of how to do the exercise.

Okay. Let's at least intellectually understand how to do the exercise then. We have video demonstrations. And I think it's really important in what we did to show the exercise in two different angles.

The other thing that I think is really helpful is that if someone is so scared of getting injured in the weight room, I do think that fear is slightly misplaced. like you know, if you're so scared of getting hurt running that you never go running, come on, we can, we

I mean, if you're lifting a PVC pipe or you're squatting just the bar, the risk of an injury is very low, especially if you're really paying attention to your body, and you're trying to lift with proper form, watching some videos and, and really paying attention to yourself.

So runners are going to get hurt in the weight room when they're lifting really heavy weight and they're doing so with low recovery, or they're doing, like some type of crazy CrossFit workout where they're doing something like as many reps as possible of an Olympic lift and they're snatching and cleaning , lifts over and over again, as fast as they can with no regard to their form.

You know, let's take two minutes in between our lifts. We don't need to go right into the next one. We don't need to do circuits. We don't need to try to make the workout metabolic in any way, which can really impact your form because you get more tired. We get enough of a metabolic stimulus when we're out there running.

So it's a combination of let's make sure we have the mobility to do the exercise, let's make sure that we visually and intellectually understand how to do an exercise, and then let's practice under a very low stakes environment so that we're not biting off more than we can chew.

Getting Strength Training from Home

[00:23:18] Bertrand: This feedback we get from our athletes, especially those that are curious about strength, training, some who are a little leery as we've talked about those examples.

But those who may not have access to weights. And if they're just kind of going from couch to 5k, they may be going from couch to physical weight and maybe starting off with body weight exercises.

And we know that in the bigger picture, Jason, you and I we've talked about this and Kevin knows this, that ultimately some level of strength training where you're involving more than just body weight will be optimal, but people getting into home based strength, training, body, weight exercises that are effective for the novice beginner runner.

Could you give us some examples of that? Cause those are questions that I get with some of our athletes: "coach I'm I'm curious, what can I do from home? Maybe I will go to a gym in the future, but there's any way that maybe 1, 2, 3 days a week that I can do something that's effective that will compliment my running form or strength from a home base entry level standpoint?".

[00:24:11] Jason: Yeah, I do think runners should start with body weight exercises. Just like if you were to start running, you shouldn't start with a marathon. You shouldn't start with a speed workout. You shouldn't start with a hill workout. Let's just start with a short, easy run.

And the equivalent in the strength training world is a body weight strength workout.

So I am a, a huge believer in those 10 to 20 minute running specific body weight, strength, core routines that are a little bit more physical therapy oriented that are still gonna develop strength. Especially if you're someone who doesn't have much experience doing strength training.

Maybe you are doing couch to 5k, you've been sedentary for a while, or maybe you're a runner who's only been running for years and you finally are getting a little bit older. Maybe you've had a string of injuries. Now's the time to start these body weight, strength routines.

So I think they're extraordinarily helpful. And if that's all you can do, you, you're still gonna get most of the way there from a performance and injury prevention perspective.

You know, I think weightlifting is ideal, but we don't have to do that. Especially if you're someone who doesn't have any experience with that, let's start with those body weight exercises.

And I think it's very helpful for runners not to build their own strength workouts, because anytime I've tried to do that for myself and, I'm a running coach, I've built a lot of strength workouts over the years, and even when I try to do it myself, when I try to wing it, the workout is never very good. I always get distracted because I don't know when the workout's over because I haven't really planned it.

And so I like runners to just follow a routine. I've built so many different strength and core routines over the years that I just plug into my athlete's training plans and they don't think to themselves, oh, I gotta figure out a 15 minute core workout or I've gotta do these eight exercises.

They just know, oh, Jason has scheduled the standard core routine or the ITB rehab routine or the mace routine. You know, these are all just routines.

You can go on strengthrunning.com and search them and there's video demonstrations and all that. And they take about 15 minutes roughly. And it's a variety of exercises that are both fundamental in nature.

So I love the body weight exercises. I think the routines are a little bit more helpful because they just think of the routine and then they just follow the progression of exercises and then they're done. They don't have to worry about building it. And I think that's really helpful from an adherence perspective, just getting runners to actually do the strength work.

You know, I tell my runners all the time, the hardest part of these routines is just getting them done, is just finding the time to actually do it. Because look, they're not long. Everyone has 15 minutes.

Whether you're doing it during your lunch hour, after a run in the morning maybe you don't have time, so you're gonna do it after you get home from work or in the evening, you turn on the television and you're just watching a little TV and you're in your living room doing a, 20 minute core workout.

I did that all the time and it's a very effective way of getting strong without a lot of time investment, without a lot of equipment investment. So huge fan of those workouts. They're very effective.

[00:27:05] Kevin: I think that , there is increasing access to some of these pieces of equipment. Whether that be a kettlebell, whether that be adjustable dumbbells, whereas before it was very difficult to get access to these days, a lot of those things are, are becoming available and, and a relatively reasonable price and resistance spans.

[00:27:21] Jason: Yeah, for sure. And I think too staying consistent with it, especially during the first month or so is really critical because if you can get to say the two month mark, the three month mark with being really consistent with strength training, you will notice a tangible difference in your running.

You're gonna start feeling so much better. You're just gonna feel more powerful. You're gonna feel a little bit smoother, a little bit more graceful as you're out there running, that's your economy improving.

And so if, if you can just focus on consistency, just like when you started running, you know, I remember my first run, I couldn't finish a 2.9 mile run. It was very kind of damaging to my ego more than anything else, but I stuck with it.

And the same is true with strength, training, stick with it, and then you will recognize the benefits and it'll be very hard for you to go back to not strength training because of how good you feel.

[00:28:05] Kevin: Jason, can I ask you, when do you start incorporating some of the biometric movements or some of the more explosive movements into, is it at a certain , strength level? Is it at a certain comfort level? Is it kind of early on, how do you think about biometric or some of those explosive movements?

[00:28:21] Jason: Yeah, I think of all the different things we do as runners, biometrics, explosive weightlifting exercises. And then very fast, hard workouts, running workouts are probably the most risky things we can do from an injury perspective.

So I do think we have to be very strategic with how and when we do these kinds of activities.

Plyometrics and brutally hard workouts, and very fast workouts and, and also heavy weight lifting, particularly explosive, more power oriented moves. These are the things that are going to really work on your speed. They're really gonna work on coordination.

And they're best reserved for a little bit later in the training cycle. So I like to see maybe the second half of the season, we start introducing some of these movements.

So that's sort of like from a periodization perspective, let's wait until the second half of the season, let's start with just a general introduction to these things before we start doing , entire workouts of power-based movements or biometrics. It has to come when the athlete is ready for it.

Even if you're halfway through a season, you may not be ready for biometrics and power-based movements because of the injury risk, because of where you're at with your running and your overall fitness.

So. I really wanna make sure that runners are comfortable with these things before they do a lot of them.

And part of that is ,number one, let's get comfortable with general lifting first. So we should have a background with doing some body weight, strength work.

We should have a background with doing some, some regular weight lifting , quote unquote, regular, where we're just doing squats and deadlifts and things like that.

And only then should we really start doing power exercises. We need that foundation of strength first and that's where it can be really helpful to number one, have a spotter and number two, make sure you're doing a certain program.

I would be very hesitant to have someone just start biometrics or, , Olympic lifts, just willy-nilly and not have a certain progression that they're following because of the injury risk.

And I think all of those little details have to come from a well thought out planned program. So if we can do that, then I'm generally comfortable and confident that an athlete will be successful.

Excentric Movements

[00:30:29] Kevin: How about eccentric movements? Have, have you been experimenting with any of those either slowly getting into the squat or pulling the deadlift up and slowly lowering it back down to the ground?

I know that that can help elongate some of the muscles, sometimes maybe help prevent some of the you know, injury risks in the long term and, and maybe also help improve strength.

[00:30:46] Jason: Yeah. A little bit, a little bit. I think we can get away with a very little bit of this kind of work and, and still get a lot of benefit from it.

And that can be as simple as one set of the exercise. You're really going slow on the eccentric portion of the muscle contraction. And then focusing a little bit more on a more powerful concentric contraction.

So if you're deadlifting , maybe you're lowering the bar very slowly, but then you're having a more powerful contraction where you're lifting the bar back up into that upright position.

I do think that we can get a lot of benefit from downhill running and, and that really is probably the most running specific form of eccentric muscle contractions, because not only are we experiencing those eccentric muscle contractions where the muscle is lengthening while under but we're also doing it with a lot of impact force. We're also doing it when we're running.

So it's obviously very specific to the demands of the sport. I like this hybrid approach where yeah, we're gonna do a little bit in the weight room. You know, it's just kind of a different way of, of doing the same lift that we might normally be doing.

And then if you are doing, say a downhill race, or maybe you're gonna run the Boston marathon, which has a, fair amount of elevation loss, particularly in the. In the first half, doing some downhill running repetitions and, and just, this is like a dabble do ya.

You don't have to really go too crazy with it. You could do something as simple as a couple strides on a slight downhill, and it can also be helpful to do those strides on a harder surface like asphalt.

So you're, you're not gonna be doing it on very like soft grass, cuz then we wouldn't really be getting the same impact stimulus that we will when we're actually running the race.

So you know, if you are doing a downhill race or the Boston marathon or something similar, you're gonna extend the amount of time that your legs are, are, are feeling good. You know, you're probably still gonna feel like your legs are ground meat at mile 24 of the marathon. but hopefully with a little bit of eccentric work , it's mile 24 rather than mile 20.

Carb Consumption

[00:32:35] Bertrand: Tips perspective, coach Jason, carb consumption the importance of more than just the night before mill um, or morning of the week leading up to your big race carbs and nutrition.

[00:32:48] Jason: Yeah, for marathoners carb loading before a race has been shown both anecdotally through lots of coaches, experience runners experience and through the literature to be helpful, you are gonna be able to better maintain your marathon pace if you're properly fueled.

And that begins way before the race starts. So , I, I like to think of the week of race nutrition , the, the way that you are going to eat the whole week, leading up to your. Goal marathon as roughly similar to your normal diet, but it should be a very good version of your normal diet.

So , maybe you're trying to cut out a lot of processed foods. Maybe you're trying to eat enough calories. I think that's also very important, especially for marathoners.

You know, now's not the time to skimp on any calories and, and try to get down to race weight. That's not how we do things. You're just gonna be under fueled and you're gonna hit the wall even sooner.

We need energy as marathoners. Yeah. And, and that's certainly not gonna come from our mind. We need the calorie.

So aside from just trying to eat well and eating enough, we then have to focus on eating more carbohydrate than is typically usual for us.

Now, hopefully we've been practicing our fueling approach during our long runs, as we're leading up to the race. So we know what we're gonna do on race day. I do think a good carb loading schedule starts about two days before the marathon.

It's not the final meal the night before. It's not even the entire day, the day before the marathon, it's really a couple days, and runners should start gradually taking in more carbohydrate.

And the the guidelines for how much carbohydrate runners should be having has been updated a little bit over the last five to 10 years, and it's only gone up. So I think more carbohydrates is generally better.

Just be aware that if you're eating a lot of simple sugars if you're just eating you know things that don't have a lot of complex carbohydrates, just a lot of straight sugar that might go right through you and cause some GI distress.

But I also recognize that most marathoners are not going to be calculating the number of carbohydrates that they're eating in every meal. I mean, look, if you have a burrito for lunch, how many carbs is in that?

And how do we figure that out? Like you could use some sort of app and try to figure it out, but you might be off by 50% and, and it's really not the, the most accurate way of doing it.

So instead of really trying to get nitty gritty and, and have all this control over something that's very difficult to control, I think it could be helpful for runners just to start including more carbohydrates with every meal and every snack that you're gonna have. And if you're just eating more than usual, that will typically get you to a level that I think is, is mostly appropriate for you.

You probably will have to supplement with some sort of carbohydrate drink, whether that's a sports drink, whether you're having a little bit of juice , one or two glasses of juice during the day in the couple days, leading up to the race.

Most runners are gonna have a positive split in the race. That's partially due to low fuel stores. That's why we carb load. That's why we take in calories and carbohydrate during the race.

But if we can get our pre-race carb loading done well, and then fuel well during the actual marathon, that I think is going to be the great one-two punch for most marathoners.

Training Plans, Training, and Plans

[00:35:52] Kevin: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Jason.

Jason, Strength Running, Strength Running Podcast, strengthrunning.com.

I know we only have a couple minutes here, but, but tell us about the training programs that you have offering the community that you've kind of started. And what are some of the goals that you have for this year next year?

What are some of the things that you've been working on?

[00:36:10] Jason: Yeah, strengthrunning.com is sort of my home base. That's where you can find the strength running podcast. You can go on YouTube and find the strength running YouTube channel.

My goal is to help runners who love the sport. I don't care how fast you are. I don't care what your goal might be. I just wanna help you improve your running progress and get better in whatever dimension that means for you.

So that means I'm always trying to come up with different strategies and resources for runners to help accomplish those goals.

If folks do wanna learn a little bit more about strength training and the way I think about it, strength running.com/strength is a really good place to go. And you kind of hear all the different, amazing benefits that you're gonna get from strength training.

And in terms of what's coming out for the future I have recently created a, a new Strength Running trailer for our YouTube channel that I'm about to release that I'm very excited about, just a two minute quick video on who I am, what we're all about. It's high energy, it's fun. It's just, it was really fun to put together and, and edit with my editor.

So folks can subscribe to the YouTube channel to see that I think it's gonna be published in a little bit less than a week. So it might already be out when this podcast gets published.

And I am hoping to create a hard copy training journal for runners. So I have a certain perspective on the things that runners should be focused on in their training so that they can improve. And I wanna create a, a performance oriented training journal where we're gonna be focused on the metrics that matter.

So that's in the early stages of things. If you go and sign up at strengthrunning.com, you'll be the first to know about it.

But thanks for a good chat guys. I, I really appreciated you asking the good questions and, and giving me an opportunity to uh, talk more about this amazing sport.

[00:37:47] Kevin: Likewise, Jason, I mean, such a blast, such a wealth of knowledge, and just value your friendship, your, your knowledge, all of that.

You know, hopefully a lot of partnership opportunities here to come. So just thank you so much for taking the time and, and joining us on the podcast.

[00:38:00] Jason: My pleasure. It's always good when you're invited back a second time, so...

[00:38:04] Kevin: Second, third, fourth. Yeah, we'll keep, we'll keep it going. We'll keep it running.

[00:38:07] Bertrand: Absolutely. Thanks coach Jason.

[00:38:09] Jason: Thank you.

[00:38:10] Kevin: Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob Podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcast and leave us a review. Until next time, keep on moving.