Essential Running Tips for Training, Injury Prevention, and Form with Strength Running's Jason Fitzgerald
Our next podcast guest has coached tens of thousands of athletes over the years. He was named Men's Running Influencer of the Year in 2017. He has a thriving YouTube channel and hosts the incredibly popular Strength Running podcast. He is the one and only Jason Fitzgerald.
In this episode, we dive into his training philosophy and the fundamental advice he gives when developing a training plan. How we incorporate strength training and why it's so fundamental to his programs, the mental mindset required to improve your running and why most people aren't realizing their full potential, how he's grown one of the top running podcasts on the planet, plus we dive into some running form cues that will help you run more efficiently.
All of the show notes can be found online at racemob.com/podcast
Links For the Show
Podcast TranscriptionThe following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:00:00]
I think it's really instructive again, we're kind of coming back to learning from the best in the world that Tom Schwartz, a Coach to elite level runners.
And he's saying let's not do workouts that are too hard. And I think if even the best in the world are running workouts, most of the time where they could do an extra or they could go a little faster, that is telling us a very important lesson that we should also scale back the intensity a little bit.
Kevin Chang: [00:00:31]
Hello, and welcome to the RaceMob podcast, where we're all about running long, having fun and making the human connection.
This is episode number 38.
I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.
Our next podcast guests has coached tens of thousands of athletes. Over the years. He was named men's running influencer of the year. In 2017. He has a thriving YouTube channel and host the incredibly popular Strength Running podcasts. He is the one and only Jason Fitzgerald.
In this episode, we dive into his training philosophy and the fundamental advice he gives when developing a training plan. How we incorporate strength, training, and why it's so fundamental to his programs.
The mental mindset required to improve your running and why most people aren't realizing their full potential. How he's grown one of the top running podcasts on the planet. Plus we dive into some running form cubes that will help you run more efficiently.
All the show notes can be found online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast and without further ado, here's our conversation.
Start of the Interview [00:01:38]
RaceMob folks, our next guest needs no introduction. He's been competing in running events for over 20 years, he's ran multiple events throughout the year and won a bunch of them. A 2:39 marathoner who founded Strength Running in 2010. Hes coached tens of thousands of athletes probably written thousands of training plans by now.
He was named men's running influencer of the year in 2017. He has a thriving YouTube channel that we love. And we'd love for you guys to go check out. Andy hosts, the podcast, which is consistently ranked. The number one or number two, running podcast in the world. The Strength Running podcast.
Welcome to the RaceMob podcast, Jason Fitzgerald!
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:02:19]
What an introduction. Thank you so much.
Bertrand Newson: [00:02:24]
No pressure, Jason
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:02:25]
Im excited to be here, guys.
Kevin Chang: [00:02:28]
Well, if you can't tell we are huge fans of yours. We've been listening to the podcast, for me, at least since 2017. Im a regular listener of the podcast, love what you're doing with your athletes. I love how you're introducing the fundamentals of running and strength into the running program.
Jasons Roots [00:02:45]
Walk us back into your history. So we know that you kind of started competing back in high school, and I know that you now live in Colorado, but have some East coast roots as well. So walk us back into how you got into running and your roots.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:02:57]
Yeah, I didn't always live in Colorado. I grew up in Massachusetts, right outside Boston. And I was the kid who showed up to the first day of cross country practice as a freshmen wearing basketball shoes, very baggy mess shorts.
And I actually thought that I was going to high jump because when I was in middle school, I, he just enjoyed the high jump during track and field week, I was doing everything I could to. Get away from the running events. You know, I was like the five foot, two guide doing high jump and throwing the shot, but you're just even funnier now that I think back on it.
But, you know, I showed up for the cross-country practice and I very quickly learned that there are no field events. We're only going on, longer runs in cross country. And, I quickly fell in love with the sport because I got hooked on improvement.
I just really liked putting in the work and then seeing the results of that work. It just spoke to me and, you know, it certainly helped that the coach was really great. I love the guys on the team and we just had a, a great environment for running.
And so, you know, I got hooked on running there and I made the challenging decision to abandon my first love, which was basketball, but, you know, everyone else started growing between eighth grade and ninth grade and I didn't grow to them too much. So I had to abandon my basketball dreams. But I don't really regret it at all.
I, found a sport that I absolutely adore and I ran cross country indoor track, outdoor track, all four years of high school, all four years of college, I kept training and racing fairly competitively after I graduated from Connecticut college back in 2006.
And so that's how I started. I mean, I, I was very much a runner who kind of came to the sport by accident, but fell in love with just the intrinsic nature of running you put in the work, you get results, and if you're smart about it, you can keep progressing. And ultimately you'll become a runner that surprises even yourself. And I always thought that was really exciting about the sport. ##### Running Longer Distances
Kevin Chang: [00:04:55]
Absolutely. And we know that you did some steeplechase in college, but mainly cross country. When did you get into the longer distances? Was that directly after college?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:05:04]
Yeah, it's funny. So in college I purposefully avoided the 10 K like the plague. I had no interest in running 25 laps on the outdoor track. So I was primarily a miler, 3K, 5k runner in college. I did start doing the steeple chase, which is 3000 meters, as a senior.
And then, you know what typically happens after college, you know, I got interested in some of the longer road race distances. I did my first 10 K cross country race, my first 10 mile race, half marathon. And then about two years after I graduated, I did my first marathon, which was New York city in 2008.
So, yeah, I kind of had a somewhat typical progression in terms of race distance that a lot of collegiate runners have, you know, they focus on track and cross country and then post collegiately, they get into some of the longer stuff
Bertrand Newson: [00:05:53]
You know, Coach Jason, for perspective, can you share some of your PRs by distance, one mile up to maybe full marathon for our listeners ?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:06:02]
My best mile was four 33 and I ran a three K in nine Oh four, which doesn't mean too much to a lot of people. That's just, that's basically a nine 45, two mile, I think. Wow. I ran 1602 in the 5k, which is very frustrating, being so close to a sub 16 and never getting it.
But I digress. Let's see, uh, one 1338 in the half marathon. And then I've run a two 39 32 marathon. It's amazing. I can remember all those numbers for so long ago.
First Marathon Experience
Kevin Chang: [00:06:37]
That's incredible. Talk to us about your first marathon experience. Was it that New York city marathon? How did it go for you?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:06:44]
Yeah, New York city, 2008. I was. 24 years old. So obviously I was cocky and full of myself. I thought I'd be negative splitting the New York city marathon running fast and mile 24, 25. And I had the opposite experience. I had the most cliched first marathon experience that you could potentially have.
I went out too fast. I hit mile 20, immediately hit the wall and my pace just started getting slower and slower and slower. I eventually was running slower than my easy pace. I remember mile 25 or so, you know, a senior citizen just blew past me. It was very humbling marathon experience to just to just watch them go and have no power to even get close to him.
I didn't really have the greatest first marathon experience. I ran two 44 in my first marathon, which, you know, I think objectively, like it's, it's a fairly competitive time. But it was in line with my other PRs at the time, you know, it was what I was expecting to run. But having such a dramatic slowdown in my pace. And, and just feeling as terrible as I did over the last, you know, five or six miles or so, it was just not a fun experience for me.
And so I really wanted to make sure that my second marathon was better and it was, I took my fueling more seriously. You know, my training was better, my pacing was better. So I do a lot of better things in my training and in the race execution of my second marathon. But it took me until 2011.
I think I waited three years, 'cause IT got a pretty bad IT band injury after my first marathon, which I was out for almost six months or so. And then I really had to think about why am I getting hurt like this? You know, and I have six month it band injury is substantial and severe. And. You know, I was just sitting on the couch most days, watching reruns of House, eating Ben, and Jerry's feeling sorry for myself.
And I realized, look, if you want to keep running, if you want to do what you love to do, you got to make some changes. And so that's when, you know, I think I saw like four or five physical therapists. I really revamped my training after my first marathon so that, you know, I could have a second marathon and.
You know, that was really what prompted me to start Strength Running back in 2010, was my experience with getting injured and then my experience getting healthy. So I really felt like I had something to share with the running community that, you know, we could design better training. We don't have to get injuries like this.
Cause I feel like, you know, that's every runner's worst nightmare, right? Is that season ending injury. And unfortunately too many runners know what that's like, because the injury rate is just so high and running.
What is Strength Running?
Kevin Chang: [00:09:32]
Absolutely. Talk to us a little bit about the principle behind Strength Running. I know that you have some kind of fundamental principles that you talk about throughout including, you know, running more miles, incorporating strength, training, structured training, and that sort of thing. So talk to us, about some of the things that Strength Running is, built on.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:09:49]
Sure. And first, let me just be totally upfront that there is no Strength Running system. There is no methodology, you know, I don't have a patent on my training plans or anything like that because what I try to do at Strength Running is. Model what the best in the world to do. And that could be at the university level, the collegiate level. It could be the professional level. Let's learn from them.
Let's take lessons and principles from the folks who are the best at what they do in the world. And then scale those down to recreational runners like us. Right. I can't run 120 miles a week, like a pro. I can't run three hard workouts a week, like a pro. And I certainly don't have all the support systems that a lot of pro athletes have, but we can pull a lot of principles from how elite runners train so that we can just design better training for ourselves.
So, you know, we can't run 120 miles a week, like a pro most of us can't, but. What does that teach us? It teaches that more mileage is generally a good thing. If you want to train at a high level, if you want to run fast, finished times, you've got to run a lot. Now a lot is relative and you know, I'm not going to get a 52 year old woman from Illinois.
Who's never run a step before and have her start running 60 miles a week. But the idea is to always be setting goals where your training is ramping up. You know, you're doing more you're, you're trying to be more strategic with things because, you know, ultimately I think training PRs have to happen before race PRs.
So a lot of those training PRs are weekly mileage, monthly mileage. I really like to have runners do different things. You know, let's not train for two marathons year every year, year after year after year instead, take a break from the marathon, even if that's your goal. Like there are so many runners who just want to qualify for Boston or just break the three or four hour Mark.
But the way to do that, isn't just to run marathon after marathon. It's to get fast, you know, do not pass, go do not collect $200. Just get fast. It doesn't matter if you're training for the 5k or the mile or the or an obstacle course race. If you are improving, then you're improving and that's going to bleed over into every other race distance that there is.
You know, I don't really have any crazy principles or anything like that. That would really be surprising to a lot of people who have maybe read a lot of running books or been on a collegiate track team or cross country team, and really been exposed to best practices.
I just try to implement best practices. No fads, we're not chasing shiny red balls or anything like that. We are just really focusing on the fundamentals because you know what I've seen in more than a decade of doing this is that most runners.
Aren't really adhering to the fundamentals. You know, they're not warming up dynamically before a run. They're not doing enough strength training. They're not being consistent with the long run. They're not running enough overall weekly mileage. You know, I talked to a lot of runners who just don't really run too many fast workouts.
Because they don't know how to structure them. They're not sure what's appropriate. They don't want to get hurt. So there's a lot of fear around it as well. And you know, my entire goal with Strength Running is let's get you training like a pro runner except scaled down to your individual capability level.
So we're going to warm up dynamically. We're going to run strides. We're going to be consistent with a long run. We're going to try to run more weekly mileage. And just be strategic with all those little things that I don't actually really consider very little and strength training is a good example there where I don't even consider it cross training.
You know, strength training is really part of the training that runners have to do if they want to achieve their potential. And I just think about every other sport, you know, Basketball soccer, football, all those athletes don't just play the game. They don't just play the sport. They're also doing a lot of conditioning.
They're getting in the weight room and getting strong. They're working on drills. They're working on mobility. They're doing all these other things to condition their bodies for the sport itself. And then when they actually play the sport, they're much better at it.
And I think runners can approach the sport of running exactly the same, you know, let's think of ourselves as not just runners, but athletes that specialize in running.
And that kind of sounds a little bit like we're just splitting hairs here. It's just, you know, word choice, but I think it's a powerful reframing of your identity as an athlete. And that really then helps you get out of the mindset of simply I'm just going to go for my run today. No, your workout is not your run.
Your workout is the warmup beforehand. It's all the post run drills in mobility and strength and all the other things that we have to do as runners. Uh, so I think that's a powerful reframing of runners as athletes.
Kevin Chang: [00:14:49]
I love that because we work with a number of runners as well. And. Introducing them to structure. Introducing them to other types of workouts has really helped a lot of them reach new PRs, throughout our training cycles with them.
And I love how you introduce some of these principles in a gradual way, in an easy way. Right? So you talk a little bit about strides. , as an easy intro into speed workouts and not just giving speed plans to people, but , let's get them accustomed to strides and building a little bit of speed .
And then you also talk about , strength training as in sometimes, you know, we'd love to have you in the gym, but if you can't get into the gym, there is body weight workouts. There are Hill workouts. There are other ways to get strong that are not just, Hey, lift heavy, heavy weights.
And you bring in a lot of other things as well, including compound lifts, rather than just sitting in the gym for two hours, let's get you strong, not get you like pumped up like other bodybuilders.
Common Mistakes Runners Make [00:15:48]
So talk to us a little bit about common mistakes that you see runners make and, how you coach them to progress.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:15:56]
I would say the number one mistake that runners are making is what you mentioned before. Kevin it's is the structure too many runners don't have that structure around their training.
You know, there's no progression, you know, they're not progressing somewhere. They don't really know where they're going. So, you know, their training, isn't periodized to their goal. Uh, it's not really specific to the goal either. You know, I read a lot of custom training plans and, you know, you said I've probably written thousands.
Yeah. I've probably read about twenty-five hundred custom training plans since 2010. And part of that process is runners will fill out this 20, 25 question questionnaire that I have, and the purpose there is I really want to get to know you as a runner, your background, what you've done, what you'd like to do.
And. The training that you're doing right now, your injury, history, all that kind of stuff. And what I've discovered is that yeah, most runners don't have that structure. You know, they're not being consistent with the long run. They're not doing a workout. They're not doing any strength training. They're not warming up dynamically. They're not doing strides consistently.
You know, the biggest problem is that, you know, running, I think has this reputation that anyone can do it, which is true. But then people think because of that, you don't need any instruction where if you want it to learn any other skill, whether it was baking a cake or learning how to swim the breaststroke, you would go ask someone who knows how to do it and get advice, get guidance.
You know, give me the recipe to bake that cake. Show me the proper technique for the breaststroke. But nobody asks, well, how do I actually train for a 5k? Do I just go out and run a couple of days a week? And it's like, well, that's what someone who's not familiar with training might do. And you'll certainly get to a point where you can go run a 5k.
But if the question then becomes, I want to race a 5k, I want to see how fast I could cover this distance, whatever it might be, now that structure becomes so incredibly important because it really kind of brings you from and where you are right now to where you'd like to be in the future. And there needs to be some sort of plan plan for that transformation, because it's really what it is, right.
We are transforming people into people who are capable of doing X, Y, Z, today. Two three months from now four months from now, five months from now, people who are capable of doing double that or triple that that requires a lot of physiological changes. And we have to go through that and really have those changes, you know, as goals in a methodical way.
If we're not approaching it with some sort of structure, then we might as well be exercising randomly and just kind of, you know, focusing on general health. And I'm not knocking that there's nothing wrong with just running regularly for general health.
But as soon as you become a more performance oriented runner, and that simply means that you'd like to run a new distance, maybe that's your first marathon, first half marathon, or you have a certain time goal in mind. I want to break four hours in the marathon or 50 minutes in the 10 K you know, whatever, as soon as you're a more performance oriented runner. That structure becomes absolutely non-negotiable. If you want to keep improving from season to season and year to year,
Kevin Chang: [00:19:10]
Recreational runners can learn so much from that as well, because if you put some structure around your running and you're able to recover longer distances faster, it's actually becomes a little bit more enjoyable as well.
So, you know, it doesn't come down to just people who have certain time goals or certain distance schools. There are a lot that recreational runners or those that just enjoy the run can learn from all of this as well. I love what you also talked about around periodization and talking about kind of the body adapting and getting stronger or getting better at certain distances.
In your podcast you also talk about failure as something that we don't do enough. So either. Running to longer distances to failure or the speed we're kind of to failure and the physiological benefits of that as well.
Obtaining Progress Over Time [00:19:57]
Can you talk a little bit about periodization and how, how the body adapts, how long it sometimes takes to get faster as some of these distances?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:20:06]
Yeah. So I think a lot of runners will experience progress in a matter of weeks, but big progress will definitely take months and years. And if you're a relatively new runner, you're going to experience more progress at the beginning, just because you're new. And you're going to pick up on technique and skills and gain early fitness very quickly at that point.
So, you know, if you're a beginner, I would try to upset PRs every couple of months. You know, by running short races, five Ks, 10 Ks, eight Ks, six Ks. I don't care. Just run a lot of races. You know, the short ones you can really recover from quickly and essentially give yourself a lot of at-bats at racing because I do think it's a skill.
Yeah. I mean, in terms of periodization and, and how long things take. I think most runners who have followed a training plan do somewhat intuitively understand periodization where, you know, if they followed a plan, they know that typically a training plan will become more intense over time. The workouts will become longer.
They will get faster, but that early work where. Maybe you're really just focusing on easy runs and strides and strength training. That really is your foundation. You know, that is like the capacity building work in your training. It builds your capacity for future work. And then, you know, the faster workouts, that's more like utilization.
You are taking what you've already built and then better utilizing it. So you're, you're kind of using those faster workouts to sharpen your fitness. And to really express your fitness a little bit better. Now, most training plans are probably 12 to 20 weeks. You know, there's going to be shorter plans.
There's going to be longer plans, but most generally fall in that 12 to 20 week cycle. Where generally I'd say that there's probably one or two months of mostly base-building and that would be the phase one of periodization. You know, the goal there is to get your mileage up, to be consistent with long runs, to get the long run higher as well.
And then again, build that capacity. And then as you start getting into the competition phase of the training cycle, now you're starting to do faster workouts. You might start running some early season races too. And that that's the, what I would say is maybe a another month or two, you know, it's, it's the chunk of the biggest chunk of your training cycle right there.
And then finally, there's your, what I would call peaking phase. Some runners call it the taper phase, but peaking or tapering is the final couple of weeks where you're running your goal race. The volume of running that you're doing is generally falling while the intensity either stays the same or maybe slightly gets higher.
Uh, and the goal here is really just to get you to a point where you're fit and fast and primed to run really well. But you're also not very tired. So that's what we do with reduction in the mileage. We like to say that the Hay's in the barn, you know, you're two weeks out from a race, don't go run a 20 mile run.
It's going to take the body a couple of weeks to really recover from that, to adapt to it. And at that point you're only making yourself more tired for the race that you're about to run. And so that's why the volume will decrease while we're mostly maintaining the intensity. So that's kind of a 30,000 foot view of periodization and it's mostly true, no matter the race.
So whether you're training for a mile or a marathon, most training plans will follow that general structure. I don't know if you want to get into linear periodization or non-linear periodization, but that you might need a graph or...
Kevin Chang: [00:23:34]
And we know that you have it on your YouTube channel, definitely you in front of a whiteboard showing kind of a different methodologies for getting to that race day. So that is. Fantastic. I think that's a great overview.
A Sample Week Plan
Bertrand Newson: [00:23:47]
Coach, let's take an example of a runner shooting for a marathon distance. Blue-collar runner, maybe at 10 minute pace or so. And what a sample week looks like broken out. And then if there was one workout during that week for them not to miss, what would it be and why?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:24:04]
Yeah, it's a great question. You know, I would say, um, sample weeks or. Generally a little hard for me, because it really does depend on the athlete.
You know, for someone who might be shooting for, you know, a four 15 or a four 30 marathon, which I think that's about 10 minute pace. You know, this runner is probably running in the peak of their marathon training.
You know, they're probably running 30 to 40 miles a week. I would consider that maybe the minimum that you would have to run in a weekly basis to really prepare yourself for the marathon distance. So overall mileage might be somewhere between 30 and 40. I think the most important run that any marathon or does during the week is probably the long run.
It's the most specific run to the race that they're preparing for, and it's going to build the most race, specific fitness for them. Uh, and then afterwards there's probably the workout. And for marathoners, I think aerobic oriented workouts are probably the best bang for your buck.
You know, I think one of the bigger mistakes I see among marathoners is, you know, they're 12 weeks out from their race and they're running 12 by 400 meters on the track. At 5k effort. And I'm just wondering what they're doing, you know, like what, what does that work you're very far away from your goal race. You're running a pace that is very much faster than your goal pace.
It's very intense. And so when we talk about periodization, a big part of that is running workouts that are appropriate to not just your goal race, but also where in the season you are. So if you're 12 weeks out, you're going to be doing different workouts than you might be two or three weeks out. Even for marathoners, your workouts might get a little bit more intense in the month leading up to the race.
But in terms of a faster workout, you know, one of my go-tos that I think is, is arguably one of the more benefits types of workouts for distance runners, you know, really anyone training for, uh, you know, a 5k on up to 50 K might be the tempo run or the lactate threshold run. It was funny. I just looked at a study.
I don't know if they were measuring the amount of improvement or. The total contribution of certain types of workouts to these athletes, uh, performances. And one of the things that that's not very conducive to fast running of these long, really hard repetitions, but tempo runs were quite good. And I think that's because they're what a lot of coaches will call comfortably hard.
It's hard, but it's not brutal. It's not a workout where. You know, you're left on the side of the track, clutching your knees heaving. You're not throwing up after a tempo run. And I think it's, it's working at that level. We are a couple of steps down from a maximum effort that allows runners to get a lot of benefit without beating themselves up.
And so I really take a long-term approach. Whether we're talking for the marathon 5k, I would rather do a workout where you can run another rap or two, or you could have gone faster, but I'm less interested in one workouts result. I am more interested in the total body of work over the course of a four month training cycle.
So I guess that's my long-winded answer of saying, you know, I think the mileage for this runner might be 30 to 40. I would probably have them do some type of aerobic workout, like a tempo run, and then their long run, I would label as the most important run of the week.
Bertrand Newson: [00:27:22]
Kevin Chang: [00:27:23]
Fantastic. And I think you, you got into something that was pretty interesting I picked up from the tin man podcast that you did with Tom Schwartz. On how he suggests not going to your absolute maximum, where you're clutching your knees on the ground doubled over, but actually pulling back a little bit from that so that you can recover and still have those great workouts afterwards.
So just wanted to double down on that, make sure that our audience is kind of getting those physiological benefits, but not totally crushing. Their bodies
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:27:55]
yeah. Let me just add to that. I think it's really instructive again, we're kind of coming back to learning from the best in the world that Tom Schwartz, a Coach to elite level runners.
And he's saying let's not do workouts that are too hard. And I think if even the best in the world are running workouts, most of the time where they could do an extra or they could go a little faster, that is telling us a very important lesson that we should also scale back the intensity a little bit.
Let's focus on the longterm. Let's focus on consistency. Let's focus on the total body of work, rather than on being a hero in any one workout. You know, that's a great example of really learning from the pros and the pro coaches and how they approach things, because you know, there's no reason for your blue collar runner to be training at an intensity that's higher than a professional runner. I don't think that's right.
Kevin Chang: [00:28:48]
Absolutely. So we kind of departed from your professional career. So we know that you had ITB syndrome and then you got back into running, winning races, winning a bunch of events. And one of the events that you won was warrior dash back in 2011, which caused a special place in our hearts because, listeners of our podcast know that warrior dash was my first ever race.
And it was Coach B's first ever race back in probably that 2010, 2011 timeframe. So we remember that race fondly. We remember it really ushering in people that were new to the sport had never really thought about, doing runs or races because it brought that element of fun to the events.
The Warrior Dash [00:29:32]
Talk to us about your warrior dash experience and winning your dash in Maryland. Was it your first obstacle course race? Have you done OCR since then?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:29:41]
So 2012, Maryland warrior dash. It was my first and only obstacle course race actually. You know, ever. And I went with my wife, I went with my buddy and his girlfriend at the time.
And, uh, we were just like, Hey, let's do this silly mud run. You know, let's, let's go have some fun. And, you know, I was in really good 5k shape, which is, I think the shape you've got to be in to be good at an OCR, especially the short course ones. And this was only a three mile race. And I had no intention of running it hard or anything like that, you know, but within 50 meters or a hundred meters, I was in like third place in my heat.
And, you know, I started getting a little competitive after there and I was like, all right, I'm definitely winning this heat. I'm going to take down these guys and I'm going to, I'm going to crush it right now. Now full disclosure. I did end up inadvertently skipping two of the obstacles, you know .
I finished and they were like, Oh, did you like that one we had a slide down the Hill on your butt. And I'm like, I never know. I don't know where I was. Of course, you know, I, I think I've just ran down the Hill instead of sliding down on my butt, full disclosure aside. Uh, I did end up, I think winning, I won my heat, but then I also had the fastest time out of the two days by about a minute or so.
Wow. So I, I do think if I had done all the obstacles, rather, I wouldn't have been so far ahead, but the next time, if there ever is next time, I'll definitely try to get in the faster heat. I think it's like the first or second one of the day on the first day. Because that'll give you a better opportunity to have competition.
And hopefully if you're around more people, you won't run around an obstacle and just completely miss it. I must've been in the zone. I was just in like RaceMob
Kevin Chang: [00:31:26]
it was competitive juices start flowing. I was going to say. Yeah, we'll invite you to go into a Spartan race with us sometime, but, uh, I think you would probably leave us in the dust. You'd just... right out there stuck in wind, trying to catch up with you.
Moving to Colorado [00:31:39]
Talk to us, I guess, about moving back to Colorado. And . When did you end up moving back there?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:31:45]
So I didn't move back here. We just kind of decided Colorado was a cool state and we wanted to live here. So we packed up from silver spring, Maryland in 2014 and came out here to Colorado. And a big reason was because the running scene Chang here in Denver and, and a little bit further North in Boulder. Great. And I've been able to meet some people runners and do some different, you know, events around, you know, the Denver, Boulder area that.
Yeah, it's just great to be so close to the endurance space. So it wasn't yeah. Moving back anywhere. We did a little bit of a trial run where we came and visited or a couple of weeks and stayed in a few Airbnbs and really loved the city. So we decided to make the move and.
It was ultimately a decision based on the fact that, you know, I, I thought being near the running community here would be good for Strength Running. And I think it has been, and I also just really want it to be near the mountains. I thought that would be really fun.
And we realized that, you know, Strength Running is a completely mobile virtual business. So I'm not really tied to any one location. So, you know, uh, DC was really nice and we liked living there, but, you know, I think it was not the place where we wanted to raise a family. And we're excited that we're here.
Talking about Strength Running
Kevin Chang: [00:32:57]
Talk to us, , about Strength Running. , when you started it, you mentioned that it was completely virtual, completely online. So did you kind of build a website from scratch have clients , how did you navigate kind of that virtual environment with your clients?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:33:11]
Yeah, thats a good question. I started strength training initially in 2009 as just a static website. There's no blog. There was no, just a couple of pages. And nobody really visited it. And, uh, I didn't just start coaching people out of the blue, like I thought I would. If you build it, they will not come.
And I realized that if I wanted to get traffic to the site, I really needed to start a blog. And so that's what I did in 2010. It was maybe, you know, six months later, nine months later that I was like, I'm going to write a blog.
And I never really intended to be a blogger. I don't really consider myself a blogger, but, uh, yeah, back in the early days, you know, I was really focused on creating two pieces of content a week to be published on the blog. Uh, I tried to make it more actionable and specific and practical for runners that they could actually take something away from it and incorporate it into their running to implement right away.
And, you know, I started getting a little bit more active on some social media channels, but I didn't really have a grand plan or anything. I was just making it up as I went along. You know, and then I didn't start the podcast until 2016. So it's been kind of a slow journey over the last decade, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
You know, it's been a kind of a great adventure for the last decade.
Kevin Chang: [00:34:30]
Absolutely. Yeah. And now your blog is one of the most visited, , running blogs out there on the internet. And. Your podcasts. Obviously we talked about it being number one or number two ranked, , running podcasts.
The Start of the Podcast
So talk to us, , about the start of the podcast , and who were the initial guests and how did you get it going, and , how did you start growing that podcast?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:34:50]
Yeah, I didn't start the podcast until I think it was right around November 1st or the very end of October in 2016. So it was a couple of years ago.
And I didn't take the podcast as seriously as I took the blog for a little while, you know, I was recording maybe two or three episodes at a time. And, you know, I was pretty fortunate that my first two guests on the podcast were Nick Simmons and Shalane Flanagan.
So I had some pretty good off the podcast and, you know, I've had some amazing guests since then, but you know, I've learned that, you know, it's not the amazing guests that build your podcast.
It's the consistency of you publishing. Its building a relationship with your audience. It's trying to create material that is going to help them in some way. So I'm always trying to think about what part of this conversation is, is, uh, applicable to my audience. How can we take this high level theory or this great idea and really make it work for you and make it work for any runner?
You know, whether that's. Someone who's just started or someone who's trying to break three in the marathon, no matter what your goal is, but yeah, the podcast has been amazing. And right now it's actually one of the things I'm most excited about because I just get to connect with so many people that I never would have otherwise.
And I think it's one of the things that's kept me sane during the pandemic over the last year. Because you know, I work from home. My kids are actually all in school. They're not doing any distance learning. And my wife is a teacher at a private school that never went remote. So I would just be alone by myself all day long with no one to talk to if I didn't have a podcast.
###### Kevin Chang: [00:36:31]
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.
Technology and Running
Bertrand Newson: [00:36:42]
Question for you, Coach. Technology. How have you seen that change in relation to runners also from a Coach and you can talk about that with tracking and metrics and analytics. And then the same thing with shoe technology as well.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:36:56]
Yeah. So the GPS watch technology has certainly advanced over the last 10 years since I started coaching, and now it seems like everyone has access to all of these crazy metrics. You know, they can rattle off their vertical oscillation and their ground contact time. And, you know, most normal people are left scratching their heads.
You know, I think it's good, but it is a double-edged sword. Uh, because I think a lot of the times runners fall down these rabbit holes of really putting a lot of weight and stock into these metrics. And, you know, the truth is if you don't know what to do with the metrics. They're really not that useful.
So for example, if you know your vertical oscillation, what does that mean? You know, what does it mean to know your vertical oscillation? What does that have an impact on your training? Does it change, change the workout you're planning for tomorrow? Does it impact. You know, your running form. Are you going to start tweaking your form because of something your watched told you?
So I'm a little bit hesitant to revamp a runner's training program or all of a sudden, okay, we're going to do all these different things based on some data from your watch, because I don't think that's nearly as important as the fundamentals. How much are you running every week? Are you running a workout? Is it a good workout? Are you being consistent with a long run? Is the long run being run at an inappropriate effort.
So, you know, we can certainly go deep on some of those things tricks, but I think for the vast majority of runners, it's not as impactful as how long did you run for how much time did it take? What were your splits like?
You know, that I think is the real value of these GPS watches is because now you can measure the basics and I think that's great, but I don't think we necessarily need to measure all of the tiny little details all the time, especially if you're a blue collar runner, especially if, you know, You're not running two 20 in the marathon, and you're hoping to get to the trials, you know.
At that point, tiny little tweaks that might shave five, 10 seconds off of a marathon are actually really important and they're probably much more important for the elite athletes. Who can go to a lab and get all these numbers measured and then actually sit down with a data scientist or an exercise physiologist and really discuss the numbers.
So I guess my point is, if you don't have someone to discuss the numbers, If you're not going to sit down and get an exercise physiology degree so that, you know, what is good, what's bad, you know, what's going to have an impact on your training and what's not, then I look at it mostly as entertainment.
You know, there's a couple of things that we can look at and, and certainly for red flags, you know, if your ground contact time is. 44% on your left foot and 56% on your right. That's a red flag that you're spending way too much time on your right foot. But for the most part, most people aren't outliers.
Most people are somewhere roughly in the middle of most people are by definition, relatively average. And so we don't need to use those metrics to change your form, to impact your training in any kind of way. And then with shoes, shoes, I kind of feel like the in a, in a similar way, uh, like I have some friends who are flirting with the Olympic trials, qualifier, and, you know, getting there and those carbon plate shoes are going to help them.
Absolutely. I think it's also very interesting that those shoes distribute a lot of forces to other areas of your body and the injury rate for them is relatively high. And so I'm a little concerned about that. And I just don't think they're appropriate for your kind of average runners, your runners, who are trying to break for in the marathon.
You don't need to spend $300 on a fancy shoe. That's only going to be good for 50 miles and it's going to change how you've run. I also, as a coach, I have problems with a shoe that doesn't last for very long, because you, you know, should train in the shoe a little bit before the race.
You should know how it feels. You should know, you know, what socks to wear with it. So you don't get a blister, all these little things that you have to take into consideration. If you have a shoe that's only good for 50 miles, it's really hard to wear that shoe in training. And then also for the race itself, before it starts breaking down.
So, you know, from a practical perspective, I think. It's a lot of money for something that could only give you potentially a little bit of extra speed, where again, if you're not doing the fundamentals, let's not try to chase that shiny object over there that looks really sexy.
Man, those shoes look great. Maybe I could get some free speed, but look, if you're running 30 miles a week. It's almost like you haven't earned those shoes yet. Let's do the training first. Put the work in. Yeah, exactly. Let's put the work in and then once you've exhausted the fundamentals, then we can go do some of the other sexier things that, that might have, you know, a bit of a difference on the margins.
Kevin Chang: [00:41:51]
Can you talk a little bit about what technology you do use for training plans? Are you kind of building these in spreadsheets or are you using like a final surge or a training peak or something like that to distribute your, your training plans?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:42:06]
Yeah, I haven't used one of the platforms yet, although I am kind of looking into the different options out there.
So right now we're just using Excel sheets and I've found it a little bit difficult because I include a lot of different things in my training plans. You know, everything from, you know, guidance on cross-training to dynamic warmups and strengthened core routines strides, you know, of course the workouts, the mileage, the long runs.
So I've found that the, uh, just an Excel sheet works best because then I can include all that additional stuff into the training plan and, and have it be, you know, relatively easy. Did a runner can just pull it up, look at it. That's exactly what they have for the day. And they have everything from. Their warmup to the workout itself, to the run.
You know, I have like foam rolling guidance in my training plans and all kinds of other content as well. So it's kind of like more of more than just a training plan, but for now just Excel sheets.
Kevin Chang: [00:42:59]
Love it. Yeah. And you have some of the best dynamic warmups on the internet. I know that we often reference. Those warm-ups are athletes, because I mean, you really go through the progression, what you should be doing, all of that. And so kudos to you on building those, putting them out there for everybody to kind of follow along with.
Tips on Growing a Podcast [00:43:18]
Do you want to get back to the podcast and learning a little bit more about some of your favorite episodes over the years, and maybe have there been any episodes that have boosted audience rates or any techniques that you kind of suggest. To a growing podcast like ours.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:43:35]
Yeah. That's a good question. It's funny. I would say that the guest has a very small impact on the number of downloads that an episode is going to get. So you could have an, A-lister, a world champion an Olympic silver medalist or something on your podcast, and it doesn't necessarily drive the numbers that you might be hoping for.
I found that the things that drive the most engagement with the podcast are really interesting, clear titles on the episodes. So, you know, that's essentially what you are advertising to the running community. You know, when they look in a podcast app, They're going to see your episode and they're going to read the title and then they're going to make a decision on whether to listen.
So if the title is simply Galen Rupp, you know, I don't know if I want to listen to that because, you know, Galen rubs a very fast runner, but now I don't know what it's about. I don't know the topic that we're going to be discussing. So I think a really clear title, you know, with some good copy, you know, I really believe in the sell people what they want, but give them what they need.
So be creative with your title of your podcasts. And I think that will really draw people in. And then, you know, just some more general tips for a growing podcast here. Definitely promote your podcast on other platforms too. So I will use my YouTube platform and talk about the podcast. And I think that is helpful.
I don't really have any hard data to say that it is, or it isn't, but one of the things that I've really enjoyed doing is. If I have a guest on and we have a great conversation, I might create a five or 10 minute video talking about some of the lessons I learned from that podcast episode. So it's an interesting way to create video content that is relying on the podcast and helps promote the podcast as well.
Because I think these hour long conversations you have with people, my God, you could cut this up into an hour long podcast. You could have a bunch of video clips on YouTube. You could have quotes on Instagram. This could be a month worth of content just in one hour of conversation. So I think it's important for us content creators to think about unique and creative, the ways to use the content, to reach more runners, because some people aren't gonna listen to a podcast.
So maybe you can summarize it on YouTube, or maybe you can highlight some of the big quotes on Instagram. And so I think those are really interesting ways of building more of an engaged audience around your podcast and just be consistent.
You know, I think for me, things started going much better when I started publishing an episode a week and it doesn't have to be that consistent. You could do two a month or, you know, just have set days, you know, the 10th, the 20th and the 30th or whatever of every month.
And you know, that's when your podcast episodes will go out. So as long as your audience knows what to expect, You're giving them entertaining, but also actionable material that they can use to help their running.
And they are having fun with those titles, you know, write some good copy there.
Kevin Chang: [00:46:35]
You and your assistant, you guys do such a great job of taking that podcast content. And then again, creating other content. I keep looking at your blog, your website. How you've kind of taken some of the nuggets from an interview and then written it into a blog post or into an audio gram or into something that's shareable. So you guys do a fantastic job. We are learning from the best of the best.
And plus just on the mic, you're so fantastic. That's what I love about your podcast over most of the other podcasts is I feel like you're in my head, like the questions that I want to ask these elites, you are asking them right there. So I just love that you get in depth with all of the guests that you have on your show. Um, it's been phenomenal and I continue to love every single podcast episode that you put out there.
I also love the coaching calls, the coaching calls that you do, you know, kind of quarterly, or kind of with some of your strengths running folks. I love how you kind of break down their goals and work with them on some of the things that they can work on, uh, to reach their goals.
Interviewing Guests [00:47:44]
So talk to me a little bit about working with the clients, working with an athlete. Do you have just a set list of questions when you do that, or is it kind of just like after a decade of doing this it's all in your head, you know, what things are going to kind of target or ask or try to get at?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:48:01]
Yeah. So for the coaching call podcast episodes, I do have a list of questions that I want to get through with the athlete, just so that every episode kind of has the same arc to it. You know, I want to know who you are, who are you as a runner, what's your history. Then we'll talk about a goal that you might have that you want to achieve.
And then we'll start by talking about how you might've come close or failed at that goal. And how you trained then. So then the conversation turns to, okay, you're going to make another go at this. What can we do differently to help ensure that you actually achieve the goal? And, yeah, like I have a set list of questions, but like it's very much dependent on, you know, how the conversation is going.
And, you know, I have specific questions about certain workouts and training ideas that they might have had that might be actually really good or maybe they were holding that runner back. So yeah, those coaching called podcasts are really fun.
I try to get a runner who has some sort of tangible goal. You know, I want to break three hours in the marathon. I did that podcast. With a woman that I thought was interesting because that was kind of very competitive. You know, you're running under three hours as a female, you're a very talented athlete.
And so I thought that was an interesting one because it lures in all the guys who have the same goal, but I think it's very aspirational for women as well. And then, uh, I will frequently talk to runners who have chronic injury histories, you know.
You're always getting hurt. Why are you getting hurt? What kind of workouts are you doing? What can we do differently in the future? A lot of those calls end up being case studies in let's get your training back to the fundamentals. Let's keep doing all the things that we know are good for runners, the warmup, making sure your easy days are easy, strategic workouts being consistent overall.
So on the one hand, I really appreciate the kind words on the other hand, I kind of think to myself that a lot of these coaching calls sound the same because my advice tends to be somewhat similar for a lot of runners because, you know, like I said, there is no Strength Running patented system.
I don't have some Fitzgerald 600 meter workout. You know, I give to everyone that all of a sudden is going to make you into some PR monster. It doesn't really work like that instead. We're always getting back to the basics, the fundamentals, what we know, actually it really works.
Hydration and Rest
Bertrand Newson: [00:50:24]
Coach touch a bit on maybe some hydration tips, the importance of sleep and the importance of rest.
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:50:31]
Let me be clear. I'm not a dietician, so I'm not gonna be able to speak at the depth of expertise as they would be. But yeah, hydration, it's something that I've certainly had to think a little bit more about personally, as I came to Colorado or up at altitude, it's a little bit more dry here, you know, I really do think that runners.
We tend to overcomplicate things sometimes, you know, I don't think runners have to think too hard about hydration. Make sure your, he is mostly clear pale yellow. We're talking about, you know, on the podcast.
And that's probably, you know, the extent of your hydration worries. You know, if you are an extreme sweater, if you have very salty sweat and you're training a lot, or you're getting ready for say a marathon or an ultra, now we have to take some extra considerations into our training. Some, some precautions. And you know, I have some hydration sponsors on the podcast that I think are really great that provides certain electrolytes for athletes.
Uh, it was interesting. I did a sweat test. I think it was last fall. And I found out that I'm actually an outlier. I don't sweat very much, but I have extremely salty sweat. So on the one hand, I've never really experienced any kind of hydration related problems in a race because I'm not sweating very much, but if I am losing a lot of electrolytes when I do sweat, so it's this interesting mix.
And I think runners, if they are an outlier, if they're one of those people who maybe sweats a lot and their sweat is full of electrolytes and they're, they're an outlier in both.
We have to maybe, you know, be a little bit more serious about their hydration needs. But I would say for majority of runners, just start each run, hydrated rehydrate when you're done and you don't really have to worry about it too much. And then with sleep, I mean more of the better, you know, more the better that's when we leave it, leave it at that.
Kevin Chang: [00:52:22]
I love that. You mentioned that you feel like your coaching calls all kind of go down back to the fundamentals, but I feel like a lot of them are a little bit different and you have, you know, built custom programs for, uh, tackling different weaknesses that an athlete might have.
So you have mindset mastery, which really tackles the mindset needed to both visualize the mantras, the everything that you might need to tackle a race experience as well as the strength training program.
Strength Training [00:52:52]
So let's get into the strength a little bit because it is after all called Strength Running. So talk to us about strength, training, strength, training for individuals, especially, you know, runners who might never have gotten into a gym, uh, maybe older runners as well.
What's your approach to, to strength training?
Jason Fitzgerald: [00:53:09]
So my approach to strength training is that I like to think of it as a must do. It's not a nice to do. It's a critical, necessary part of training that is going to help you run faster. That's going to improve your running form and greatly reduce your risk of injury.
So I consider it not really cross-training. Just it is the training that you have to do as a runner. And so you're right. Not all runners are going to be able to get into a gym, not all runners have that ability and can just, you know, have a barbell and a squat rack and a bunch of plates and really get into that kind of heavier weightlifting.
But one approach that I think really every runner should be incorporating into their training is, you know, I call it the sandwich method. It's really not a method, but it's this idea where you are going to sandwich your run between a dynamic warmup before your run, and then afterwards you're going to do, you know, maybe a 10 to 20 minutes.
Core or runner specific strength workout. And this is mostly body weight. You know, you can use a medicine ball or a kettlebell or band, depending on some of the exercises, but you know, this kind of goes back to that idea that we are athletes that specialize in running. So this dynamic warmup, and then the post run core strength routine is one way in which us runners can really work on our athleticism and being a general athlete, having a lot of those extra skills besides just being able to run fast.
And I think that's a good place for most people to start. You know, the dynamic warmup should only take about 10 minutes. It's mostly dynamic flexibility exercises. But also some light strength work, like maybe some lunges, which are very, you know, it kind of mimics the running motion and it really metabolically prime you to go for that run.
And then afterwards you do that, that 10 to 20 minute core strength routine that is going to help you get stronger, of course, but you're also moving through a different variety of motions of movements. You're moving your body in a wider range of motion than running itself. So it does act as a nice little cool-down,
I dont think anybody who's come in from a run and sat down in a chair for an hour and a half, and then gotten up, recognizes that going from one to rest immediately is not really the best way to do things. You're just going to feel really tight. You're not cooling down properly from the run itself.
So that core strength routine afterwards. Yes. We're trying to get strong. We're going to build some strength. We're going to build some coordination and balance and general athleticism, but it's also just a nice cooldown.
It's going to make us feel better throughout the day because you know, we didn't finish an 18 mile long run or a track workout, and then just go sit in our office chair for an hour. Just feel terrible for the rest of the day.
So I think that's a great way to start with strength training is with this idea that, you know, start every run with a warmup and finish it with 10 to 20 minutes of general strength work. But if runners wanted to do what I would consider ideal strength training. So if they wanted to structure their strength, work the way, maybe a universal runner at a good D one program or a pro runner. Would do it, then they would get in the gym twice a week and actually lift weights.
Now, all of your other runs during the week should still be followed by some sort of core strength routine. A lot of that stuff is very therapeutic. It's what you find in a physical therapy office. So, you know, don't think that you can't do it pretty much every day. You know, everyone can do some planks or pushups or side leg raises and bridges. A lot of those exercises, those don't take a lot out of you. But twice a week, we're actually going to go in the gym.
And you know, much like my approach to running my approach to strength work is very similar. We're going to focus on the fundamentals. You know, I think the squat and the deadlift are probably two of the most valuable strength exercises for runners because they are those. Big compound multi-joint lifts where, you know, you're not really training in individual muscle. You're really training a movement.
And I think that's a good way for runners to think about their weightlifting. The weightlifting program we have at Strength Running is a periodized strength program. And so what I did was I went up to Boulder. I found a USA weightlifting national coach who works with some pro runners. And I had him to build this 16 week program that meshes really well with a 16 week training plan for runners.
And very much like a running plan the strength program is periodized. You know, you're essentially have a base phase. Then you have your competition phase and you have your peaking phase. And so the goal with this program is really to focus on three main skills, strength, power, and injury prevention.
And what I found is that a lot of runners do make some classic mistakes with their strength training. So they don't lift for strength or power. They might lift for endurance. And this is really common.
You know, the thinking goes, you get into the weight room, I'm running a half marathon in two months. I want endurance. So I'm going to do three sets of 15 reps or four sets of 15 reps, but we're runners. We get enough of an endurance stimulus. That's much more specific to running when we actually go out there and run. When we do the long runs, the overall mileage, the workouts we don't need. More of that in the weight room.
Instead, we need to get strong. We needed to develop some power so that we can, you know, kick at the end of the race and finish strong. You know, those are the skills that we really need to work on. So we should avoid lifting for endurance.
Another big one is, is lifting like a bodybuilder. So you'll get in the gym four or five days a week. You will have buys and tries day you'll have chest day or back day. That's what bodybuilders do because they are targeting individual muscles to get bigger for size or hypertrophy.
And. They spend probably an hour and a half or two hours in the weight room when they get in there. Luckily for runners. I mean, first of all, most of us probably don't want to spend that much time in the wafer. I actually don't really like to spring, train too much, rather be out there running, but I recognize how valuable it is.
So, I know I don't want to be in the weight room four days a week for two hours, a pop instead 45 to 60 minutes, twice a week. Focus on the big lifts, focus on relatively heavy weight and lifting for strength and power. So, you know, I think rep ranges in the two to 10 range are ideal depending on the exercise.
Depending on the weight, depending on where you are in the season. But I think that's an overall great approach to strength training for runners. And I would just love for more runners to incorporate it into their training because almost to a person, hands down, every single runner who has taken strength, training more seriously, who has maybe gone through our high-performance lifting program and actually executed on it are just like, It's a changer.
I never knew I could feel this good when I run. And also I'm running fast. I'm healthy. I just, I'm a whole different person. And you know, that, that is the really rewarding part of coaching for me is that kind of transformation. Like, I didn't even know I could do this. That's always what I want to hear.
Kevin Chang: [01:00:18]
I love it. Yeah. And as our audience knows, I'm a huge, huge believer of incorporating strength training. You know, the last marathon that I ran was a big thanks to all the CrossFit that I had been going to. So the gym and working out with a CrossFit gym that was near here, a box near here.
And, you know, people know that I'm a powerlifter at squat deadlift. Those are really my lifts and I love getting strong. And getting strong is different than bodybuilding and, you know, lifting lightweights for long periods of time.
It is about East centric movements sometimes and lengthening those muscles as it is about sometimes explosive movements, the compound lifts, just getting stronger and it builds not only your muscles, but also your tendons.
It is a real strong piece of that whole injury prevention and you'll run faster and be. A little bit happier. So that is fantastic. I love, love what you're talking about there.
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:01:13]
Yeah. What has always helped me is because I'm someone who doesn't really want to lift weights, I'd just rather be running. It's always helped me to recognize that the strength work largely enables the running.
And so if I want to keep running, especially as I get older, you know, I'm 37 right now, which isn't that old, but as I approach 40 and being a masters runner, Especially as I'm approaching 50, at some point in the future, you know, it becomes one of those things where the strength training is now just as important as the running, you know, it's going to keep you healthy.
It's going to prevent muscle loss, which is common with aging. And so I really look at, at as a, an enabler of the thing that I like to do as well as. One of the things that will allow me to have longevity in the sport. I love doing.
Tips on Nutrition
###### Bertrand Newson: [01:02:01]
Great, incredible, Coach any tips regarding nutrition relation to supplementation, vitamins, fish, things along those lines that you've incorporated into your daily routine, or you may suggest to some of your athletes. Again, knowing you're not a nutritionist or, you know, that disclaimer,
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:02:17]
I think there's a lot of supplements out there. And if you're not eating some type of restricted diet, you know, whether that's keto or vegan or one of those diets where, you know, you're really cutting out a big chunk of what I would call the normal human diet.
If you're not one of those people, you probably don't have to supplement with too many things. Of course ask your dietician if you have any concerns or anything. But one thing that I have found to be really helpful for runners who are training a lot is just a protein supplement. You know, this is not, you know, some weird nutrient or something that, you know, you must have to perform better.
It's really just, for recovery, you know, after a long run or a hard workout, it's really important to start rebuilding the muscle tissue that you've just damaged with that run. And so a protein powder or shake, or however you want to get it in, I think is a nice way to jumpstart that recovery process right after a hard effort. And if you're combining that with some, you know, good carbohydrate after a run. That's what I would consider some really good proactive supplementation.
Besides that, you know, I, I think, you know, maybe some electrolytes, if it's really hot or you're training a lot, you know, maybe if you're running an hour a day or more than that, you know, you might want to have it as electrolyte supplement during the day so that you're not, not getting enough sodium.
Because I think it's interesting that, you know, a lot of runners they're super tight Bay, right? So they want to optimize their diet. They want to eat clean. And what happens is they stop salting their food and they're not actually getting enough salt. And if they're sweating out a lot of sodium with how much they're running, this becomes something that they should look into.
I'm a big fan of. Electrolytes when you're running a lot, especially when the weather is a little bit warmer. besides that, you know, I don't think a multivitamin is really going to hurt you. I think that the science is out on whether or not it's really going to help you, especially if you're eating a pretty well-rounded, a nutrient dense diet, but these might be better questions for a nutritionist, but from a coaching perspective, I do like to see runners get a little bit more protein because it does help with recovery.
Bertrand Newson: [01:04:27]
Thank you for that.
Kevin Chang: [01:04:28]
Love it. I do you want again to, and I know we're kind of going a little bit long here, but I'm just loving this conversation. I love it. I'm loving, picking your brain.
Running Cues to Look At [01:04:36]
So, you just released a YouTube video about running form. And, you know, we've had a couple of podcasts, guests, a couple of people that have really drilled in kind of midfoot, forefoot, this type of thing, but you really did talk about, Hey, there are different types of athletes, different types of runners.
And I think I remember listening back, somebody just talking about, you know, talking to multiple different running coaches all across the board. And there were a couple of cues that they always recommended runners, take a look at it. And sure enough, your video talked about kind of three running cues that people should take a look at.
So I'd love if you could share those running cues to our audience, as well as talk a little bit about foot strike. Do you teach it one way or another? Do you do form analysis with some of your athletes and how does that all go?
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:05:23]
Yeah, so I do not do form analysis. I flirted with this idea a long time ago and then recognize that number one, to be good at it you really need a running lab and fancy cameras and all kinds of equipment to really get a good running form analysis.
And I realized if I didn't have that, I would basically be telling runners the same things. You know, it doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter how you're run. We're going to be talking about cadence.
We're going to be talking about posture. We're going to be talking about foot strike and where your foot lands in relation to the rest of your body. So, you know, I had some friends who were like, you should totally do a running form analysis. Cause I think a lot of people would want them, but I just felt like I wouldn't really be contributing very much there.
So instead, I like to talk about some of the big picture things that you can think about that will then almost cover all of the minutia of running form. Cause we can talk about, you know, is your swing leg coming back up enough and, you know, how do you have the proper foot strike, but really, if you're worrying too much about your running form, you're going to lose the economy.
You're going to becoming less efficient runner. If you're constantly trying to run differently, when you go out there and run, in fact, the best way to improve your running form is to train well, you know, run high mileage, do Hill workouts, lift weights, all these things are going to make you more athletic, more coordinated. You're going to improve your balance and proprioception and. You know, long-term, that's going to make you have much more efficient, economical gait cycle.
But I do find cues once we get the training, right. You know, once, okay, you're doing Hill workouts, we're doing, uh, strides regularly. You know, all these things that reinforce good running form, you know, maybe we're getting out of those big thick motion control shoes and just wearing more neutral shoes that don't have as much support underneath them, you know, cause really your feet should be supporting you. Not these big chunky shoes.
Once we get all of that, right. Then we can start using some cues to better reinforce proper form. And I like a couple of that that are purposefully, not too specific because if you have runners thinking too hard about some minor thing in their form, then they're just going to lose economy. And I think it's interesting that the more experience you have as a runner, the less likely it is that you should probably be messing around with your form.
So if you've been running for five or six years, you have a bunch of race experience. You know, and you hear someone say, Oh, you got to have a mid foot strike and you go out there and you realize, Oh wow. I actually have a slight heel strike. And so you start trying to fix that. Well, you can't just fix your foot strike by trying to have a different foot strike.
Foot strike is partly dependent upon your speed you know, you're not going to see any sprinters with a heel strike. Foot strike is partly dependent upon the terrain that you're running on. It's partly dependent upon the shoes that you're wearing. So it's just one of these things that's more complicated than simply trying to make a change to your form.
So with that said, the cues that I really enjoy, that I think are helpful for runners are number one. I like the cue to run tall just when you're out there, run tall, try to be as tall as you can. Cause what does, what does this do? This. Improves your posture and it gives you a more athletic posture. It prevents, you know, leaning back or forward or to the side, any kind of slouching. So it's really helpful for that.
The other cue that I really like is just this quick feed cue, just quick feet, quick feet, quick feet, because the goal here is to improve your cadence. Most runners could stand true, probably increase their cadence or their step rate a little bit. And I think a lot of folks have heard, you know, 180 cadence, it's this magic Jack Daniel's talked about it, you know, this legendary Coach.
But you know, the, the 180 cadence is not a magic number for every runner. It is dependent upon speed. Your cadence will fluctuate. You know, if you're running 10 minute mile pace, As an easy recovery jog, that's gonna be slower cadence than if you're running 200 meters at four minute mile pace.
So, you know, you certainly have to really look at cadence only when you're running at an easy effort. So a lot of runners will count when they're doing strides or they're running a workout or something like that.
And for most runners who are running under 10 minutes a mile for their easy pace. I'd like to see them somewhere in the one seventies for their step rate per minute. But if you're slower than 10 minutes a mile, then it's okay to be in the one sixties. And it's a little bit of a range. You know, how fast under 10 minutes a mile, you are probably closer to 180 steps a minute.
So for me, I know that, you know, most of my running is done here at Denver, probably around seven 30, seven 45 mile pace. And my cadence is around 1:72, 1:74. And I'm happy with that, you know, could it be a little higher, maybe? I don't know, but. At this point after running for over 20 years, you know, I'm not really gonna try to tweak it too much at this point, especially since I'm, I'm not really injured and you know, I'm feeling pretty good right now. So it's not something that you should tweak too much.
And then finally, the last cue is to put your foot down. Put your foot down underneath you. And this cue really helps engrain that motion into your brain. That we're not going to be reaching out in front of us. We're not trying to gain more ground by reaching out and, and just trying to have that long stride a long strides should really be behind us.
So we come down underneath our body, our foot lands under our hips directly under our center of mass. And then if we're going to have a long stride say, you know, for running a race and, you know, we want to be flying along with that graceful form, the huge kick out back that's where that, that big, long stride comes from is that big back kick.
And you get that back by having a powerful stride. So the more force you impart upon the ground, the bigger that swing phase is going to be out the back and the longer your stride is going to be. And that's one reason why cadence is partly dependent upon speed. You know, the faster you run, the more power you're producing and the more power you're producing is the longer strides you're going to take.
So I like to see runners focus on those because they really hit on some of the big issues in form, which are posture, cadence, and then where your foot lands in relation to your body. Because if you have a good cadence and you're putting your foot down mostly underneath your body, you probably don't have a really aggressive heel strike.
And if you do have a slight heel strike, it's probably more like appropriate susceptive heel strike. This has been as a term used to describe heel strike, where. You know, he'll come down a little bit on his heel, but he transitioned so quickly to a midfoot that his weight only comes down on his foot in that mid foot neutral stance.
So, and I've discovered that I have a very similar foot strike as well. It's a slight heel strike, but I'm very quickly on my, on my mid foot. And you know, it's never really been problematic for me. And I think I would have problems if I were to try to change that. So, you know, I think for your listeners, don't try to tweak your form too much if you've really been training for a long time.
Unless, you know, you have some crazy injury history that you can't get rid of you're chronically dealing with repetitive stress injuries, then it might make some sense to take some more drastic action. But for most runners, I think let's get the training right. And then we can layer in some general cues to really reinforce some of those good habits.
Bertrand Newson: [01:12:55]
Kevin Chang: [01:12:55]
Fantastic advice. I mean, I think we will definitely be using that with a lot of the athletes that come in. I mean, that's three simple cues for people to remember when they're out on their run. So fantastic.
Goals for 2021 [01:13:06]
Let me ask you before we go. What are your goals for this year? 2021. Both athletically and business-wise. Do you have any goals that you've set for yourself?
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:13:16]
I think athletically, I would love to run a race.
Kevin Chang: [01:13:19]
Wouldn't we all? Yes. Yes, we would as well.
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:13:23]
I would love to run a race. I would love to run a trail race here in Colorado. I've run a couple and they're just amazing. For trails, you have to go out into the mountains. And that's really what I love at this stage in my running career is almost like a destination race in some beautiful location.
So I'm going to be looking for some of those races later in the year when hopefully more people are vaccinated and we can start having some in-person events. And then in terms of, you know, some business goals for Strength Running. Yeah. I mean, I have some, some big goals for the podcast.
We're going to start doing some more or video interviews were going to start doing a lot more, hopefully interesting videos on our YouTube channel. I have some ideas on changing up the content, but yeah, there, uh, and on the podcast and yeah, some of my big goals for different product offerings for the Strength Running audience. Those are in the works too. Uh, I guess I'll, I'll keep those secret for now though.
Kevin Chang: [01:14:19]
We'll definitely keep tabs with, uh, strength running websites and all of your product offerings. And we'll make sure that our listeners are aware of everything that you're putting out, because , you are such a wealth of knowledge, so great to chat with, . We learned a ton or from this hour long conversation with you.
And we hope to just continue. Having conversations into the future. I know that our audience would truly, truly benefit from all of your knowledge and everything that you're putting out there. So thank you so much, Jason.
Find Jason Fitzgerald Online [01:14:49]
Where can people find you online before you head out?
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:14:52]
Yes. So StrengthRunning.com is our home base. You can look up the Strength Running podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts.
And then if you want to check in with me on social media, I am on Twitter and Instagram @JasonFitz1. And I don't know if this is a thing, but I just signed up for Clubhouse.
Kevin Chang: [01:15:12]
We were just talking about that. Yeah. So maybe we should start a clubhouse room sometime with you. That would be fun.
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:15:19]
I know, but yeah, I just did sign up for clubhouse. I think my handle is simply Jason Fitzgerald. So yeah, anywhere that folks want to connect with me, that'd be great. I'd love to interact more with your audience as they, you know, set some of their big goals for 2021 and hopefully execute on achieving them.
Kevin Chang: [01:15:38] Incredible.
Bertrand Newson: [01:15:39]
Fantastic. Thank you so much.
Kevin Chang: [01:15:40]
Thank you so much, coach yeah, really appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Jason Fitzgerald: [01:15:44]
Oh my pleasure.
Episode Outro [01:15:45]
Kevin Chang: [01:15:45]
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 podcasts and leave us a review until next time.
Keep on moving.