Final Surge Podcast

In the Final Surge Podcast, we interview coaches, athletes authors, and endurance industry experts to help you train with a purpose.
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Now displaying: March, 2018
Mar 21, 2018

Welcome to episode 80 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome medical doctor Josh Emdur to the show. Josh has an interesting practice, he works for SteadyMD which changes the way the people interact with their primary care physician. Imagine, instead of calling your primary care doctor for an appointment you texted them and shortly thereafter you were talking to your doctor via a video chat. Dr. Emdur's practice does just that and he specializes in working with runners. You can find him at

Josh is doing some interesting thing around medicine for runners

If you could tell us how you got started as a runner?

  • 8 years ago as became a parent
  • Played soccer, lacrosse was always a better runner than a player
  • As a physician and parent in Boulder turned to running
  • Ran Rock n Roll marathon in San Diego in 2011 and set sights on Boston
  • Wasn't until he hired a coach that he had his big breakthrough

What was it working with a coach that really changed things?

  • Had qualified for Boston, but never fast enough to get accepted
  • Didn't understand what it meant to run easy and the 80/20 rule

You are online at can you tell us what this site is about?

  • Been a family doctor for the last decade
  • Concierge medical service for runners

How does that work, how do you treat patients virtually?

  • Medical school taught 80% of diagnosis is in history
  • This allows you to take the time to get to know them and their history and goals
  • Subscription service outside of health insurance
  • Build a 1-on-1 relationship with the client
  • Constant communications with patients 

I’ve seen on your social media that Neely Spence Gracey uses you, being in Boulder are you working with a certain level of runners or anyone?

  • Athlete doctor
  • Athlete care network
  • A new way to handle primary care with someone who understands runners
  • Works with some coaches and athletes as part of their team
  • Work with any athlete trying to help them get to their goal

You have mentioned you are more like a primary care doctor for athletes.  Why do I need a primary care physician when it seems specialist is more of the trend these days?

  • Primary care doctors look at the big picture

Can you practice in any state?

  • Have to be licensed in every state
  • Currently licensed in 26 states

You are obviously using technology to make this work, what do you with the future of healthcare technology such as all the data that Apple Health is grabbing, Do you or can you use and monitor that?

  • The current system is not working
  • High deductible systems are not working, discourage care
  • Here they have access to a Doctor 
  • Fan of GoodRx

It seems that technology is lowering the costs for just about everything in our lives these days, but the one place it is not lowering is our healthcare costs. Healthcare costs total about 18% of our GDP last I saw, without getting into the politics of health care and ObamaCare, do you see subscription services like this as a future way to lower costs?

  • It doesn't cost a lot of money to take good care of people
  • 5 minutes with primary care physician does not move the needle
  • It takes time with patients to dig deeper

If someone is already paying obscene amounts for health insurance why would they spend the $79/mo on this too?

  • Runners pay a lot for health insurance and don't even use it because not happy with the experience 
  • Get on a higher deductible plan and use this to help with basic health goals
  • People are not used to paying to go see the Doctor, takes time to get used to, but paying for expertise 

I don't go to the doctors often, I don't think I have been to a Dr. in at least 7-8 years. Last time I was there I had an appointment and all I remember is it took almost an hour longer before I was able to see the doctor. How would an appointment work with you online?

  • Video chat, HIPAA compliant
  • The first appointment is over an hour going over history, that first visit is important to get to know who caring for

If received a prescription from you would insurance cover it?

  • Yes

I wake up this AM and not feeling well and want a consultation, how long would it take to get an appointment?

  • Text through the app and will be able to see the same day

What does an appointment with you look like?

  • Check vitals
  • Get a history of what is going on
  • Come up with a treatment plan

What do you think is running related injuries vs general health issues for your clients?

  • 50/50
  • Most start with running injuries but then develops into a general relationship

I wake up on a Tuesday morning with a race this weekend and I am feeling something coming on. You are off on your vacation for a couple weeks rock climbing in South America, what happens if i need service while you are gone?

  • We have other doctors in practice that fill in

You mentioned you can be a team member with an athlete and their coach, can you give me an example of how that would work?

  • Have an athlete who is coached by a McMillian coach using Final Surge which I can see the information and notes of
  • We were able to catch an injury issue early when it was just a stress reaction, not a stress fracture
  • Came up with diagnosis and back at it

 Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute

Favorite endurance/running book? - Born to Run
Current trainers you are wearing? - Newton 
Favorite race? - Boston or any race where people are excited to be there
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Cholocate Milk
Your favorite workout - Anytime pushing myself usually on trails 


SteadyMD/Running Website
SteadyMDRunning on Twitter
SteadyMDRunning on Instagram



Mar 14, 2018

Welcome to episode 79 of the Final Surge Podcast. Today we dive deep into training with coach and author Mario Fraioli. We spend a half hour talking nothing but the 5k. We dive into how to race a 5 and how you structure your training for that race. If you are interested in coahing for the 5k you can reach out to Mario on his website or check out our training plans at  

We have a special training episode today where we are going to talk about 5k training. But before we do that I want to spend 2 minutes catching up. We had you on last year, people can learn more about you from episode 27. I think most of our listeners know about your Morning Shakeout Tuesday newsletter, but recently you added the shakeout podcast. I loved your recent episode with Shalane. What made you decide a podcast was where you wanted to go next?

  • Growing medium
  • Way to dig deeper

5k Training/Racing

The 5k is unique because it is the shortest race most non-elite winners will do. It’s also my favorite race distance to coach personally because it’s a great mix of endurance and speed. What do you personally like or not like about the 5k?

  • Racer's race
  • Can't back off like longer races
  • 5k runners are there to race and push themselves to an uncomfortable place
  • Blend of good endurance and speed
  • Foot on gas the entire time
  • Distance Thunder article

For this, I don’t want to focus on the couch to 5k. There are plenty of plans and podcasts about that. I want to focus on someone who is really interested in racing a 5k. And that could be someone looking to break their 24min Pr or go sub 19 or even sub 15. We usually talk about training and then get into racing. But today I want to work backwards. I want to start with racing the 5k to understand what we need to work on in training. You take on a new athlete what general racing advice do you have for a road 5k runner?

  • It is going to be uncomfortable
  • You won't feel good even if it is going well

Racing a 5k is tough. As I tell my athletes you need to learn to enjoy that ride on a pain train. If you are going for it then from 800-5k meters you are probably going to hurt. Do you find there is work you can do to get them used to that feeling or do they need to race to experience it?

  • More experience to race because there are no breaks

If you have someone, maybe a competitive age grouper, not going for the win. How do they race it? Do you like even splits on a flat course for optimal racing?

  • Even splits are a nice goal, but not going to happen often and that is ok
  • Will often negative split with a fast finish

There is usually a big pack early through maybe 2k then it starts thinning out. Is this because too many people go out to fast?

  • You need to keep it close
  • Need to maintain contact with the group in front of you

No, of course,e you mentioned experience racing is the best teacher for racing a 5k.  You can be in great shape and still fall apart in a 5k so how do you ride that line between going for it and blowing up?

  • Pay attention to breathing in the first mile
  • Want to get through the first mile in good shape by paying attention to your body 

If you have an athlete who says I have this key 5k I want to crush how long is your recommended program and what should the base look like before they even start that?

  • Depends on the athlete and where they are
  • Could be 6-8 weeks could be or could be a lot longer up to 6-months

What type of base should they be coming off, what should the training look like before the training cycle?

  • Not a fan of just base
  • Should be doing some intensity and hills
  • 10-15 second hills  and then working longer

If someone had a 12-week block how much racing can they do before their A race?

  • Start with a 5k as a benchmark
  • Maybe one a few weeks later
  • Do not want to over-race 
  • If you can find a 1-2 mile race that would be great, something faster to help sharpen you

You mention faster than race pace work, how do you structure those in?

  • Once every ten days or so, one ever three workouts or so

Walking through a training week

  • Monday - Rest/Recovery
  • Tuesday - 6-7 x 800 at 5k pace close to equal recovery
  • Wednesday - Easy recovery on longer side
  • Thursday - Distance run with strides
  • Friday - Key workout, 2x 2 miles at 10k pace with some faster 200/300 at mile pace
  • Saturday/Sunday a long run and a recovery run, up to athlete which is when

We talked about racing on that edge, how many 'Seeing God' workouts do you do?

  • Once every 4 weeks
  • Do not let them know before it is coming
  • Don't tell them when last rep is coming

What percent of the total volume for the week is your long run in 5k training?

  • 20-30%, 50 miles a week maybe 10-13 mile long run
  • It is important to keep the long run in your training

How do you work in workouts that may be specific to the course?

  • Need to look at turns, hills, up and down
  • Pacing won't be consistent like on track
  • Take intervals off track to simulate
  • Mimic race course as much as possible

Interested in getting coached by Mario, check out his website

The Morning Shakeout Newsletter

Distance Thunder article

Mario on Twitter

Mar 7, 2018

This is a replay best of episode of the podcast where we go back to  Episode 39 of the Final Surge Podcast and our talk with Team MPI head coach and co-founder Mark Sortino. Mark is a USA Triathlon Level III Coach, a certified USAT Race Director, and is the head coach of Team USA Paratriathlon. In addition to coaching, Mark is a 16-time Ironman finisher.

Welcome to Episode 39 of the Final Surge Podcast where we talk to head coach and co-founder of TeamMPI, Mark Sortino. Mark is a Level III Triathlon coach and has been featured in publications such as USA Triathlon Magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and was a featured coach in Endurance Films TriMinds series. Team MPI has triathlon training plans available on Final Surge from the sprint distance through the Ironman.


How did you get your start in endurance athletics?

How did you make the transition into triathlons?

What lead to you starting Team MPI? Can you tell us about your group?

How many coaches do you currently have on staff at Team MPI?

You mentioned that you are using Final Surge in your training. How are you using it?

We want to start out with some basic training and triathlon questions for those who are looking to do their first multisport event. For someone who is looking to get started with triathlons, maybe they are someone who has done a lot of running or swimming, what do you see as the most common mistakes made?

You have a wide variety of training plans available on Final Surge, everything from the sprint distance up to Ironman training plans. Let's look at the basic first week for a beginner Olympic distance race plan. Before we talk about specifics, what type of base should a beginner have before they start training for their first triathlon?

Week #1: The first day you have 30 minutes of swimming and 30 minutes of aerobic running with strides.

The 30-minute swim workout is:

  • 200 easy choice warmup mix


  • 3x the following: (100 easy, :30 RI, 100 moderate, :30 RI, 100 fast, 1:00 RI)
  • 100 easy choice cooldown mix



***No paces to hit, just go with feel and intention.

For someone who is coming in without a swim background, how important is it to use perceived exertion on the swim?

After the swim, you have the 30 minutes of running. Should these be done back to back, does order matter, or should they be separate so you are recovered?

Day two of Week #1 is a 30-minute active recovery swim and 30 minutes of bike base spinning. One thing I noticed on the swim is that on the second day you have:


  • 150 warmup, build each 50
  • 4 x 50 - alternate easy/fast up, then 4 x 100 alternating and again 4 x 50 alternating hard and easy.



For someone who is coming from a run background, we don't see a coach saying go hard two days in a row. How different is it training for the swim?

Then the bike workout is 30 minutes of staying in zones 1-2. Is all of your biking done in heart rate zones versus training paces?

On day three there is a Fartlek run:


  • 10 minute EASY warm-up, building to Z2
  • 15 minutes of fartlek where you have 4 sprints at any type of distance (for 20 sec, 1 minute, stop sign to stop sign), but make sure you recover before each one.



Why and how often are you incorporating fartlek work into your workouts?

In week #1 you have some days that are just running or just biking, but every day of swimming has either a bike or run. Is this a normal pattern for your triathlon training?

For the new triathlete, they get to the starting line on race day and they are looking at several hundred people ahead of them waiting to get into the water. How do you prepare them for what will likely be a much rougher swim than what they practiced?

Now I'd like to look at an Ironman plan. An Ironman is going to be a lot of additional time in the water and on the roads. Looking at one of the weeks for your ironman training you have a total of 3.5 hours of running, 5.5 hours of biking and just under 2.5 hours swimming. Do you try to keep each week proportional to the amount of time they will actually be spending doing the event on race day or do you focus on what they may need the most help with?

On days where you are doing either both swimming and running, swimming and biking or biking and running, is it important that you do them in the order you will be doing them on race day? Is that not important at all or should you switch it up?

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of technical advancements that make it easier to train, such as the availability of power meters and testing your heart rate variability. How important are these tools to your coaching?

Can you tell us how you are using HRV with your athletes to monitor the overall picture of what is going on with them?

We all live with our Google calendar, our day planners and our family calendar hanging on the fridge, and they all have the same thing - 7 day weeks, which is what we seem to focus on for our normal training periods. You recently had a piece on your blog about changing the cycles up some. What do you recommend people consider when putting together a training cycle?

Team MPI has training plans available on Final Surge from the sprint triathlon distance up to the Ironman distance. I will leave the links in the show notes to those plans, but if someone wanted to reach out to you about coaching or other questions how could they best reach you. or

The Final Surge... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Born to Run
Current trainers you are wearing? - Newton
Favorite race? - Kona
Favorite meal or recovery drink? - Shakeology and Energy Lab Armor
Your favorite workout - Running: a hard trail run, Bike: short interval work, Swim: long repeats

You can find Team MPI in the following places:

Team MPI website