Final Surge Podcast

In the Final Surge Podcast, we interview coaches, athletes authors, and endurance industry experts to help you train with a purpose.
RSS Feed
Final Surge Podcast






All Episodes
Now displaying: May, 2018
May 30, 2018

Welcome to Episode 85 of the final surge podcast where today we have the pleasure of bringing you one of the best young track runners in the country Jess Tonn. Jess is fresh off her sub 32 10k win at the Payton Jordan. We talk to Jess about her running career to date including her stellar high school career where she qualified for 4 Foot Locker’s, her running career a Sanford and how it has been making the transition to running with the Brooks Beast team. We talk to her about the amazing coaches she has been blessed to have so far and how that has helped her in her own coaching career with RunDoyen. Jess’ energy is contagious and we hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

Tell us how you got started running when you were younger

  • Started when was 12
  • Mother worked in the athletic department at ASU so did many sports
  • Tried many sports like soccer, running came naturally
  • PE teacher recommended after-school running program
  • Joined youth team for USATF 
  • Ran at Xavier in Phoenix for high school

You had quite a high school career, 4 year Foot Locker qualifier, 14 state titles in cross country and track and you went to an academically challenging high school with Xavier, how hard was it to put in the time you needed to be successful in school and as such an accomplished high school runner?

  • So much pressure on student athletes to perform now
  • Phoenix is hot had to meet at 5 am 6 days a week
  • Academics suffered a little because of hours
  • Had a great support system

Was there ever a time in high school you thought I want to be a professional runner some day?

  • When made her first Foot Locker coach sat them down and said this was a big deal
  • Wasnt until college that decided it was a possibility 

You also had a successful college career as a runner at Stanford, another tough academic school. There are dozens of young women runners in high school who go onto college and you never hear from them again except on Let’s Run message boards saying whatever happened to….. Why do you think you were able to make the jump to the next level?

  • Amazing coaches
  • Jeff Messer, high school coach developed well and left room for potential
  • College transitions that were hard were the lifestyle not running

What did you study at Stanford?

  • Communications

In November 2015 you signed a contract with Brooks to run as a professional. How hard or easy was it to make the decision to put off your career and chase your dream of being a professional runner?

  • Easy decision
  • When made top 3 in NCAA's knew I wanted to keep going
  • Family and coaches supported making a decision to run professionally

What was it about Danny Mackey and the Brooks Beast team that attracted you to them?

  • Prioritized what ideal position would look like as far as living and training
  • Coach, team atmosphere were all important
  • Visited a few teams and companies 
  • Brooks HQ atmosphere was unbeatable 
  • Coach Mackey was invested in each individual 

Earlier this month you ran the 10k at Payton Jordan, I want to talk about the race in some details and ask you a few questions about different stages. But first, what were your expectations going into it?

  • Had nagging issues earlier this year but decided at USA's wanted to focus on 10k
  • Had strung together 75-80 mile weeks 
  • Training at altitude coming into it
  • A few workouts were tough but indicated was in shape
  • Was great to go back to Stanford
  • Goal was 31:45-32:15 range
  • 2 weeks out did a really hard workout and nailed it so knew was ready

What was that really hard workout?

  • 7x 1k, 600 with short rest

Do you see yourself as a 10k runner going forward?

  • 2020 plan to try and make 10k team

You mentioned you had some injuries, can you talk about getting through those?

  • Had to pull out of Olympic trials which was devastating
  • Had to learn to implement crosstraining
  • Last year was on a long run and snapped a foot bone, came out of nowhere
  • Was in the middle of training block and was in a boot for 8 weeks, 12-week block with no running just swimming, biking and elliptical 
  • Had to work on the mental game

Rabbit took the group through almost 3k at just sub 32:00 pace and when the rabbit left the track things started to stretch out. At 3200k you were down by about 9 second and by 5k it was almost up to 15 seconds and you were leading a chase group in 3rd. When the lead grew to almost 15 seconds did you ever think I should have gone with Ichiyama?

  • No, had a solid race plan
  • Stayed relaxed over the first 5k
  • The goal was to be around 16:00 at 5k and was within 2 seconds of that
  • Was confident in my race plan
  • 6-8k was a little tough but started closing the gap so gained momentum
  • When got tough kept saying one more lap
  • Knew if was within contact with a mile to go could win

In the last mile your group started closing the gap, were you girls talking and communicating as it looked like you took turns leading the chase?

  • No communications, it just happened and took turns leading chase
  • Knew that workouts had set me up to win at end
  • Biggest goal was to compete to win

With 800 to go the lead group was back to 5 and Cliff made a push then with 500 to go Pagano made a push, and you were content on the back of the 5 person pack, what were you thinking, what was your plan as you saw what was going on ahead of you?

  • Learned to stay out of chaos but aware if any moves happen
  • Knew when I made a move had to be definitive 
  • I could have run faster if made my move a little earlier

That last 400 you close in 70, and when you went at 300 there was no doubt who was going to win, you looked so strong. Did you feel as strong as you looked?

  • Felt strong and had been working on mechanics and turnover
  • Through all the drills we had been doing I could feel it pay off over last 200

What have been your keys to consistency across her high school, college, and professional training that have supported your long-term evolution to a sub-32:00 performer?

  • Having fun has been huge for me
  • Staying healthy is tricky because my body feels different now
  • Have had to get to know my body
  • Always riding that line but every injury I can see where I made a mistake, they were learning moments
  • Super in-tune with how I am feeling and communicating with the coach
  • All the pre-hab, rehab is important to staying health

What are your plans for he rest of the race season?

  • 5k in June
  • Good 1500 at Portland Track Festival

You are now coaching with RunDoyen and we will leave a link in the show notes if anyone wants to get a hold of you about coaching. You have been blessed with amazing coaches since high school. You had one of the top high school coaches in the country with Jeff Messer, then, of course, Stanford and now with the Beast club. All of your coaches are successful, but I am sure they are all different in their own ways and coaching methods. What have you learned from your coaches that you will use in your coaching?

  • Communications
  • Adaptability and being flexible and not married to plan, life happens
  • Clients range from college runners hoping to make the team to mom's
  • Use Final Surge makes it easy to communicate

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Peak Performance 
Current trainers you are wearing? - Brooks Ghost 10
Favorite race? - 10k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Gatorade, water and protein 
Your favorite workout - 4 sets of 4x400 or 5-6 mile tempo on the track

connect with you online?

@JessTonn on Instagram
@JessTonn on Twitter
Jess Tonn on RunDoyen


May 23, 2018

Welcome to episode 84 of the Final Surge podcast with our guest Steve Fleck. Steve is an athlete turned announcer and you will hear him at many events including Ironman Triathlons, Rock 'N Roll Marathons and streaming online covering track meets.  We talk to Steve about how he got involved in announcing after his athletic days were over and what it is like behind the scenes at these big events. Make sure you follow Steve on Twitter @SteveFleck and follow us @FinalSurge.


How did you get your start in athletics?

  • Distance running in 70's in high school
  • Triathlon's in early to mid 80's
  • Cycling now

How did you make the transition to announcing at events?

  • Volunteered at Ironman Canada with Steve King calling out names and with promos
  • 4-5 years ago started to do it full-time
  • 30-35 events a year across North America

Do you do mostly triathlons or is it a mixture of events?

  • Do all three running, cycling, and triathlons
  • Runner's Space streaming

As a high school coach, I go to several cross country and track meets a year. There is a huge difference between the experience at a meet that just announces the next event and a meet with an announcer giving you details about what is going on and who the players are. What do you see as your job responsibility when you announce a race?

  • Information provider
  • Engage with sponsors and spectators
  • Make the local officials get love

Are most of your events large events or do you work smaller events too?

  • Fits better at larger events
  • But have local races that want the big event feel

What does your preparation look like for an event and how does it differ from like a local 5k race to a big Rock n Roll?

  • Bigger events more scripted
  • Read promos as part of sports presentation
  • Research who is running

If you are doing an Ironman triathlon what does that look like for you? You are out there so long how do you fill that space?

  • A balance between talking too much and too little
  • Don't talk non-stop
  • Need to fill time with engaging stories
  • It is all about the finishers at the end
  • Awards for age groups

Any disaster or horror stories?

  • Weather is the biggest factor
  • Irrate participants will bring troubles 
  • Upset about things like flavors of Gatorade on course

Do you have a favorite race to do?

  • Like a really competitive race on the track 800-1500m where you can build a story 

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - David Epstein The Sports Gene
Current trainers you are wearing? - Favorite all-time is Nike Waffle
Favorite race? - Any big events like Ironman would love to do NYC Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Beer and Risotto 
Your favorite workout - Threshold/Sweet Spot


Steve Fleck on Twitter

Steve Fleck on Instagram

May 10, 2018

Welcome to episode 83 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome new professional runner Sam Parsons. Sam is a runner with Adidas and the new Tinman Elite running team in Boulder Colorado. In this episode, you will hear the enthusiasm Sam has for running and the running profession. We talk about Sam's high school days, his transition to running at NC State and what it is like running for Tinman, Tom Schwartz who he calls the mad genius of running. The Tinman Elite crew uses Final Surge as a training platform and it is great to hear the enthusiasm Sam and his teammates have for the sport. We dive into how the mental part of running is so important to Sam and how his training has changed under Tinman.


How did you get your start in running?

  • Multi-sport athlete Soccer, Swim, Lacrosse 
  • Watched sister run
  • Soccer coach encouraged him to run cross country for conditioning
  • Ran Nike Cross Nationals as a Senior

After high school, you ran at NC State. What was a harder transition, transitioning from high school to college or college to the professional ranks?

  • Transition to college was harder
  • Burn out is high because of greater impact on the body
  • Wasnt ready for demands on the body

 You mentioned one of the harder parts of jumping from high school to college was the milage demands, what were you running in high school?

  • High School we had good workouts but the next day was an easy 30-minute recovery run, in college it was a 12-mile recovery run
  • NC State is a development school with a 2-4 year plan

What about the mental aspect, how has the mental part of running and competing changed as you have grown?

  • Need to train the mind to be ready to close a race out
  • Mind needs to tell yourself you will win and are unstoppable
  • Need to stay positive 

How do you think you changed to become a more serious runner?

  • Too many late nights
  • As a professional need to take care of your self with sleep and eating right

Many of us follow professional runners on Instagram and see runs in absolutely stunning locations, then naps, and free shoes… What has the transition to a professional runner been like?

  • Never want to look back and think should've, could've, would've
  • Boulder is a great place to be at

You are running for Adidas now, how did that relationship develop?

  • Started as an intern for Adidas tennis
  • Would finish work and head down to the running department
  • Fell in love with the company when worked for them
  • Ran into Drew Hunter when he was racing there
  • Reached out to Tom Schwartz

You did the BAA mile where you got 5th and then recently ran the mile at Drake’s. You ran a lot of 5-10ks on the track in college so is this miler thing just part of the training season you are in or what are your plans?

  • Tom recognized I should run sub-4
  • If I want to be a great 5-10k runner I need to close in 55 seconds
  • Need more speed work for long-term
  • Working on developing speed 

Let’s talk a little bit about training. You are now training with Tinman, Tom Schwartz. We have had him on the podcast in the past and this past January I had the privilege of getting to spend a little time with him while at a clinic. What has been the biggest change in your training?

  • Tom is a mad genius
  • He loves hills
  • We run a lot slower now, easy days are now 7:30 pace
  • Always wants us ready for workouts
  • We don't taper, always ready to race
  • Don't work on one system, work on speed and strength in workouts

Tinman is known for his CV efforts. How do you define CV effort, what pace is that for you?

  • Critical Velocity
  • Pace you can hit and feel comfortable, K's a CV are about 2:55 or maybe 5:00 pace on longer runs
  • Training is not hard, but easy workouts
  • We did 8x600 last week with rest of 1:14, that exact
  • Very rarely do we go hard to the well in a workout


One of our loyal Twitter follers MacBane, a Twitter follower wants to know
How do you have fun on race day?

  • Smile
  • Eat that cookie, enjoy it
  • Opportunity to put on a show 

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Unbroken and Beyond Jogging
Current trainers you are wearing? - Adidas Solar Boost
Favorite race? - 5k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Tripple Berry Smoothie
Your favorite workout - Mile Repeats and Long Run

Podcast with Tinman
Sam on Twitter
Sam on Instagram
Tinman Elite on Instagram