Welcome to Episode 18 of the Final Surge Podcast. Our guest today is Steve Magness. Steve is a former high school prodigy, the author of the well respected book Science of Running and a coach at the University of Houston and to several professional runners. We talk about everything from training the extremes, race strategy, breaking through plateaus, tapering and psychology or racing.
Most of our listeners probably know who you are, but let’s give any who may not know your background. Can you tell us about how you got started running?
You made that huge jump your senior year can you tell us about that and what changes you made to have that breakthrough?
What was your training like your first three years of high school?
Your book the Science of Running is one of those books that I think every coach, no matter how experienced should have on their books shelf. But I understand you are working on a new book, what can we expect from that one.
You took over coaching at your alma mater University of Houston a few years ago. As a college coach, who is getting in high school runners, what are you noticing about the high school athletes you get as far as their training and what they may be lacking?
You have a kid who has plateaued, say a 4:30 miler. When he hits a level where he is not improving any longer, this is when you need to change a stress?
When you have a group of 30-50 kids sometimes that balance is hard. What advice would you have for coaches with larger programs on what they should be looking for in each runner to see if they training needs to be changed up for some kids.
There is a debate among some in the high school distance ranks. The old volume vs intensity. One argument is they are young so work on their speed development and the other camp is they should be working on their aerobic capacity and leave the speed for the next level. Of course, the truth as always is probably somewhere in the middle. But I think both camps work on both, the intensity camp may be more of a 35 mile a week program with 2-3 days of really intense work while the volume camp may be more 50-55 miles a week with a lot more tempo work, but what advice would you have for high school runners and coaches?
Let’s look at a week for a high school kid, how would you structure a week of workouts?
This is another question from a high school coach. Actually, the same question came in from two coaches. He is getting ready to start prepping for his qualifying and state meet. They would like to know what percentage of volume do you cut back. When do you start that? When does you have your last, hardest workout of the season?
You have a podcast Magness and Marcus, which as a coach is my favorite podcast because there is some talk about training, but a lot of talk about actually coaching. I'm curious, how much time do you guys spend talking coaching outside that podcast?
When you are working with your mid pack cross country runners, you are not talking to them about strategies to win a race, so what coaching advice are you giving them on a race plan, what does that conversation look like?
You have been coaching for a few years now at a very high level. If you could go back and give advice to yourself when you started coaching high school, what advice would you give a younger Steve?
One of your athletes, and one of our favorite Final Surge runners Neely Spence Gracey is going to be running the NYC marathon here shortly, how is her training looking? Episode 9 LINK
A question from twitter, we have a listener who has been putting in great training over the last year with great training runs. But on race day they are having sub-par performances in the 10k-Marathon races. Occasionally will have a good race so their fitness level is there, they are just not racing well. I know it could be a lot of things, but can you give this runner some general areas to look into to racing better?
Another question from twitter, when you are looking at recruits, what are you looking for in an athlete?
Favorite running book? - Once a runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Asics
Favorite race? - 1/2 Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Chocolate Milk
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Timex non-GPS watch