Welcome to the Final Surge podcast episode 26, and our final episode of 2016. Today we talk to Olympian Nick Willis. Nick has represented New Zealand in the 1500 in the last three Olympics and had podium finishes in 2008 and 2016. We talk to Nick about his Olympic race this year, how he schedules training blocks for his training and we talk to him about his new project he launched The Miler Method. Nick and his wife are running 6-week online boot camps to help you run faster. Nick is offering two free entries into upcoming boot camps to our listeners. Head over to iTunes, leave a review of the podcast and you will be entered. For more information on other ways to get entries, head to Finalsurge.com/podcast and look for details under Episode 26 and follow us on Twitter @FinalSurge.
We will have the drawing for both entries on January 6th. Entries are allowed until noon time EST on 1/6/17.
2016 you qualified for your 3rd Olympics 1500 meters finals in a row. You got a Silver in 08, 9th in 2012 and then you made the finals this year. What was your thought process coming into the race, what was your race plan?
When you go into a mile race do you have a plan or is your plan going to depend on what others do?
Do you prefer a quick race with even splits or do you prefer a slower race that becomes a kickers race in the last 300?
You got a Silver in Beijing then 9th in London and then come back for a bronze in Rio. What were the biggest changes you made in training and approach between London and Rio to back on a podium at the Olympic finals?
So where did you train at altitude leading into the Olympics?
So let’s talk training. A miler is one of those events where you need endurance and speed. How do you balance your long run and strength work vs specific speed work?
Nick talks about the phases and training blocks he uses to train and keep adaptations.
When you move to the second block with more speed and race specific work what are you doing to keep up with the aerobic work and what do your long runs look like during this block?
You talk about these two blocks you use, are these blocks your only work or are you doing other work leading into these blocks during the off season?
You recently launched a new site Miler Method, what is your goal for this project?
When we are talking the 1500/mile, we usually think of high school, college, and the very elite professionals. While with the 5k or 10k there seem to be many more recreational and age group runners. So what type of clients are you getting for your program? Is your goal to get more people just working on their speed?
Are the boot camps done virtually or in person?
If you had a post-collegiate guy running a 15 minute 5k and a 30-year-old female running 22 min 5k in your program, how would their training be different from each other with Miler Method?
You mentioned running mechanics/efficiency and technique, how do you do this with them virtually when you are not there in person with them?
If you are getting 60 people at a time and individualizing every one’s workouts, how are you managing all those schedules?
So what are you learning from this? Working with all these people there must be something you are learning that you can implement in the future?
Do you have any great success stories from some of these athletes who maybe have never trained for a mile before?
What do you notice about these runners, is it they don’t train hard enough or often enough or what are you noticing they are deficient in when they come to you?
Here is a question that came in from Twitter:
If you are trying to find the event you are best at, how do you recommend people go about doing that?
The new year is coming up, what goals do you have for 2017?
How are you enjoying coaching, is this something you can see yourself continuing to do after you retire?
If someone wanted to get more information about Miler Method such as the cost, how would they reach you and get the information and why did you choose $72 for the cost?
If they are taking 6-weeks to become a faster miler, doesn’t that also help with their 10k or half marathon times too?
Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - No Bugles No Drums
Current trainers you are wearing? - Adidas Supernova Glide 8
Favorite race? - Road Mile
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Weet-Bix
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - I'm simple, just give me my shoes and shorts
Episode 25 of the Final Surge podcast we talk to Nick Symmonds. Nick is a 6-time US National 800 meters champion, 2-time Olympian and won a silver medal in the 2013 World Championships in the 800. Nick is spending more time these days working on his new company Run Gum, but he tells us he is not done yet on his Oval Office. If you are not following us on Twitter we can be found @FinalSurge. Let us know your thoughts on the podcast or the Final Surge software.
For those who maybe have heard of you, but not heard your story, can you tell us how you got started in running when you were young?
You took a little different route out of high school and went D3, why did you choose that route?
After college, you got a contract with Nike?
My favorite race of all time to watch is the 1972 men's Olympic final for the 800 in which Dave Wottle won. I am sure you are familiar with it right? So with that in mind let’s talk 800 race strategy. It seems that the most common way to run an 800, and i believe the way you try to run it too, is running about 2 seconds faster on the first lap than the second. While for most other races, coaches usually push for a more even or negative split. In that 72 race Wottle runs his race, he ran an even 26 for every 200 split. He was like 4 second back at 200, was like 2 second back at the 400 and was still in last at the 500. So that race seems to lend to a move even split, so I want to hear your theory on the race strategy there?
Most of our podcast are with coaches or athletes who are working with 10k, marathon type runners. So with an 800 runner, I want to talk a little training. We have many high school and college coaches who I know listen to this podcast. If you had a chance to develop an 800 runner say starting as a freshman in high school and you could have them until they graduated college, what would the training look like?
Would you be more strength based with1600 and 3200 or 200 for speed work?
How would you have strength or plyo work set up?
A few numbers for you… 1:42.95, 3:34.55, 3.59.68… These are your PR's for 800, 15 and mile. But I am curious, what is your 5k PR time?
Now, what about that 5.19 PR in the beer mile. Are we going to see an attempt to go sub 5 there?
Last we saw you on the track you were pulling out of the Olympic trials because of an injury. How is the rehab going?
So can we plan on seeing you make another run for a world championship or Olympic team?
What is your recovery process like? How much cross training are you doing or what other activities?
When will see back on the track?
So you are in the process it seems of transitioning from an elite athlete to an en entrepreneur, can you tell us about Run Gum and what growing pains you may have had?
When my athletes come to me about fueling I hate to talk about anything like energy drinks because I am a big believer in eating real food, not sugar and junk. Is Run Gum looking to be a replacement?
How does Run Gum work? Would a marathoner bring one piece with them?
We talk about him publishing his 800 training log.
Did you say you are going to run a marathon in 2018?
Have you thought about which one that is going to be?
There is a lot of talk about caffeine benefits for marathoners and ultra runners but what about for shorter races?
I think what we have seen from you is you don’t always take the easy route. You seem to like challenges. How has that helped you in helping to launch a business?
What is next for the company, is it going to stop with gum or you have something else planned?
Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Once a runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Brooks Adrenaline
Favorite race? - Olympic Trials 2008
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - RunGum
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Half tights
We have a special treat for you today. Hall of Fame coach Joe Vigil joins us to talk training. If you enjoy the show we would appreciate you heading over to iTunes and taking a minute to rate and review our podcast. Those ratings are important when people are searching for podcast. Coach Vigil won 26 national titles in 33 years at Adams State and has coached several Olympians including Deena Kastor and Brenda Martinez. We discuss everything from VO2 Max and testing, what he learned from watching runners at Leadville to periodization.
Tell us how you got started in the running community and into coaching.
When you took over Adams State you won 26 national titles in 33 years. Adams state when you took over was not exactly a powerhouse so you had to build runners from the ground up. What do you think you were doing differently that other programs were not doing?
Thirst for learning what made you different?
In the book Born to Run you make an appearance. You are mentioned as a coach who thinks differently because you were showing up at 100-mile races to learn from ultra runners when other coaches were not. So what exactly did you learn from watching the athletes at the Leadville 100?
You mentioned running happy, is that something you can teach or is it something you have or not?
One thing you talk about is testing. Having a PhD. in exercise physiology, I know that testing is big for you. Many of our listeners are your are group runners you will see on the weekend in a local 5 or 10k. And we also have a lot of high school coaches. So for them, testing of VO2 or max lactate may not be something they can easily do. What recommendations would you have for them as far as testing and what they should get tested?
VO2 Max… You do the field test and find out what it is, where should they go from there to improve?
I have read that you said that our runners don’t run hard enough and long enough. Other coaches I have talked to said the problem with American runners is we run too hard. So what is your current position on this?
In 2001 yourself and Bob Larsen brought Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi to Mammoth Lakes to start the Mammoth Track Club, which was one of the most influential post-collegiate clubs in the country. How did that come about with Larsen?
These clubs are a lot more popular now with many new ones popping up and having success. What do you think the future of these clubs are and how have they changed over the last 15 years.
You have had Olympians such as Deena and Meb, and this year you had more mid-distance runners like Brenda and Borris in the Olympics. Obviously, the training for the marathon and 800/1500 are completely different. What is the greatest coaching challenge in working with athletes in such different disciplines?
What about strength work, what type of strength work did you do with your kids at Adam's State and how would it differs from what you do with a marathon runner?
Question from a listener: In your book, you have graphs in the marathon training section for weekly mileage. Your mileage chart looks very much like a roller coaster fluctuating from 60 to 80 to 70 to 100 to 80 to 120… Many training plans are much more steady in their mileage, do you still method or has it changed since you last published the book?
You have been around the running scene for several decades now. When it comes to training and performance, what is something that you think has changed your coaching style the most in the last decade?
Work harder, what does a week look like for a 5k runner
Book road to the top is hard to find, but I understand they can still be had through you, can you tell our listeners how to get a copy of one.
Running Summit Dec 17-18th in Dallas. Can you tell us about the event and What topics will you be discussing?
Tapering is one of the questions I get asked most about. When you were coaching at Adams state, did you find any differences in tapering with your male and female teams?
What advice would you have on tapering for our 5k listeners out there?
At the end of the last season, I asked the kids on my team what their favorite workout of the season is. And the majority of them said their favorite was the acceleration workout from 100 to 200. Can you walk the listeners through how it works, when it should be used and why?
When did you add in that workout to the season?
Method of Belke Field Test for VO2
Road to the Top by Joe Vigil mailing address
292 N Ceder Crest Dr
Green Valley AZ 85614