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: Page 5
Jul 19, 2018

This week we bring you a "Best Of" episode with Dr. Stephen Seiler and our discussion on polarized training.

Jul 12, 2018

Welcome to episode 89 of the Final Surge Podcast where today we welcome 2x defending NCAA XC Champ Coach Mike Smith to the show. Mike has a unique background working for years alongside Jack Daniels before going into college coaching. We talk to Mike about his coaching philosophies. Please remember to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes and share it on Twitter or Facebook.


How did you start running?

  • Played a lot of sports when youth

How did you move from running at Georgetown to Coaching?

  • After college tried running some longer distances
  • Taught school for a few years then moved to Flagstaff to try training for a marathon 
  • Moved to Flagstaff and lived there for 6-years

Was there any coaching between when you left college and the head coaching job at Georgetown?

  • Worked with Dr. Jack Daniels and learned sports science
  • Coached some athletes with Daniels and some club coaching
  • When Georgetown opened up it seemed like a natural fit

What was it like working with Dr. Daniles

  • At first, it was overwhelming, such a wealth of information
  • Learned something through his teaching and stories every day
  • The inquiry of why
  • Asked how and why all the time
  • Unofficial Ph.D. course

You had 4 years at Georgetown with great results. When you heard Eric Heins was stepping down at NAU what was your thought process when you were considering changing jobs?

  • I am from the east coast but had my time in Flagstaff with Daniels
  • New that if NAU job ever opened it would be a hard decision
  • Never really thought it would be so soon
  • Leaving Alma-Marta was not an easy decision 
  • Loved Flagstaff and looked forward to moving back

Took NAU first-year assistant then took over for xc champ any pressure?

  • The first year worked with Eric that was the first national championship
  • A chance to be an observer and work with Eric for a few months was amazing
  • Won the championship in '16
  • Pressure doing it again when on own the next year was something I had seen before as I took over Georgetown as a defending national champion
  • I learned from the first experience 

We focus on the championship race, but 99% of what you do is not at that race it is in practice day-to-day. Can you tell us what you are looking for in practice and what your interactions are like?

  • Skilled coaching is done way before the meet itself
  • Insecure coaching shows at the meet
  • Uncertainty comes out during meets if did our job correctly we are sure we are ready
  • Athletes should be able to make own decisions at the moment
  • Good coaching preparing them to make decisions
  • In practice, we work on those things

What do you think of race plans for your athletes?

  • Early on I would draw up race plans that were complicated
  • Easy for us to come up with the plan, we don't run the race
  • As soon as something happens to plan, an athlete's mind goes to the wrong place
  • The athlete needs to just be able to react based on what is going on around
  • Coaching happens before the race

Not everyone is going for the win as an individual, can you talk about winning the race within the race, what does that mean to you?

  • They will be in situations where they won't have control, they need to understand their place within the race
  • We talk about what it looks like to be in 60th and doing your job
  • What it looks like to be in 81st when you are trying to get to 71st
  • Prepare for the war and not the dream that won't ever come
  • Stay calm during your war

Your culture seems to be of a fun team where the top racers are all competitive, are they as competitive with each other in practice as they are in a big race and is that culture dictated by the athletes you have and will change with the athletes or something you instill in the team?

  • In our program, we teach what healthy competition is
  • We show up to practice to make each other better
  • We push the best out of each other
  • We have gratitude for our best competition 

Tyler Day is one of your top runners and a very interesting story for me. Tyler went to high school less than a mile from my house and I watched him compete in high school. He had that great personality then too. And while Tyler was a good high school runner, I don't think anyone ever looked at him and said he would be a national all-American in college. What do you contribute to the huge jump Tyler made at NAU?

  • There are no measurements for belief and will in a lab, cannot measure his will and belief
  • Moves well within interaction with the ground
  • Some people there is no way to see when something is coming

You said on another podcast that you thought one of the issues you see in training is over-prescription of VO2 work. Can you talk about your training philosophy.

  • We have too many coaches who stay inside the box
  • Outside the box thinking means you are being creative and looking for improvement
  • VO2 is an example of insecure coaching, we don't always need to make things harder 
  • Use races as part of a workout day if racing frequently 

How does your training differ from Georgetown to NAU because of the altitude?

  • From an aerobic standpoint there is some benefit 
  • There are some disadvantages to recovery

Let’s say you were a high school coach living at sea level in a very flat area, and every year the high altitude teams came down to the state meet and over performed, how you would target your planning to offset the advantage the altitude teams have?

  • Some of the best runners in the world don't train at altitude
  • Altitude team may have some advantages, but not a magic pill 
  • You need to know they are beatable 
  • Altitude is a great teacher in suffering, you need to practice discomfort 

How does you periodization work. Are you like a lydiard with pretty strict training periods or are you more of the new school where you touch on everything all year with small variations?

  • Look at NCAA, people who are running great in September, but after taper feel terrible
  • Is there evidence that tapering really works or do we just think it does
  • We need athletes ready to go, but we need to look at it differently and not cut so much
  • The nervous system has to be firing, look at sprints and not pulling back too much
  • We keep volume and intensity high

What are you looking for in runners who may want to run at NAU?

  • Men's team is obviously strong and asked about men all the time, but women's team coming on strong
  • Women's program has me motivated and within 2-3 years we will be a force in the NCAA's
  • We have a great culture and recruiting like crazy
  • Men want to come and compete for team titles, for women we want people who want to build something
  • We want people who are fired up about being a team and every day show up and work
  • We want people who want to be part of a team, not just individuals 
  • People who understand mechanics are a big part of what we do
  • We don't sell, we want people who want to be at NAU 

You talk about moving with the ground, I know you run a summer camp for high school runners, is this something that athletes?

  • We run a yearly camp once a year
  • We show healthy ways to go about running
  • Movement piece is crucial 
  • Drills need correction of drills, do them right or don't do them
  • Teach build the engine and masters of movement 

Final Surge round, 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Once a runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Ultra Boost
Favorite race? – Western States 100
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? – Mike and Rhonda's Lumberjack Special
Your favorite workout – 


NAU Running Camp
NAU on Twitter 

Jul 5, 2018

Welcome to episode 88 of the Final Surge Podcast where today we welcome Olympian runner Ruben Sanca. Ruben ran for Cabo Verde in the 2011 World Championships in the marathon and the 2012 Olympics in the 5k. Ruben won 2017 New England Grand Prix Road Racing title and was elected U.S.A. Track & Field New England Male Runner of the Year. We talk to Ruben about how he came to American at age 12, his running career and about his newer company, The Lowell Running Company.

Ruben can you start out telling us a little bit about yourself and how you got started running?

  • Born in Cabo Verde
  • Came to the US at 12 and in middle school teacher asked who wanted to sign up for cross country
  • Ran in HS and recruited to run at U Mass Lowell

So you came to the US at the age of 12. I don’t know a lot about Cabo Verde besides it’s off the coast of West Africa. Did you speak English? Tell us what it was like for a 12-year-old to come here?

  • Dual citizenship
  • From tiny island 
  • We came here for health reasons and education
  • Was hard to get here, took all our money
  • Came here on Green Card Visa

Was running big there or something you didn't discover until you got here?

  • Soccer is big there not running
  • I played soccer when I was here too
  • I was a very good soccer player and had to make a decision in 11th grade as soccer and XC were in the same season
  • If quit soccer to run, I had to make sure I took it very seriously

You ran at U Mass Lowell then you went on to compete at the World Championship in 2011 in the marathon and the London Olympic Games in the 5k in 2012. What was it like competing in the Olympics?

  • I was able to represent Cabo Verde
  • My college coach trained me for it and came with me

What is your running goals now?

  • Training for 2020 Olympics in the Marathon 
  • Run many local road races but big focus is on the marathon

You are working full time, you train 100 miles a week and you manage the Lowell Running Company. How do you fit it all in?

  • I get up early
  • I use technology to save time

So one of the ways I first started noticing what you were doing was from the activity online with the Lowell Running Company. Can you tell us what the LRC is and how that started?

  • Started 2016 as I was coaching a few local people
  • Partner with Bay State Marathon to help people run BQ times
  • The goal of LRC was to be a full-service coaching firm
  • Training plans or custom training plans to fit around their schedule

Do you do group runs or is it all virtual?

  • We run clinics every 4-5 weeks to answer questions
  • We have group runs for long runs once a week

Is your coaching all in person or do you virtual coaching too?

  • We do both 
  • We do training for other races too
  • We track the goals of each runner and their results

Do you work with mostly marathoners or do you work with others?

  • Work with 5k-marathon
  • Specialize in half and full marathon
  • Runners are a mix of I want to finish and those who are more experienced

How are you using Final Surge in your coaching?

  • Love it to see what the athlete does 
  • I get notifications on my phone for specific athletes and go through all the athletes weekly
  • Use the messaging often in the app through my email
  • Great for busy people to make it easy as they get their text message of the workout or look at their calendar on the phone

Final Surge round, 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book?  Lore of Running by Tim Noakes and for enjoyment: Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear
Current trainers you are wearing? -   New Balance 880’s
Favorite race? – Boston Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? – Sirloin steak with sweet potatoes and Endurex R4 Endurance Formula
Your favorite workout – 4xmile at 5k pace for track and for marathon 3x3mi at marathon pace w/ a mile recovery at 95% marathon pace. This is one of the standard marathons workouts I do at the beginning of every marathon block.

Lowell Running Website
Sanca Foundation
Facebook Page
Twitter Account


Jun 21, 2018

Welcome to episode 87 of the Final Surge podcast where today we welcome Dr. Justin Ross to the show. Justin specializes in sports performance and has a practice called Mind-Body Health in Denver Colorado. Dr. Ross combined his love for endurance sports with his love for psychology to put together a practice that helps his patients perform their best on race day. We talk about getting ready for the big race and why the mind game is so important to perform your best. Dr. Ross see's patients both in person and online. Feel free to connect to him about what you may be struggling with.


I know you got started later in life in endurance sports and not in high school like many of our guests, can you tell us how you got your start?

  • First marathon when 29
  • Got me hooked on running and triathlons

What are you doing now?

  • Raced a few 70.3 triathlons
  • Just raced 8th marathon which has been the focus of the last three years

You are a psychologist now a specializing in sports performance. Was there a moment, something specific that happened that made you decide I want to go in this direction?

  • In college thought it would be physical therapy or athletic training
  • Took psychology classes and got interested
  • Interested in the overlap of how mind and body relate

So walk me through how this works with you. Someone contacts you and says I need help, can you walk us through the whole process of how you get started with them?

  • Often it is not an issue but staying ahead of a problem
  • Regardless of ability level, they know it is going to hurt and how to deal with it better when it comes

What are the most common issues that you hear from endurance athletes about mental?

  • How to deal with the perceived effort
  • Learn how to deal with discomfort

Navy Seals talk about dealing with this a lot in their training. They say when you think you are done your body has 60% left to give still so how can you work on changing the perception of effort?

  • Endurance athletes train so much that you need to learn how to deal with them in your training cycle
  • How you deal with it while training is how you will deal with it while racing

What is the big difference between working on them on race day and in training?

  • Key in on things in training so you are ready to go there on race day
  • A difference could be the pressure that you put on yourself on race day

How often do you have someone come to you and say my 5k workouts are getting better and I am improving month over month but on race day I'm not improving?

  • It's almost always something going on mentally
  • Need to work to figure out what that psychological barrier is

How do you pinpoint what that might be?

  • Asking the right questions
  • Looking at training and races and discuss what is happening when

Are your patients in person or virtual?

  • Both, do webinars too
  • Denver and Boulder is a hotbed, but Internet opens it up to more

A college coach contacts you and says my team is doing great but year over year we cannot put it together on race day for our Championship race. What sort of general advice would you have for them?

  • If contacting me with just a couple weeks, it is too late. You need to work on this for months like training
  • Learn to bring this into the process of training every day

When you say put yourself into these situations are you talking about getting to the point of fatigue like you would be in a race and then putting yourself in certain situations, or what are you working on?

  • We cannot change what we are not aware of
  • The first week pay close attention to your thoughts while training
  • What do you tell yourself when things get challenging
  • Training logs are a great place to put these notes in

Inner Game of Tennis teaches that self-talk doesn't work, you need to just do the reps so many times that you just go there, do you teach self-talk?

  • Everyone does self-talk, tennis, golf and such are start and stop sports not always action like endurance sports so they are different
  • Endurance sports self-talk is critical when you are spending 3-4 hours on a course

This year's Boston was interesting because Desi said she wasn't even going to be finishing the race and told Flannagan that she was willing to help her in any way. Then an hour and a half later she is competing to win, what lessons can we take from that?

  • We perform better when we are surrounded by people
  • When we are there to help others it can change how we feel

What about goals, are goals part of what you do and if so how important are they?

  • Two things we are working on is the perception of effort and tolerating discomfort
  • Stronger your goal and more meaningful, the more likely you can call upon that to change your perception of effort

How do you work to set goals with clients?

  • Individually driven
  • What do you want to do, is it a certain time or about getting back to enjoyment?
  • Numbers are great, but we can live and die by them

We hear a lot about the placebo effect, and it seems to be a real thing, can you tell us how we think things are working and maybe they are not? Like KT tape or compression sleeves, we hear people who swear by them and others who show research that they are doing nothing. Can you talk about it?

  • Placebo is a sugar pill that cannot do anything, but you think it does
  • Cognitive Bias effect is when it could be helpful but the research is not there so if they believe it helps them
  • Research shows that these things can change performance by like 1%

On race day someone is going for heir BQ and maybe this is their last shot to get it, how can they use their mind to push through?

  • Anyone thinking about BQ'ing you need to work on your mind several months ahead of time
  • Be aware, keep a log of thinking
  • Cognitive appraisal - How are you paying attention to how you feel and what you are thinking
  • Thoughts are modifiable, if aware you can shift thinking
  • Be calm in your mind

We talk about doing this a lot during training, but what about meditation?

  • Meditation is fantastic at calming down the nervous system
  • A lot of benefits to help learn how to shift focus

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Endure
Current trainers you are wearing? - Newton Distance Elite
Favorite race? - Light At End of Tunnel in Washington
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Coconut Water
Your favorite workout - Tempo Runs




Jun 8, 2018

Welcome to episode 86 of the Final Surge podcast with our guest Olympian turned coach Tim Broe. If you were a running fan in the early 2000's you probably remember Tim as one of the few bright spots in US Distance running scene. Tim is now a professional coach with the Saucony Freedom Track Club. We talk to Tim about his early days in running, his Olympic experience and the devastating injury that ended his career to early. We then talk about his latest experience with the Freedom Track Club. If you enjoy this episode please rate us on iTunes and follow us on Twitter  @FinalSurge.

How did you get your start in athletics?

  • Started running in middle school, got dragged into it
  • As a 7th grader ran 5:45 and kept improving
  • Won a state title as a junior in high school

Ran under legendary Michigan coach Ron Warhurst as a professional right?

  • Ran at Alabama, they offered me a scholarship
  • 12-time All American, but didn't take it serious enough until last year
  • After senior year worked at a local shoe store and trained by himself
  • After coming in 4th in the steeple in the Trials became more motivated
  • Kevin Sullivan a Michigan runner and coach put him in touch with Ron
  • Moved to Michigan to train with him

What was that like, what makes him such a great coach?

  • He lives it 24-7
  • First time met Ron had me put on spikes and do 20x400 with every 5th one at 59
  • Nailed it and next day did a 2-hour run
  • Ron took me after hearing that
  • He very much determines workouts by how you feel that day

2004 you made US Olympic team in the 5k, what was it like running for your country in the biggest show in running?

  • Won trials, but didn't have a qualifying time
  • Had to run 13:21, went to London and ran 13:18
  • Felt stressed out and didn't have a chance to enjoy it as much as should
  • Did opening ceremonies and the whole two weeks 

You mentioned had to go get a qualifying time after your Olympic Trials win. Running in the early 2000’s wasn’t exactly the high point in American distance running. You were one of the few bright spots during this time. Was it something that you paid attention to while it was happening?

  • Most high school programs in the 90's did not do much volume, everything was short intervals
  • Did not figure it out until senior year in college
  • The difference now is coaches have their athletes do a lot more tempo, LT, CV pacing for more volume

Talk about how your career came to an end after the high

  • Foot injury, bones were fused together 
  • Had to have bone removed and it lead to a lot more issues
  • At Olympics had a broken foot and torn plantar
  • Just added up quickly

How did you make your transition into coaching?

  • That is all I knew
  • Was at home and visiting old high school coach
  • Started helping with boys team in 2007 and ended up taking over
  • Worked with a non-profit group of professionals

You coach the Freedom Track Club how did that start

  • Started coaching Ben True who was a Saucony Athlete
  • Saucony approached him about creating a team

When you start with Wesley high school athletes, what type of program are you trying to bring to them to develop younger runners?

  • Started with performance increase enjoyment, but found kids don't care as much as they do just belonging to a team
  • One kid had early success which helped develop the team size 
  • Be a good teammate and work hard
  • Do everything right and the times will come

How different was it coaching a team with 11 kids vs 78?

  • The message was the same, approach was a little different
  • The program had no expectations
  • They are driven, usually have to pull them back

I've heard your runners you coach and you talk about taking control of the race, what does that mean for you?

  • At some point, if you are a competitor you need to make your mark and take a lead
  • Focus on racing and not times and times will come

What advice do you have for someone who maybe isn’t at the level to compete near the front and maybe focusing on just setting a PR. What advice do you have for your kids who are not going for a win, but are a number 6 runner on your team? 

  • Win your battles
  • As race unfolds will be with a few kids, that is your battle for win, for a title
  • In a big workout may have them do a workout then run a flat out 400 at the end to build confidence at end of a race

Last fall you had a big signing with Molly Seidel to the Freedom Track Club. I saw she got sick before Payton Jordon, how is her training going?

  • Cleaned up form stuff
  • Been working hard in weight room
  • Training at 85% level, still building a base on her before hit it hard
  • Will run 10k next week to get a qualifier for USA's

Ben True raced the Pre 2-mile race this past week, how did his race go?

  • Ben moved on from team last year
  • He moved to Hanover and the coaching was just to far so parted ways

How will the team develop over the next 2-3 years?

  • We don't have the budget of a Nike, but we are developing a good program
  • Will add a few more after NCAA Nationals this summer

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Men of Oregon
Current trainers you are wearing? - Kinvara
Favorite race? - Billy Mills 10k and favorite to run was 3k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Donuts and chocolate mill
Your favorite workout - The Michigan


Email Tim 

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


Apr 26, 2018

Welcome to episode 82 of the Final Surge podcast with our guest this week Zach Cole. Zach has built a new website called which is helping connect runners to running locations and groups. It is a great way to find a group to run with when you travel, or maybe just to discover new running areas in your city. 


You launched a new site called hop and I want to dig into it, but before we do that we like to introduce our listeners to our guests find out a little about who you are, if you could tell our listeners how you got started with running?

  • College basketball player
  • Started running with a morning group after college
  • Continued to train 
  • Joined track team

You talk about how you started running with a few groups, HopDash your new site is about running with groups, so can you give us a background on the site?

  • Discover running groups in your city or places you visit
  • Traveled a lot and always looking for running clubs could join for a workout
  • Running is more exciting when you can connect with people while doing it

Do you find that groups are comprised of similar runners or are most groups varied in who is running with them?

  • Most groups have good variety
  • Most have some new runners and some more advanced


When I look at your HopDash and I click on one of the cities, let’s say Boston, on the right I see interesting places to run and then on the bottom I see a calendar and each day has a different set of runs and each of those runs dots in the upper corner, one green, two yellow, three orange dots what do those mean?

  • Can be confusing, reworking that
  • Intent to show how easy or difficult a given workout may be
  • Assigning the difficulty is difficult because most groups have a wide variety on the same day

How does it work, who updates the workouts?

  • There is an input field where clubs can create their team and workouts
  • Using a Google Sheets API
  • Will be making it more scaleable in the future

The interesting places to run, are they user-generated too?

  • First few cities built from experience
  • Now users submitting tips and ideas to be included
  • As it builds out will make it searchable with filters

How do I know if the group I am looking at is more casual vs more serious?

  • When you read the descriptions of the clubs and workouts it gives you a lot of information on what to expect on that run
  • External link to running clubs website to learn more about them

You are relying on user feedback and people entering their information, so how do you see this growing?

  • Contribute link at top of website
  • Can add city and club and workouts
  • Several cities being worked on right now 

Who are some of the interesting people you have met while traveling?

  • Ran in Vancouver with a group there
  • In Boston last year ran with The November Project
  • TrackSmith Group in Boston
  • In NY this winter ran in the 'Bomb Cyclone' had classic NY character

What is the hardest or most memorable place you ran?

  • Last fall ran in Mammoth with Mammoth Track Club on a track at 7k feet
  • Half marathon run up to 9k feet and swam in a freezing lake
  • Tim Tollefson showed another trail run that was incredible
  • Auburn CA during Western States and a trail run it was over 100 degrees, no shade, 2k feet of gain was the hardest run 

We see training professional groups forming around the country, but also we see many local training groups and running communities. Why do you think these are growing?

  • Something powerful in training with a group
  • A routine helps grow individual and group success
  • Fun to have other people to cheer for and be cheered on
  • Investing in other people's success helps all involved
  • Success keeps people going


Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Once a Runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Challenger 3's
Favorite race? - Santa Cruz to Capitola Wharf
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Burger and Beer
Your favorite workout - 1600 repeats

How to connect with you?
- Hopdash
- Zach on Twitter

Apr 13, 2018

Welcome to episode 81 of the Final Surge podcast where today we welcome back Neely Spence Gracey to the podcast to talk about Boston. Boston is less than a week away and we talk to Neely about what a first-time runner should consider when heading to Boston and we take a look at some of the top names on the men's and women's race. We even get Neely to predict the winners of both races. Neely uses the Final Surge platform in her coaching, if you are interested in getting coached by Neely head over to


You were the top American Women at Boston in 2016, you want to explain why you are not running this year?

  • Pregnant 
  • Due August 4th
  • Boy

How will the weather affect the race?

  • It can change the morning of the race, so be prepared for it to change last minute

If it is a little rainy like they are predicting, are those good conditions for a good fast race?

  • Personally, I would like it
  • The wind will be a bigger factor

What should first-time runners know about the course?

  • Look up Boston Marathon Preview video 
  • Need to track pace and be ok with being off at times, take the average not the moment pace
  • Easy to get caught up and go to fast in the first few miles
  • Use first 3 miles as a warmup run

Men's Elite Marathon

Is there someone you think can knock off the defending champ Geoffrey Kirui?

  • Anything can happen on marathon day
  • Can never predict, but a good chance he won't win

Last year Galen Rupp was runner-up and came back and won Chicago, what do you think the chance is of him winning and running a fast time?

  • Galen is a racer, he will let others do the work early and take over late
  • Kirui may push the pace early or he may be the one who waits for Rupp to make a move
  • Don't count out Lelisa Desisa or 2016 winner Lemi Berhanu

Who will win the men's race?  Lesisa Desisa

On the women's side, this is a really deep field. How will this play out?

  • This race is going to be exciting
  • I think Molly Huddle will perform big
  • Desi and Shalane have more experience

One of the wild cards is Jordan Hasay, how do you see her playing a factor?

  • She is back and knows what to expect
  • She is used to the big spotlight
  • She has had 2 really good marathons
  • She is young and has been doing impressive things
  • She is a wildcard

We have some veterans with experience in Deena Kastor and Kellyn Taylor, can one of these vets step up and surprise people?

  • Deena is back and you can never count her out
  • Kellyn has been chipping away at her goals and making performance gains each year. She has stayed healthy the last year and coming off a good fall season

Flanagan is coming off of NYC, can she repeat that at Boston?

  • You always need to get a little lucky on race day
  • She will be ready to race

Edna Kiplagat is the defending champ, is she going to be hard to knock off?

  • She knows what she needs to do to win and will make them work

Who is someone we need to keep an eye on in the women's race?

  • Serena Burla
  • She races a lot overseas
  • Running fast in the last year
  • Her first big race since cancer surgery 

Who will win the women's race? Kiplagat 

What other advice do you have for runners to enjoy the weekend?

  • Spend time to enjoy the experience
  • They treat everyone like royalty
  • Maximize the weekend
Neely on Twitter
Neely on Instagram


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

Feb 28, 2018

Welcome to episode 77 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome professional runner Kellyn Taylor and her coach Ben Rosario. Kellyn is coming off her top 10 finish at the New York City Marathon last November is one of the many amazing Americans in the Boston Marathon in April. We talk to Kellyn and her coach about the training to date and what to expect in Boston.  They share with us what the workouts look like, what Boston specific work they are doing and get into details about the hills and why they chose Boston for the spring marathon. Make sure you check out Ben's 10-weeks to Boston Blog and follow Kellyn online.


How did you get started in running?

  • Ran in middle school
  • High School moved to running all year and became state champion
  • Went to a Jr College then Witchita State

You ran a great race at NYC, at what point did you decide Boston was going to be your next race?

  • After NYC decided was not going to do a spring marathon
  • Changed mind shortly after

How is your training going, where are you with it?

  • December until a few weeks ago did base phase
  • Now in the second week of specific marathon training

Ben, you have been blogging about the training, can you tell us what the weeks are looking like right now?

  • In the second week, bumping mileage up to peak mileage which will be 6-5-4 and three weeks out
  • Long steady marathon efforts are the bread and butter

Arnold on Twitter asked about the mental aspect of running when you decide you did not want to do a marathon right after NYC was it more for mental reasons or physical?

  • Mental is part of it

Ben, when you are coaching elite runners like this, how much do you talk about the mental aspect of racing?

  • Try to focus one week at a time
  • Want it to be that you are so fit when it comes time to race you are just confident
  • They have been through it so many times they know what to expect
  • Boston weather so unpredictable cannot plan and just get fit

One thing Ben has been talking about on the blog is how different Boston is. What has been different about the Boston preparation?

  • Hammering downhills
  • Yesterday 22 miles and probably 19 of them were downhill
  • Milage is higher than it has ever been
  • Paces have been faster

Listeners love to hear about mileage, what is your mileage at right now?

  • 118 right now, will be 130 at peak
  • This 118 is about what the peak was going into NYC

Besides the training, is there anything different in your other preparation to get ready for Boston?

  • Yes, told Ben I would do things right
  • Usually don't eat right, core, prehab, rehab, naps, trying to focus on that stuff more

When you were training for NYC you were training with Steph Bruce, she is doing London this time so are you still training with her or are you doing different workouts? 

  • We do some stuff together, but we are doing a lot of different workouts

Ben, is this something that was strategic or do you let them decide what marathons they are doing and just guide them?

  • Kellyn handles downhills and miles well so Boston made sense
  • Steph has run Boston once before and did not go great so she does not have great mojo there. She is more of a finding a good pace and locking in so London made more sense

You and Scott Smith were up in Boston and run parts of the course, what were your thoughts?

  • Valuable experience
  • Didn't realize how downhill it was
  • Got to do every mile of the course at least once, huge advantage
  • Now know what to train for specifically

You and Scott have done three of the same races so far, does it help having Scott Smith there to do the workouts with someone?

  • Helps a lot
  • Nice to have someone to talk to about the workouts

What is a hard workout you have done recently?

  • Recently had 3 races back to back and those were hard
  • 30x400 with the wind in the face on hills was tough
  • (Ben) Our long runs have spice which they don't often think of as workouts, the first day of 8-week we did a 22-mile hilly long run that was difficult up and down. First Boston specific run. Ran 6:20 pace for 22 miles at 4500 feet.

Do you like running hills or would you rather have a flat course?

  • Not as fast as some women, not a 2:19 marathoner yet
  • Hills help even playing field
  • Built to handle them well
  • I do like them

You have done quite a few marathons and have experience, Jonathan from Twitter asked what your diet is like leading into the race?

  • Going into NYC for the last two weeks took dairy out and eats gluten-free
  • Meat, veggie, and rice are staples. 

Ben: Going back to the Boston question, seeing it helps the athlete to see it and helps me to sculpt the workouts better. We are doing these hills not to survive Boston but to thrive on the Boston course. 

If you are doing 110 miles a week, how much of that is specifically downhill so you can get used to it?

  • 4 easy runs a week
  • Maybe 40-45 miles of the 110 would be downhill

Another question we got was about easy runs, what does an easy run look like?

  • 10 miles in the am and 4-6 in the afternoon
  • More of a general feeling than a pace
  • Pace on these runs do not make or break your training

What are your goals for Boston?

  • Always have specific goals
  • I make big goals
  • Going to Boston my A goal is to be top-3 and on the podium

Ben, can you talk about what is going on with the 10-weeks to Boston blog at this time?

  • Had written plans for public
  • Each week I talk about what Scott and Kellyn are doing and what to expect in the next week
  • All the tips I can think of to get you ready for the Boston Course

Kellyn what Hoka's are you using for training and 



Kellyn on Twitter
Ben on Twitter
Final Surge on Twitter
NAZ Elite Logs
Coach Ben's 10-weeks to Boston

Feb 21, 2018

Welcome to episode 77 of the Final Surge podcast where we talk to coach Steve Palladino on Power meters for runners. Back in episode 61 we addressed power with Jim Vance, today we take another look at it and dive deeper into the numbers and success stories. If you want to get even more information make sure you check out Steve's power Facebook group which you can find in the show notes. 


Can you tell us about your background and how you got involved in running

  • Ran in middle/high school (4:27 mile)
  • Ran in Jr College then U California David
  • Post-collegiate ran 2:16 at Boston in 1979 and ran for Adidas
  • Then became podiatrist 
  • Started running again late 30's
  • In 40's started competitive cycling and was an early adapter to power meters for bikes

A lot of questions still on power for running, why are you such a fan of running with power?

  • Power is an output, closest measure of what is going on metabolically to produce our movement
  • Power will show similar effort on track, on roads or even on a dirt hilly trail
  • Can take a workout easily off the track with power and will get same workout effects 

You mentioned perceived exertion. Alex Hutchinson did a piece recently in Outside Magazine that I thought was very fair taking a look at some of the issues he has with power for running. I have been using a Stryd power meter myself recently and have become a fan, but he has some good points. So why do we need a power meter when we have RPE?

  • Power calibrates RPE and RPE modulates power.
  • There are days when your RPE are a little off and power will help you recalibrate RPE on those days. 
  • They fine-tune each other

If you look at Galen Rupp or Alan Webb or Kellyn Taylor these are professional runners who are having a lot of success in their sport and not needing power, so what does this really solve, what is missing?

  • Coaches have had success and a lot is on the track so when on track pace works well
  • Power you can take it off the track onto a trail or road and do similar workout
  • Elites just have not identified it yet and it is starting to make some inroads
  • Just like cycling started out as a fringe thing, now all elites use it

With triathlons I can see coming off the bike your legs are tired and running with power may be able to inform how you are feeling. But for someone who is just running an open 10k on fresh legs is power that important?

  • Triathletes will benefit from the data, but variable is what type of power can you produce after a bike ride
  • Fresh 10k power can be very beneficial for pacing and to keep you where you need to be for a whole race
  • Elites are racing athletes where age groupers are more racing for a time so different benefits

We recently added your power Zones to our Final surge platform, Can you talk about how you use zones?

  • Added more than Stryd has
  • Looked at a lot of races so has been able to adjust and finer tune power zones
  • Upper-end zones have more than other systems based on race ranges and information

To get your zones you need FTP or your functional threshold power, how do you get that base number?

  • There are several ways to estimate
  • Critical Power Test - 3 minute and 9-minute test
  • Recent 5k-10k race
  • Comes out to about lactate threshold power 

A key number is running that you like to focus on is running effectiveness, and I know this is something we are looking at adding to our system, what is running effectiveness?

  • How effective you are at converting power to speed
  • Important metric 

Let’s give an example of how this can change. Let’s say you have a runner who’s running FTP is 350 at 8:00 pace and you train for a few weeks and now you get an FTP of 350 but at 7:45 pace, does that mean the running effectiveness has changed?

  • Yes, getting more speed at same power
  • Slow moving metric, but can get improvement

What can I do to improve my running effectiveness?

  • Somethings we know and some are still unknown
  • Leg Spring Stiffness - by weight training/plyos/hills
  • Form issues can be improved, horizontal power issues
  • Improve running economy

You mentioned running spring stiffness and vertical oscillation, and there are a lot of numbers that power looks at. So I finish a run and log in to look at my Stryd numbers? What should I be really tracking and looking at? Is it my Run Stress Score, or running effectiveness or leg stiffness or what do I need to focus on?

  • Don't want paralysis by analysis 
  • Look at power and power to weight
  • Running effectiveness
  • Leg Spring Stiffness
  • Horizontal Power
  • Those are the main ones, others are secondary and help break down the above primary numbers

If someone is looking at this and wants to try it, most plans they are following on the internet are not power plans. How can they look at a workout and modify it for power?

  • If you know your power zones and reference them can translate
  • Turn distances into durations
  • Easier to take those off track and onto other surfaces

You mentioned coaching high school athletes and that you have been using power with your high school kids, can you talk about how that has been going with them?

  • Not every kid, but one from each group of similar ability
  • Training load can be monitored easier to make sure stays where it needs to be


You have trained some athletes to amazing big PR stories using power. Can you tell us about one or two of those as a demonstration of how power really helped?

How can things like snow effect power?

  • Power doesn't change but running effectiveness/pace changes

Where do you think this goes from here? What needs to happen for it to make a big breakthrough like power for bikes have?

  • Seeing success over and over
  • So many metrics need to focus on simplification
  • Success stories getting shared

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Lore of Running
Current trainers you are wearing? - Hoka Stinson
Favorite race? - Boston Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Burrito
Your favorite workout - Long Run with spice

Pallidino Power Project Facebook Group


Feb 14, 2018

Welcome to episode 76 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome Chi Running founder Danny Dreyer. Danny is a competitive ultra runner who found a better way to move when he started doing Tai Chi. Danny wrote the book Chi Running which is hugely successful and we talk about his journey into Chi Running. Final Surge has started offering Chi Running Plans and you can check them out under our training plans section at 


How did you get started in running?

  • Grew Up in Boulder and started in 1971
  • Decided to do an ultra, trained over 3 years
  • Ran man ultra races
  • Moved to San Fran started learning Tai Chi

What was it you learned about Tai Chi that you decided this could help with running

  • Moved with body around central axis
  • Arms and legs got in sync with each other 
  • Watched those who passed during races and they had relaxed forward leans
  • Move from center

If you were speaking to everyday runners what the biggest difference is between what they are doing and Chi Running, what would it be?

  • You lose structure/posture and muscles work harder
  • Be smart, forward fall

You started off the answer talking about posture, paint a picture for us, what is good posture?

  • Stand up aligned tall
  • Shoulders over pelvis and pelvis over ankles

Many specialists say power should come from your glutes, do you think what an everyday runner does is different than elite runners?

  • Should not be using glutes or legs for power
  • Use gravity
  • Western runners are too upright and reach and pull
  • Kenyans have a forward fall
  • Use glutes only proportionately
  • Uses every muscle in body in proportion to size
  • Look at running injuries, most are from knee down
  • Need to use core more

There are three phases of the stance you talk about, can you explain those?

  • Propulsion is where body ahead of feet falling forward
  • Just pick up feet to keep up with body
  • Mid-stride is the flight phase where you leave the ground
  • Landing phase is the biggest deal 
  • Don't want to reach leg out as impact is coming 
  • Injuries are usually too much impact or overuse
  • When land foot under knee or behind it
  • Tai Chi relies on opponent to defeat themselves, here

Do you make wholesale changes all at once or is it in phases?

  • Every focus will help, but you learn them one at a time
  • Need to practice a lot, technique drills

The original book came out in 2004, how has the program changed since then?

  • Has exploded to the point where we have over 200 instructors
  • More aware of the program


One thing you talk about is race-specific training, how what is race-specific training in terms of Chi?

  • Need to learn how a course will have an impact on you and train to the course
  • Find out what is on the course, where it is on the course and train to the course
  • Have practiced the course so you know what it feels like and how you need to change your strategy

This week we started offering your training plans on Final Surge, can you tell us what to expect in those?

  • Everything divided into phases
  • Technique early
  • Move into conditioning phase
  • Learn how to fuel on long runs
  • 5k, 10k, 1/2 and full marathon


Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute

Favorite endurance/running book? - Gordon Perry Run Fast and Injury Free
Current trainers you are wearing? - Altra Lone Peak
Favorite race? - Headlands 50k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? -  Cocoa Tropic
Your favorite workout - Hill Intervals on trails 


Chi Running Training Plans

Chi Running Website

Feb 7, 2018

Welcome to episode 75 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome back Dr. Jay Dicharry. Jay is the author of a must-have book for any coach, Anatomy for Runners. Jay has a follow-up book he has just released called Running Rewired. We have all heard of the book Born to Run, but are we born to run or is it something that we adapt to over time. Jay discusses that as well as how deliberate practice can make you more efficient. Make sure you check out Jay's book Running Rewired which you can find on his website An Athlete's Body.


We had you on episode 49 of the Final Surge podcast so welcome back. On episode 49 we talked a lot about your book must own book Anatomy For Runners. You have a new book out called Running Rewired. I am more of a wi-fi guy so what do you mean about runners getting rewired?

  • Get past running requires amazing flexibility or strength 
  • How your nervous system impacts how you move

If someone read your book Anatomy for Runners, why should they read this too, what would they get Running Rewired too?

  • Anatomy for Runners fits into a space with more scientific background
  • Was for intelligent and in the know runners and coaches
  • Was good for clinicians
  • Rewired more for everyday runner
  • Rewired from ground zero to increase capacity

Are we naturally wired to run, like if I took a 4-year-old and said run, are they wired correctly or do we need to learn it?

  • Young kids learn to play and are more dynamic
  • Problem not sitting, but that we do one thing all the time then expect to move differently when we put on our shoes
  • We are not born to run, we adapt to run
  • Takes cultivating of how we move

You talk about deliberate practice in the book. How do we know if we need to work on getting rewired and if we do how do we know we are doing the right things to get there?

  • Not about volume of practice
  • Practice has two types specific and deliberate
    • Specific putting on shoes and doing more of it
    • Deliberate says these are the skills you need, let's refine them with a plan 
  • Not about running more, but running with quality
  • Everyone I have ever seen needs more deliberate practice

You mentioned everyone needs to get better, so how do we know what we need to work on?

  • Roadblocks in books that test you
  • Some motions will be less skilled at

In episode 49 we dug into your clinic and your clients. In your clinic, you don't have just elite runners, but you have many average age group runners coming in. So you see a wide variety of situations. With seeing so many people over the years are there certain things you see usually see that you can quickly narrow it down to what the issues are without even seeing the athlete. So like if a runner came in and said I have shin splints or i have pain on the outside of my knee probably from IT band, could you give them 1-2 things to work on or is it too specific to each person?

  • I have a lot of lab data that identifies what causes overuse injuries, usually a few paths

If I took 5 mid pack runners and 5 elite runners and did a video on them, could you tell just by their gate which were the elites? And if so what about the gate is different?

  • Elites are blessed with great genes from their parents
  • As far as form can be both
  • Yes form matters, but capacity important too

One thing you talk about in the book was core exercise. If I do a lot of planks, L-ups, V-ups and those type of core exercise can you explain why they may not be the best?

  • Running is dynamic and not static
  • Holding the body stable like a plank does not help much
  • Get people moving in positions that challenge without putting stress on joints
  • Spend more time doing more dynamic movements for core
  • Coaches your core routines are killing your runners
  • Building skills as body twists while running

What does training core with rotation look like?

  • Lay on back with knees and legs up like sitting in chair, grab med ball and hold up
  • Rotation is important while running, twisting forces

If a runner or coach said this was all great information, but I have 15-20 minutes to spend with my team before they start running, what should we focus on, how would you guide them on the biggest bang for the buck?

  • Skills and performance workouts in book
  • Skills building muscle memory, lots of bang for buck to rewire central nervous system
  • Identify roadblocks with tests then fix the ones that need working on

One of the things you talked about in the book was pelvis tilt and correcting it by using the stomach muscles to pull up on the front of the pelvis, this is how I was taught so can you talk about why this is wrong and what people should be doing for pelvis tilt?

  • Shortens step
  • Can analogy for strength
  • If lose core position crumbles can

One issue that gets talked about is knee dominate vs hip dominant or pushing vs pulling, what does this look like for a runner?

  • Can look at squatting patterns, squat knee forward position overstride
  • To quad dominant
  • Overstride pushes loads and increases stress per stride
  • Want to move to hip or glute dominant

Running Rewired
An Athletes Body

Jan 31, 2018

Welcome to episode 74 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome back Hoka NAZ Elite Coach Ben Rosario who talks about what he has planned for the Boston Marathon. Ben has two elite runners, Kellyn Taylor and Scott Smith who will be competing in Boston. We are just over 10-weeks out from Boston and Ben is offering three new training plans that are specific to the Boston Marathon. These three plans are tailored to the level of runner you are. In addition to the training plans Ben will have a weekly blog post which talks about exactly how to execute the training plans for the upcoming week. Make sure you check out his plans on and follow along with his professional athletes as they prepare for the unique course that is Boston. 

You have two runners joining the great American field at the 2018 Boston Marathon, want to talk about them?

  • Kellyn Taylor off a top 10 finish in New York City
  • Scott Smith coming off a 2:12 PR in Frankfurt

With Boston you never know what the weather will be like, could be 40 and raining or 75 and sunny, but if the weather is not a factor Boston can be a fast course so is the intention to run a PR at Boston?

  • Net elevation drop can be fast
  • Course-specific work for the downhill
  • Although it is about racing more than time

If you look at the field, especially the women's side, it is an incredibly deep field. Was the goal for Kellyn to always run Boston? 

  • At first, she wasn't sure if she wanted to do a spring marathon
  • Once she decided she wanted to do a marathon, Boston was her choice
  • She is ready to handle the course as well as the level of competition

You make your logs available for all your athletes. But for Boston, you are going a step further with 10-weeks To Boston.

  • This is a plan for the last 10-weeks heading into Boston
  • Specifically prepared for being ready for that course
  • Hills to match the up and down of Boston
  • Train like the pros with three plans that are variations of what Kellyn and Scott are doing
  • Super advanced (120 miles a week), Advanced (75-100 miles a week), Intermediate (50-75 miles a week plan)

You have other plans available for the marathon too, how do these differ from those plans?

  • We have 5 other marathon plans on Final Surge, but these are based on what our athletes are doing specifically for the Boston course 

Can you tell us about the blogging you have planned for these 10 weeks?

  • Will be doing a weekly blog talking about what Scott and Kellyn are doing and how their training is going and second will be talking about the upcoming week, how to execute the workouts on your plan for this week and it will be like you are training with the pros

You have 10 weeks before Boston, what do some of the staple workouts look like during that time?

  • Each week they get closer to specific 
  • Start out mile and a half at marathon pace and gets long specific work as gets closer to race
  • 6 weeks out gets harder with tempos and hills
  • Weekends alternate long runs and longer marathon pace work

You have a document you include with your plans that talk about your terminology. Can you explain how you use the CV workouts in your plan?

  • This is 30-40 minute race pace
  • Faster than marathon pace, but not going to really hammer you
  • Because running so many miles in marathon training gives you some faster work without jeopardizing training

When you get to your long runs are most of them steady or are you working quality into your long runs?

  • Every other week
  • Some carb depleted steady runs
  • Some race pace specific work into your long runs  

There is a lot of specific work to Boston so runners who have never run Boston can be prepared. This weekly blog is going to be able to help a lot of athletes. We want to get on again before Boston to talk about this training some more. 

Jan 24, 2018

Welcome to episode 73 of the Final Surge Podcast. We have had some great runners on this podcast. Neely Spence Gracey, Nick Willis, Nick Symmonds, Dathan Ritzehein, Kim Conley and more, but maybe none has had a bigger influence on the running scene, especially the American running scene like today's guest. Today we welcome American mile record holder, Alan Webb. Alan retired from running in 2014 and has not been seen much around the running community since then, but that is about to change. Alan is part of a group starting a new coaching service called RunDoyen. We talk to Alan about the goals of the business and how you or anyone else can get personalized coaching from him and other professional runners. We also spend a little time talking about his training and the state of American middle distance running. Please remember to share this podcast on social media. 


Before we get to some questions about your career, let’s find out what you have been up to for the last three years. How is the truck repair business?

  • Business has been great

There is a new site and Twitter account popping up called RunDoyen. It has listed yourself, Tara Welling, Ryan Vail, Aaron Braun, Jessica Tonn and more. A tweet said you are launching a new concept that reinvents the way the running community connects. Can you tell us what this project is?

  • Coaching site, schedule time with one of the coaches
  • Video chat
  • Final Surge training logs
  • Message board system
  • Access to professional runners

Will it be a monthly membership service?

  • Purchase Time
  • Purchase Training Plans
  • No monthly fee, packages that are over the course of a training block

What type of training plans are you offering?

  • Mile to marathon
  • Not limiting to one distance, offering variety

If someone is interested in working with you in a mile program, what is the timeframe?

  • Customized to individual
  • Would prefer more time 2-3-6 months to develop
  • Looking to build relationships long-term

What was it about this idea that got you excited to get involved in it?

  • Easy to use packaged online system
  • Can help people around world to work with different people

What else can people expect?

  • Drills, strength training, other things integrated into the training plan
  • Communication between athlete and coach on daily basis
  • Athlete tells us what is going on so we can make adjustments

What type of feedback are you looking for with communications from your clients?

  • What actually got done
  • How you are feeling, how run went
  • Any questions they have for the coaches
  • Video appointments for communications too

Are nutrition and physical therapist you have listed on site included?

  • Different packages
  • Can schedule time with other specialists

These are well-known professionals, what type of client you will be working with?

  • We are all looking for variety
  • More geared towards non-professionals
  • People looking to improve

We know your work ethic and how hard you hit it on your workout days. What is your coaching philosophy?

  • There are times you need to hit it hard, but also time for recovery
  • Recovery balance is important
  • Recovery helps keep you healthy

Will you personally be working with someone who wants to run a longer distance like a marathon?

  • Yes, looking forward to it

When you ran you were known as someone who liked to hit the weight room and hit workouts hard. Was that something specific to Alan Webb or would you incorporate this into your athletes you are working with too?

  • That was specific to me
  • More important for me as a miler than a marathon runner
  • Strength training is important, but specific to athlete
  • Amount/intensity needs to adjust to event/athlete

We had Jonathan Marcus on recently and talked about some of your workouts, will be dusting off your training logs to bring some of those back?

  • Some of it for sure
  • Will be adapted to the athlete/event
  • Some of the basic workouts are great, fun, tough

One of the workouts was a shorter 100's do you remember what your paces were?

  • 400-800 goal race pace
  • Really fast going hard
  • Hardened to faster pace to take edge off the mile

Do you have all your old running logs?

  • Lost some, but have many of them 
  • A few high school years have a few lost
  • Have quite a bit

It has been three years since you retired if you could paint a picture of what that time has looked like?

  • Tore ALC so personal running has taken a dive
  • 2 and 5 year old are handfuls, but going great
  • Wife Julia getting ready to run her first marathon

Do you have any running goals for the future?

  • Would love to run a marathon
  • Would be just to get through it
  • Nick Symmonds is my inspiration
  • Have to get ACL fixed first

You are arguably the greatest US middle distance runner of all time. So when you looked at retiring, why truck repair?

  • Good growth market
  • Enjoyed learning a new skill and been fun

I want to ask you about the mile. When Steve Scott set it, it stood for 25 years before you broke it in 2007. And now it has been another decade and no one has touched it. Why do you think this has been so hard to break?

  • It is a fast time
  • Have to be on and everything go right
  • To stay at the level is difficult, tough to get there

You ran 3:46, that is a well respected time. Is American middle distance running progressing the way it should be?

  • Yes, we are progressing the right direction
  • We are getting medals in major championship races
  • We are seeing on a consistent basis success in big races
  • Big pipeline coming up
  • High School runners are now breaking 4 minutes on a regular basis

What do you think has been the biggest reason for the resurgence?

  • Internet makes it easier to be a track fan

What advice do you have for young high school runners?

  • Persevere and don't worry about people running faster
  • Different runners develop at different ages

You had times in your career that you were plagued by injuries. Looking back at it now is there anything you think you would have done differently?

  • Would have added in more recovery
  • Would have been a little more conservative in workouts
  • Better perspective

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Perfect Mile
Current trainers you are wearing? - Nike Structure Triax
Favorite race? - American Mile Record
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Spaghetti 
Your favorite workout - 800's, 8x800

RunDoyen on Twitter
RunDoyen Website
Alan Webb on Twitter
Alan Webb American record mile race

Jan 17, 2018

Welcome to episode 72 of the Final Surge podcast where today we welcome runner and coach Jacob Puzey. Jacob and I have a great conversation about his early running career and how those experiences and the coaches he worked with influenced who he is today and how he coaches. Jacob was the top Canadian male in Boston in 2017, is the 2016 and 2017 Canadian Road 50K National Champion and has a great coaching resume. Jacob's business Peak Run Performance is teaming up with Final Surge in the coming weeks to offer new coaching services in several languages, so watch out for that.  


Could you give our listeners your background on how you started running back in the day?

  • Middle school basketball player
  • Did not come naturally had to work at it
  • 10th grade started running year round

How did the high school career and running career after high school go?

  • Qualified for Oregon XC State Meet as a senior
  • Tough Oregon high school area
  • Ran against a lot of future D1 college runners
  • Ran for a Junior College who was defending national JC champion
  • 2 National Championships for JC

When did you make the transition into coaching?

  • Took 2 years off after junior college
  • Started training for marathon
  • Developed a love for it again
  • Went back to finish college and did some youth coaching at middle school and high school

You have coached high school runners and ultra runners. What are the foundational principles you take in your coaching philosophy that would be applicable to all runners?

  • Stamina, speed strength, need to work on all of them
  • Nutrition and skills would be emphasized by event

I know from your bio you took over some high school programs that did not have a history of success and you created state championship programs. What did you do to turn around and build those programs?

  • Did not try to make wholesale changes
  • Go in and listen and learn about cultures of team
  • Winning traditions in other sports so was easier
  • Get them to buy into potential in that sport
  • Competed against the great teams

All coaches have influences that have an impact on them as coaches. Who are some of the influences who have impacted your coaching philosophy?

  • Middle school, high school coaches, college coaches
  • Learned different training philosophies from hs/college coaches
  •  Greg McMillian, Joe Vigil

What does the typical athlete you are coaching these days look like, what is their experience level and distances they are training for?

  • From Millenials waiting tables to executive empty nesters
  • All distances
  • Coached people who raced on all 7 continents last year

You are going to be releasing some coaching very soon on Final Surge, how is it you ended up on Final Surge as your coaching platform?

  • While living in Flagstaff ran with some NAZ Elite Guys
  • Heard about NAZ Blogs
  • Worked for Greg McMillian
  • Did not look at it until was ready to launch something
  • Liked easy syncs
  • Right vision behind company

((((30))))What can people expect to find in your packages?

  • Multiple languages
  • Speak the same language as athlete
  • Every coach speaks at least two languages
  • Tailored training plans and 1-0n-1 coaching

How many coaches do you have?

  • 4 with a nutritionist
  • Coaches have experience in several countries to understand unique differences

You have 4 coaches that work on your team, what events do you focus on?

  • All surfaces, all distances, all disciplines
  • Road and trails
  • Stage races
  • Tailor training to person

There are many tools runners use. GPS watches, heart rate monitors, HRV readings, Power Meters. What type of technology do you use?

  • All of it and as little as possible
  • Trail and ultra a lot of metrics thrown out the window
  • Run by feel
  • Like that they are available in Final Surge

You have a lot of running accomplishments, you were the top Canadian male in Boston this year and a lot of success in Ultras. One of your accomplishments is the 50-mile treadmill record you set. When I saw the video this was the first time I had heard of you. How hard was that to run on a treadmill for 5 hours?

  • Was easier than thought
  • Started just below world record pace but found himself going faster
  • Was originally thinking of going for 50k record
  • Didn't expect it to be an hour quicker

Do you use a treadmill often?

  • Yes, in Calgary it is cold
  • Wear microspikes 4-6 months a year when outside
  • Boston training did a lot of treadmill miles
  • When need good footing will use treadmill when cold

You ran the TransRockies with your brother, for those who do not know what the TransRockies is can you tell them and what it was like doing with your brother?

  • 6 Day stage race
  • 8500-12k feet elevation
  • If run at team you all need to be within 2-minutes of each other


Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite endurance/running book? - Once a Runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Altra Paradigm
Favorite race? - 50k-50miles (3-6 hours)
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Steak, salted chocolate covered almonds
Your favorite workout - Georgetown 400's

Instagram PeakRunPerformance
Twitter @teampeakrun
Twitter @JacobPuzey

Jan 10, 2018

Last summer in episode 56 of the podcast we had on Jonathan Beverly who is a writer at Runner's World and an author of a few running books. He has a new book out called Run Strong Stay Healthy. This book is a great resource for any runner who is interesting in making running a lifetime habit. Most runners end up quitting the sport, but there are several who make it a lifetime habit. Jonathan found 9 keys to focus on to make running a part of your life for life. We talk to Jonathan about those keys and what you can do to stay running. 


We had you on episode 56 to talk about your book Your Best Stride, and now you have a new book out called Run Strong Stay Hungry, can you tell the listeners what this book is about?

  • Keep running for life
  • Care about your running and performance

How did you collect the data for this book?

  • Started with people knew who had been running for a lifetime
  • Started young and running as masters

Why do people stop running?

  • Injuries 
  • Life changes
  • No longer competitive or PR's

I personally stopped a few times either for injuries or life changes but kept coming back.  How many stories do you run into like mine where people fall away from it in different seasons of their life and then come back to it?

  • Several stories, but several wish they could, but don't for several reasons

When looking at why people quit running, Do you find it different between mid-pack runners vs elite runners?

  • Mid-packers have an advantage over elites
  • Non-elites our competition is relative vs. elites ran to win

When you started thinking about the idea for this book and researching, was there anything that you discovered that really shocked you?

  • Most of the people who continue running tend to run by feel, expected they would be more discipline

You mentioned key 3. In the book, you list the 9 keys to stay in the race. Do you find one of these 9 to be a key component that everything points back to?

  • Most who ran for life fell into most of the key areas
  • Those who do have a plan are willing to use it as a rough guide
  • Run by feel helps make you a student of the sport

One of the keys you have is making it a habit, with the New Year there are people who start the year with a run streaks, do you find streaks helpful or not?

  • Both
  • Most are anti-streaks
  • Habits are built when it becomes regular
  • Not am I going to run today, when am I going to run

What advice do you have for making it a habit?

  • Learn to enjoy a run alone
  • Getting anything in is better than nothing
  • Never a bad idea to go for a 30-minute run

Do these lifetime runners work a social aspect into their routine?

  • Yes, most occasionally enjoyed a run with other people
  • Connections to sport with other runners

When I was younger racing and the competition kept me interested. Now it is running with friends and helping others with coaching that keeps me interested. The big difference now is I am very much a student of the sport. I go to clinics, I read constantly and I am always trying to learn more. Can you talk about how being a student of the sport can have an impact?

  • Learn about the sport and training
  • To run by feel you need to be a student of the sport
  • Being a student adds to the interest

Let’s look at technology. there are things like GPS watches and Starva. I could imagine in some ways this may hurt long-term participation but it could also help it by connecting you with others in your community and creating introductions. How do these new technologies have an impact?

  • Community aspect is great
  • Comparing yourself can hurt

You are a high school coach yourself. How did writing this book change you, do you do anything different in your coaching now?

  • Can work to become better
  • Reward and praise progress over results

There are some aspects of this book that can help you stay healthy, what are some of the keys you learned?

  • Trust your body, trust yourself
  • In tune with their bodies

Jonathan on Twitter
Your Best Stride
Run Strong Stay Hungry

Jan 3, 2018

Welcome to episode 70 of the Final Surge Podcast, our first release of 2018. Today we welcome back coach Jonathan Marcus of High Performance West who is also the co-host of the On Coaching Podcast. In this episode, we find out what Jonathan is up to since our first visit over a year ago and take some questions our listeners sent in. Remember if you like the podcast please share it with a friend or on Facebook or FinalSurge where we can be found @FinalSurge.


What is going on with High Performance West?

  • Goal January 5th Full Launch
  • Workout of the day
  • Story/thought of the day
  • Will continue doing daily post with workout and story of the day
  • Have over 5,000 workouts written down to pick from

You recently had a workout from Nick Symmonds. Jerry and Alberto Salazar are two of greatest coaches around and you have stated they are influences on you.  They are big believers in lots of high-end aerobic development, but Nick's workout was anything but. Talk a little his workout and what you took from it?

  • Very fast, 400m and faster pace
  • Have to be cautious and keep people healthy too
  • Learn from your mentors, but find your own flavor and thoughts

What advice do you have for coaches who read your site and the workouts of the day and how they should employ them?

  • Designed to make you think
  • Give you the why and how they did it
  • Context of how it fit in
  • Purpose is to get you thinking and growing

What is your other project Coaching With Craft

  • Goal is short 5-minute videos
  • Contribute to the community of coaches

We wanted to open it up to some of our listeners and we gathered questions from them so let's get into them.

I have heard you talk about doing workouts in a way so that after the hard effort you clear lactate with more aerobic running. I have also heard you say that most of what we know about lactate acid is a myth from the 80’s. What do we know and what should we keep in mind? I do mostly 5k-10k road races with 1 track workout a week.

  • Common interpretation lactate acid is a wall/barrier
  • Lactate is a fuel source 
  • We get to a tipping point where we cannot keep up and acidosis happens
  • Acidosis turns the muscles off
  • Lactate Flush: Since we can buffer, if we give it enough of a buffer then can turn it around to be fuel
  • 400s at 2k pace with 60 seconds rest. At a point, you will be cooked, but what you can do is flushes at 1/2 marathon to marathon pace for 200m, then easy 200, after about 3-4 of them lactate will reset to a point where using lactate as fuel.

Father of a runner who took over the school's indoor track distance team after they were left coachless had a few questions:

What should the warmups-drills-exercises look like?

  • Keep it fun
  • Jay Johnson Lunge Matrix videos
  • Good team bonding time
  • Good to have drill set A/B
  • Observe and watch

You mentioned minimum effective dose often, when do you know when that has been reached?

  • Make sure there is enough left they can do what they need to do tomorrow
  • Watch over time what they can handle

I am a 33-year-old runner who has been running for 3 years. I started for weight loss and fell in love with the sport. I just broke 20 minutes in the 5k which has been a goal for a year. You talk about looking at the canvass and seeing what is missing. That is what I should be working on. How do you know what that thing is?

  • You don't know what you don't know
  • What problems do you need to find a solution to
  • The problems that arise formulate the questions

I have been coaching xc/indoor/outdoor distance for 4 years. I have done a good job developing 1&2 mile runners on the track, but very little luck with developing 800 runners.  I don’t have any of those “jump out of the gym” athletes that you talk about. What types of workouts can I add and when should I add them in?

  • I had the same problem until a few weeks ago
  • Added speed work starting day 1
  • Prperation work/ lifting/ gym work
  • Quick stairs/ Power stairs
  • Plyos

In one of your podcast, you said Alan Webb did not go to altitude but was getting similar results from his lifting. Can you explain this?

  • His cardio was great
  • Hormonal release from lifting similar to performance drugs

One thing you talk about a lot is, after a workout or rep, you ask your runner to walk you through it. It is easy to talk about what happens on a bad rep, but what about ones that are “fine”? Do you dig deeper or take fine as an answer?

  • Depends on the session
  • All about the psychology of what is going on
  • Are they engaged or on auto-pilot

Recently you have talked about how you are spending more time on form and mechanics. Can you talk to us about what you have learned, what you focus on and where should we be going to help educate ourselves on this?

  • Form/mechanics have become more of a focus
  • As a younger coach was more about getting the work in, do more
  • When I hit a roadblock I had to look at different strategies
  • Easier to control from top/arms down
  • Arms like slingshots at acute angle
  • Transitions down to legs

High Performance West
Jonathan Marcus on Twitter
Marcus from Episode 40


Dec 27, 2017

Welcome to episode 69 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome world record holder Camille Herron. In 2017 Camille won Comrades set two American Records and two World Records. Camille has had an interesting journey which has been riddled by injuries and we discuss how she has overcome those and what she has learned to make herself a stronger runner. We also talk about her secret weapon in an ultra race, beer. Camille was great to talk to and I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did recording it. We are now on Spotify so please remember to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify, wherever you consume it.  


In recent weeks Camille has set a 100-mile world record 12:42:39, a
100km USA track record 7:36:39 at Desert Solstice and then went on to run for
12-hours and set a 12hr All-Surface World Record 92.708 miles.
She is the new Ann Trason and arguably, she will be in for a shout as ultra-runner of the year.

How did you get your start in running?

  • Basketball player ran for first time in middle school
  • In high school focused on running
  • Tulsa University scholarship but a lot of injuries
  • Became hobby runner after that

What exactly did your running look like after Tulsa

  • Hobby run
  • Husband ran professionally 
  • Was running long as recreational about 70 miles a week
  • Husband started coaching

How do you go from always injured to running 70 miles a week?

  • Frank Shorter: Run for stress relief
  • Started running slower
  • Biomechanics and physic courses: Started feet strength/barefoot

Where was your minimalist running in relation to Born To Run?

  • 3-4 years before
  • Very minimalist shoes from Boulder Running Company

Moved to minimalist running and your husband is coaching you, where did you jump back into competitive running?

  • Longer distances seemed to be better
  • Focused on qualifying for Olympic Marathon Trials
  • 2007 Marathon debut
  • Ran 2:38 at Twin Cities and it took off

When did you make the jump into ultramarathons?

  • 2009 sponsored
  • Started doing back-to-back marathons
  • Grad school, how to enhance bone recovery

When you talk back-to-back marathons how often are you talking?

  • A few weeks apart
  • 2011 David Monti of NYC Marathon suggested ultra running
  • 2013 made debut
  • Underperformed in the first ultra

We see injury problems from growth spurts, which you had. You also studied bone recovery. What advice would you have now for those struggling?

  • Did too much high intensity
  • Focus on easier aerobic volume development 
  • Don't be afraid of mileage as much as intensity
  • Recover with easy days easy

When did you do the first ultra?

  • 2013
  • 2014 first Comrades but got sick and ended up in the emergency room

You had done marathons, you understand the wall. So what was the first ultra like, was it like you expected or different?

  • Was too cautious
  • Could have pushed more

What is your diet like?

  • Meet and potatoes, wholesome southern diet
  • Eat Taco Bell or Subway day before races 

What about fueling during a race?

  • Naturally good fat burner
  • Diet analyzed and was 50% carbs, 36% fat, 14% protein
  • Take in 60-90g carbs/hr
  • Take gel every 30 mins and sip on sports drinks as needed
  • Will have a beer or whatever body tells me to have

You have a beer during a race?

  • Helped settle stomach
  • If tired of eating gels will have a beer

We are at the end of 2017, can you walk us through what a year looks like for you as a competitive ultrarunner?

  • Have had major highs and lows
  • Started with some trail race in New Zeland
  • March in a race 10 weeks before Comrades tore MCL
  • Took a few weeks off and came back slowly walk/run
  • Won Comrades off injury
  • 3 weeks later Western States, fell and got a concussion
  • Leadville ran into issues with pelvic pain
  • Won Comrades to two DNF and being broken
  • Tunnell Hill 100 

Did at least 8 races this year, a marathoner may do 2-3 races a year. How do you recover so quickly?

  • Family heels quickly
  • Studied recovery in grad school
  • Use active recovery always walking twice a day after a race

I saw you earlier this month at Desert Solstice. We went to see Zach Bitter, but he was out. We saw what you were going after. After 11.5 hours of running on the track in a 1/4mile circle, you still seemed to be smiling so much.

  • In love with running
  • Love what you are doing

Broke Ann Trasons 12-hour record which has stood since 1991?

  • That is why I was smiling, felt great

What was the hardest part of running for 12-hours on a track?

  • Concentration, cannot zone out like on trails
  • Hard to get into the zone

How hard is it to get going again after you have to stop to use a restroom or something?

  • It was hard because it was warm
  • Took 18-minute break, had to start off walking before really got going again pushing

You had two World Records this year, now what for an encore in 2018?

  • Been fun to break the records
  • Want to try for the 24-hour record
  • Need to redeem self on trails
  • Goal to win Western States and Comrades in same year

You are very active online, where can people find you?

Twitter RunCamille
Instagram RunCamille
Facebook RunCamille

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Your favorite endurance/running book? - Lore of running
Current trainers you are wearing? - Nike Zoom Fly
Favorite race? - Comrades
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Cheeseburger and Fries with Beer
Your favorite workout - Long runs with heart rate progression


Dec 20, 2017

Welcome to episode 68 of the Final Surge Podcast where we welcome competitive runner and coach Korey Konga of Upper Left Distance Training. Korey came to running as a way to change his health. Korey has a successful ultramarathon resume and has transitioned into coaching. If you enjoy this episode please remember to share the love and share it with a friend.

  • How did you get your start in running?
    • Change of lifestyle
  • Started running ultras and picked up sponsors
    • Moved into coaching
  • What was it that triggered you to change your lifestyle and get into running?
    • Jogged a lot on job
    • Friend suggested run a half marathon
    • Running replaced drinking
  • What was the process like developing as runner and becoming an ultra runner?
    • Read blogs and got inspired
    • 6 months after his half marathon he qualified for Boston
    • 3 months later did his first ultra
    • Training errors lead to injuries
  • You mentioned you got hurt a lot the first year. As a coach, what advice do you give newer runners who may run into those injuries problems?
    • Easier said than done, but listen to body
  • What signs are you looking for when working with your athletes to recognize they may be pushing the envelope too far?
    • Watch Final Surge feedback ratings
  • When did you make the transition into coaching?
    • Been coaching for a while, but two years ago opened the business
  • What does your typical athlete you are coaching look like?
    • 1/2 marathon to 100-mile ultra races
  • What was the biggest difference with training between a 1/2 marathon runner and an ultra running?
    • Time commitment and volume
    • As move to more specific stages changes, ultra do a lot of long hill repeats
  • You mentioned the base season may be similar between the 1/2 and ultra, are you talking types of workouts or volume?
    • Volume can be different, but workouts similar
    • All do short hill sprints, strides
  • You mentioned a runner in a pancake flat area, if I had a restriction on hills available to me, how would you recommend someone trains to get in some hill type work?
    • Treadmill
    • Really short hills for sprints
    • Stadium stairs for strength
    • Parking Garage can work
  • When you are building volume for long runs for ultra runners how often do you utilize back to back long runs?
    • Depends on the individual, but not as much as some people
    • Big run on mountains on Saturday, then come back with a faster flat run
  • Do you focus on feel, pace per mile, heart rate, power?
    • Mostly feel
    • Some CV work will use pace per mile
  • What advice do you have to runners looking to make that change about becoming fat burners and if that is important in ultra running?
    • With volume and easy long runs, it just happens
    • Will use depletion runs occasionally
  • For someone making that jump from 1/2 marathon to longer races is fueling the biggest obstacle you face?
    • Mental game
  • Many new runners are probably not thinking about getting a coach. What type of advise do you have to runners who are considering getting a coach, when is the time right?
    • Any time is a good time to have a coach
    • Can avoid a lot of problems and progress quicker
    • Not for everyone
  • Are the athletes you work with mostly online or in person?
    • Almost all virtual coaching
  • Walk me through the process of what it may look like if I reached out to you and what do those conversations look like?
    • Why are you reaching out
    • History, family life, work/life balance
    • Questionnaire
    • Final Surge Invite
  • Do you build in pre/post strength routines or just running plans?
    • Different options
  • We are now entering into winter months, what advice do you have for ultra runners who are going to be spending hours on the trails for training in the winter?
    • No such thing as bad weather, just soft people
  • One of your recent posts recounted an encounter with bears, cougars and more. How do you stay safe?
    • Ton of bear and mountain lions in Oregon and never been an attack, but be aware of surroundings
    • Make sure someone knows where you are going, what loop you are doing
  • You have been very active with your updates and blogging on the site, what information are you trying to provide?

Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite running book? - Science or Running by Steve Magness
Current trainers you are wearing? - Adidas Adios
Favorite race? - Orchas Island 50k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Pizza
Your favorite workout -  Gnarley hill repeats


Korey Konga on Twitter

Korey Konga on Instagram


Dec 14, 2017

Welcome to episode 67 if the Final Surge Podcast. Today we welcome back Jay Johnson which is the other half of the podcast we did last week. In this episode, Jay talks about marathon training. We talk about his book Simple Marathon Training, which he points out is not to be confused with easy marathon training. Jay focuses on helping busy people who want to train for a marathon put a plan together. We discuss some of the concepts in his book in this episode.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or listen to it on Stitcher if you have an Android device.

Stream it right here:

Your book is called Simple Marathon Training: The Right Training For Busy Adults With Hectic Lives. I think most of us think we have busy lives, so does this mean this book is for everyone who wants to run a marathon?

Jay also discusses who the book does not fit.

If someone is is looking to run their first marathon and wants to use your book as a resource to help them get through the process, where do you recommend they come in at? What should their minimum base be?

How much does your book stress strength and mobility work?

You do private online coaching, when someone who is a professional with a family comes to you and says I want to run a marathon, what are the first things you ask them to make sure they are really committed?

You mentioned using fat as a fuel source. When we had Scott Simmons of American Distance Project on and Ben Rosario of NAZ Elite, they both mentioned doing depleted runs or runs to trigger fat for fueling, is this something you focus on with your training?

Simple Marathon Training
Twitter @CoachJayJohnson
Instagram @CoachJayJohnson
Boulder Running Clinic

1 « Previous 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next » 8