Final Surge Podcast

In the Final Surge Podcast, we interview coaches, athletes authors, and endurance industry experts to help you train with a purpose.
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Nov 2, 2016

Dathan Ritzenhein is one of the most successful American distance runners of all time with three Olympic appearances. Today we get to talk to Dathan about his recent great run against Mo Farah at the Great North 1/2, his upcoming NYC Marathon appearance and how he has prepared for it. We talk training, nutrition, and fat burning as well as what he is doing differently to stay healthy. 

Dathan, thank for joining us today, can you tell our listeners how you got started in running when you were a kid?

You have been training for the NYC Marathon and recently ran the Great North 1/2 Marathon. You ran a 60:12, just 12 seconds off your PR and finishing a very strong second to Mo Farah. It sounds like you are running the best you have in 6-7 years and you must be healthy, how is your training going for NYC?

Can you give us an example of what the week looks like for you leading up to a marathon?

We have a great field coming up for the NYC marathon, they are offering $100,000 in American only price money. How much does that American only price money play in getting such a strong field?

Is there one person, besides yourself obviously that American running fans should really be watching out for?

Some people have been able to excel while being self-coached, while others never were able to find a great long-term groove. How is the self-coaching going for you?

How has your training changed since you left Oregon and started training on your own again?

Do you think less high-end speed stuff has helped you stay healthier?

You are dong some coaching yourself now?

You have literally had some of the best coaches int he world From Wetmore to Brad Hudson and then Salazar. What did you learn from them that you use in your coaching now?

Some questions we got from Twitter: For a podium finish you need a great finish. What did you do differently with the Great North race to ensure a great finish.

Do you do any specific marathon training to work on being more efficient burning fat?

Not that you are old, but as you get older you need to focus more on the process and nutrition than a college kid does. What changes have you made to your nutrition over the years?

Over the years as you run into injuries, what have you done to stay in shape while injured?

How often are you in the gym during the week?

Are we going to see you on track again or do you plan on focusing on the roads from here on out?

Any predictions for NYC?

How about on the women’s side of NYC. Molly, Kim and Neely representing America, how do you think they are going to do?


Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute

Favorite running book? - Running with the Buffalos
Current trainers you are wearing? - Nike Vomero
Favorite race? - Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Burger
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - R-3 Roller from Roll Recovery

Dathan on Twitter



Oct 26, 2016

Welcome to Episode 18 of the Final Surge Podcast. Our guest today is Steve Magness. Steve is a former high school prodigy, the author of the well respected book Science of Running and a coach at the University of Houston and to several professional runners. We talk about everything from training the extremes, race strategy, breaking through plateaus, tapering and psychology or racing.

Most of our listeners probably know who you are, but let’s give any who may not know your background. Can you tell us about how you got started running?

You made that huge jump your senior year can you tell us about that and what changes you made to have that breakthrough?

What was your training like your first three years of high school?

Your book the Science of Running is one of those books that I think every coach, no matter how experienced should have on their books shelf. But I understand you are working on a new book, what can we expect from that one.

You took over coaching at your alma mater University of Houston a few years ago. As a college coach, who is getting in high school runners, what are you noticing about the high school athletes you get as far as their training and what they may be lacking?

You have a kid who has plateaued, say a 4:30 miler. When he hits a level where he is not improving any longer, this is when you need to change a stress?

When you have a group of 30-50 kids sometimes that balance is hard. What advice would you have for coaches with larger programs on what they should be looking for in each runner to see if they training needs to be changed up for some kids.

There is a debate among some in the high school distance ranks. The old volume vs intensity. One argument is they are young so work on their speed development and the other camp is they should be working on their aerobic capacity and leave the speed for the next level. Of course, the truth as always is probably somewhere in the middle. But I think both camps work on both, the intensity camp may be more of a 35 mile a week program with 2-3 days of really intense work while the volume camp may be more 50-55 miles a week with a lot more tempo work, but what advice would you have for high school runners and coaches?

Let’s look at a week for a high school kid, how would you structure a week of workouts?

This is another question from a high school coach. Actually, the same question came in from two coaches. He is getting ready to start prepping for his qualifying and state meet. They would like to know what percentage of volume do  you cut back. When do you start that? When does you have your last, hardest workout of the season?

You have a podcast Magness and Marcus, which as a coach is my favorite podcast because there is some talk about training, but a lot of talk about actually coaching. I'm curious, how much time do you guys spend talking coaching outside that podcast?

When you are working with your mid pack cross country runners, you are not talking to them about strategies to win a race, so what coaching advice are you giving them on a race plan, what does that conversation look like?

You have been coaching for a few years now at a very high level. If you could go back and give advice to yourself when you started coaching high school, what advice would you give a younger Steve?

Recommended Reads from Steve 

One of your athletes, and one of our favorite Final Surge runners Neely Spence Gracey is going to be running the NYC marathon here shortly, how is her training looking? Episode 9 LINK

A question from twitter, we have a listener who has been putting in great training over the last year with great training runs. But on race day they are having sub-par performances in the 10k-Marathon races. Occasionally will have a good race so their fitness level is there, they are just not racing well. I know it could be a lot of things, but can you give this runner some general areas to look into to racing better?

Another question from twitter, when you are looking at recruits, what are you looking for in an athlete?
Favorite running book? - Once a runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Asics
Favorite race? - 1/2 Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Chocolate Milk
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Timex non-GPS watch

Steve's website
Steve on Twitter

Oct 19, 2016

How did you get your start in running?

What was the main driving force that got you into running as much as you have?

How long was it before you did your first ultra marathon race?

How did you make the transition into charging the first person from giving advice for free?

I watched a video of yours and you made an interesting observation. New tennis players, new golfers etc will often hire a coach to learn good habits early, but new runners tend to now hire coaches.

Are all your clients online?

What type of clients do you take on, what does a typical client of yours look like, how long have they been running, what happened to make them want to look for a coach?

You are doing some interesting stuff online, you are very active, is that where you are doing all your marketing?

What can a client expect and what type of guidance do you provide for strength work?

How often do you have your athletes run?

With newer runners of course, we always face injuries, what are the most common injuries you see with your runners?

You mentioned you use Final Surge. how do you use Final Surge in your coaching

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? -
Current trainers you are wearing? -
Favorite race? -
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? -
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? -

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Kyle on Twitter</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Kyle on Youtube</a>

Oct 12, 2016

On episode  17 we talk to Mario Fraioli of Ekiden Coaching. Mario is a competitive runner, former editor at Competitor Magazine and recently got involved in an online coaching service called Ekiden. 

How did you get your start in running?

Did you run in college and post collegiately too?

Many of our listeners probably know you from Competitor Magazine. When did you make your transition there?

You recently launched your own coaching company, can you tell us how that came about?

Where did the name Ekiden come from?

You personally have worked with some great coaches in your lifetime. What have you learned form them that you hope to bring to your clients?

When you coach virtually, communications is the hardest part. How does your system overcome those struggles?

Do you have a certain clientele that you are trying to attract?

I was looking at the site and I noticed these blue dots… kind of interesting how you are using that as a visual cue, can you explain the blue dots?

What type of plans/levels of coaching do you offer?

How many coaches do you have on the team right now?

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Once a runner
Current trainers you are wearing? - Brooks Launch
Favorite race? - Boston Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Burger, fries and beer
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Hat

Mario's website
Mario on Twitter
Ekiden Coaching
Morning Shakeout

Sep 28, 2016

We have a great interview for you today. Imagine this story, someone who never ran until after college, ran their first race, a marathon in 4 hours and 37 minutes, then just six years later they run an Olympic qualifier and are headed to Rio to run in the Olympics. This is not a hollywood movie script, this is the story of Ariana Holborn. Now on to the show.

Had a chance to meet you and hear your story can you tell us about your long high school running career?

You just ran in the Rio Olympics, so if you did not run in high school, how did you get your start?

So your very first race ever was a marathon? Which one?

So what did your running career look like after that first marathon, you obviously caught the bug.

2008 you run your first race and run a 4:37 marathon, then one year later you run a BQ? What was your training like?

You went from 0 to 70 miles in a year, did you encounter any injuries?

In 2010 you join John Reich's team, where did you go from there?

Then in 2014 at US Marathon Championships you were 4th?

How did your training change as you were getting ready to run an Olympic qualifier?

What type of mileage are you doing when you prepare for a marathon?

Coming into 2016 what was your thought process when deciding to run for Latvia for the Olympics?

For their marathon team do they select or do trials?

So you headed to Rio for your first Olympics, what was it like walking in the opening ceremonies?

How did the race in Rio go for you?

How long did you end up staying in Rio and did you get a chance to see any other events?

So what was your training like the week down in Brazil?

Your team gives back a lot to the local running community. What advice would you have to young runners just starting out?

So what is next on the agenda for you?

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Running within
Current trainers you are wearing? - Brooks Ravena
Favorite race? -  Valmiera Marathon
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Generation Ucan Chocolate 
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Garmin

Ariana's website

Sonoran Distance Project Team

Ariana on Twitter

Sep 21, 2016

Zach is an ultra marathon runner and a coach at Zach Bitter Running. Zach has held the 100 mile American record and the 12 hour work record. In this episode we talk about how a runner can make the jump to ultra distances and find out what it is like running on a track for over 400 laps.

How did you get your start in running, I am guessing your first run wasn’t an ultra. So let’s start with the really early days. Did you start running in high school, jr high, where does the story begin?

What was your high school career like, what type of 5k times were you doing

So let’s start out talking about how someone can make the transition from someone who maybe is not an elite runner, but has a few 1/2’s and a few marathons under their belt and wants to make that jump to an ultra. What advice would you have for a runner. Should they start with shorter races like a 50 miler before they jump to a 100 miler?

So if someone is running 40-50 miles a week what can they look up for a build up time and what type of volume do you think they need to get to before they toe a starting line?

You have someone looking to train and do their first 50-miler, what sort of long run do they need to do before you know they are ready to tackle that?

What does a week look like for this person trying to build up for the first time?

Now they are spending almost a full day on their feet running, they probably need to be eating and fueling different than they ever have before. What do you recommend as far as learning to fuel for an ultra?

Where do you follow on the scale, are you more of a Paleo low carb guy or more higher carbs?

You mentioned 150 mile week, is that kind of an average week for you?

To simulate the long runs many ultra runners will do two long runs on back to back days, is this something you implement?

If you have two long runs back to back how much time are you spending running on those two days?

So I am curious, when out running that long, do you listen to anything, music, audiobooks, podcast, anything like that?

So you got the 100 mile American record and 12 hour world record in my back yard running at the Desert Solstice. So just to give our listeners an idea, that is 402 laps on the track. I can imagine some thing like hydration, food, restrooms, medical needs all being right there are great, but at the same time 402 laps. What is that like and how do you enjoy it compared to hills?

What would you rather do, a trail or a track race?

Karl Meltzer is out there on the Appalachian Trail trying to break the record, would you ever have any interest in anything that long?

You have a package of training plans available on Final Surge, can you give listeners an idea of what is included in those plans?

Link to his training plans

How are you using Final Surge in your coaching?

We talk about the Strava and Garmin connect features.

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Born to Run
Current trainers you are wearing? - Altra One 2.5
Favorite race? - World 100k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Eggs and Bacon
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Drymax ultra thin socks

how can they follow you online or reach you if they are interested in getting coaching info from you

Facebook Athlete Profile 
His website

Sep 14, 2016

On Episode 14 we have Christ Newport of Everyday Athlete Matters. Chris is a triathlete, coach, and  a registered dietician. We are going to talk about fueling, recovery, and hydration.

How did you get your start in running and endurance sports?

You went through Team In Training as a coach or participant?

So what type of athletes are you training? What is the demographic of your athlete?

You do a lot with sports nutrition. What are the biggest mistakes you see endurance athlete make?

Great breakdown on hydration, but if you had someone who could not afford to get tested, what general hydration advice would you have?

There is a common formula for hydration, take body weight in pounds, divide in half and that is a general amount of ounces you should be drinking a day. Do you teach that formula?

You say you work with everyday athletes so are there differences for what a housewife who loves to run and is trying to run a slightly better 5k should be eating and how they should be eating compared to what someone training for a 10-hour ironman or a 3-hour marathon should be doing?

Do you have any thoughts on carb loading vs fat burning for varying distances such as 5k and marathon?

For fat burning, what do you recommend people do to enhance their fat burning ability?

Let’s talk pre-exercise eating on training days. The housewife wakes up at 5am to get in her 45-minute run, what should she be eating before her run?

What about post race. I tell my high school kids that milk is always great because it has both whey and casein, what do you recommend for recovery post-workout?

I noticed on your website you do Sweat and metabolic testing. Can you tell us how that is and what you are finding out about athletes your testing?

With people you are testing are you finding out any common findings such as are you finding most people are taking in to many carbs or anything like that?

You mentioned everyday athlete, are any of them internet only clients or are you meeting them all in person?

How are you using final surge with your clients and what are you tracking with them?

If someone wants to reach you and find out more about you and your services, how can they get a hold of you.


Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute

Favorite running book? 

Current trainers you are wearing? 

Favorite race? 

Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - 

Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes?

Sep 7, 2016

On episode 13 of the final surge podcast we talk to Mike Caldwell, the coach of the Asics Greenville Track Club Elite. One of the reasons we have seen a resurgence in American distance running over the last few years is the emergence of post-college Olympic developmental teams like GTC-Elite. We talk to Coach Caldwell about how he got started with the GTC and he discusses why he would rather some of his athletes did not wear a GPS watch during recovery runs. Now on to the show.

How did you get your start in running?

After college did you make your transition straight into coaching or what did you do post-collegiately? - He did some training with Frank Shorter and the Florida Track Club.

How did you get your start coaching elite athletes after that?

Currently, you catch the Asics Greenville Track Club GTC-Elite, how did that come about? 

As a college coach at Furman what were you finding from the athletes coming in after their high school career. Did you find them mostly overtrained, undertrained or what?

When you get collegiate runners who join your team what are you finding? Do you find they are overtrained, undertrained aerobically or anything like that?

How about with college runners? A high school coaches job is developing runners, but a college coach really needs to be competitive at conference championships. So do you think we are seeing a lot of over training or over racing with college kids these days?

We talk recovery days and how to make sure you are recovered and the importance.

What are you doing for general strength for your athletes?

You mentioned when a new athlete comes in you interview them like the recruiting process. What are you looking for as far as someone who would be a good fit for the team?

I notice that one of your parnters/sponsors is Elliptigo. I am really interested in hearing how you are using that and how you and the athletes are liking it?

I know that you started using Final Surge for your team a few months ago and wondering what benefits you are getting from it?  - He talks about it as a communication tool with his athletes.

The fall racing season is coming up. What can we be watching for from your team?


Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute

Favorite running book? - Best Efforts, Once a Runner, Science of Running

Current trainers you are wearing? Asics Gel-Nimbus

Favorite race? - Peachtree

Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Chocolate Milk

Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Soleus Watch

Aug 31, 2016

Today we have a treat for you training enthusiast. Many of you may not know Coach Tom Schwartz, but a lot of you who read message boards know the poster Tinman who has some of the most read threads on training on the web.

Tom also is the coach of some of the best youth runners in the world including Drew Hunter who this past year broke the 4-minute mile on more than one occasion as a high school senior and 12-year old sensation Grace Ping who ran a 16:44 5k.

Tinman and I talk about how he would structure a new high school program and build up a runner if he had the program. We talk about the difference between tempo and CV runs, how he would structure a week and when would he add in spadework. Then we talk about Drew Hunter turning pro and he has a message for the youth runners in this country. Get your notebook and pen and ready, now on to the show.

1:10 How did you get your start in the running community - Schwartz took over coaching early in his high school career.

6:15 You have written some of the greatest training posts on Let’s Run. Here is the scenario. A new local high school comes to you and says we are starting a XC program, and we want you to be the coach, and you accept. What does that first year look like as far as training to build new runners? - His number one philosophy is getting your kids up to running of one hour a day and a long run of 90 minutes.

8:55 How soon after you got them running would you start working in tempo runs, and CV runs? Can you describe to our listeners the difference between what you call a CV run, and other coaches would call a tempo run? He also talks about the difference between endurance and stamina.

11:00 Once you have a good month base going with these new runners, what does a typical week look like with you?

14:10 If you have a CV day, tempo day, long run, that leaves you probably three other days of steady or recovery running, what kind of paces do you prescribe for those days?

16:10 So let’s say there is a 17:30 5k runner, he is running about 5:30/mi race pace. Are you saying on those recovery days he should be above 7:30? And is there a limit where he starts going to slow and doesn’t start getting any benefit.  - Talks about Grace Ping, the well known 12-year old who ran 16:44 for 5k.

20:42 You have stated there are dozens of kids in America who are running 9:10 who should be running 8:40 if they were trained right. Is that what you think they are doing wrong is training too hard?

22:37 So up until now we have not run faster than 10k pace with the exception of our races. So with a high school team that has their state meet the first week of November, when do you add in faster workouts? He starts his sharpening work about four weeks out. One workout example he gave for this would be doing your CV/Tempo workout and finishing with an 800 time trial.

23:57 How often would your team race?

24:20 You have interesting research on the 1600 which shows it is 82% aerobic, but after just 30 seconds it is 50/50 and after 90 seconds you are already at 93% aerobic so how should this effect our aerobic vs. anaerobic training for a 1600m runner?

26:20 Something that many people are going to have on their mind is one of your star pupils Drew Hunter. It is well known that you took over the coaching of Footlocker Champion and sub 4-minute miler Drew Hunter a few years ago, how did that come about?

29:18 You were coaching Drew from across the country, and we understand that you used Final Surge to help with that coaching, how did that process work?

31:48 This summer Drew decided to turn pro and continue working with you instead of running at Oregon, what went into that process? - We discuss the problem with being shuffled among coaches as you grow up.

36:45 You have a great website which I recommend anyone listening goes to check it out. ON there you have some great training calculators and also slide presentations you make available under the blog.

37:10 What type of message do you have for young American distance runners

Here is the thread we reference with more training information.

Aug 24, 2016

In episode 10 we get ready for the start of track at the Olympics by talking to coach Drew Wartenburg of the NorCal Distance Project. Drew coaches Kate Grace who will be running the 800 and Kim Conley who will be running the 5k in Rio. We talk about their training, race strategies, how they use Final Surge in their training and answer some questions from Twitter.

:45 How did you get your start in running?

3:40 When you started coaching what level was that at?

4:40 Then in 2014 you started the NorCal Distance Project?

5:42 You had a pretty good showing in the Olympic trials. Let’s start by talking about what Kate Grace did in the 800. What a great story this was. She ran controlled early and qualified 8th in the first round. Then in the second round, 8 make finals, and she was 6th. And then saving her best for last I believe she ran a PR in the 800?

7:25 What was the thought process on focusing on the 800 and tell us what you two were thinking going into the finals? They talked about staying safe, which if you saw the race was a wise decision.

10:00 The first lap went out quick in the finals, about a 57 first lap. Was this what you expected?

10:45 Part of being a great runner is not only being fast, but running smart. Kate seemed to do a great job kind of staying towards the back of the pack to the inside, then with about 130 left Kate really started moving, what was your thought at that point?

12:50 Drew talks about Kate’s celebration moment, or lack there of.

13:55 You talked about that hand on the knees moment, you see that at the end of most of these races, but Kate finished with a look on her face like she was ready to do it again. - Drew talks about how they prepared for that moment.

15:32 We talk 800 racing strategy. I would love to get your thoughts. Most 800 races seem to go out the first lap about 2 seconds faster than the second lap. One of my favorites races ever is the 1972 Olympics won by American Dave Wottle. The first lap, the two Kenyas are out front and Wottle was like 2 second behind 200 meters into the race. Bottle is not only in last, but a good amount behind the leader. Then Kenyans run a 52 first lap, and a 54 second lap. Just like most 800s. Wottle runs about a 53.2/52.5 I believe, almost even, slight negative split by a half second and wins in a dramatic come from behind situation. Do you think that runners could do a better job by backing off a little in the first lap or do you think they need to go?

19:15 Another athlete you had make the team is Kim Conley in the 5k. She was one of the favorites in the 10k, but then, there was a shoe incident were she lost a shoe in the race. Can you tell is what your thought process was as you were watching it?

22:40 Was it her decision to drop in the 10k or did you tell her to pull out?

24:40 In the 5k there was a group of 6 girls with 400 to go including Huddle, Houlihan, Mackey, Infeld and Kim, who are all known to have great finishes. At about 300 left things were starting to spread out, how were you feeling about her chances at that time?

27:10 When preparing for the US Trials you really need to be at your best to make the team and peak at the right time. So how hard is to hold that peak for another 6-7 weeks until the Olympics starts?

29:40 Have you talked to them about what their goals are now that they are in the Olympics?

30:50 It was recently announced that Kim is making her marathon debut in NYC in November. How are you balancing the training between the 5k now and marathon debut soon?

Questions from Twitter:

34:05 First question from @DougPetrick1 - Other than the number of reps & pace, how different are your workouts for runners that do similar events?

36:30 Do you use any lactate threshold measuring devices in your training and if so do you have any recommendations?

38:10 You are using Final Surge for your training with your athletes, how is that working for you and what do you like most about it?

41:37 Rapid fire, 5 questions in under a minute ready

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book or blog? - Life at These Speeds by Jeremy Jackson
Current trainers you are wearing? - New Balance 880’s
Favorite race? - The next one on the schedule
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Chocolate milk followed by a good burger
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - A good running hat


Drew on Twitter

Aug 17, 2016

In episode 11 we talk to coach James McKirdy of McKirdy Trained. James has built an amazing business in just a year starting from scratch and building up to over 100 clients and hiring other coaches to help him. McKirdy Trained coaches athletes who are brand new and never run before all the way up to Olympic Qualifiers. Now on to the show.

How did you get your start in running?

How did you transition to coaching?

So was your current coaching business McKirdy Trained the business you started 14 years ago or is that more recently?

I understand you coach everything from Olympic qualifiers to those who cannot run 5 mins. So what are you looking for in new clients?

What makes McKirdy trained special and different amongst the other programs out there?

Coaching large numbers and some internet clients I’m guessing one of the hardest parts can be communications and feedback. How are you using final surge to help with that?

Let’s take an average runner. What can an average runner who contacts you look to see within their own running after they have been working with you?

What does a day look like under your training such as warmup, core strength, cool downs, strides etc?

After someone has a good base and has been working with you for a while, what does a week look like as far as run structures?

What have been some of the biggest success stories you've seen recently as far as performance improvements?

James talks about the problem with so many programs out there and combing programs without a real structure you get while working with a coach.

With the client you mentioned before, those were huge improvements from a 52-year old. Did you focus on pacing and diet or what did you focus on to get those results?

On any given Saturday we can see thousands of runners at local 5k’s. What can these every day recreational runners get from a running coach?

You have huge growth in the last year, how did you grow your business so much in the last year to go from zero to over 100 clients in under a year?

Rapid Fire... 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? - Marathon Man Bill Rogers
Current trainers you are wearing? - Asics Kayano
Favorite race? - Philly Broadstreet 10 mile
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - First Endurance Ultragen Chocolate
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? - Cold Roller

Reach James McKirdy
On Twitter
ON Facebook
On Instagram

Aug 3, 2016

Welcome to episode 9 of the final surge podcast. This week it is our pleasure to talk to professional runner and coach Neely Spence Gracey. Neely recently made her marathon debut and finished as the top American women in Boston. We talk about her recent coaching change, her coaching career and how she is using Final Surge to help grow her business. We also find out what she has planned for 2020.

1:10 Our first question that we always start with our guests is always how did you get your start in running? - Interesting fact, Neely was born while her father Steve Spence was running the Boston Marathon.

2: 25 You were a successful high school runner and probably could have run at just about any college, why did you decide to go to a D2 school over a D1? - Neely stayed close to home at Shippensburg University.

4:05 If you were sitting down with a classroom full of high school runners, who are deciding where to run in college, what advice would you have for them? - Neely thinks a visit to the school is important.

4:55 We know being a professional runner is not always the most lucrative career, so when you finished your college running career what was the decision process like when you decided to become a professional runner? - Neely had a unique experience by growing up around professional runners.

7:10 About a year ago you made the switch to start working with Coach Steve Magness, how is that transition going? - Neely has a unique situation where her husband works with Magness.

8:15 Most of our listeners probably know Steve from his book Science of Running. How has the training changed under Steve? - Variety in workouts is one of the biggest changes that Neely has experienced under Magness.

10:50 What is your weekly mileage and how long is your long run now? - Neely has topped out at just over 100 miles. This has changed in the last year as she has moved to marathon training.

11:35 This year you decided to make your marathon debut at the Boston Marathon where you were the top American women over running at the Olympic trials. What went into that decision? - This was not Neely’s original plan. Her original plan was to run the Trials, but things do not always go as planned.

A couple of questions from Twitter
13:25 Do you have any specific events in mind for 2020 Olympic cycle? - Neely hopes to be competing for a spot on the 2020 Olympic Team.

15:25 Do you run with strider and if so how far? - Strider is her dog who is a little over a year old.

Neely and Strider - Photo by David Bracetty.

16:50 You recently started coaching how is that going? - Neely currently has 35 clients.

18:00 Are you coaching people face to face or are you doing more internet coaching?

18:10 How are you using Final Surge in your training and your coaching? - Neely has been almost able to double her business because of the use of Final Surge.

19:30 Do you accept anyone or are you looking for a certain type of person and how would someone know if they are a good fit to work with you? - The one common factor for Neely’s clients is they are highly motivated.

20:40 If someone wanted to reach out to you and find out about your coaching services how could they best reach you?

21:20 So what is next, any fall or spring marathons coming up?
Not mentioned in this interview, but since the interview was recorded, Neely has announced she will be part of a star-studded NYC marathon program in November.


Neely with Strider, and her sunglasses
Neely with Strider, and her sunglasses

Rapid Fire… 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book or blog - Lauren Fleshman
Current trainers you are wearing - Adidas Energy Boost
Favorite race or race distance - Bolder Boulder
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink - Egg sandwich on a bagel
Your favorite piece of running equipment not your shoes - Sunglasses

You can find Neely at 




Jul 27, 2016

In Episode 8 of the Final Surge Podcast, we talk to Iowa State Runner Nathan Rodriguez. Nathan was a multiple-time state champion runner in high school and is now one of the top runners at Iowa State in his sophomore year.

We talk to Nathan about what the recruiting process was like when he made his decision to run for Iowa State and what was the biggest factor in deciding which school to run at.

Nathan then shares some advice he would give to incoming high school freshman and then juniors and seniors who are thinking they want to run in college.

:50 First question I always ask, how did you get your start in running.

1:35 You had many great moments in high school including a state championship as an individual and team in cross country and several on the track. So what was the greatest moment to you of your high school career?

4:20 Now that you have a little experience of running in college for a few years and you can look back at it. What do you think is the most important thing you did in your high school career that set you up for success.

6:35 Sounds like you had a good aerobic base from high school, what type of milage were you doing in high school?

8:30 When did you start thinking about a college choice and what was the recruiting process like for you?

9:55 What were you looking for in a school? Location? Tradition? Coach?

11:05 At what point in the process did you narrow it down and decide on Iowa State?

12:40 There are paid recruiting services out there, did you ever use any of them?

14:00 The first time you had contact with Iowa State, did you reach out to them, or did they reach out to you?

15:10 If your high school coaches invited you back to talk to the incoming high school freshman, what advice would you have for them who wanted to maybe run in college some day?

16:50 What advice do you have to high schoolers who are coming into their junior and senior years and really thinking about colleges?

Connect with Nathan on Twitter
Follow Final Surge on Twitter
Follow Final Surge on Facebook

Jul 20, 2016

Jason Fitzgerald runs a very successful site called Strength Running. Jason has developed a reputation as an expert in strength training with his coaching of runners.

:40 Can you tell us how you got your start in running?

2:00 You now run a very popular website and coaching service called Strength Running … How did you make a transition into coaching?

3:20 Every coach I have talked to so far on this podcast has talked about the importance of consistency. And running injury free may be the most important factor in running consistently. What do you think is the key to staying injury free?

6:45 So let’s start with a new runner. Maybe they just did a coach to 5k. They are still 30lbs overweight, but they finished their first 5k and have caught the running bug. What would you tell this runner they need to do to stay healthy?

9:05 You mention dynamic workouts and warmups, do you have any resources or can you lay out what that would look like?
Mattock Dynamic Warm-up he mentioned 
Jason’s IT Band Routine 
Jason’s standard core routine 

11:30 You are working with a runner who has a little experience, complete a couple of 5ks, but wants to really get serious and maybe try moving up to a marathon. How does your strength routine differ with more experience?

13:10 A lot of lower leg injuries that are common to runners are shins, knees, feet, do you find that those are often the cause of the problem or is something else in the chain the real cause?

15:10 A question from Matt Axlerod on Twitter… How many days per week to do core work and when to exercise hips/glutes?

17:00 Have you ever thought of moving your core work to pre-run instead of post?

19:30 You have a book Running for Health and Happiness, what inspired you to write a book?

Where can people find out more about you and your training programs?

Also mentioned
Tomahawk Medicine Ball Workout 

Jul 13, 2016

Imagine if I wrote a movie about a kid who was a successful high school runner and soccer player who received a scholarship to run at a major D1 university. Before he even made it to the first college practice, he was told that his career was over become a heart issue. Then seven years later, on a bet,  enters a triathlon against doctors advice and becomes hooked and would transition into leaving a successful law firm to become a professional triathlete. I would either get have a Hollywood blockbuster, or I would get laughed at for being too unbelievable. Today, we bring you the story of Justin Park, who did all of this. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did. 


You can find out more about Justin at

Jul 6, 2016

Luke Humphrey (Twitter) is a professional runner with the Hanson-Brooks Running team and the owner and head coach of Hanson Coaching Services. In this interview we talk to the Coach about how he got into running, what advice he has for busy athletes and his take on the state of the U.S. men's marathon scene.

:45 How did you get your start in running?

2:40 What advice do you have for college runners who want to run post-collegiately?

5:25 What made you decide to transition from a professional runner to the owner and head coach at Hanson Coaching Services?

7:05 You have recently launched a new coaching site, Hanson Coaching Services, can you tell us about the new site and who the site and training is geared towards?

9:30 The Hanson Training system is a very well know and respected program inside the marathon and distance community. What made you decide to write a book about it?

10:45 Could you tell a new runner who has maybe not heard about what Keith and Kevin Hanson teach what makes your program training different?

12:00 As marathoning becomes more popular, more and more new first timers are turning to the challenge of running the marathon. For a new runner, who may be looking to finish a marathon to help raise money for their favorite charity, what advice would you have for them for going to from maybe 20-25 miles a week to a 26.2 in one session?

13:45 What type of weekly progression for the long run do you recommend for that 20-25 mile week runner?

16:25 Many of these recreational runners may have a spouse and three kids. They have work meetings in the morning, they have kids baseball games at night and just live busy lives. What advice do you have for someone who is finding a hard time creating the time to train to structure a weekly plan?

20:20 That runner is now running five days a week, of course, mileage will differ, but what would a typical training week look like on five days a week?

21:40 Looking at the U.S. Marathon scene, on the guys side, we have not seen a U.S. man go below 2:08 since Ritzenhein did it in 2012. Where do you see the future of the US Men’s team marathon runners in the next few years?

23:05 Of course Hanson-Brooks has Des Linden who will be running the Olympic marathon on the women’s side, how is she looking?

23:45A question that came in from Twitter, follow us @FinalSurge, have you thought about writing a book for a 5k runner and what differences would a book for a 5k training method have that is different than what is you your book.

25:40 A second question that came in, How would you modify the basic plan to have only two SOS sessions per week (master/veteran asking)? And maybe we need to explain what an SOS (Something of Substance) day is.

28:35 Can you let us know how you are using Final Surge to help your coaching clients?

29:55 You have made training plans available to purchase through Final Surge, who are those plans geared towards more of a beginner or an experienced runner. 


Jun 29, 2016

For our fourth podcast, we talk to former elite runner Ben Rosario, who now spends his time coaching the Northern Arizona Elite Hoka Team.

We talk to Ben about how he got his strat in running and talked to Ben about what his high school running career was like.

With Ben having run at a D-II school we talked about how high school kids who may not be good enough to run at a D-I school should not give up their running dreams.

Ben goes into depth about the possibilities that D-II and D-III schools offer for runners. His advice about finding the right fit for you after high school is pure gold for any high school distance runner.

We then talked about how Ben made the transition into coaching after being a runner for the Hanson Brook's distance project.

We discussed how his Northern Arizona Elite team ended up in a deal with the Hoka running company.

Ben spends a lot of time explaining exactly how his current squad got together to form one of the top teams in the world.

We spend a few minutes talking about the unique uniforms for Hoka NAZ-Elite.

HOKA NAZ-Elite Uniforms

We talk about the marathon Olympic Trials where NAZ-Elite had a top 6 finisher on both the men and women's side. We also discuss the deep NAZ-Elite 5k and 10k teams in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials where 3 of the 24 runners on both sexes are NAZ-Elite members.

Ben discusses why he believes there is an advantage to running as a group when training as an elite athlete.

We also discuss the overall healthy of the potential U.S. Olympics Team where Ben believes we have medal opportunities from the 800m through the 10k.

Final Surge announced Northern Arizona Elite as a partner just recently. We discuss how NAZ started using Final Surge.

We talked about how he has been using Final Surge with his team and how his favorite part is you can tell it is made by runners, for runners.

NAZ-Elite is making all their running logs available online at Any coach, using Final Surge or any other log should have their athletes look at the NAZ logs to see the types of information that are being included in logs.

NAZ-Elite's mission statement is "Train hard, race fearlessly and share every part of our journey with our fans." That is why they completely open up their training logs.

We then discussed a recent Scott Smith log entry which ended included:

Run - Easy Run + drills/strides/plyos
Normal drills. 8 x 150 meter hard but smooth strides. Plyos= 2 x all single leg exercises. 1x all squat jumps/bounds.

Ben has a theory that he doesn't want to be just runners, he wants to be athletic. The biggest thing he works on is getting off the ground as quick as possible as many times as possible which is why they do explosive plyo work.

This question came in from Twitter… Coach, you have a lot going on in your life right now with the team, writing, family, any time management tips you have for busy athletes?


Ben has agreed to give one listener a signed copy of his HS XC book Tradition, Class Pride; you can find out details on that give-a-way at

You can get a copy of that book at Ben can be found in the following places:

Ben On Twitter
NAZ Elite on Twitter
NAZ Elite Training Programs

Jun 22, 2016

Former Boston Marathon Champ and longtime Runner's World editor Amby Burfoot joined us for a great talk about his half-century in running and his new book, First Ladies of Running.

Amby got his start in running when he was a sophomore in high school. Amby has run over 110,000 miles in his career, which is equivalent to running around the equator more than four times. With all those miles he has had very few injuries. Amby talks to us about why the mind is so important to our running as we get older.

Amby is now more involved and concerned with the overall general health of society these days. Amby talks about the irony of us becoming a more obese society in the middle of a fitness revolution which we have gone through.

Being so plugged into the sport first as a winner of the Boston Marathon, then the last what 38 years at Runners World, Amby has had a front-row seat to the evolution of training. We talk about training secrets and just like the two coaches we have had on before Amby, it seems to come down to hard and consistent work?

We like to open up questions on Twitter to our followers, and one question that Angela wanted us to ask was What Running Myths would you like to get rid of once and for all?

Amby Burfoot has recently released his sixth book, First Ladies of Running. We talk about some of the early women running legends including Joan Benoit, Kathrine Switzer, and the first women to run Boston, Bobbi Gibb.

Amby also talks about an entertaining story he discovered when he was writing the book from Grace Butcher, a farm girl from Ohio.

Amby talks in depth on why he included Ophrah Winfrey in his book on the first ladies of running.

We also talk about the future of women's running and how the Internet has greatly affected the time high school girls scene.

We finish the interview with some stories about the early days of New England road races in the 60's and early 70's.

You can get a copy of Amby's book here, and we will be giving away a signed copy, you can find out details at

Jun 15, 2016

Coach Brad Hudson starts out by telling us about how he got started in running. Being an average soccer player he tried running one day and a cross country coach recognized his talent quickly. Hudson was fortunate enough to be coached early by a young Mark Wetmore. In high school, Hudson would have some weeks where he was running 140 miles in a week.

We talk about how Hudson made the transition into coaching from being a runner himself and selling shoes.

The Hudson Elite team is making some noise with recent successes in the running community. They have a unique group of runners. We talk about how the runners he coaches are developmental athletes with jobs and school and life trying to train and get better.

All of Hudson’s athletes do coaching and use Final Surge as part of their coaching program. You can find out more about his coaching programs at Proceeds from the athletes coaching mostly go to the club to help support the athletes.

Everyone Hudson coaches, and every coach that works for Hudson Elite uses Final Surge. One of the reasons Hudson likes Final Surge so much is because it is simple to use, but has all the features he needs.

One book Hudson wrote with Matt Fitzgerald is Run Fast. Now he has released a new book The Little Black Book Redux. We talk about what is new in this book and what makes them so different. The Black Book Redux is all the workouts he has picked up over his running and coaching career. The new book has over 200 elite workouts. The book can be found at

We discuss how even though these are elite runners workouts, which any athlete can take them and adapt them for themselves. The book covers everything from 800 meters through the marathon.

We talk about what advice Hudson would have to a college runner who wants to continue running post-collegiate.

Not every elite runner starts out as an elite runner out of college. Many starts as a developmental athlete and Hudson gives us an example of what a typical day of a developmental runner looks like.

Hudson shares with us some of the things he is working on to help keep his runners healthy and running consistently as consistency is the most important thing in distance running.

Hudson stresses how he does not mess with runners form but works on making them more efficient with drills and strength exercises.

A couple of questions that came in from Twitter.
How many times a year should non-elite runners take a break from hard training and focus more on a traditional base phase

Second question form Twitter, how long after a goal race (not a marathon) can you re-race while maintaining specific endurance benefits.


Jun 7, 2016

In episode one of the Final Surge podcast, we talk with Coach Jay Johnson about how he became a coach, common running injuries and his upcoming book on marathon training for busy people.

Jay has a great podcast called the Run Faster Podcast.

Jay is always sharing information and advice on his website, and make sure you sign up for his email list too! 

Jay has an amazing youtube channel where he shows you many SAM (Strength and Mobility) drills including the lunge matrix which we talk about in this episode.

And if you are a high school runner or coach, make sure you check out his Boulder Running Camps, one of, if not the top high school running camps in the country.

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