Episode 5-Handling Transitions- What separates people from making the jump to the next level


Whether it is going from high school to college or from college to professional, we've all know stories of those who transitioned well and those who went through a rough patch. In this episode, Jon and I delve into these transitions. In our longest episode yet, we initially look at some of the roadblocks and obstacles that might prevent people from making that jump to the next level. From here, we dissect what people who successfully transition actually do and then look at how to apply these concepts to our own runners.

As the conversation progresses, we end with looking at the differences between the East African runners and the American's in terms of mindset taken and how the mindset might make a bigger difference then any special "secret" like altitude, training, or diet.

Whether you're a high school runner getting ready to make the jump to college, or an athlete wondering how to make that jump to the next level on the professional side, give this episode a listen as they'll be something for you to take away.

As always, hope you enjoy and feedback is appreciated,

Steve & Jon

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe through RSS

Why strength coaches don't know endurance training- Domain Expertise, Chronic Cardio, and Confirmation Bias


Why do smart people believe dumb things?

No, I'm not talking about some intelligent person believing in some crazy conspiracy theory or seemingly irrational belief, I'm talking about really smart people talking about things that are just a side step away from their area of expertise.

I listen to a decent number of podcasts, try to be as well read as possible on a number of subjects, and generally like to hear what "smart" people are thinking and discussing. If for no other reason, that the process of success translates regardless of whether it's in athletics, academics, or life. And it astounds me how many really successful people at their domain are utterly clueless, but very confident about it, in another domain.

How can I be so brash to declare that they are clueless? Well I technically can't, but it's because they are talking about my domain: endurance. And whether I have a clue or not is debatable, but it's still my domain of "expertise" and I feel good about understanding it and applying it better than most people who don't live in this domain. Perhaps because I'm entrenched in this world of endurance, it could be argued that I'm blind to innovation and rely on traditional dogma, as will be certainly argued by non-endurance believer, but I like to think my track record is at least somewhat established in challenging dogmas (shoes, stretching, etc.) in the endurance world.

What I'm talking about is when non-endurance folks talk about endurance. It could be the health benefits of it, how to train for it, or some similar topic. But I've heard some incredibly bad arguments by some really smart people on this topic, and boy are they confident about it!

We can look no further than the "chronic cardio" crowd who think that all of life's problems are caused by excessive "cardio" (whatever the hell that is...pet peeve-it's a useless term...). Briefly, the chronic cardio crowd claims that excessive cardio leads to horrible health issues. You can choose your topic on what negative consequence it causes from stress to inflammation to ruined knees to the mother ship of them all: death. The point is I've sat here and read or listened to seemingly smart people talk about how bad running is for you. 'Expert' trainers, doctors, tech guru's, marketers, longevity guru's, you name it. It was the in vogue thing to do.

It's a simple pattern, make some big polarizing claim(cardio kills), through in a bit of sciency sounding stuff and perhaps cite a research study or two, and with enough enthusiasm and you have a flock of willing folks spreading your message. For instance, in the anti-endurance world, they'll throw around this idea that cortisol levels are increased with chronic cardio and a ton of oxidative stress occurs, so you age way faster! It sounds lovely, until you realize that ACUTELY almost any exercise causes such effects, and they aren't bad. But that's another point...

So, when I hear these arguments, two questions arise from me:
1. How did they get these viewpoints when the rest of the endurance world has the opposite consensus?

2. Does my confidence in the endurance world spill over into topics I think I know about but really don't? Essentially, do I do this?

Episode 4-Life Outside of Running- The other 21hrs of the day and how it impacts your success

In this weeks episode of Magness & Marcus we discuss how what matters most is often what goes on outside of practice. It's the other 21 hours of the day when we aren't working out that often is the deciding factor on whether we have success or not. It's all about setting up the rest of your day for success.

We go into detail on three topics specifically that impact our recovery and adaptation. Starting with the big one, sleep. Going beyond the "sleep is good for you" mantra, we try and look at what it actually does and then go into how to actually change behavior to get more sleep. Next up is the topic of nutrition and what are the big concepts to get across to your athletes instead of getting bogged down with the minutia. To end we tackle the wonderful topic of stress. How do we deal with life that involves classes, tests, and life stress, and how do we combat that by creating the right environment.

We end with a new segment to tie things together where Jon and I discuss two of the latest books we've both read so that you all can get an understanding of the process behind where some of thoughts come from.

Enjoy and as always feedback appreciated,

Steve & Jon

Books or apps discussed in this show include:
Anti-Fragile by Nassim Taleb
Riveted by Jim Davies
How We Are by Vincent Deary
Flux-  blue light reduction app for sleep

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe through RSS

Episode 3- Strength Training- Myths, misconceptions, and application for distance runners

This week on the Magness & Marcus podcast, we take on the topic of strength training. It's probably one of the hottest and most controversial topics in modern training theory. Mostly because it's not our forte. In this episode we take on how you should lift, when you should lift, and what it actually does. Using examples from American Record Holder Alan Webb and backing it up with ideas on neural and endocrine system changes, we take you through how to think about strength training for a runner.

To keep things interesting, we bring up the fear of getting big, as well as discussing why mimicking running in the weight room is probably a mistake. Finally, we finish up with the importance of keeping the strength to it's appropriate importance level (i.e. secondary to the running) and take on why doing some crazy looking and creative exercise where we stand on a bosu ball with one leg and move our arms in a running motion, just may not be the best way to transfer.

New episodes every week, so please subscribe and give feedback. We're looking at this as a way to promote higher level ideas, concepts, topics, and more than anything create some discussion and thinking in the community. Thanks for listening

Steve & Jon

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe through RSS

How and why to use uncertainty during workouts


As I've discussed previously, racing, or life for that matter, is a journey into uncertainty. We're never sure exactly what's going to happen. While we are really good at preparing for the physiologic strain of the race, as runners' we often do a really poor job of preparing for the mental portion of the race.

No, I'm not talking about sports psychology work here, but instead about adapting our brains to the unsure demands and decisions that need to be made during a race. In my regular column for Running Times I explored this idea and gave a few examples of some of the way we have manipulated workouts to prepare for uncertainty.

We have a tendency to resist uncertainty in favor of the comfort of knowing what is coming, both in running and life. When we encounter uncertainty, we have a stress response that triggers emotions of fear, anxiety, and so forth, that bias us towards making bad decisions, or in the case of a race, giving into the pain and letting that small voice in our head win that tells us that we can't continue at this pace. Instead of fearing uncertainty, we need to flip it on it's head and use it as a stressor to adapt to and become resilient to it's formerly debilitating effects.
“It is the systematic removal of uncertainty and randomness from things, trying to make matters highly predictable in their smallest details. All that for the sake of comfort, convenience, and efficiency.”  Taleb   

You see while stability seems grand, but it's only when we're pushed outside of these bounds do we really grow and adapt. Similar to how we adapt to the stress of a physical workout by increasing the strength of our muscle fibers, building mitochondria, or producing more red blood cells, our brains adapt to the stress of uncertainty, by adjusting our stress response, establishing and reinforcing memory connections, and being better equipped to handle that formerly uncertain situation. So, to not only mimic racing conditions or deal with the stress of uncertainty, but to also ingrain decision making in the right direction, introduce some uncertainty to your workouts!


When we prepare for a workout on a track, we typically know the details, down to how many intervals we are going to run, how fast they will be and how much recovery we will take between each one. Even with a coach, we have some say over these variables if the workout starts to go awry. Our control of the entire situation is high. 
When we show up at a race, however, all that we know is how far it will be and that we have to finish. We don't know what our competitors will do, how they will impact our pacing strategy, what the conditions will feel like or what we will do if we feel subpar. We have less control and experience a higher degree of uncertainty. 
And while we are really good at preparing for the physical demands of competition–and even some of the psychological demands, such as dealing with pain or fatigue–we are often really bad at preparing for the stress of a race situation.

Click to Read the rest of the article with example workouts

Episode 2- The Rare Find- Magness & Marcus on Coaching


In this episode of our weekly podcast, we explore The Rare Find. What are those attributes that set apart those individuals who can perform under pressure, make the jump to the next level, and perhaps exploit the limits of their potential. We start off by exploring this idea of talent identification from a recruiting perspective and give insight into what little things we might like for that signal larger talent underneath. Using this as a starting point, we then try to identify the attributes that signal this hidden talent.

From here, we diverge into preparing for races by adding uncertainty, keeping athletes on their toes, and mimicking racing in the training environment. Instead of simply focusing on the physical components of success, we should also plan for the mental and emotional components that play as large a role.

To end the podcast, we finish off with how to become a Rare Find. What are the items that we need to work on and develop to make sure that, whether it's in racing or life, that we are constantly evolving in our own practices and endeavors.

This was a fun one to discuss with Jon, so I hope you enjoy. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions, or topics that you want to hear covered in future episodes, please post below to let us know!

Thanks for the listen!
Steve & Jon

  Subscribe on iTunes

or through RSS

How do we actually train?- Presentation from Kentucky Track Coaches Clinic


Some of the best experiences I have in terms of learning are when I get to travel and speak at different conferences. As someone who grew up hating public speaking, I now thoroughly enjoy it, so each time I get to talk I have the opportunity to refine how I do that. But beyond that, the learning that goes on during these conferences is inspiring. No, I'm not talking about me dropping knowledge, but its contagious when you get around a bunch of people who voluntarily come to a clinic to listen to rounds of speakers for 5-6 hours. So it's impossible not to get caught up in wanting to take some information away yourself.

The other reason I like going to things like this is that you get to learn from other people. You see, everyone thinks that when you present at a conference, everyone is coming to learn from you. But the reality is, when you present, you learn a ton from not only the other presenters, but also from interacting with other coaches. As I talked about previously, everyone's got a lot of knowledge and insight in them, enough to write a book if they wanted, it's just most people never let it out. So when you go to these conferences, often times I pick up thoughts and ideas that I take home with me that make me a better coach. It's the informal interactions you have with people that spark new ideas. For instance, the kinds of questions I get asked tell me more than most people realize.

Once again, we learn from interactions, so the more you can have, especially with people who are passionate about what they do, the better. And I can safely say that the people I met at the Kentucky coaches convention were passionate about what they did.

My presentations:
As always, in the name of being open and sharing almost everything I do (i.e. there are no secrets in coaching...), I'll post up the three presentations I gave. But first, some quick explanations.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails