Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 15 - Ben Yocum - PUREBRED ATHLETE - Part 2 of 3

Yeah, people get real, especially if they haven't done the bricks beforehand, like bike run workouts, there like I feel super bouncy, like the legs are. Sometimes it's either like bouncy or could be just completely dead because they went too hard on the bike and didn't conserve anything. It's like one of the two, running with bricks.

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JESSE: Yeah, people get real, especially if they haven't done the bricks beforehand, like bike run workouts, there like I feel super bouncy, like the legs are. Sometimes it's either like bouncy or could be just completely dead because they went too hard on the bike and didn't conserve anything. It's like one of the two, running with bricks. BEN: This guy all day long. So, if you want a really funny first triathlon story, I've probably got the all time winner. JESSE: Go for it. BEN: So, right after I graduated back in 2003. So, I graduated in May, somewhere in June-July, I bought a road bike that you know, did the standard-- crank on some Aero bars onto it that weigh nine pounds and you know, it's old specialized LA kind of thing. Love that bike, just from sentimental value. But you know, rode it for like two months, and I had done zero swimming, zero. And I'd heard about this quote-unquote, Sprint triathlon. And I'm like, I'm a sprinter, that's a great idea. I look ?? 1:38> it's like 600 and something meters worth of swimming. I'm used to running 600 meter repeats all the time, how bad can that be? JESSE: Yeah, 600 meters swim, it's pretty short, no big deal. BEN: Yeah, 13 miles on the bike. Okay, that's like half an hour, great. And then a 5K, cool. I can hammer out a 5K after these puny little things on the front end. Man, let me tell you. So, there's 386 people signed up for this race, right? I finished 384th in the swim out of the water. Now, it was like 19 minutes 40 some seconds. The only two people that I was faster than in the water was like this seven year old girl and an 86 year old woman. JESSE: Not where you're used to being? BEN: Not where I'm used to be. So, there's a guy who turned, I can't remember it was 100 or 101 that day that was faster than me in the water. JESSE: Once you get it down, it's kind of like-- so there's one of my coach is a former Olympic triathlete, Barbara Lindquist, she'll like, she was an all American swimmer at Stanford. And she was known for being out of water first, when she was racing professionally. She'll not swim for an entire year and then get in the pool and crank out like 10,000 meters at 1/10 pace or something like that. No big deal. Once you've got that swim down, it seems like it just stays. BEN: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. JESSE: So, I don’t know if that’s part of the 100 year old guy. BEN: Yeah, I'm thinking. But I jumped out of the water, I got on the bike. And I'm like, all right I'm gonna go mow somebody down. I’m like you know, mowing people down. I'm just like, bam, bam, bam. All right, this is what this is supposed to be like. All right, here we go. We're good. Went way, way, way, especially for not knowing what I was getting into, went way too hard on the bike, got off the bike, feeling confident, put my running shoes on. And took that first quarter mile going feeling pretty much like a baby giraffe. And I remember having the thought of whoever named this sprint triathlon knows nothing about sprinting, needs to be drugged out in the street and make an example of. JESSE: It's just a relative term. BEN: It's a relative term. And people don't tell you it's a relative term. JESSE: A real sprint would be like 100 meters swim, maybe a three mile bike and then like a mile run or something. And even that's not even really a sprint. BEN: Yeah. Right. Like a true sprint you know, 600 meters or less. And you can get into the debate whether the 800 meters now is a sprint, or is a middle distance race. But you know, we'll save that one for another day. JESSE: So, you recovered from your baby giraffe legs? BEN: Yeah, no, recovered from the baby draft legs, finish the thing up, and like I said, I came out of the water 384 of 386. And I think I finished, like 150-ish. JESSE: A little redemption. BEN: A little bit of redemption, little bit of redemption. But there was still the wake up call of like, what on earth was that? And just being entirely overly competitive by nature was like, okay, we got to go back, we got to train and do this again. Because we can't get whooped by you know, and the mentality of a 23 year old guy that's hopped up on testosterone and whey protein was I can't be just out here getting whipped on by these 60 and 70 year old men and women like this is just not okay. I'm in my prime, this is just not okay. JESSE: This shouldn't be happening right now. BEN: Right, that was a major kick to the ego. Obviously, since then there's the realization of like, that distance events or like, aerobic training is cumulative, right? And you know, come to find out in ex Phys Class a few years later, the aerobic system is not fully developed until your mid 30s. Well, here we go. You know, nevermind learning to actually swim a little bit changed the game. JESSE: Oh, yeah, technique is so crucial. And I think like my thoughts about swimming, which, I it's kind of weird to think I've been swimming for a decade now. I still feel like I'm a beginner, but just like, technique is so crucial in this way. And I take that back to like, running, I'm not an official coach anywhere, but they’re people that kind of come to me and I help them. But like to technique is also important in the run like you can-- And it’s important in the bike too. But it's like, people come from there, like a running background or cycling background and sometimes think they can just like muscle their way through a swim. You cannot--like you can muscle through maybe 50 meters but it's going to be rough. BEN: You can muscle your way through, and if you're really strong and really fit, you can muscle your way through about 100 meters worth, I'd say. But that's it. Like you don't get to-- The water fights back so hard that if you don't find a way to caress that water and be friendly with that water, it's fight you back all day, every day. JESSE: Yeah, because we're not aquatic beings. We try but we're like, we're so woefully so slow compared to like anything that actually lives in the water. It's not even funny. BEN: Oh, absolutely. JESSE: So how do you-- Obviously the competitive bug’s gotten you with your doing triathlon, but how do you kind of balance that with coaching? Because I know, I mean, any coach, I know, I think that's probably true for you, especially from kind of how ?? 9:02> you’ve been about what you do. Like, how do you balance all that time with training? And like, how do you make that priority when you know, you've got kids that need your attention, but you're also like, I got a five hour bike ride I need to get in? BEN: It's exceptionally hard. And I'll be fully-- full disclosure, when push comes to shove, my kids get my attention. Like, that's my job, that's what I do. And like, my athletic my athletic career is far past its prime. Right? Like, do I have a faster half iron? Do I have a faster marathon? Do I have a faster full Iron Man in me? Absolutely, those are coming. But the idea of militaristic training, and like really hammering to get every single milliliter of VO2 cranked up in my system, those days are long gone. For me, if it doesn't happen in the morning, 95%, it's not going to happen. The balance, like the one balance that I found, not this past year, but the year prior was where the kids are in the weight room at 6 a.m; they're in there from six to seven. Then as soon as they're done, I would take off and go run for like 45 minutes or an hour, make some breakfast, catch a shower, get into the office, and like crank on office stuff until it was time to go to practice and then do that. Maybe twice a week, get into the pool after practice, just because it was a low impact kind of thing. My training philosophy for training my kids and training myself also has always been quality over quantity. So, I may only have 45 minutes or an hour versus you know, being able to go out and spend those long hours to get stuff in. You know, the long hours have been on Sunday, that's when it happens. Now, once the competition season comes around, that can get to be hit or miss. You know, just whether I've got the energy. If the bus gets back to campus at one o'clock, 12, one o'clock in the morning, I'm sleeping till at least noon. Like that's happening. Anybody that wants to argue about it, come find me. But that kind of gets to be into that Sunday routine of like, okay, brunch, longer workout, but don't crush yourself, so that Monday comes along, and you just wasted. So, the reality of it is that January through April is exceptionally difficult balancing it, and my fitness shows it. JESSE: Yeah. And that's tough since that's, I mean, that's really that's like to at least for me for my training schedule, that's like, prep, getting ready for race season. Then race season starts March, April, May, and-- BEN: Yep, absolutely. You know, and like, that's when you got to be putting those those hours on the trainer. And that's when you got to be putting that time in the pool and it's hard, it's hard. JESSE: I mean, the bike is the biggest time consumer to me, especially as you're going longer distances, it's a proportionally a larger piece of the pie. So, it's like it, you can't skip it, it becomes tougher to maintain high fitness there, in my opinion. BEN: But you know and the thing about it is you can do so much with the higher intensity intervals. And you can do so much with the weight room, right? You know, if you're being smart about it can be done and I really think that on six hours of training a week, you could do a full iron, no problem. Now those six hours, you're going to be cranking, like when you get it, you're going to be getting after it like fat kid after cake. Which you gotta pay attention to what you're doing and paying attention to injuries and all that kind of stuff. But you know, and this is me calling myself out on just not getting it done, really. But it can be done on really, really minimal hours. JESSE: So, if I wanted to like, for you if I want to maximize bike fitness but I don't have the time to get in bike work, what am I going to the weight room and doing? BEN: Squats, front squats. JESSE: Just squats? BEN: Front squats, front squats, front squats, front squats. Those are-- JESSE: ?? 15:09> big weight, high weight, low rep, what are we doing? BEN: High weight, low reps. And contrary to popular belief, and like the low weight high reps is going to build muscular volume, right. Nobody wants to cart any more of their own but around the course then they have to brace. So, you want to be as light and you want to be as strong pound for pound as physically possible, right? So, physiology lesson is that's more about neural recruitment than it is cross sectional area in the muscle. So, you develop that neural recruitment by going high intensity, low reps. So, you might hit three sets of three on the squat and be done. And realistically, for triathlon training, you might hit like, five sets of three, but have those sets of three spaced out with like, 10 minutes in between each one of those three. That would be bang for your buck, that's probably in the weight room. I've always been a big fan of the Olympic lifts like your snatches, your cleans just because they're total body lifts. JESSE: I got obsessed with the clean in high school and it was like a favorite lift. And not like, there's no like, I can't go to my gym and do it. They don't have a set up to do that at my gym. BEN: But yeah, no bad bang for your buck, like weight room, that would be it for the bike. And really for the run, between that and lunges, that’d kind of be-- Like I said, if you're just looking for a bang for your buck, then you can go in there and hit that in 20 minutes and be done. JESSE: It's kind of, I fortunately have a little bit more flexibility in my schedule but I know a lot of people don't. So, I kind of think about average Joe working 40, 50, 60 hours a week, how do they compete in sports? That's why I was curious. You know, obviously, you spend a lot of time coaching so what are you doing to get that maximum right back out of what you're putting in? BEN: Yeah, and the other one that I'm a big, big fan of is like minute on, minute off on the trainer. If I get up before weight room time, so if I'm on the bike, by 5:15. I can do a 15 minute warm up, that gets me to 5:30. I can go minute on, minute off for 20 minutes. So, I get 10-- I get 10 reps and my legs are jello. Because for that one minute, I am absolutely cranking as many watts or as many miles per hour just you know, whatever you're measuring. I'm getting it for that minute and then just soft pedal it for a minute and just turn it back and turn it back and turn it back. You can do so much with just 10 reps like that. JESSE: Yeah. I mean, you're doing right, you're done after 10? Like, I don't have to do anymore. We'll do that. We do it kind of a mix, like this last couple of days ago I did five times, was it three-- I think it was three on three, - five, just as high as I can go in zone five. But we'll also do like a 30 30 instead of a one, one. So, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, we'll do 15 or 20 of those. So, effectively the same thing. And then I can always crank those higher. So, we call it zone six since technically there's not a zone six. Because it's always like I'm always hitting power above whatever zone five ends at. For 30 seconds like, you can go pretty hard for 30 seconds. BEN: Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. No, you crank that up. And again, you're establishing that neural like, especially on that 30, 15 to 32nd range, you can do so much to bump that neural recruitment. I mean, like at that point, you're effectively doing weight room type work on the bike. JESSE: Right, just push power. BEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you can play around with that and especially if you're tracking watts, you can do that so many different ways. I mean, you can do that at 70 RPMs, or 95 RPMs, or 130 RPMs, and your training different components of the nervous system and like the range of motion and right rate, like the angular rates on the hip. There's a bunch of cool research out there about like as you get into that last mile or two on the bike, to just spin up some really tiny gears and just really turn fast, so that your cadence like so you can jump off the bike and hit that cadence like you want to on the run. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 3

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