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

Right. That's what I always sort of like, before I hired my own coach, I guess I worked on-- I’ll say, I've worked with Barb Lindquist, I'll say that but it's kind of a loose affiliation. And she always talked about like, you're coming in transition gear down, make sure you're you're definitely cranking above 90, which you should be for most of it anyway, but just like, get ready for the run.

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JESSE: Right. That's what I always sort of like, before I hired my own coach, I guess I worked on-- I’ll say, I've worked with Barb Lindquist, I'll say that but it's kind of a loose affiliation. And she always talked about like, you're coming in transition gear down, make sure you're you're definitely cranking above 90, which you should be for most of it anyway, but just like, get ready for the run. She always said that and I don't know that I've seen a lot of other people talk about it. Maybe it's just something people do and they don't talk about but yeah, ?? 0:33> for the run is so crucial to having a good day not having a bad time. Yeah, it's like my friend, Todd Buckingham, who is this last year he was the IT amateur World Champion at the Olympic distance. He was talking about, I had him on in one of the early episodes, and he's talking about his cadence on the run is like, depending on whether you’re counting one leg or two legs. He counts two legs. He said 200 reps per minute. So, on one leg 100 beats per minute, which is like he's turning, he's really turning over. I'll turn over like 92-93 at race pace, but I can't even imagine getting up to 100, and he moves. He's not a very big guy. I think he's maybe 5’7, and he'll run 32-33 minutes 10K's. BEN: Yeah. Yeah. Which is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. It'd be interesting to look at what the hip range of motion looks like with that kind of turnover. JESSE: He would know, he has his PhD in exercise physiology. He's the head of like, a new lab at this hospital where he lives. So, he probably already know that. BEN: That's super cool. Yeah, no, I mean it's-- because actually, my master's study was on like maximum velocity sprint mechanics, which 85-90% percent translates back over towards distance running stuff. There's not a direct correlation. But there's a lot of pieces of it, and one of the one of the variables that we really narrowed in on was ground contact time. If you're turning over at 200 reps, he’s got to be touching the ground. JESSE: He looks like he floats. BEN: Yeah. Yeah. Not a lot of vertical oscillation at all. JESSE: No, it's super smooth. BEN: Yeah, that's beautiful. JESSE: Yeah, he did. So, for his dissertation, he took data from it was at I think, the 2017 National Championship. He took data from various people wearing this particular type of Garmin watch, and tried to figure out like, what were the differentiators in terms of performance between all these athletes. And you know, we talked about cadence all the time, cadence, cadence, cadence, cadence, gotta get your cadence up, don't run at 75 RPMs, run at 90. And, interestingly, which this somewhat makes sense, the biggest differentiator, like in terms of speed was stride length instead of cadence. BEN: Well, and I bet the slower the folks are running, the longer they were reaching. JESSE: Well, yeah. But if you think about it, at the same time like if you if all things are equal, say everybody's running in 90, well, then who has a longer stride length? Like, it's kind of just almost a duh moment. But it does to me illustrates the importance of working on that power, and also having your pushback all the way through your toes instead of letting off the ground early. You know what I mean? BEN: So, from a teaching standpoint, you want to try to teach that sense of running on hot pavement. You know if you're at the pool, and you're scooting across the hot concrete, we tend not to take very big steps, but we're very quick on the ground, right? JESSE: Right, right. BEN: That's the most effective way to think about running fast. JESSE: Okay, so when you, like if you take that philosophy, so you do a video of that athlete, where does the cycle end as their leg’s going back and - still have ground contact, where does ground contact end? BEN: So, ground contacts going to end-- JESSE: This is a little tough to show without ?? 5:16>. BEN: If you go back and you look at, and whether you pull up like Carl Lewis or whether you pull up Gebrselassie, who’s like a phenomenal historical...runner, you're going to see the hip extend just a little bit, like where the thighs extending just a little bit beyond the foot being underneath the hip. But then it's going to get yanked right up back underneath the hip, right? So, the thing that a lot of folks, a lot of folks, especially under fatigue, the foot is going to cycle back behind the body really far, which sets up casting action at the lower leg. So, like the knee is going to extend and that ends up creating a reach and slap on the ground in front of the hips, which is a major breaking action, like that's where your shin splints could come from. You know, that's all kinds of no bueno. The more that as the foot comes off the ground, the more that you can lift it to the front immediately, and minimize that backside of the mechanics; the more that you keep everything to the front side of everything. And I'm like, I've realized I'm sitting, I'm moving my hands behind the camera. JESSE: Yeah, it's okay. BEN: The more you keep everything to the front side of everything, the easier everything gets, because if you were just a stand up where you're sitting there, and you push your leg behind you, like just stick your foot back there behind you were like the quote unquote, like pretty Gazelle type running goes on, you feel a postural difference in your low back. That's no good. But if you just stand up and you just lift your knee, straight up to your chest, there's nothing that changes posture really there. That's what we're looking for. JESSE: So, basically, let me see if I can summarize that. So, without having like, a hard-- like, we don't have a little model or a doll to like move, unfortunately. So, basically, you want to-- the idea is to extend as far as you can, without changing upper body position. BEN: See if we can do this here. Does that show up okay? JESSE: Yeah, you're all right. BEN: All right. So, what I was saying is that if I stand here, and I push my leg back, you see a compromise and my posture immediately, right? Where if I lift, just lift from the ground, nothing gets compromised, right? So, we have a solid core, we have solid strength, that we can just lift to the front and hit the ground. And if we think about your basic ping pong ball, just getting bounced on a paddle, we can just literally do that with a little bit of a forward momentum, and everything takes care of itself. JESSE: I’ll have to like go back over video and stuff. This is one of those things, at least for me is constantly evolving is trying to figure out what is perfect running form. And like, everybody has a different opinion on it. And then you find-- did you ever watch-- Why did I just forget his name? He was a British triathlete, Tim Don. Did you ever see Tim Don race? He runs like, I can't even-- It's so like, - I don't even know how else to describe it. It's just so messed up, but he's so fast. And you're like, how does he get away with that? BEN: Right, right. So, you look at the Brownlees, right, you look at you look at Gwen Jorgensen, Gwen can freakin’ run. I mean but we're talking about a girl who ran what, I want to say 840 for a 3K as a freshman in college, I mean, freak. But the way that like, you can tell that she was a track runner ahead of time. Like long before we got into triathlon, like you can tell that that was the base. If you just want a model to look at from a mechanic's standpoint, pull up Carl Lewis in pretty much any major championship. There's like slow motion video from the 80s that's just fantastic. The guy just once he's up to speed just floats. He literally just floating. Like what we're talking about, where his hips are so high that when he strikes the ground, it's right underneath him and then right back off the ground, right. You know, if your hips are low, you're going to have like a foot and a half, two feet of ground contact, right? Like your hips have to translate right over top of that. And that translation time is mega, mega milliseconds on the ground and that's no good. JESSE: So, there's two things, I kind of think about when we're talking about how do you coach? I feel like there's two issues that they come into play. One, kind of the one I was thinking about where like, you've got the the longer push off, which looks nice. But then also, when you're trying to work with an athlete and say, okay, well, we need to keep our ?? 11:44> sphere cycle like right within the body. And I feel like you're probably going to get some people that overstride forward and end up breaking, how do you prevent that? BEN: You cut off the backside. So, if you cut off the backside if they're just says so much of that forward reach, set up by the over kick on the back, and it's the coolest phenomenon to watch. That if I have somebody run right behind you, all of a sudden, you quit back kicking, you start lifting to the front, and you quit over striding. Like you start just putting your foot straight down underneath your hip, and it's weird. And like the other metaphor is if you tell them, say, look, I got a I got a sheet of plywood right behind you that if you kick that sheet of plywood, you're doing push ups. It just it fixes it like that, like it's immediate. You know, the exact mechanisms, we could go into some physics on like whether you're lifting to the front, and then all of a sudden, that hip flexor is going to you know, drop down just from a balance counterpoint standpoint. But if you can teach somebody to cut off all the backside mechanics, the front side mechanics, 99% takes care of itself. JESSE: Okay. So, it's like the overcompensation goes away. BEN: It really, it goes away. Yeah. And what's cool about that is that once you fix that, 80% of the arm stuff goes away with it. JESSE: Right. Because the arms are just your counterbalance, they're trying to deal with ever weird thing your legs are doing. BEN: Exactly. And it's like, you see so many, so many high school coaches are sitting there with kids and just trying to teach them to pump their arms, pump their arms, pump their arms, which is great from a muscular development standpoint, but they're thinking that they’re fixing mechanics by just teaching them to pump their arms straight. It ain’t going to work because it's like you say it's just a counterbalance to what's going on down underneath. JESSE: So, I'm sure we could get down another rabbit hole, but we're starting to run out of time. So, I'll ask you the same question I asked everybody because it's universal and that is, if you could only choose one food to eat for recovery for the rest of your life, what do you choose? BEN: Food specifically for recovery? JESSE: Yeah, specifically for recovery. BEN: Oh, man. Are we talking general recovery, are we talking like I just finished a nasty work, this is what I'm going to-- JESSE: Just your 10 times one by one and your legs are spent and you're like, all right, I also have 50 meter repeats in the pool tomorrow. I need to be ready to go. BEN: Okay. It's got it's got to be a like a-- So, I've got this mixture of it's a scoop of Gatorade, it's a little bit of water, it's ice and then it's basically a fruit medley just in on top of that. So, you're getting the electrolytes on top of the fruit. Now, if we're talking early in the morning, I've got a different mix where it's like strong coffee, chocolate whey, protein powder and whole milk. That's the go to in the morning. But like I'd say anything after 9-10 o'clock in the afternoon, or I'm sorry, yeah, 9-10 o'clock in the morning, it's going to be the fruit-- JESSE: I like how time specific you are like, it depends on what time it is. BEN: Well, you know, like I'm a big coffee guy, like I'm huge on my coffee and I usually don't get into it before a major workout in the morning. I usually like to just kind of chill on it afterward. But if I need to recover and like that needs to happen, that combination of protein powder and coffee is like snappy and hey, we're locked and loaded for the rest of the day. JESSE: Yeah, caffeine gets you going. BEN: Yeah. JESSE: Sounds good. Well, thanks for coming on today, Ben. I'm sure we could probably get on another time and dive down more rabbit holes. You seem like you're full of good information. BEN: I'm full of something, my mom keeps telling me that. JESSE: All right, I'll let you go. Thanks again. BEN: ...have a good one. JESSE: Take care. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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