Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 17 - Coach Chris Lundstrom - MARATHON MIND - Part 1 of 3

You know, adapted much more quickly to the training and by my freshman year I think I was all conference and so I just realized I had that talent. But really what got me most into it was probably just the team culture and my high school coach was amazing.

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“You know, adapted much more quickly to the training and by my freshman year I think I was all conference and so I just realized I had that talent. But really what got me most into it was probably just the team culture and my high school coach was amazing. So, I really loved it kind of from the get go.” This episode of the Smart Athlete Podcast is brought to you by Solpri, Skincare for Athletes. Whether you're in the gym, on the mats, on the road or in the pool, we protect your skin so you're more comfortable in your own body. To learn more, go to JESSE: During this monthly podcast. My guest is a former NCAA Division One runner at Stanford. He is qualified and participated in the Olympic trials in the marathon three different times. He’s closing in, getting close on 20 years as a coach and is currently the head coach of Team USA, Minnesota. He has his PhD in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology, and also spent some time as a lecturer at the University of Minnesota. Welcome to the show, Chris Lundstrom. CHRIS: Thanks for having me. Glad to be here. JESSE: How's the weather in Minnesota, we're suffering from just ridiculous heat? CHRIS: Yeah, it's pretty hot here too. It's definitely-- I think we've got a couple days was heat advisories, heat index above 100. So, plenty warm, definitely. JESSE: So, I’ll start off, this is a little bit of I guess, personal inquiry because I started race this past weekend and I kind of overheated a bit and really couldn't put the-- So, I did a triathlon on Sunday, I couldn't really put my run down like I wanted to. I was running like almost a minute per mile slower. So, generally, I advise people I talked to you not to run if it's over 90 outside. What do you do, do you do anything with your athletes in terms of like trying to heat acclimate or adjust to those higher temperatures? CHRIS: Yeah, so we had a couple of athletes who qualified for the NEC ACC championships, the North American, Central American, Caribbean cross country championships, and that was in February, in Trinidad. So, it was going to be really hot and humid, and we're training. Up here at that time, it was a lot of negative temperatures, things like that. So, I had them doing workouts on the indoor track with multiple layers on, things like that. And then also running on the treadmill is pretty good heat acclimation too just because it tends to be fairly warm, and then you don't have that same air movement to kind of help ?? 3:07>. So, yeah, things like that. I mean, you got to kind of balance it, you don't want to overdo it because obviously, if you're training in the really bad heat all the time, it's hard to do much intensity and your fitness start to suffer. But yeah, there are little things you can do. Jumping in the sauna, occasionally seems to help some people. JESSE: Do you know if there's like a typical, I'll guess I'll say, adjustment period say, you start training that heat training, do you start noticing kind of an adjustment, and then back to typical performance speed in say, two weeks or three weeks, or is it really individually dependent? CHRIS: I think within about three days, you start to get some good adjustment, but you really like full adjustment, takes about two to three weeks. And even then you're still not going to perform at the same level in obviously, ideal conditions, cool conditions. That's where the world records are set. There's a reasons. But you're going to be a lot closer to that and you're going to be as acclimated as you're going to get after about two to three weeks. JESSE: Yeah, it just it seems like something especially now in the summer, like a lot of people are dealing with and especially as the vast majority of the US is getting just blasted with a nice heat wave right all the rain and other stuff going on. So, I’m just curious about that. So, something that always kind of piques my curiosity. So, I know you've been running much, much longer than I have. So, what brought you to running? How did you kind of get into it, I'll assume, as a kid or as a younger person? CHRIS: Yeah. So, I went out for cross country to get in shape for basketball in eighth grade, because I really was set on becoming an NBA player. That was the ?? 5:22> And then I quickly realized that my talents were elsewhere, not invest. But in running I adapted much more quickly to the training and by my freshman year I think I was all conference. And so I just realized I had that talent. But really what got me most into it was probably just the team culture and my high school coach was amazing. So, I really loved it kind of from the get go. JESSE: Do you or did you, I don't know if you know how old your high school coach was, did you keep in touch with him after-- I’ll assume it’s a him I guess, I don't know; your high school coach after high school? CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. I still am in touch with him. So, he's retired a good while back but yeah, now I only live about an hour from where I grew up. Lost my phone there, but yeah, so see him once in a while, get coffee or whatever. So, yeah, it's a pretty cool thing. JESSE: I know, I had several coaches throughout high school and the one I ended on has kind of been, we'll get together and we'll do there's this like 50 mile relay race that he'll get back to his high school athletes together and we'll all do that. It's called Brew to Brew. So, they're in here in Kansas City, there's a brewery downtown, it starts there. And then it runs to the brewery in the town next to us. So, it's kind of a casual event. But he's been, I guess I'll say influential my life. So, it's always interesting to see, at least from the sound of it sounds like that person, your coach was a pretty special person. It's just interesting to see who stays in touch, and you know, how they continue to affect us past our high school career. CHRIS: Yeah, absolutely. I think high school coaches have a lot of power in shaping young people for the better or worse. So, it's really something where that person can really change the trajectory of your life. And that's what happened in my case, for sure. JESSE: Yeah. So, I know, it seems like you do a lot more long distance stuff. Clearly, since you're a would assume attempting to make the Olympics in a marathon. How do you make the adjustment from high school to marathon? Were you trying to do marathon at Stanford or where does the switchover come for you? CHRIS: Yeah, no, for me the switch came after college. I was on some really great teams in college, but I was not very good. I didn't make ?? 8:24> upset. I think I ran the district meet a couple times, but never ran the NCAA. And so after college, I sort of thought, well maybe that's kind of the end of my competitive days. But I kept running just because I loved it. And I started to do more and more and get kind of the competitive bug back. And then I ran, I think it was a humble half marathon, out in California, really enjoyed that, and decided to try my hand at the marathon. So, I was about 25, I think when I ran my first marathon, which it’s not super young, but at that time, most of the kind of elite runners in the US were not moving to the marathon until they were 30 plus. So, it was considered kind of young at the time. But I just found I was better at the longer stuff so that's where I ended up. Not fast enough to run the mile, that type of thing, but I do love the longer stuff. So, it's a good fit. JESSE: Would you make the argument for the mile being a sprint nowadays? I know not technically a sprint, but there's that argument in one way or the other. CHRIS: Well, yeah. I mean, it definitely requires a lot of strength and power and speed, just to have that top end gear. Because yeah, it is so fast now. JESSE: It seems like I didn't run in a division one school, but we went to meets where we'd be with division one schools, since track is kind of unique in that aspect of you go to a meet and sometimes you have very mixed divisions. And it just seemed like, if you really want to compete in the mile, you're pretty much going to be running near four minutes one way or another, or you're going to be quite a ways back. CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that was sort of when I went to college, I didn't really think I was a miler, but I know, I had a lot of my teammates who thought they were fast. And then they kind of had a chance to get in some of those races and even workouts with some of their teammates and saw that, yeah, there's a whole nother gear that I don't have, and I'm not going to be able to compete, as well at that distance. So, many people begrudgingly ended up moving up to the five and 10K. JESSE: Yeah, that's usually happens. At least, I don't know how it was when you were in high school, but it seemed like, people would try out sprints, and then from the hundred on up. And if the coaches are like, you just don't have the big gear for this, they'd start shoving them like, longer and longer distances. That seems to be the natural progression. Well, if you can't go faster, we'll see if you can go longer. CHRIS: Yeah, I think that's a fair statement for what happens that a lot of high school programs. Unfortunately, yeah, in the mile and two miles, you still need speed. JESSE: Right. If you want to be competitive, if you want to win, yeah, you do still need it. So, since you weren't a miler, and you had this idea to go marathon, I mean, I always struggle with kind of the genetic component. We all had some amount of limiter to us. Do you feel like that the longer distance half marathon/marathon is more trainable compared to what I would consider, like a much-- a pretty significant genetic component in that top end speed? CHRIS: Yeah, I mean, I think your aerobic capacity as a longer developmental period. So, that's why longer distance runners don't peak until or endurance athletes in general, don't peak until late 20s, early 30s. Whereas sprinters peak a little bit earlier. So, definitely, there's a trainable component. I think, for me, it was my talent was in my durability. So, I could run a lot of miles and stay healthy, and do some of those longer grinding kind of workouts without injury. So, yeah, there's definitely a genetic component to both, but I think you can sort of overcome it a little bit more in the endurance sports based on your training. JESSE: Since I know this is your specialty and this is just, again, a kind of personal curiosity. I spend more of my time, kind of like 5K 10K, just because I like those events, not that I'm particularly good at them. But making that transition, what are the basics of putting together like marathon training, say, compared to 5K? Are you just stacking on miles? Or how does the basic transition go from one to the other? CHRIS: Yeah, I think increasing miles is helpful. And then also, for my approach anyway, the long run becomes a key workout of the week. Whereas I think a lot of people who run either middle distance, or even 5K, 10K, they go out for their long run, and it's sort of, I'm going to chat with my friends, it's a social thing. If you're training seriously for the marathon, that's oftentimes going to be a very high quality day, where you're running around marathon pace, maybe some faster, some slower, maybe progressing into it. So, those long runs become a just a key component, and then a little less intensity in terms of interval training, I don't think you need it as frequently. still important to do some. But longer tempos and specific long runs would be kind of the key differences, I would say. JESSE: So, I guess I'll say, are you pretty much going to be-- Is there any utility for a marathoner to be doing say quarters or like max rep, any kind of work like that? CHRIS: I mean, it depends who you ask. I feel like a little bit of shorter stuff 200, 400 is good, just because you want to recruit all your, all your muscle fibers and get everything going. But I don't think you need a lot of it. A session every two or three weeks, and it doesn't need to be a whole bucket load of reps either. Because you're going to be, if you're doing relatively high mileage, you're going to be doing it on somewhat tired legs. I find that just going in and doing a little bit once in awhile helps maintain that efficiency of the stride for the longer stuff; makes the marathon pace feel a lot more comfortable when you've run done some faster stuff. JESSE: Yeah, it's like your capacity goes from here to here. So, then when you're running at that submaximal pace, it's not as a higher percentage is wherever that max is anymore. It's just like I said, I don't have a lot of experiences. So, you're the guy to ask. Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3

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