Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 17 - Coach Chris Lundstrom - MARATHON MIND - Part 2 of 3

So, I'm curious about Team USA and kind of your athletes there, how do you go about finding athletes or recruiting athletes for Team USA Minnesota?

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JESSE: So, I'm curious about Team USA and kind of your athletes there, how do you go about finding athletes or recruiting athletes for Team USA Minnesota? CHRIS: I just watched flow track all the time. That's all I do, just what... I mean, I keep an eye on results and there's a fair amount that's word of mouth through our current athletes, maybe they have a teammates or people that they competed against that they know want to continue to train post-collegiately. But yeah, I kind of look at who's graduating in the area, who might be a good fit. And by the area, I mean, kind of the upper Midwest. We're not limited to that but we haven't had a ton of people move from Southern California. We had one guy from California, but for the most part the odds are bad of recruiting somebody who's accustomed to the climate here and things like that, maybe has family close by so. But yeah, so then it's just kind of reaching out and finding out what their plans are. If they're thinking about continuing post-collegiately, and if they might be interested. And then yeah, just conversation to see if it's going to be a good match. And then eventually, it becomes kind of like picking a college, you come and visit, go through that process. So, yeah, but we're always kind of looking around and seeing who's out there. JESSE: Yeah. So, I talked to a lot of different-- So, I often talk to triathletes, which is kind of where I live nowadays. I’ve talked to a few pros. So, I'm kind of wondering what is since you went through it yourself trying to make the Olympics and then now coaching these athletes; what is like a typical day and what does life look like for athletes, they're still working at that capacity post-collegiately? CHRIS: Yeah, I mean, most of our athletes, I would say, work part time. Just one, making a living solely as a runner is pretty challenging. And two, I think it's healthy to have something else going on in life than just your sport. So, yeah, most of the runners will get up and we meet for practice several days a week in the morning and then get their workout in, their main workout for the day. And then, yeah, oftentimes, still again like I said, hold down a part time job. So, they might go to work for four hours or something like that. And then, depends on the athlete, after that we have the marathoners, a lot of times, we'll be doing a second run later in the day. We do some auxiliary work, so strength -. So, that's usually fit in later in the day, after you've had a little recovery from the workout. But yeah, and then it's-- we're not the most exciting breed out there. It's like recovery is just chilling out, making sure you're eating good food and getting a lot of sleep. A lot of time with the foam rollers and things like that. Most of our athletes are getting in once every couple of weeks to see a PT or somebody like that just for the day to day maintenance type of stuff. Yeah, it's an exciting lifestyle. JESSE: Well, I mean, when you're exhausted from however many miles you put in that, you don't have a whole lot of impetus to go out and do whatever. At least for me from what a limited miles I've accumulated. It’s like I just want to sit on the couch for a while and hang out. Yeah. CHRIS: Yeah, a lot of Netflix. JESSE: The PT seems nice as kind of prevented carriers take care of anything before it becomes an issue, though. That seems like a very nice luxury, I guess I'll say. CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously, injuries still come up and stuff like that. But if you have somebody who knows kind of what your baseline is, and can sort of identify things before they get to that point, it saves you a lot of time have missed competition and training. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. And anytime I talk to somebody who's like, thinking about getting into running or they're trying to, like be a better runner, like I always say, consistency is key. Whether it's like you said, you have a great session, but then you blow your hamstring out for some reason you're off for three weeks. Well, if you had backed off that session and got the training in three weeks, you're probably better off. So, yeah, just be able to be so consistent-- I'm not sure. Did you have a lot of injuries in college? I was like, riddled with injuries. CHRIS: Yeah. Well, I would say that my shins hurt for about the first two years. I managed to get through it, but then I did have a stress fracture eventually. But other than that, nothing too much. I would say I was just kind of-- Our team was at such a high level that the workouts ended up being my best races probably just trying to hang in there. So, if anything, yeah, I was probably overtrained for the most part. But fortunately, I just had the one big injury. JESSE: Did you guys race-- again, I want to get to your research here in a second. But just personal curiosity, did you guys race every weekend at Stanford? CHRIS: No. I would say during cross country, we raced probably every other week. And there were guys who would kind of come in race maybe twice before the district meet. So, we had a depth that kind of allowed for that, I think, to sub people in and out and things like that. So, yeah, when it came to track, it was probably a little more frequent racing. JESSE: Yeah, our team was so sparse it was you’re pretty much racing every weekend. And just looking back and even I think at that time, I thought, it doesn't seem like the healthiest way to go about it because you race on the weekend, trying to recover on Sunday back to hard work on Monday, it’s just constant for three seasons, and fatigue builds. CHRIS: Yeah, the college system is not really ideally set up for long term development, in my opinion. I mean, certainly, there are coaches out there who managed to do it. But yeah, like you said, if you're racing every weekend, when are you going to train? And the risk of injury is just increased by that constant racing. And yeah, it's good to have a few weeks to be able to just put in some training. JESSE: So, I saw you've put together a fair number of, I guess I'll say research projects. I kind of want to talk about the one you completed most recently. I did my best to go through and absorb what you guys are doing. Starting about is the study in regards to predicting marathon times through running economy compared to 10K pace, do you know what I'm talking about? Am I saying that correctly? CHRIS: I think so. Yeah, I think that's-- JESSE: It’s like you're using two different methods of the allometric scaling, and then like regular linear scaling to try to figure out if you could predict marathon times. CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. JESSE: Can you give a brief overview of that so I don't butcher it? CHRIS: Yeah, so allometric scaling just means correcting for size. So, when we look at like VO2 Max, we're running economy, we're measuring the volume of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. When in fact, the actual cost of running or human locomotion, it does obviously increase as you increase in body mass, but it's not a linear relationship. So, what allometric scaling does is basically raises your body mass in kilograms to the power of usually between .66 and .75, which basically reduces the effect of your change in body mass. So, that's sort of the background on that. It's one of those things where we always just report it in milliliters per kilogram per minute, because that's what the software spits out and it's easy. But it's not the most accurate way of characterizing things. So, yeah, using allometric scaling when looking at running economy data, we're a little bit better able to predict marathon performance, based on the running economy data that we have. JESSE: So, it seems like you found that relationship where you had that window, and you can say, okay,if we know they can run at this particular speed that they should perform in a certain marathon time. Can you take that and does that play a role in how you end up coaching athletes? Or is it just a good way to say, okay, I know that they read their optimal speed or not? CHRIS: Yeah, I kind of came into research with the idea that, yeah, I'm going to be able to test somebody, and then I'm going to be able to predict exactly what they're going to do. But the more you know, the more you realize, wow, there are a lot of different variables and a lot of different ways that different individuals can get things done. So, from a coaching side, I think it's more valuable just tracking an individual over time, and looking at how that individual changes. Certainly, one of my studies when I was a PhD student, I tested a woman before the US marathon championships, happened to also be coaching her. But her running economy was just amazing. And I was testing people wanted to few weeks before their goal marathon. So, it does sort of give you as a coach to be able to say, yeah, confidently, this is another data point that says you're ready to go. And she ended up I think fourth in US Marathon Championships that year. But yeah, like I said, there's a lot of different things going on. There's the mental component, there's just the day to day variability and you know. So, it's fun to do this stuff and look at all the different things that go into performance. But yeah, unfortunately, there's no magic formula out there. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 3

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