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

I love talking to people that are actually doing research to figure these things out and kind of pull back the curtain, so to speak, from like, what's going on physiologically as we’re training and as we're trying to figure these things out.

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JESSE: I love talking to people that are actually doing research to figure these things out and kind of pull back the curtain, so to speak, from like, what's going on physiologically as we’re training and as we're trying to figure these things out. So, I saw I couldn't find a way for me to actually pull up the study, but I did see, you'd worked with other people on a study about using ply metrics with recreational runners, and - some kind of effect on that. Can you talk about that? Did you find anything? Were there any significant results there? CHRIS: Yeah, So, this was when I was in grad school. So, we recruited I think it was about 24 recreational runners, and then we divided them into randomized them into two groups, one group to plyometric and explosive speed training. So, short sprints, things like flying 30s for 12 weeks, one session per week. And the other group did basic core type of training, crunches, that kind of stuff that runners typically are doing anyway. So, they were sort of like the control group. And then both groups were training for a marathon. So, what we found was that the plyometric training group actually improved in their sprint speed, and maintains their jumping ability. Whereas the core group, when they train for the marathon, they're jumping ability actually got worse. There were sort of the changes, we found when we looked at variables that distance runners would be more interested in things like VO2 Max, running economy, two mile time trial; both groups improved, and there was no difference between the two groups in how much they changed. And I attribute that to kind of these are pretty untrained individuals coming in. So, they got so much better. I mean, I think, on average, they improved in the two mile by probably a minute and a half or two minutes. So, any effect of that additional 20 minutes of plyo's work core was sort of lost in the shuffle. I did see like the faster individuals seem to benefit more from the plyo training, whereas the slower half of the group actually seemed to have maybe a negative response, which, if they're already physically overloaded, adding in another ?? 3:00> that's going to do some damage to their muscles might have just been too much. So, like to follow that up at some point with a study on more competitive runners and see what that would look like. JESSE: Where do you draw the line between the Dukes? I noticed you had the competitive group and the recreational group in the scaling study as well and it may have been in there, if it was I missed it. Where do you draw the line between recreational and competitive? CHRIS: Yeah, I think for that study, to be in the competitive group was a Boston qualifying time. JESSE: Okay, really competitive. CHRIS: Yeah, I mean it's definitely like, you wouldn't say that's an elite runner, for sure. But it's a little bit arbitrary, but that's what I went with on that one. There's certainly, I mean kind of, the more selective you get, the harder it is to find participants. Obviously, just because there aren't that many people who are that fast. And then also, the people who are in the top 10 in the US or something, they don't want you to mess with their training. JESSE: Right. No, I'm doing exactly what I'm doing, leave me alone. I'm not interested. CHRIS: Not going to randomize them to the placebo group or something. JESSE: Yeah. With the plyometric study, did you have them all on the same training schedule or did they all have their own randomized schedules? CHRIS: For the running training or for the plyos? JESSE: So, you're saying they were all training for a marathon and then doing the plyos or the core stuff on top of whatever their training was. Was their underlying training the same or did they have difference? CHRIS: Yeah, they are students in a marathon training class. So, pretty much on the same schedule. Granted, some of the runs are pretty prescribed by time. So, that's the person is covering more distance. But yeah, they're doing the same training. JESSE: Okay. So, I spoke to another professor in exercise physiology. And he looks at stuff with the gut microbiome, but he also works with a lot of athletes because that's what he teaches. And - always just because training can vary so much, I'm always curious was that controlled for like, are you allowing all these other random elements to come into your study? Since - he said, and you probably experienced your end numbers only often 20-30, 50 if you're lucky you don't get a huge sample size. CHRIS: Yeah, and I mean, that is a challenge. But yeah, I think whenever you're looking at research, you always kind of want to look and see did they actually have a control group? I mean, I've seen a lot of studies where they they're comparing two different things, but they just use, like two different soccer teams that are in or something. Well their training might be completely different. They might be you know, there's all sorts of things that could sort of confound the results there. JESSE: I saw, I think it was on your Instagram you had posted, maybe just last week, you're doing like blood lactate testing or something on new people. So, it seems like you've got a new study in the works? CHRIS: Yeah, I have a student who got a grant this summer to basically, there's a chart online called Hill Runner, I think it's-- I don't know if it's .com or something. But anyway, it basically will give you equivalent speeds with different inclines. So, if you say, run at eight minute mile on a flat treadmill for an easy run, and you want to do some workout up to 10% incline, it gives you what pace would be equivalent to that. So, anyway, however, I think my student had emailed the person and said, hey, where did this chart come from? Because we were trying to use it for another project, and the response was that it was some of these masters research, but we don't know where it is, and so on. So, my student got...basically do a validation study. So, we're having people run at basically, five minutes at six different combinations of speed and incline on a treadmill. And taking venilitory data, heart rate data, lactate, and perceived exertion. JESSE: Okay. CHRIS: Oh, yeah. summer fun. JESSE: So, you're just trying to validate the numbers that have already been proposed by somebody else? CHRIS: Yep, exactly. JESSE: Okay. So, now I'm trying to remember what we've-- I know I've done on the treadmill, we’d done like uphill work in the past. Do you use that with your marathoners to improve running economy or use strictly like flatline work? CHRIS: No, we definitely do some hills. I prefer to do them outside. But occasionally in the winter-- JESSE: Yeah. It’s winter stuff on the treadmill. CHRIS: It’s worse because you get the melting and refreezing, which makes things challenging sometimes. But yeah, everything from like short hill sprints to longer inclines. When I was still competing, I ran Austin, few years in a row. And so, I would try different things to sort of mimic the course. Because you've got a lot of downhill early on. So, at one point I had a friend who had a treadmill in his basement, I didn't have one at the time. So, we propped up the back end of the treadmill on cinder blocks. And I ran down hill for like 10 miles. And then I would do different things with like, half mile long, hill ?? 9:53> at marathon effort to kind of mimic the course out there. So, yeah, there's a lot you can do. I also, at one point, decided I was going to run the Mount Washington Road Race, which is a seven and a half mile race up Mount Washington, average incline is 12%. So, I had to train for that. We don't have anything that long for hills in Minnesota, mountains to practice on. So, I pretty much trained on my treadmill for that and did repeat at like 12 to 15%. And so, yeah, that's part of the fun of coaching and being an athlete is just trying to be creative with what you do. JESSE: You said you put the terminal as cinder blocks and I always have problems with the treadmill walking if I'm running too hard. So, how did you manage to keep the treadmill on the cinder blocks instead of like, walking off it or toppling them over? CHRIS: Yeah, I think his treadmill, if I remember correctly was on carpet. So, that kind of-- JESSE: Okay. CHRIS: Yeah, but I could see how the bigger issue was it was also like pretty low ceiling. So, I was kind of like...I was going to hit my head on the ceiling. JESSE: Yeah, well, it seems like I mean, treadmills somehow are always in the basement. And then the basement has the lower clearance height. CHRIS: Exactly. JESSE: So, you have no way to-- Have you done, I was thinking about hills, have you done the Pikes Peak marathon? CHRIS: No, I have not. I would like to do that at some point but then I'd have to get back into better shape, I think. JESSE: It's like I've had my college coach did it and I’ve spoken to several people who have done it. It just seems like it would be brutal. You're going to go up, half marathon uphill, and then you got to control yourself for half marathon downhill. Aside from going out and doing Pikes Peak, I'm not sure how else you really acclimate to that kind of a race. CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. That would be tough on the quads coming down for sure. JESSE: Yeah. So, I have a question I ask everybody that for this year, because I think it's kind of universal. So, I like to ask people, if you can only choose one food for recovery to eat for the rest of your life, what do you choose? CHRIS: One food for recovery, I guess I would go with a strawberry banana smoothie. JESSE: That's a solid answer. I've had several people say pizza and I'm always a little disappoint-- I mean, pizza is delicious, but I'm like, really, Pizza? CHRIS: Yeah, I just don’t feel for pizza right after a workout. I know strawberry banana smoothie is going to go down, go down easy. JESSE: That's a solid answer, Chris. Chris, if people want to find you, see what you're doing, where can they find you online? CHRIS: Our website is, or I'm on Instagram, CoachLundo, Twitter @Coach_Lundo. And yeah, that's about it. JESSE: Appreciate. Thanks for coming on today, Chris. CHRIS: Yeah, thanks for having me. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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