Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 4 - Dr. Jason Karp - DO THE WORK - Part 3 of 3

So, you kind of touched on this a minute ago, and you're not old in any sense of the word. But as far as like running is concerned, you are a little past prime years now. You have opinions on that peak age, but typically I will say 35 plus or minus five years.

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JESSE: So, you kind of touched on this a minute ago, and you're not old in any sense of the word. But as far as like running is concerned, you are a little past prime years now. You have opinions on that peak age, but typically I will say 35 plus or minus five years. So, how do you deal with, I guess, getting older and not necessarily physically, I guess it could be physically but mentally, like, you know, I think I either read an article from you or saw an interview, or listen to an interview where you're talking about trying to, you know, catch up with the younger you. Like, how do you? How do you stay in the game? You know, because the fastest times are behind you so how do you how do you stay motivated? JASON: It’s so hard for me because, you know, most runners, they always want to keep getting faster. That's what drives that them. Yeah, I realized at this age that my fastest races are behind me. But now I just try to take it year by year. And I think, well, how fast can I get in this year, because I know that I'm not going to get faster than I used to be at this age. still trying to become as fast as I can be for the age that I am and that's what drives me. I when I've never run to just run, I've always run with a goal in mind, always trying to get faster. That's why I keep doing interval training and I do all the other workouts because I still want to get as fast as I can be now, whatever that is. I have ideas in my head of what I would like to accomplish this year or next year. But I also realize, with every passing year, it gets harder because I am getting older. And so everybody slows down as they get older. So, I just focus on what can I do now to try to be as fast as I can be in three months or six months. And that’s what keeps me going forward. So, the goals are a little different. It's hard every time I do an interval workout or a race and thing she's at the same effort I used to be running a lot faster is to keep thinking that. But that's what humans do, we naturally compared to our younger selves. And yeah, but I just have to accept that that age is always going to influence performance more than I can train as smart as anybody in the world. But I'm not going to be able to overcome the fact that you know, my physiology is not the same as it was, you know, 25 years old. JESSE: Do you feel like, I mean, are you doing a similar kind of training regimen? Now, as you were when you're 20 or 25? Or do you have to modify like, you know, you do less intervals or you do more fartleks or, you know, how does your training changed if it's changed kind of over the years? JASON: Yeah. Well, now it's ?? 2:47> that question because I have been experimenting with doing a little bit different things now to see if I can try to get back some of that speed that I used to have. And so you know, I always run six days a week. Currently, I'm running five, I figured I'd take one more. Because the biggest thing that changes when you get older, is the recovery in between hard workouts. When I was a teenager, you could do three hard workouts a week. We were racing all the time, when I was in high school, I grew up on the East Coast with cross country season, indoor track and outdoor track. So, all school year, longer racing, and they - make road races in the summertime ?? 3:22>. So, you're racing all the time, but your body recuperate very quickly. And so you don't notice the fatigue that accumulates. And so as I've gotten older, and you know, I realized that I can't do the faster workouts as often. So, I take more time in between interval workouts and now I'm experimented with cutting back with five days a week of running, instead of six to give my body an extra day of recovery. You know, I'd rather run the six days a week, but I'm trying things out. And I'm willing to try some things to see if that'll help me in the long term and be able to run as fast as I can. I've recently tried some strength training, which you know, people know, if they read my books or heard me speak, they know that I'm not really a big fan of strength training, but distance running performance. You know, I believe you should run more and make the running training as best as you can before you try to do something ancillary to that. But as we get older, you know, we do lose the power, we do lose the speed. And maybe I don't know, I'm going to try this experiment myself, maybe we can get some of that back with very heavy strength training. So, it's not the going into the gym lifting weights for 15 or 20 reps, that stuff's not going to help at all. But the very heavy lifting, the power type lifting that stuff may because it trains the fast twitch muscle fibers, and obviously with myself, that does translate to faster races, it may or may not. But I'm willing to try some things as I get older that I never did when I was younger. I just ran all the time, and I always get away with that. So yeah, that - changes as you get older and the significant change in a person's training is the recovery time in between harder efforts, you can't do interval workouts as often as you can when you were younger. JESSE: Right. I'm kind of curious. So like, I work with a coach now and I do more triathlon than anything as compared to like running higher mileage during college. We do a lot of like rate of perceived exertion workouts where I'm not necessarily clock watching so much. But because I have that experience and the years of running, he can say okay, I want you to run threshold or I want you to run tempo or whatever, and kind of gives me free rein. Do you use RPE for your training or are you still clock watching for your intervals? JASON: Oh, yeah. Well, for the intervals, yeah, but all my easy runs, I've never -- I'm very low tech when it comes to running. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up with it. So, I don't have a GPS, I don't ?? 5:52> I have not - what pace I'm running. But when I do specific workouts like a threshold workout or intervals, then I'm usually on the track. So, I’ll just use a stop watching, and I'm timing and I'm trying to hit certain times. So, those I will monitor by the pace. But all the other easy runs, yeah, I'm just going however my legs feel. So yeah, I'm not - to pace at all on my easy days. JESSE: I'm kind of familiar -- I'm curious if you're familiar with this idea. I can't remember where I read it but I really stuck with it that there was this idea that there are three types of runners. See if I remember this the scientist, the chemist and the artist. The scientist lives and dies by the numbers. The chemist lives and dies by their nutrition. An artist feels how they run and typically, the best runners are artists. So, that's why I'm curious about like the RPE and have you heard that before? - kind of familiar with the idea that I'm talking about or just like some people always have to have that GPS, like they don't have any sense of pacing. JASON: No, I agree and that's why people I coach, I actually am trying to encourage them to leave the GPS at home because that's exactly what happens. They don't develop that internal clock. You're a really good runner, you should be able to tell somebody go out and run in seven minute mile pace, or go run in six minute mile pace, and they shouldn't have to look at their watch to do it, they should know what it feels like. And nowadays with all the technology, I would bet that most people would not be able to run at a given pace based on how it feels because they do rely on their GPS too much. But yeah, it's funny, you bring up the RPE because I was just in Kenya in February for two weeks and that's exactly how they train because you know, they're so poor, they don't have GPS monitors, they don't have heart rate monitors, they don't they don't have all this technology over there. And so yeah, every day they're running it's completely by field. They do a fartlek every Thursdays It’s pretty famous in Eaton Kenya, they run the famous Eaton fartlek, it gets 200 plus people that all come out to run this fartlek and they run on these country roads, it's a red dirt rocky trail roads, ?? 98:01> the roads over there. And they're just out running and it's all by field, they push the pace, they back off, they push the pace they back off, there's no timing going on. There is a lot to be said for that. Arthur Liddiard back in the 1950s and 60’s, that's how he trained his athletes. He had it a rating of perceived exertion, but he would say like go a half effort or go a three quarter efforts or go and a 90 - effort. And then they would do time trials, but they wouldn't go all out for a time trial, they would do it at a an either an 80 or 90% effort time trial. So yeah, there's a lot to be said, for learning the pace and learning how you feel, and not relying too much on the technology. It's always been interesting with the technology that you know, and again, a lot of its marketing because no one's getting faster by running with GPS’s. We had faster runners at the top, we actually had more marathoners who were very, very fast in the 1980s, than we have now for both men and women. You know, in Boston, just the other day, we had two guys under 210. And everyone's like, oh my God, we have two guys under 210, that's fantastic. Back in the 1980s, we have a lot of guys under 210 and the same thing with women. We had more women under 230 for the marathon in the 1980s than we have now. So, focused technology is not despite what these companies say, it's not making people faster, it's not making the masses faster. The average time of the marathon, half marathon is actually getting slower, because now more people are doing it. So, I don't know why people are so drawn to the GPS’s because it's not helping, it's not making them faster, because they don't really know how to use it. They're not educated enough to know how to use it to their benefit. They just - their pace and they compare one run to the other. And so yeah, I can talk all day about that. JESSE: I love RPRE is like the GPS ?? 9:53> feel like, it's a couple things. I feel like it's a crutch a little bit where like I have a friend who ran with me in college and he has no sense of pacing and all like he's tied to his watch. He has to use it to know, you know, if we're going to go out and run seven minute pace, like he has to have it otherwise he can't feel it. But I would always, I would leave the watch at home if I could. We do timed runs now with my coach. So, if I don't already have a, you know, a route where I'm like, Okay, I know, like I just moved to a new house and now I know from my house to this certain place, and it takes me roughly seven and a half minutes, at might easy pace. So, if I have a 15 minute run it’s and easy outback. But I'd tied to it now. But it's a sense that the GPS is like almost a silver bullet, like it's going to solve all of your problems, it's going to tell you all this data and help make you faster. When in reality, it's like it's weakening the muscle up here, which is really what should be doing the pacing instead of the GPS and satellite. JASON: I agree completely with that especially when it comes to racing. Because the biggest mistake people make when they run a race, whether it's a mile or a marathon, they go out too fast. But if you develop this keen sense of pace, you don't make that mistake. But they're making a mistake, because they let their adrenaline get away, their emotions get in the way, everyone else goes out too fast, and so they draws you out with them. People don’t have this keen sense of pace because they rely too much on the GPS. JESSE: - I wish people would learn more too. I'm not as good now as I was in college, but it's always fun. There's a certain like fun sense to letting everybody run out and saying well, I'm going to do my own thing and then you reel them in as the race goes on. Like there's something intoxicating about that because you're not getting past like you're choking people along as it goes by because you stuck to your pace. JASON: Right, exactly. JESSE: So I want to shift gears a little bit, I saw a like I guess ?? 11:59> a pop up on your site just before this interview. I mean I don’t know if it’s a whole new book. Or if it was just like a -- I want to say, like a digital copy, but it looks like you co-authored a new book, Running for Women. So -- JASON: ?? 12:18> JESSE: Can you say that again? I didn't get you. JASON: I - in 2012. JESSE: Okay, so I just missed it, was the case. So, this is something I saw it and I was like I had asked you about it because you know, I'm sure you're aware of there is I’ll say a cadre of people that are trying to suggest that men and women are the same. So, I kind of want to ask you, you know, why is a book specifically for women even necessary? JASON: Good question because too many women train the same way as men. But there's a lot of things that women have to deal with that men never do. Their menstruation cycle is like the big one and the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone and how that influences different aspects of a woman's physiology. And then of course, pregnancy and menopause. Men never have to deal with these things. And these things have great implications for how a woman should train. The whole idea for the book came about because of the menstrual cycle. And then we added other things in it. We added a chapter on pregnancy and older women runners and menopause and all these other issues too. But I've always been fascinated with women's physiology, and the - of progesterone and estrogen and how that affects different aspects of a woman's physiology, and how women can exploit that and do certain kinds of training at this time of the month, and other kinds of training at that time of the month, and when they should back off and when they should push the work. And there's a lot there to really sink your teeth into. And most women never take that into consideration when they train. They just do the same work. Like if men and women are trained together in a group, the women will do the same workout in the same way that the men do it at the same day of the week, the same time of the month, it doesn't matter and it does matter. And if women understood that, then they can exploit that and that would help them become better runners. JESSE: And I don't mean this in a cliched way, but I kind of think back to some of my coaches who have some have been better, some have been worse at coaching men versus women. Do you see a psychological difference in terms of like how you should approach coaching with women and like how you motivate them? JASON: Very much so. I mean, for me, I think that's even harder than the physiological part of coaching men versus women. There are things you can say to men, that you can't say to women because of the way they perceive it. You know, women are more emotional, I’m making generalizations, of course, but women do tend to be emotional about things than men are. Men, you can talk more directly to, you know, men think more logically, oftentimes more rationally. And women, you know, every part of their life comes together. And men are able to compartmentalize things better than women. Whereas women, you know, everything in their life affects everything else, and so that also affects their running. If they're having a hard time in their relationship that affects their running. Whereas men are better sometimes at really focusing on specific things in time. And maybe it's because women are more talented, and they can you know, everyone knows that women are good at multitasking, and men aren't as good at that. And so yeah, the emotional aspect of coaching women versus men and how I speak to women versus men, is very different. And it's hard as a guy I’m a very rational, logical person and I'm also very direct, that's a New Yorker in me. And I realized that I can't say things in that way to women the way I can to men. And so that part of coaching is a challenge and I often have to watch what I say, and how I say it to a woman because I think I'm just stating a fact. Whereas a woman takes it as oh, he doesn't have confidence in me, what happened, why I’m not not good anymore? Whereas a guy would never think that. You know, - would be like, F you, I don't care, you know. A woman is, - just takes things a different way. And, you know, sometimes women, I don't want to say they’re -- I don't want to say they’re more insecure than men, but as a group, especially I think social media makes it worse. I think in general women are more insecure than men. You know, men have this bravado, they have this aggressiveness, they have this confidence. Whereas women, I think this is why women are always trying to build each other up. You know, you saw this women's empowerment stuff that you see on social media and in the general media, you don't need to see that with men. Men never have to try to empower other men, we don't need that, we already can do. We're already cocky to begin with. But women are not like that to begin with and it is harder in that sense because of how they do perceive things and how they do get more emotional and perhaps maybe because they are naturally more insecure than men are. JESSE: Yeah, I don't have any data to back this up, but I do -- It does seem like social media is making like, the kind of pressure on women to conform to a certain image or a certain look or a certain style as kind of intensified beyond what was just me or magazines or mainstream TV before. It's this constant bombardment almost now that is, it's pervasive in almost everything. JASON: Right. Yeah, I think that really affects women in a negative way because they, they see the way women look on Instagram. They see these fitness models on Instagram and then they feel bad about their own body because they don't look like these people they see on Instagram. It's the same with running. You know, people see these runners and their workout, people are always posting their workout. Why is she able to run that fast and I'm not? But a guy doesn't think that way, you know. I think that's it just feeds into women's insecurity because it’s - in your face all the time now. JESSE: I want to try to be a little mindful of your time. So, I have one question I like to ask everybody because it's kind of universal. And that is, if you can only eat one thing for recovery for the rest of your life, what would that one thing be? JASON: Oh, I have to promote my own research and say chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is high in carbohydrate, high in protein. So, and those are the two major nutrients you need to recover as quickly as possible. So, chocolate milk is an ideal post workout recovery drink. JESSE: I'm glad somebody's got data to back it up because I always thought it was hearsay. And so I'm glad somebody actually did the research. JASON: We were actually -- I did that research when I was working on my PhD at Indiana University and we were the first ones to publish research on the effectiveness of chocolate milk. JESSE: Nice. JASON: And that was published in 2006. Since then, a lot of other studies have come out and they found the same thing that we did. And so that's why now like at the ends of these major marathons, you see the handout chocolate milk. A lot of people have now jumped on the chocolate milk bandwagon, but there is a lot of research to support it because it's just got all the nutrients you need to recover quickly. JESSE: And it's always great to have something like delicious that also is good for you. So, I'm glad science backs that up. Dr. Jason, if people want to get in touch with you, where can they find you? JASON: My email, or my website, JESSE: Sounds good. Thanks for coming on today, Dr. Jason. JASON: Thank you very much. It was fun. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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