Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 47 - Ryan Ross - TRAINING IN QUARANTINE - Part 1 of 3

There's a lot that goes into it outside of just where your fitness is, it's a life thing as well, decision that you have to make to continue to pursue that kind of level.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 47 - Ryan Ross - TRAINING IN QUARANTINE - Part 1 of 3

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“There's a lot that goes into it outside of just where your fitness is, it's a life thing as well, decision that you have to make to continue to pursue that kind of level. You're talking 4:15 4:17 and what the clock doesn't take into account is when you get to mile 10, 11 on the run and you know where you're at, and the extra motivation it's like, okay, here I am. I mean, this is everything I trained for and everything I've wanted for many years; that would have brought that time down a little bit more.” 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 JESSE: Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I'm your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today used to have a ton of certifications and I will shortly ask him why he doesn't have those anymore. Ranging from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, Ironman Mentor, all kinds of things, but he is, at least I think still coach of Paralympic Gold Medalists and World Record Holder, Sean Morelli. He is my coach. If you need accounting, he is a Certified Public Accountant so that makes him well qualified for being here on the Smart Athlete Podcast. And if you have not seen it, he really is kind of the progenitor of the show. On episode one, he was my very first guest. Welcome to the show, Ryan Ross. RYAN: Wow, that makes me feel special. I didn't know that. Man, I was a pioneer. JESSE: Well, I thought we’re a little low on scheduling right now and I was like, you and I have plenty to talk about before we got going the actual recording we talked for like four 40 minutes had to ?? 02:01> off. But I kept thinking I was like you were in episode one like so I definitely want you to come back for Episode 100 just because I like nice numbers. But that's-- RYAN: You’ve seen my workouts, I like nice even numbers. JESSE: Right. I mean I did that, I did the work out this morning you set for me an hour long, five by five, easy run, the tempo, the 10K pace. I'm trying to avoid as many people, stay six feet away from them as I could. Not an easy task, people don't seem to care. But-- RYAN: Are we going to discuss social distancing and economic stimuluses and all this-- JESSE: It’s all there, it's all I've got those ?? 02:44> topics for us today. So, some of this, I want to try to make as much of this like evergreen. So, if you're listening to this in the future, and we're past all the Coronavirus issues, I still want to make this podcast relevant to you. But obviously that's a big thing going on right now. So, first I have to ask, so I know you've lovingly chose to continue to coach me even though you've moved away from coaching a lot of other people. So, why drop all the certifications? Is there like an ongoing fee you have to pay every year to keep up? Or what's the deal? RYAN: Well, that is definitely part of it. There's ongoing fees, but there's also a time in keeping those memberships as well. So, you got, it's time-- it's like everything else in life, it’s a time and money type thing. And I did make a conscious decision a couple years ago to coach less people than what I had in the past. And so there really just was not-- When you consider the time and money, it did not make sense for me to continue to maintain those certifications. And I'm sure a lot of people can appreciate that the certifications and the education and the continuing education. After a while, it's like, okay. And what additional incremental benefit am I getting from this? And so it was just really taking into account everything it did not make a lot of sense. JESSE: Right. And so sometimes I think about that too. For those listening on iTunes and are not familiar with the YouTube channel, I do a show on running called Runner's High. So, I thought about that too because I don't have any-- I've not gotten my USATF certification or anything like that, but it's like, I've been around so many coaches and I've helped coach a few people over the years and officially been like a high school coach for a short time. And so it's like I have experience with coaching and in the developing side, especially considering I would consider myself a natural, not natural talent in that I have some natural ability, but a lot of it is just simply grinding out what natural ability to have a higher level. So, it's like through that process, you have to learn all these little things that just reading a book don't necessarily tell you. So, yeah, that's what I thought about for you too. It's like you, okay, if you don't pay your dues, you lose the certifications, it doesn't erase all the memory of all the things that you learned to be able to coach all these people. And if you're not marketing yourself, predominantly as a coach anymore, then it's not as critical to have those either. RYAN: That’s well said. And I think like in your situation, like you were definitely in my opinion, born with some natural ability to run well, and that gets you a really long way. And then you add a little bit of like you said, the grit and grind in and out and work ethic. You pile a little bit of work ethic on top of that natural ability adds like the varying coaching you've had over your life and then you get to a little bit higher level than what your natural ability’s given you. But yeah, it's hard to replace natural ability. I mean-- JESSE: Right. I mean, even I experienced that. And then the ceiling, when we started working together, I wasn't very, very clear about I want to be a professional triathlete. And just that ceiling it’s just like right below that threshold tantalizingly closer and possibly had I not crashed at Eagle Man, I may have qualified there. That one, it bothers me in my mind, because I know-- So, to qualify, I would have had to have finished about four hours, 15 minutes, and projected time depending on how that run when it would have been like 4:15 to 4:17 like right in there. So, that's one of those things. It's just, it's left on-- its work left on done, but at the same time like I've mentioned on numerous episodes to numerous guests, just I was so broken after that. I just don't have the will to put in the app anymore to continue pursuing it. I spent so many years of my life on it, it's like, it was time for me to shift. RYAN: Well, maybe like you said, maybe it’s just something that gave you the signal of where you're at. I mean, there's a lot that goes into it outside of just where your fitness is, it's a life thing as well, a decision that you have to make to continue to pursue that kind of level. You're talking 4:15 4:17 and what the clock doesn't take into account is when you get to mile 10, 11 on the run and you know where you're at, and the extra motivation it's like, okay, here I am. I mean, this is everything I trained for and everything I've wanted for many years; that would have brought that time down a little bit more. JESSE: Yeah, well, it's tough too because I could get, if I knew that, I think it would be tough because I was starting to get emotional. Because even at, we were talking about, we're talking about Tin Man, which is this last time I did it, it's only 50 people. And Tin Man was the very first time I ever want to race. So, it's kind of just shows you like I have some talent ?? 08:10> race, but it's only 50 people. So, it's not like nationals or World Championships or anything. But even there, like when I, it was with like mile four and a half and I passed the leader on the run. And I knew it was basically mine to lose at that point. Like I was having a hard time keeping it together because it'd been almost 20 years of racing and never winning. And like right now I'm trying not to cry just thinking about it. Like, it's-- RYAN: I can tell. JESSE: It’s still that vivid in my head that like, it was that important. I'd spent so many hours and years in literal blood, sweat and tears trying to get to that point of just winning something that it was like, I really had to just focus on one step at a time. Don't think about the finish line because my breathing was starting to get like ragged and screwed up. RYAN: You gotta relax. JESSE: Yeah. So, that's the other thing too, having gone through that and know how I got to the end of that 70.3, I think ignorance is almost bliss where it's like, maybe I'm there. Maybe I'm not there. Just gut it out as hard as you can, get everybody you can, and just see how the chips fall. But, yeah. RYAN: That’s kind of the challenging thing about the 70.3 you're talking about is you don't-- in regards to that qualification, you don't actually know specifically where you're at type thing, which makes people-- JESSE: ?? 09:49> because people are so spread out it's hard to be like, yes, I got-- there's this many people. You lose people in transition, you lose people on the bike. Like, it gets so-- And even if you have like, my girlfriend comes with me at races and she tries to keep track of people but there's so many people, it's hard to always keep track of that's the age group guy or that's the overall, that's-- they're doing the shorter distance and they're on the like, it just becomes a cluster and it's hard to keep track of all those things. RYAN: Yeah, it does. That's one of the ?? 10:23> triathlon we were talking about, like the spectator-friendly part and it's not like running laps around the track is it back in the old day, huh? JESSE: No, and even then people, I recall a specific 5K at the University of Central Missouri, that they had dedicated lap counters, So, each lap counter had two runners, so that you wouldn't have-- each lap counter wouldn't have a bunch of people to take care of. My lap counter lost a lap on me. And I’d come around and he'd say 10 and I'd say 11, and he'd say 11 and I'd say 12. I had it on my watch, I had the laps on my watch. So, I'm like, I'm just, I was like, he clearly is not-- And one of the other lap counters was like, had to correct him because I was running with somebody that was, that they were counting. And so even running on the track is not-- ?? 11:18> It should be. It should be. I feel like ?? 11:25> track, it's kind of a pain because you’ve got so many athletes, but on the distance events, if you just chip-timed everybody and had a chip lap counter on at the start-finish line, there's no question about did they run all their laps. Same thing happened to me at the University of Iowa. We were running the DMR. I was running the mile leg at the end. I finished my mile in like 4:40 and they told me I had another lap to go. And I just gave up. So, I ended up with an official mile time like six minutes. And I was just like, I don't know what to do with you right now. RYAN: That doesn't make sense. JESSE: Yeah, track is not as-- It should be simple, but it's not as simple as we want it to be. So, I want to kind of get to a little bit more kind of relevant topics besides my life. So, I want to ask you about, obviously, we're dealing with kind of lockdowns and shutdowns of businesses and the economy and everything right now with coronavirus. So, that makes a large impact on culture as a whole as somebody goes running by my house here. But-- on a miro scale-- Huh? RYAN: Were they maintaining their distance from the person next to them? JESSE: It’s just one person so-- out on the sidewalk ?? 12:52> maintain distance from. RYAN: Yeah, I took the family on a bike ride a couple days ago, a family bike ride about an hour. I mean, we went through a Heritage Park. You've been there. JESSE: Yeah. Yeah. RYAN: It's a big part. Yeah. We won't even talk about what we witness there. It was pathetic. JESSE: Yeah, the track around the lake is like two miles, 2.2 something like that. I used to do brick workouts out there. RYAN: And you know that parking lot. There's like a marina parking lot. There wasn't a parking space available in that parking lot. So, it was very crowded. JESSE: Yeah. ?? 13:36> it continues to be... RYAN: ...seems to be lack of social distancing. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. So, what I want to ask you about, though, is like, obviously, the intention of reducing the number of crowds together and stuff has canceled races, postponed races which disrupts a lot of people's race seasons. And I've seen comments on Reddit and Facebook and other places people are getting really unmotivated to do anything now that the races are canceled or postponed or whatever. They've been training for these events, but coronavirus aside and this is the part where I hope this is relevant well past this time period is that sometimes stuff just happens. And places get canceled. You go to a race and it gets canceled or you get a flat tire. I’ve certainly done that. RYAN: You know how that is, don’t you? JESSE: I do, unfortunately. And you crash and break a clavicle or it's been a series of unfortunate events for me for the last like three years. But you know what, how do you deal with these unforeseen changes in a race schedule, things that you have no control over and that change your perspective? RYAN: This is like grief. This is like the stages of grief that some athletes are going to go through. I do think, though, that it's okay to have that initial reaction, like a lot of people are having like the loss of motivation. What do I do now? I think that's okay. I think you have to have that as part of your response if you had a big race, especially in this timeframe of April to June, kind of timeframe of the loss. And you know what, I think that's okay. But I used to ask athletes I coach all the time when we would be on the topic of motivation, and you kind of know how I feel about that subject. I mean, it's everything. And I would say-- JESSE: That's the title of your episode for episode one, Motivation is everything. RYAN: Yeah. So, I would sometimes ask athletes, I'd say well, let me ask you this. If there was no races, if there was no events, would you still do workouts? Would you still swim? Would you bike, would you run, would you row? Would you do-- still do your sport at all? And typically the answer is, I would do it but I wouldn't do as much or I wouldn't be as intense. And I think right now, for most of those athletes who had a spring race that's gone away, I think that's probably a really good place for them to be is you should still keep your body moving. Because if not nothing else, we have a huge mental health challenge going on in our country right now. And we know that exercise helps that. And there's an increase in exercise activity right now. That's why when I went to the park the other day, when we rode through the park as a family on our bike ride, there were like I said no parking spots. People were walking, they were on bikes. They were doing frisbee golf. I mean, all kinds of stuff, equestrian. People we're out and moving, and I think that that's really good. And the endurance athletes have to do that, you can't shut it down. You need to do exactly that. You need to start out by just saying I'm still gonna exercise because I love it. You can't swim because no facilities are open. But cycling, running strength work, other modes of endurance activity are absolutely open for the season and if anything, people have more time on their hands now, because they have less options to do other things. And so I am hopeful that those who lost their event will at first go through that initial “I’m depressed” to almost like a grief type feeling. But then I hope that they'll continue to exercise and keep that going. Then after a while, the question is, what do you do now, at that point? What are we going to, what's the mindset going to be in June? And a lot of it is I would say, we don't know because we don't know where the country is going to be at, we don't know where we're going to be at in this fight against this virus. So, you got to have a little bit of patience. You gotta bring some patience to it, I think. And there's gonna be a lot of emotions at play, but I think being patient is a very important emotion. You can start to look for obviously, look for other events at that point. Or I've talked to some people who are creating, you know, us endurance athlete types are very type A, obviously; very motivated, goal-driven, processes, outcome-oriented, all that kinds of stuff. I think for a while, there's a need to be a little bit less type A and to explore your inner type B a little bit and relax a little bit and not worry about it so much if you've lost your event. Just kind of chill, and like I said, do exercise. I mean ride the bike, run, do your strength training, do whatever it might be that keeps you active and moving. But eventually, it could be time for some alternative type fitness goals. And I've seen a little bit of that as well, a lot of people talking about that. Of the few people that I coached, several have lost their events, and have thought about other types of goals, goals that are a little bit more I mean, they don't have the appeal of like doing a big event. But doing something like I just want to focus on this aspect for a while I must focus on the bike. I have an athlete who made goals based upon their strength, their body strength and wanting to improve that. So, even if we're not able to jump back into event-oriented goals here in a couple months, you can definitely jump into other alternative types of goals so that you feed your type A, but even with feeding your type A, you still have to be motivated to do it. So, it has to be a meaningful goal for you, it has to be something that's relevant to you. I think talking about that with coach, with other athletes about hey like, what are you doing or what's motivating you? Or what's getting you up in the morning? What's your goals? Do you have anything? I mean, having those kinds of conversations is really good because it helps get some ideas out there. But I think it's very possible to create maybe an opportunity to create some unique goals that are still fitness-oriented for yourself. Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3

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