This week I had an awesome conversation with Don Swartz, who coaches at North Bay Aquatics in Marin County, California, and is someone I respect, admire, and try to emulate in my own life. I recently sat down with Don for a couple hours at his kitchen table to talk about his coaching journey, how he approached working with swimmers despite never being a competitive swimmer himself, founding the Creative Performance Institute in the 1970s and teaching the mental side of sport to coaches and athletes, how he stays sharp, what keeps him going, and a lot more.
I recently sat down with Christine Yu, an award-winning journalist and author of Up to Speed, a new book that I would describe as a comprehensive guidebook that dispels false narratives around women in sport, dissects the latest research into women’s sports science and performance, and advocates for more and better research to improve the future experiences of active and athletic women across the age and identity spectrum.
Looking for a challenging but not-too-hard workout to knock out before your next race? Look no further than the 5-4-3-2-1 halftime fartlek. It starts fast and finishes even faster but it will be over before it really starts to grind your gears down.
Tracksmith recently announced the launch of the Varsity Club, an NIL program designed to support a small number of top-level college track & field and cross country athletes by providing them a gear stipend, mentorship, and the opportunity to travel to Europe for training and competition in summer of 2024. The program caught my attention for a few reasons: one, it's Tracksmith's first foray into the NIL space; two, it's an application-based initiative, differentiating it from other NIL deals brands are making with athletes; and three, it's headed up by Nick Willis, who was a seven-time All-American at the University of Michigan and understands the landscape of collegiate track & field as well as anyone. Anyway, I had a lot of questions, which Nick was generous enough to answer for me.
This week I had a wonderful conversation with my good friend Brad Stulberg. In this one, the first installment of a new series I’m calling Coach to Coach, Brad and I discuss the craft of coaching and highlight the parallels and through lines that exist between working with athletes and working with executives and entrepreneurs. We also dive into his new book, Master of Change, and talk about how to navigate change: personally, professionally, athletically, and societally. Brad explains the concept of what he calls “rugged flexibility,” he differentiates between responding and reacting to things that happen to us, and a lot more.
My favorite workouts are pretty universal in nature, meaning you can go to them whether you're focusing on something as short as a 5K or as long as a marathon. The 3-2-1 Mile Cutdown session fits that bill.
There’s a lot of confusion around the tempo run but stripped down to its core, this workout simply boils down to maintaining a steady effort for a prolonged period of time. And while the definitions of steady and prolonged can vary depending on a variety of factors, for the sake of simplicity and ease of creating a common understanding, let’s call the “classic” tempo run 5 miles at half-marathon pace. This is a pretty standard workout you’ll see utilized by a wide range of athletes and coaches to build aerobic strength, improve efficiency, and/or practice running race pace. The 5-n-Go Tempo adds a slight twist to the classic tempo run by squeezing down the pace for a mile or two at the end.
I recently sat down with my good friend and three-time podcast guest Simon Freeman, the co-founder, editor, and publisher of my favorite running magazine, Like The Wind, for the third installment of our yet-to-be named quarterly conversation, which you can listen to wherever you get the morning shakeout podcast. An excerpt of this exchange can be found in Issue #36 of LtW, which comes out later this week. In this one, Simon and I talk all about defining yourself a runner, why many runners tend to identify themselves in a particular way, how identity influences the products you buy and the content you consume, the importance of diversifying your interests and pursuits in the sport, and a lot more.
Yasso 800s are perhaps the most well-known speed workout amongst dedicated marathoners of all levels. The premise is pretty straightforward: If your goal is to run a marathon in, say, 3 hours flat, you should be able to do ten 800m repeats in 3:00 with a 400m jog for recovery between reps. A 2:45 marathoner would run their reps in 2:45, and so on and so forth.
One of my favorite all-purpose workouts to assign my athletes, whether they’re burning rubber on the track, shredding grass on the cross-country course, kicking up dirt on the trails, locking into a rhythm on the roads, or doing some combination of the aforementioned, is the 5 x 5 Fartlek.