The Art of Running, Podcast #11: Rich Kenah

I think the first time I became aware of Rich Kenah was 1993 or 1994. I was flipping through Track and Field News (hard copy) and I saw the results of the USA Indoor 800m. Rich had placed 3rd in 1:48 point. Right then and there I started following his career. At that time, he wasn't always the fastest guy in the field, but he was always in the mix.

In 1996, at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta, I was trackside as Rich rolled past 600m in his 800m semi and he seemed to be finding more and more gears while the rest of his competitors hit the wall. He won going away, but in the final, Rich finished in the worst possible position at the Trials, much like my dad in 1972-4th. Top three go to the Olympics, fourth place stays home.

Rich and I met for the first time about 30 minutes after that race, deep in the tunnels underneath Olympic Stadium. I think he was still dazed after just missing the team, but he was gracious enough to spend 20 minutes or so chatting with me about his training. I didn't know it at the time, but another mutual friend, Craig Masback, would talk Rich into giving it at least one more year in the sport of track and field. And what a year it was for Rich.

First came the 1997 Indoor World Championships. Rich won the bronze. Then came the outdoor World Championships and again, Rich finished 3rd and won the bronze, going on to set his eventual PR at 800m of 1:43.38 that summer (to see the WC final, click here. To see his 1:43.38 PR behind Kipketer's 800m WR, click here) . 

Today Rich and his wife Cheri and their children live in Atlanta where Rich is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club. We had a chance to record this podcast about 10 days ago. 

Enjoy!

 

The Art of Running, Podcast #10: Jenny Simpson

I stil remember the first time I met Jenny Simpson. It was after her junior year in high school and she showed up at our Colorado camp on the recommendation of our good friends, Bernie and Clara Taylor. It wasn't just her running ability. It was the way she carried herself-she seemed older. And who could forget the "Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting" routine she and another camper, Scotch Swango, did during halftime of Trivia Night?

Over the years Jenny has gone on to do great things in the sport of running, winning numerous NCAA Division I titles, becoming the World Champion at 1500m in 2011, silver medallist at the Worlds in 2013 and bronze medallist in the 1500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Today she is married to Jason (a great runner in his own right and an incredible artist) living and training in Boulder, CO.

I had a chance to connect with her over Zoom last week. The podcast is a little longer than usual, but we had a lot to discuss. 

 

 

The Art of Running, Podcast #9: Ben Payne

I am joined this week by my friend, Ben Payne. For years Ben and I have had many of the same friends but actually did not meet each other until this past summer when he joined us on staff at the Colorado running camp. Coached by Juli Benson, Ben placed 9th at the New York City marathon this past fall and is a guy who exemplifies consistency and perseverance. In this podcast we chat about Ben's journey in running and things he has learned along the way. 

Enjoy!

The Art of Running, Podcast #9: Emily Hanenburg

In this episode of the Art of Running (recorded over last summer), I am joined by Coach Emily Hanenburg of The Classical Academy (TCA) in Colorado Springs, CO. A former camper and current counselor at the Jim Ryun Running Camp, Emily was a multiple Colorado state champion in high school while at TCA and went on to run on scholarship at the University of Colorado with Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn. A talented multi-sport athlete, Emily continues to dominate campers and staff alike in Ultimate Frisbee and pick-up basketball at camp. 

Enjoy!

 

 

The Art of Running, Podcast #8: Coach Juli Benson

In this episode of The Art of Running (done remotely through Zoom.us), I get to chat with my longtime friend, Coach Juli Benson. Former coach at Georgetown and the Air Force Academy, Juli now coaches at the University of Pennsylvania and helped coach the women's cross country team to its first ever appearance at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships this past fall.

Juli was a great runner in her own right, an All-American and US Olympian (watch her make the 1500m team in 1996). In this podcast, we discuss training, mental preparation, specific advice Juli would give young female runners and a host of other subjects!. As Juli does a lot of TV broadcast these days, I did my best to toss her questions and stay out of the way and she crushed it.

 

The Art of Running, Podcast #7: Creating the Dynamic Runner

In this episode of The Art of Running, I am joined by Coach Aaron Yoder of Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. A great friend, Aaron is also the WR holder in the retro mile (backwards running) with a 5:54 mile. His record was covered by Runner's World just over a year ago.

A former camper and current camp coach for the Jim Ryun Running Camp, Aaron is a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to building a more dynamic runner. In this podcast, we discuss the Lunge Matrix (click here to watch), drills (click here to read up on the A Skip), speed development and weight training for runners.

Enjoy!

The Art of Running, Podcast #6: Ryan Hall

In this episode of The Art of Running, I am joined by former camper and Jim Ryun Running Camp counselor, Ryan Hall. Holder of a 2:04:58 marathon PR and the American Record holder in the half marathon at 59:43, Ryan is a two time Olympian and one of the most recognizable American distance runners over the last 10 years. In this episode, we discuss his career and some of his epic workouts. 

The Art of Running, Podcast #5: Injury Prevention

This week I am joined by former camper, Air Force Captain Matt Williams. Matt is a certified physical therapist who is also a sub-64 minute half marathoner. In this podcast we discuss injury prevention for runners and auxiliary drills young runners can do so they can be consistent in their training. 

As a sidenote, Matt mentions in the podcast various strengthening drills and areas of weakness most runners experience. I have found this article to have a lot of great drills that build off this conversation with Matt.

The Art of Running, Podcast #4: Nutrition for Runners

In this episode of The Art of Running, I am joined by former camper and current Jim Ryun Running Camp counselor, Abigail Tankersley. Abigail held a PR of 18:07 for the 5k in high school and ran on scholarship at the University of Alabama. A registered dietitian, Abigail shares some basic nutritional strategies young runners can employ in their diets. As I always tell our campers, the cleaner the fuel into the engine, the better performance you will get. 

Strength Training for Runners

As I tell our campers, if you want to become a better runner, you need to do one thing-run.

Around the running, though, you need to build a calendar of training with the question in mind, "What is the purpose of each workout and each training block?"

One thing I think a lot of young runners ignore is strength training. A lot of the excuses I hear are, "I don't want to bulk up!" or "I don't have time for an hour each day in the weight room!"

One, runners are Ectomorphs, which means they literally cannot bulk up unless they were to stop running altogether and start eating thousands of additional calories each day.

Two, with running as the primary focus, young runners don't need an hour each day in the weight room. But 30 minutes, three days a week will improve performance. Make sure your weight training days correspond with your hard running days. Make your hard days hard, your easy days easy.

What does strength training do for runners? I believe it makes them more injury proof and more dynamic. 

The question a lot of folks ask when developing young runners is, "What makes them faster?"

There are a host of answers, but I think one of the key ones is, "Uninterrupted training."

The stronger a runner is physically, the more punishment they can handle and the less injury they will face. Strength training not only develops stronger muscles, it develops stronger connective tissue and more bone density (critical for younger female runners).

Where to start? Put a plan together for workouts that last 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week. Identify your weak spots. Most runners fight a weak posterior chain (think hamstrings and back, both lower and upper). For introductory lifts, think basic. Hamstring curls, leg extensions, bench press and back rows. Shoot for a weight on each that enables you to lift 6-8 reps per set. You are looking to build strength. Resist the urge to do sets of 12-16 reps. There is no purpose for that kind of lifting. Body builders do those types of sets because hypertrophy leads to bigger muscle gains. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's not. 

As you progress, start thinking about adding some lifts to the ones above. Think squats and deadlifts, maybe even some One Armed Snatches. Allow for gradual adaptation (i.e., don't lift too much too soon and get injured) and always focus on technique. Better to lift lighter with good technique to begin with than too heavy with bad technique. The latter will inevitably lead to injury.

Can strength training make you faster? Yes. I believe Olympic style lifts and plyometrics can make you a faster runner. Combine these elements with hill bounding and some Repetition work, and you will be amazed at your new speed.

So if you're not in the weight room three times a week, carve out some time over this winter, put together a common sense plan (some starting ideas are here) and get started!

The Art of Running, Podcast #3: Dr. Dave Templin on Training the Mind

As my dad told me growing up, racing is 90% mental, 10% physical. It's the physical that gets you to the starting line ready to run well, but it is the mental preparation that enables you to perform at your best in any given race. This year at the San Diego camp we had the pleasure of sports phycologist Dr. Dave Templin joining us to lecture on strategies for training the mind. This podcast catches a few of the nuggets that Dave shared with the campers! He will be with us at all three camps in 2017. Enjoy!

The Art of Running, Podcast #2: Dr. Jack Daniels, the World's Most Interesting Man

I have often said that the commercial has it wrong. The Dos Equis man is not the world's most interesting man. Renowned coach and physiologist Dr. Jack Daniels is. A smoke jumper in college, Jack and his brothers lived in a rustic cabin to save money. It was so rustic Jack says, that if they wanted something to freeze during the Montana winters, they would just leave it on the table in the kitchen.

Winner of two Olympic medals in the modern pentathlon, Jack studied under some of the greatest exercise scientists the world has ever known. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements was when he sounded the alarm regarding the problem the altitude in Mexico City would present to sea level runners. With virtually no funding, Jack recruited and trained some of America's best in Alamosa, CO in 1967 and 1968. One of those athletes was my dad and in the summer of 1967, he broke two World Records.

The think I appreciate the most about Jack is that his principles are time tested. They aren't theory. They are applied science and as I tell the campers each year, even if one just applies part of the Daniels' Running Formula he (or she) will improve dramatically.

So here is Podcast #2 in our series, the Art of Running.

Auxiliary Drills

I am a big believer in auxiliary drills and weight training for young runners. It sets up good habits that keep them healthy, more dynamic and with the ability to absorb greater, more intense workloads.

One of our favorite auxiliary drills is the Lunge Matrix that Coach Jay Johnson taught us years ago. To learn more about the Lunge Matrix and how to implement it into your running routine, click here.