Bobby McGee Study Update 7/24

The moment of truth arrived this week when we measured results of study participants as they ran their second 200-meter and 2k halfway through the study. This was a test performed at the midpoint of their training, during the week requiring athletes to run their highest mileage. Therefore, many of the partipants were fatigued, a consideration which amplifies their improvements!

Results of All 14 Involved Athletes:
 
1. The group was on average six seconds faster in the second test than the first. Almost 60% of participants improved their times on the 2k test, and the average improvement was by 23.1 seconds.
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Figure 1. Athlete times for the second measurement of their 2k distance
Results of the Nine Who Synced Data from Both Tests: 
 
Cadence, stride length, leg spring stiffness and ground contact time improved for 88.8 % of the nine athletes.
-Cadence improved by an average of 2.46 steps per minute
-Stride length improved by an average of 5.61 cm
-Leg spring stiffness improved by +15.59 N/m/kg
-Ground contact time reduced by 6.6 ms on average
Stay tuned for the third and final measurement of the progress of our runners!
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Featured Coach Yaniv Yoseph

Coach and blog author Yaniv Yoseph kicked off his coaching career mid-2002 while completing his degree in physical education. He uses Stryd as a pure data field that amplifies performance without correlation to environmental issues such as weather, stress or physical conditions.

STRYD: Tell us a little bit about your own running career. When did you start running? What were some of your goals as a runner early on?

YANIV YOSEPH: I’ve been running recreationally since I was a kid but nothing serious. In the late 80’s, most of my friends either participated in gymnastics or cycling but I did both.

I have always been in good shape. When I was 15, my 2K PR was 6:36. I used to run 16-20k daily, which kept me fit for my army service in the mid 90’s.

I ran my first marathon in 2002 while studying physical education. I finished it in 03:17:43. Because of the physical challenge I went through during the marathon, I promised myself I’d never do it again. In 2008 I finished my master’s degree in exercise physiology and worked primarily in rehabilitation for injured Israel Defense Force soldiers as a specialist in ortho-neurological injuries.

Most of my races were 21.1K. I run for fitness and fun. These days I’m preparing for my first 50K ultra marathon.

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Photo: Tomer Feder

S: How did using power as a metric first appeal to you? What are the benefits and drawbacks to power as a metric?

YY: Power is pure. It is not affected by environmental factors such as stress, temperature and physiological metrics. If I can train by a value that is consistent and correlates only to my form and the terrain, then it’s perfect.

S: What is your general approach to coaching? What methods of motivation do you use?

YY: As an exercise physiologist I believe in body metrics. They are the key feature to any training plan that I write. But when it comes to perfecting running, I find Stryd most efficient.

My trainees who use Stryd are those who wish to do their very best and achieve their goals. I believe that the simplicity achieved by using Stryd is far superior to training by only pace or heart rate, specifically in extreme conditions, (for example the Israeli summer which is hot & humid), or in specific training sessions such as interval or tempo training.

Using power consistently is the simplest and most efficient way to train.

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Photo: Tomer Feder

S: In what ways do you apply Stryd to your coaching? What about in your own running?

YY: After testing each trainee in pace and physiological metrics I use Stryd to determine the exact Watts the individual requires during long steady distance runs, tempo & interval sessions. Same goes with hill repeats in correlation to the hill length and gradient.

S: If you could offer a single piece of advice to aspiring runners, what would it be?

YY: Be consistent and enjoy the freedom that running provides. Explore different fields and find what motivates you the most.

S: What is your running spirit animal?

YY: A wolf. He protects his pack from a distance but is always aware.

S: What major obstacles have you encountered during your running career?

YY: I have a heart issue called CRBBB and therefore must supervise my runs. Basically, one section of my heart is damaged and so I must always run with a heart rate monitor, Doctors tell me I shouldn’t run more than 5K. However, as an exercise physiologist I was able to evaluate all of the psychological insights and put guidelines in place for my running. For example, on a hill I will do power walking instead of running.

S: What has surprised you most in regards to your running ability?

YY: In the past two years I began to explore trail running which is by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever felt, although no feeling compares to that of finishing a harsh 10K.

S: How has running changed your life?

YY: It makes me more creative. My best solutions and innovations come while running.

S: Who or what inspires you?

YY: Christopher Reeve – He made me believe that man can fly.

S: What were some of the most rewarding running moments in your life?

YY: My most significant race was in 2015- I helped a stranger walk across the finish line. When we arrived at the 29th kilometer he stopped running. I was going to walk him to the first aid station, but because of my “no man left behind” mentality, I asked if he wanted to finish the race. He answered “yes,” so I stayed with him until the finish line which meant walking beside him and carrying him at times.

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Photo: Talli Shiatsu

S: What running goals are you currently working towards?

YY: My first 50K- ultra marathon. My goal is just to finish it. The sky is the limit.

S: What convinced you to buy a Stryd?

YY: Pure curiosity for starters. Secondly, as a blogger who reviews running gear it seemed to be the next evolution of running methods.

S: What was your first impression of Stryd?

YY: I was overwhelmed by the amount of data it produced, specifically regarding form power and running posture. You can read my Stryd review (either Pioneer or Summit), on my blog.

S: What would you like people to know about running with Stryd?

YY: It’s the new kid in the block and it’s going to stay!

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Photo: Tomer Feder

Featured Stryder Jason West

A lot of people think you’re joking when you say you want to be a professional triathlete.

That’s how many people reacted when I announced my decision to go pro. It probably seemed even more ridiculous considering my lack of experience in racing.

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My background in wrestling hardly prepared me for my first triathlon, but that didn’t stop my dad and I from signing up for one when I was 16. I raced well considering my lack of training, which made me realize that running was something I might be decent at.

Since that first triathlon with my dad, I never looked back. My career as a runner quickly gained momentum; in 2015 I won the collegiate nationals and soonafter decided to work with Apex coaching based in Boulder, Colorado.

After graduating from college in Pennsylvania, I packed my bags and said goodbye to my lifelong home. I had never been to Colorado before, but I had a good feeling about making it my new home base.

I managed to avoid any serious injury until last year when I broke my foot. A few days before a race in China, I felt an unfamiliar dull pain and soreness overcome my foot. This was the first time I ever felt anything in my foot so I banished any worries that crept up to the back of my mind.

It was the day of the race. Biking and swimming felt completely fine. Then, 400 meters into the 10K run, I felt something snap in my foot, followed by searing pain. For 100 meters I thought I would have to drop out of the race. Then, something amazing happened. My stride came back and I fought through the pain and finished the 10K. After the run, the pain was so severe I couldn’t walk, but still I made my way home. By then, the pain was so intense that I headed to the emergency room. The X-rays of my foot didn’t look good, and the doctors determined that I needed surgery the next day.

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After almost a year of healing, I once again rose to triathlete status. Since then, I have successfully competed in a number of races and am currently training for the 2020 Olympics.

The slow healing process reminded me of the importance of patience in training and in running. In running, it’s easy to be your own worst enemy by pushing yourself too hard too fast. Even when it’s the last thing I want to do, I err on the side of caution and remember that when I’m hurt, I can’t run at all.

I had to remind myself of that when my coaches took track workouts out of my training. The track is where I felt in the zone- there, I would run super hard and fast, sometimes so much it would lead to injury. My heart sank when my coaches nixed those workouts.

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It took so much patience to accept that I couldn’t do my favorite type of workout and instead do what my coach prescribed. As it turns out, not running on the track made me more successful than ever.

 

Bobby McGee Study Recap Week 7/17

 

Two weeks ago, the main workout activity was 6 x 30 second hill repeats. This week, study participants ran two additional hill repeats.

Short hill repeats allow the body to put more force on the muscle and effectively target the potassium pump in training. These workouts improve the body’s ability to produce and recycle energy thereby improving running cadence, posture, power, and overall running economy.

SESSION RECAP:

  1. 10-15 walk/jog
  2. Dynamic mobility drills
  3. Four progressive strides
  4. 8 x 30 second hill repeats (progressive)
  5. Cool down jog
  6. Pre-plyometric strength drills

The goal of this session was to increase power output over each repeat thereby lengthening the distance covered in the 30 seconds. Check out the Stryd data below demonstrating an athlete who was able to meet the goal of the workout and increase their power output for each hill repeat vs an athlete who went out too fast and was unable to progress throughout the workout.

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Featured Coach: Rachel Ruby Zambrano

Peaks Coaching Group coach Rachel “Ruby” Zambrano has always been a runner. After taking a running hiatus to start a career as a firefighter and a family, she returned to the sport and became a triathlete.

When the Teaxas resident decided to help others achieve their goals in endurance sports, she discovered a passion for helping others go beyond what they thought was possible.

Read Zambrano’s blog about running with power here.  

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STRYD: Why does power appeal to you, and what are the benefits and drawbacks to it as a metric?

RACHEL RUBY ZAMBRANO: Power appeals to me for a of couple of reasons. First, because it’s an independent metric. In Texas, there can be a 30 degree swing between night and day, making heart rate useless as a metric between the 30 second lag and the climate. If you run west of my house it is hilly, and east it is flat making pace useless. Because of my shift work at the firestation (I work 24 hours straight, then have 48 hours off), RPE is useless. When it came to finding a metric that was repeatable and independent where the numbers meant the same thing every time, it was a no brainer and made perfect sense to use power.

S: What is your general approach to coaching? What methods of motivation do you use?

RRZ: I take a whole athlete approach. I use training stress scores from TrainingPeaks to build a calendar to follow an athlete’s general fitness. Just yesterday I noticed an athlete’s swim in which the scoring didn’t look right and when I dug in deeper, I realized that the athlete was faster than he was a month ago. I pay attention to macro cycles and micro cycles. I try to mix it up between inside, outside, hills, track, and really expand an athlete’s experience by incorporating different environments. As for motivation, I try not to get athletes into a mental or physical rut by watching the performance management chart, and I always communicate with them.

S: In what ways do you apply Stryd to your coaching? What about in your own running?

unnamed-2RRZ: I use two metrics: overall power and a new metric that I’m working on. I use overall power so that I don’t burn matches, and I use the new metric to help me work on my running efficiency.

I tweak my efficiency based on distance, so for a 5 mile run that I want to run on hills, I know that I need to do around 200 Watts, and that I need to try and do 32-33% on the downhill segments with 27-28% on the uphill segments and 29-30% on the flat segments. This will minimize impact, put my cadence right in line, and make the whole run smoother and cause me to feel less fatigued at the end of a tempo run as long as my body position is right.

S: Why do you think runners are generally less inclined than cyclists to invest in data measurement technology?

RRZ: Cyclists are conditioned to put lots of money into the sport, whereas runners are conditioned to just buy a pair of sneakers and go out and run. So I think the hard part is that we have to change the mentality that less is more and appreciate the tools that are coming out because they can tell us so much information. Power revolutionized cycling 30 years ago, and it changed everything. I think it will be an easier adoption process into running because they did the hard work in cycling.

You also have to look at demographics. Runners are often people who don’t have access to other sports. For example if a mom is just getting into sports and wants to go for an hour workout, she would likely choose running over cycling.

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S: What does Stryd show you if you are having an off day pacing?

RRZ: Honestly, where I see it if I’m having an off day pacing is in my metric–I struggle to keep it below 32 on flat ground and I can’t minimize it. I struggle to keep my body in an efficient position. When I’m having an off day that’s where I see it; in the relationship of form power to power.  

S: Why do you prefer a power meter over a heart rate monitor for your training?

RRZ: I use both. The key is in trending- for example, when power stays the same or falls and heart rate goes up I tend to see athletes get sick. When power stays the same or falls and heart rate stays the same or falls, I tend to see athletes overtrained. It’s the relationship between the two that makes it important to monitor both heart rate and power.

S: What is your favorite running book or blog?

RRZ: Honestly, I just try to stay on top of the science. Runner’s World is one of my favorites. When they come up with something really interesting, I follow the rabbit’s trail to find out where the science came from.

S: What would you like to tell a brand new runner?

RRZ: Run! But really, a mistake new runners often make is they go out and they run between zone two and zone three, which we call the black hole. That’s where they run hard enough to cause fatigue, but not to the point that they cause physiological adaptations, so they get tired without the gains. You go through about a year’s worth of changes and then plateau as long as you’re consistently running. So for new runners my advice is find a coach or a plan from a reputed coach, talk to people in the industry, don’t be a hermit, and learn.

S: What is your favorite running product?

RRZ: My Stryd, of course! Besides that, though, I run with my Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor, my watch, and my sneakers. Sometimes I don’t even need those things. If I were recording data, I guess it would have to be my Stryd and my watch. If I weren’t recording data, I wouldn’t even be wearing my watch.

S: What is your running spirit animal?

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RRZ: A hummingbird! I can maintain a heart rate of about 170 while running relatively long distances. Once, a hummingbird got stuck in the truck bay at the fire station where I worked as a firefighter. His blood sugar got low and we nursed him back to health until he could fly away. Now he never writes, never calls…

S: How did you get your nickname “Ruby”?

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The poster that gave Rachel the nickname Ruby

RRZ: The name Ruby came from a Deep Eddy vodka poster in a bar in Illinois that a friend of mine who I’ve known for years saw. Deep Eddy vodka is made here in Austin. He went into a bar and sat next to this poster. Just before he left, he saw at the bottom “with love from Austin” and started giggling. He told the story in one of the shared firefighter groups we’re in together, and boom. Thanks to vodka and social media, I become Ruby.

 

Featured Stryder Kev Redford

 

“I appreciate every step of every run”

Life threw me a major curveball after I left the army.

In 2013, I received a grim diagnosis. I had stage four stomach cancer, and the outlook wasn’t good. Three months of chemotherapy, surgery to remove my stomach and lymph nodes, and five weeks of daily radiotherapy lay ahead of me.

Uncertainty plagued my mind throughout this period of my life, which was trying for me and my entire family in ways we had never experienced. I pulled through the treatments successfully, but faced new obstacles standing in the way of my running goals. During the procedure to remove my stomach, surgeons cut through my abdominal muscles which left me lacking core strength resulting in posture-related issues.

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Ten months following my cancer treatments, I crossed the finish line at the Ironman Staffordshire 70.3. The challenging journey I underwent with my family in the 12 months while fighting cancer and what I had to do just to get to the start line, let alone the finish line, seared this meaningful memory in my mind. In order to complete this run, I had to adopt a very different approach to training.

“After so many medical procedures, my body was effectively a train wreck…”

Running for me is a way of life, which for me began on my first day in the army, and it quickly became much more than a hobby. Throughout my running life, I have met some incredible people doing unimaginably incredible things. Yet, I am more inspired by the people who have turned their lives around through running or any other sport. I’m inspired by the people who maybe aren’t naturally gifted, or particularly fast, but who go the extra mile, who get up when the world is asleep and drag themselves out the door to run, or those that are running their first 5K at 50. I am inspired by those who aspire to simply be better tomorrow than they are today and are paying the price to get there, in silence day in and day out.

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Stryd has been a key part of my training plan. I considered it to runners the equivalent of the power meter has been to cyclists; it’s simply a game changer that allows me to accurately plan my runs irrespective of where I am running, what terrain I’m on, and whether it’s a hilly or flat route.

Two hundred and fifty Watts is 250 Watts, and knowing my own Power Zones allows me to create a plan that I have full control over and even allows me to know how each session is going to end. I’m a full-fledged numbers geek and Stryd gives me more metrics to work with.

I have been surprised by the positive effect that age has had on my running. Even though my pace slowly drops off as I get older, my endurance actually improves with good form and consistent training, . I find it easier now than ever before to run longer distances, and I’ve experienced an improved recovery on shorter interval and threshold runs.

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Like most runners, I have a desire for continual improvement. I want to be faster, I want to be more efficient and I want to develop form and endurance. Just two weeks ago I crossed the finish line of the Lakesman 140.6 Triathlon hand in hand with my grandson. It was a marathon-distance run in the heat which made it particularly challenging, but my grandson is one of the most important things in my life and every step was a step closer to getting that very special finisher’s photo and the lifelong memories that go with it.

There is not much more rewarding than that feeling mid-run where you’re in full control, with the wind in your face and feeling alive. Having been in such poor health in the past, I appreciate every step of every run, and it’s very easy for me to get emotional while out in the rain with little more than my own thoughts of what might have been to keep me company. I no longer find running a chore, but instead, use it as a strange kind of therapy. I find that in life, it’s great if you can do what you “want” to do rather than what you “have” to do and I “want” to run, pretty much every day.

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Express your pride in the Stryd Community! Click here to share Kev’s story and tell us your proudest achievement.

Bobby McGee Study Recap Week 7/3

 


We were back this week as the action continued in the fourth week of the Bobby McGee training camp!

The main set of the this week’s workout was 6 x 30 second hill repeats. Short hill repeats allow the body to put more force on the muscle and effectively target the potassium pump in training. By working the potassium pump you increase its ability to push potassium back into muscles, resulting in greater endurance. Hill workouts are also great to include in your training because they improve the body’s ability to produce and recycle energy thereby improving running cadence, posture, power, and overall running economy.

SESSION RECAP:

  1. 10-15 walk/jog
  2. Dynamic mobility drills
  3. Four progressive strides
  4. 6 x 30 second hill repeats (progressive)
  5. Cool down jog
  6. Pre-plyometric strength drills

As shown in the Stryd data below, managing your intensity appropriately so that each repeat is truly progressive can be challenging. Fortunately, participants will be doing more hill repeat workouts over the next few weeks giving them the opportunity to improve upon their results.

Check out the Stryd data below demonstrating an athlete who was able to meet the goal of the workout and increase their power output for each hill repeat!! We also had athletes plateau after only 4 hills and had to fight hard to maintain their power and form for the final 2 reps. Even more inspiring were those athletes who started breaking down before final 2-3 repeats and had to maintain composure to get the most out of each remaining hill repeat.

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Seeing the focus, grit, and power of these athletes was motivating to say the least. Some of the members of our team couldn’t help but join in on the suffering during the workout. Here at Stryd we look forward for more quality sessions like this as it provides athletes opportunities to push through barriers and monitor their improvements using Stryd! Stay tuned for weekly updates to follow the journey of our participants as they Stryd toward their goals.