He’s Got Running Down To A Science

By Mike Tarrolly

The day before my first Ironman, I was a nervous wreck.  I’d feared the mass swim start almost every day for the previous year.  In less than 24 hours I’d be in the scrum with 2700 other swimmers and I was still searching for ways to relax.

I could hardly sleep the night before, but as stood on the cool concrete staring at the water on race morning, an extreme sense of calm washed over me.  Every ounce of fear and doubt was gone.  But why?

That experience has happened many times in my my life, especially with sports, and makes me of the saying “90% of life is just showing up.”  I’ve always liked that logic, but always wondered why that is the case?

Today, on our podcast, I learned the answer from Steve Magness, who has has a website called “The Science of Running,” and will soon release his new book, “Peak Performance” with Brad Stulberg.

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“I have a theory for everything.” – Steve Magness

Steve is the head coach for the University of Houston Cross Country team and also works with several professional runners.  His writing, philosophies, and podcasts have established him as one the most sought after minds in the endurance world.

To say Magness is passionate about sport physiology and psychology is an understatement.  He dove into our questions with childlike enthusiasm that rekindled my fire for sport, and frankly made me feel better about always wanting to know “why.”

He’s a cool guy, too.  Due to conflicts on our end we had to move the interview several times and he just rolled with the changes.  Then, 30 minutes before the podcast I was stuck in traffic, so Robbie started without me and Steve wound up recording the podcast for us.  I joined after 10 minutes.

Here are a few of the topics we cover today, but there is a lot more and we could have talked for five hours.

– Accepting anxiety in order to boost performance
– How and why training gets overcomplicated
– Why he think a lot of us would be better off leaving our Garmin’s at home
– Why coaching is usually more mental and emotional than physical
– Why we sometimes perform best when we feel bad
– Our bodies survival skills at work when we race our best
– The breakdown on Steve’s new book “Peak Performance”
– We ask about the differences between his college and professional athletes
– Biggest differences between coaching women and men
– The best piece of advice Steve’s ever gotten from a coach
– His take on the Sub 2 Marathon Hour Project
– His favorite runner of all time
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