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  • Writer's pictureJacob Puzey

Intro to the Art & Science of Running Podcast

In this episode of the Art and Science of Running Podcast, coaches Malc Kent and Jacob Puzey share their history with the sport of running.

Jacob began running in middle school to get in shape for basketball. He ran in high school in the state of Oregon before walking onto a Junior College Cross Country team at Ricks College where he was part of 2 x National Championship Team.

Even at 18, Jacob noticed differences in coaching style between his high school and college coach. After a 2 year break from any running, Jacob began volunteer coaching as a university student and learned everything that he could from myriad mentors.

Jacob applied his love of learning to running and coaching from a number of different coaches with different philosophies. After about 10 years of coaching high school and collegiate athletes, Jacob began coaching athletes remotely under the direction of Greg McMillan and Ian Torrence at McMillan Running.

Jacob's formal education is in the humanities - international cultural studies, world languages, linguistics, linguistic anthropology, language learning, biolinguistic revitalization, etc.

Jacob approaches running and coaching from the perspective of an artist/linguist.

Malc started running cross country in the UK as a young kid. Gradually worked his way up to the English School’s championships as a teenager where he ran against the likes of Mo Farah. He was also a national champion in orienteering at the age of 16.

His analytical mind helped him outperform even those who were fitter or more athletic. Malc started strength training as a rugby player in his teenage years. He began formally strength coaching in his early 20s.

Malc's academic background is in applied physics and biomechanics. He has worked the last 14 years as an applied scientist or in biomechanics or mechanics. Malc noted a BIG turning point 8 years ago when measuring with wearable technology which allows runners and scientists to get outside lab and measure in an authentic environment. Jacob and Malc discuss the evolution of wearable technologies from Garmin footpods and basic GPS watches to power meters.

Malc asks: What is your philosophy on data? Do you treat all data the same or do you value some data more than others?

Jacob explains that the number one metric he uses is time due to a number of reasons:

  • Attention span - deliberate practice

  • Most activities between 45-90 minutes

  • If multiple activities, break after 45-90 chunk

  • Metabolism - glycogen and fat metabolization

Jacob asks athletes to record time, distance, pace and then heart rate

But heart rate doesn’t mean much without other variables

  • Weather

  • Elevation

  • Record all data longitudinally and then analyze after the fact

  • Don’t start and stop watch or will likely lose some data

  • Pay attention to how body feels when running particular pace or at given heart rate

  • Heart rate and power help athletes avoid going too hard on easy days and in races

Malc discusses gait metrics he measures

  • Started with GPS and sensors

  • Tried to overlay pace, heart rate or power, but not just uses pace recorded from sensors along with 35-40 variables.

  • 10-12 bulk single values and the rest are bilateral (left and right)

  • Measure cadence and power

  • Blind tests

  • Power is not the best metric for runners. It has been overhyped.

  • It changes quickly & is impacted by looking at watch

  • Doesn’t take into account fatigue, etc.

  • How do you adjust training to life when based on power?

Malc subscribes to a systems thinking in the body like Stuart McMillas of Altis, in which the body is set of complicated systems that all interact. If you change one they all have to adjust and compensate.

Malc recommends that athletes collect all the data possible to understand a complex system with more than one stream of data.

Jacob and Malc began collaborating because Malc offers a service with technology that exceeds Jacob’s training and level of expertise and there was a demand for such services that Jacob could not meet. Both have enjoyed helping athletes from all over the world.

Intro & Outro music, "Goin 4 a Walk" by Dallin Puzey

Please listen, rate, review, share, subscribe & let us know what you’d like us to discuss in future episodes. Thank you for your support!

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