Coach Adam St. Pierre

Inside The Elite Athlete-Coach Relationship With Adam St. Pierre

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About this episode:

In this week’s episode, Hillary talks with her CTS coach Adam St. Pierre about the athlete-coach relationship and about coming back from serious injury.

Episode Highlights:

  • Inside the elite athlete-coach relationship
  • Recovering from serious injury
  • Using injury as an opportunity to explore other passions

Guest Bio – Adam St. Pierre:

Adam St. Pierre is a CTS Expert Ultrarunning Coach who has participated and coached athletes for some of the biggest ultramarathon events such as Hardrock 100, Western States 100,  Leadville 100, and many others.

Read More About Adam St. Pierre:

 

 

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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Speaker 1 (00:17):

[inaudible]

Hillary Allen (00:20):

Hi guys, and welcome to the train right podcast. Today’s guest. We’re speaking with Adam st. Pier. Adam is a coach with CTS also, and he is my coach. So a little bit about Adam Adam started running on the middle school track team in New Hampshire. He didn’t know how big of a part of life running would become. He just knew that his dad held the school record for the decathlon and that he wanted to break it. Uh, in high school, he took up cross country skiing as a way to get in better shape for track season. And he went to Colby college in Maine expecting to play soccer and run track, but he decided to go with cross-country skiing as his main sport. He raced collegiately for four years while getting his degree in physics and biochemistry, and then moved on to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science from the university of New Hampshire while working towards his degree, he worked as an assistant coach for bud winds college ski team.

Hillary Allen (01:20):

He immediately realized if he’s a better coach than an athlete, and he’s been a coach ever since in 2006, he moved to Boulder and started coaching the Boulder Nordic junior racing team. And he worked as an exercise physiologist or running biomechanist and a coach at the Boulder center for sports medicine. He left Boulder center for sports medicine in 2014 to pursue coaching full-time. And he’s been with CTS since 2017. In addition to his coaching, Adam has raised many races from half-marathon distance to a hundred milers, and of course he’s fallen back in love with running again, and he doesn’t just ski, but he loves spending long days in the trails and in the mountains and accessing places that he can’t get by car or by bike. He loves standing no mountaintops traveling fast and light in the wilderness on his own two feet. And he now currently lives in Boulder with his wife and two young kids into old dogs.

Hillary Allen (02:20):

I’m super excited to talk to Adam. I obviously talk with him on a daily basis since he’s my coach. Um, but in this episode I wanted to get to give you guys an insight into what it’s like with a coach athlete relationship. And to give you maybe a little bit more insight about, um, the training of an elite athlete and how we’ve learned from one another over the past couple of years that we’ve been working together. And, um, yeah, we get into some banter, but I think there’s a lot to learn from Adam and I really hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Okay. Well, welcome to the train ride podcast, Adam. So happy to have you on here.

Adam St. Pierre (03:02):

Thanks for having me on Hillary.

Hillary Allen (03:05):

Oh, I know. It’s just another excuse to get to talk to you. I already talked to you so much. Um, if those of you don’t know, um, Adam say Pierre is my coach. Um, he’s also a coach at CTS, um, wonderful human being. Um, yeah. Adam, how long have I known you?

Adam St. Pierre (03:24):

Oh, God, it’s probably been well, like five years. Like if I think, well, it was 2014 when I did my 24 hours of Sanitas and I think we had met through like RMR group runs earlier that year.

Hillary Allen (03:39):

Okay. So actually, I’m going to tell the perspective of my, of the story of how I first met you. And then you can, you can tell maybe your perspective. Um,

Hillary Allen (03:53):

So the first time I met Adam st. Pierre, I was new to trail running and this isn’t in 2014. This is like my first, my first season of trail running. I was running my first 50 mile race and I was in big horn, Wyoming running the big horn 50, and I’m camping on the lawn outside of the rec center in Dayton. Um, so it was Adam and, you know, we’re like, um, with my then boyfriend at the time and we’re like cooking dinner. And so they were like, you know, talking to another, Adam’s probably like drinking a beer and I’m like small talking and then Adam’s like, Oh yeah. So, you know, what’s your goal for the race? And I’m like, Oh, you know, I’m not sure. I just want to have fun. Like my boyfriend says, I could probably run about nine hours if I have a good race.

Hillary Allen (04:39):

And Adam looks at me like, you look at me like, so matter of fact, and you’re just like, you know, that’s the course record, right? Like you look at me like, you’re an idiot. Like, what is she thinking? And I’m like, okay, well, I don’t know, was just what he said, like, like, okay, what’s your goal? And then, like you say, like, super matter of fact, you’re like, I know I can run like this, this and this. Like you had your legs splits all like written down and you had your wings on your ultra shoes. Um,

Adam St. Pierre (05:09):

I don’t recall this interaction, but it sounds likely.

Hillary Allen (05:12):

Yeah, exactly. And so I know. Um, but so then fast forward to the next day, the next morning race, race morning. And you know, I see, I see you with your, like, you know, your ultra shoes and your cool to wings coming off. I’m I was like, this guy seems business. I was just like scared out of my mind. So I didn’t know what happened after mile, you know, 30, um, I’d never run 50 miles before. And so you had this goal of running like sub eight, like you want to, you wanted to win the men’s race. Like you were trying to go for a debate time. Um, so beat our time. Um, yeah. And you were like, gung-ho about this, but then on the race day, like, I remember like we descend into Dayton cause we start up high in the mountains and we go down to Dayton and it’s like a hundred, five degrees.

Hillary Allen (05:58):

Like my stomach starts going. I’m like bonking out of my mind, but somehow I managed to like, not stop running, like finished the race. And I actually, I crossed the finish line first. Um, I run it in like eight hours and 52 minutes I break the course record. And then I look in the finishing shoot and there you are. It was like, it was like, and you were like, still like, look like you had just recently finished. I was just like, Adam I’m like what? And in my mind I was only like 30 seconds behind you, but maybe it was more,

Adam St. Pierre (06:31):

I think it was like three minutes. Well, not, not a whole lot. I, uh, yeah, I blew up pretty hard with, with bilateral hamstring cramps and walked it in from 45.

Hillary Allen (06:42):

So that was gaining on you on that stinking five mile flat road.

Adam St. Pierre (06:47):

I still think had I saw you in the rear view, I could have run, but I didn’t want to.

Hillary Allen (06:52):

Uh, but that was the beginning of our friendship. And then from then I joined you for this mountain in Boulder, Colorado Snead is repeats, Adam, you’re obsessed with it. It’s like 1300 foot mountain. That’s just like,

Adam St. Pierre (07:05):

It’s a little climb. It’s like a 40 minute round trip. I like to do that.

Hillary Allen (07:09):

Yeah. You have the split sheet again. It was great. But like, yeah, that was when

Adam St. Pierre (07:15):

We were friends and kind of from that point and did some Bon mountain runs. That was one, I was just kind of starting coaching and I kind of wanted to coach you, but I also wasn’t in a financial position to offer free coaching at that time.

Hillary Allen (07:30):

And I really, like I said, I had no idea what, um, you know, I really had no idea what I was capable of, but I also just like had no idea what trail running was. And that was so cool about our relationship that like we shared so many runs. I think at that time I was kind of in the process of moving to Boulder, but I would like drive up to Boulder three or four times a week and we’d run at like five in the morning. First of all, it was wonderful because no one else wanted to run that early. And then we would just banter, um, about science. I mean, you have your background. Remind me exactly what your master’s is in

Adam St. Pierre (08:07):

My master’s is in, uh, kinesiology, exercise science, but my undergrad is in physics and biochemistry. And I think we’re just, we’re both a little bit kind of science nerds. So I’ve always enjoyed, enjoyed bantering. And I think sometimes you like to be a little contrarian. So we have some, we have some spirits needs,

Hillary Allen (08:27):

Oh, I never had an opinion in my life. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Um, um, no, I’m very opinionated and oftentimes it’s not popular belief.

Adam St. Pierre (08:39):

I don’t know about that. I think it, you know, you have opinions, I have opinions, but both of us are willing to change our opinions in the presence of, uh, of new information.

Hillary Allen (08:49):

Exactly. But I love this because, um, we actually didn’t start working together until two years ago.

Adam St. Pierre (08:56):

So you fell off that cliff. Yeah. That whole thing, the whole thing was, was it 2017,

Hillary Allen (09:04):

  1. Yep. As those

Adam St. Pierre (09:06):

Like November, 2017 and you were still on like your scooter and had casts all over and pretty, pretty early in the rehab process when we like we met for coffee. Yeah. So, um, yeah, that was the start of our coaching relationship, but our friendship kind of predates that,

Hillary Allen (09:29):

But I think that’s why it was so special is because like I remember meeting with you and like I was so low at that point and like, you know, still didn’t really know if I could get back to running because I’ve never dealt with injuries like this big before. And, And I mean, yeah. I don’t know. Uh, yeah, I guess not really, but, um, but I just remember sitting down at that coffee shop and like, after talking with you, you just like reignited my belief again. I was like, yeah, I can do this. I have a team of people. I have people that care about me. Like, let’s go. And then you knew that you knew my physical therapist over at Rebo sports, um, sports performance. And I remember you’ve been like, you would even like take me there some days, like early.

Adam St. Pierre (10:12):

Yeah. By like coaching and, and physiology background. I’ve done a lot of running biomechanics work. I’ve worked hand-in-hand with a lot of PTs. So, um, I think I have sort of a niche for working with athletes who are frequently injured or who are recovering from injury. I have a pretty good understanding of biomechanics and the rehab process. So I think, you know, at that time, you and I were, were a particularly good fit. Um, now granted, I don’t think, I, I mean, I had worked with some other pretty serious injuries, but, um, you may have been the, the, the, the coup de Gras.

Hillary Allen (10:49):

Aw. So glad that I have background. Um, but

Adam St. Pierre (10:55):

I’ve ever worked with,

Hillary Allen (10:56):

Oh, thank you. But no, I remember that. It was just like, I remember cause you, you work with, um, the Nordic ski team and I know that you had typically you’d, you’d brought them in to this Rebo sports and performance center. You’d like, given that you like test their lactic threshold and um, you like, you know, use these kids for like, as your science experiments, I think, but it’s so cool. Cause like you’re, you’re involved in like that hands-on like where the science meets the athlete and yeah. And I think it’s, yeah, it was really useful. Um,

Adam St. Pierre (11:29):

I think we’re, we’re lucky in Boulder too, to have just a network of, of medical professionals, physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, athletes, you know, just, uh, it’s a supportive environment, um, where you can have a network, have a team. Um, so like, you know, I’ve talked to your physical therapists a couple of times a week, uh, to be sure like, Hey, you know, what, what can we do with hilly? You know, is she up to this yet? Um, and they asked the same thing, like how’s, how’s Hilary’s training. So, um, fortunately I don’t think, I don’t think everyone has access to that kind of, that level of, uh, of coordination in their, their rehab team. But, um, you know, as you’re recovering from injury, I think, you know, making sure that you’re communicating with your coaches, with your doctors, with your PTs about your goals and stuff is, is huge.

Hillary Allen (12:22):

But even, even that, I think not necessarily that, I mean, I was fortunate to have that to have a team of experts, but I also think it was my own perspective of just like, I want it to be active in my recovery and like do something every day. That was like that I felt that was bringing me closer to my goal of running again.

Adam St. Pierre (12:42):

Well, I think that’s, that’s a key thing. Like a lot of people, excuse me, you get hurt. And it’s like a woe is me. You go into a deep dark place. And even though now you had some, some dark moments, like we showed a lot of tears, but like that motivated you to, to work. Um, and I think, you know, at one point I forget what, what set you off, but you were in a, a bit of a dark state. Um, and we’re just talking about how like, like how much work you were putting in. Um, and like, I mean, you were in the gym twice a day for like three hours. Yeah. Well, riding a bike, whether you’re doing your PT exercises, you know, doing recovery mobility, um, you put in like recovery for you was a full-time job. Yeah. When I think, I mean, that’s a Testament to you as an athlete, as being kind of stubborn and hardheaded and unwilling to give up.

Adam St. Pierre (13:38):

But it also shows that like, you know, if you’re willing to put in the time and put in the work and, um, and get through those dark moments that you can return to a pretty high level of activity and performance, um, I’ve told, I’ve told you this before, but now I will tell the listening audience, um, like Hillary trains, a higher volume than probably any other runner I’ve ever worked with. Um, in terms of total hours, you know, she’ll put in, you know, 80, 80 to a hundred miles a week, which is, you know, a pretty decent week given that she’s running some high vert terrain. Um, but then Hillary also spends, you know, three to five hours, you know, in the gym, working on strength and correcting any imbalances, um, a couple of hours a week on the bike, a couple of hours a week on skis this time of year. So, um, he does a lot, he works really hard.

Hillary Allen (14:32):

Yeah. And it’s not, it’s not always easy. Like it definitely obviously is a full-time job, but, um, and you know, like I don’t, like, I don’t actually think I discovered this part of, cause I definitely wasn’t doing that, um, before the injury. Um, and I think actually the injury just kind of forced me. Okay. Like, you know, you can’t, you can’t always, you can’t always run. And um, like I was doing these like sky running series where like my season was really intense and it was like three months out of the year and I’d race these like, you know, six races and like three months or something. And my training had always been like, you know, big adventure days, like a lot of time on feet, you know, like, you know, you cover maybe, you know, do these six to eight hour kind of run, hike, adventure things. Like, I love that. That was my bread and butter. So I always, like, I knew that I had like super long endurance, but it wasn’t until after the accident where I was kind of forced to like, look, you can’t run. Like I wasn’t running for a good what five months. Six months.

Adam St. Pierre (15:33):

Yeah. Probably cause we, yeah, we started, I think your, your first run must’ve been, what’s been January or February. Cause they brought in the stroller and she cried and we did like a run-walk

Hillary Allen (15:47):

Didn’t I cry. I cried.

Adam St. Pierre (15:49):

You cried too, but who they cried ladder?

Hillary Allen (15:51):

Yeah. It was like stranger danger. I was like,

Adam St. Pierre (15:55):

Like a year old, not even, um, yeah, I think, you know, for sure

Hillary Allen (16:00):

My first run. Yeah. That was like a run. Like literally we were only running for like a minute and I remember how painful it was because I had this like ligament fracture in my, in my foot and it was just like, it was like running on pins. Like I didn’t, I couldn’t feel my foot. I didn’t know what to do. Like I think I just burst into tears after the first 30 seconds.

Adam St. Pierre (16:21):

Definitely. I remember it well, but you know, at that point, luckily we had the knowledge from the PT, like no man had told us, okay, you know, this, this, and this might hurt, but that’s okay. They just need to loosen it up. So we were able to get through that. But I think, you know, the rehab process for you help to kind of discover some other passions and ignite, you know, some other endeavors like, um, I’m sure people know that you’ve kind of taken to, to gravel biking now and have done some, some kind of ultra long events, uh, on the gravel bike. Um,

Hillary Allen (16:55):

But even, well, even before that, because actually that wasn’t even until my second injury, like the backup injury. Yeah. So, but even before that, I was like, literally before I could run, I was skiing. I was doing like ski brand donee or like, you know, basically skin up the mountain. I like to call it ski area mountaineering because I am not going to repel off of any things.

Adam St. Pierre (17:21):

No, no off piece descending for you. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I mean, luckily kind of for you that the ski boots kind of worked well to have your foot in a nice rigid sole and it gave you an opportunity to get outside in the mountains and uh, in the winter and get that fresh air when otherwise you were stuck in the gym.

Hillary Allen (17:39):

Yeah. And then like fast forward. I mean, like then after I, you know, like we can talk about it too, but like, um, because there’s some good tidbits in there of like to running again. But like when I broke my ankle this last year, almost a year ago, actually, um, I

Adam St. Pierre (17:56):

Almost a year, like to the day. Yeah.

Hillary Allen (17:59):

I think it was like the 26th of January or something. Yeah. Um, but yeah, a year ago I broke my ankle and um, literally I had to be not weight-bearing and I had to have surgery. Um, I hit a pretty low spot again, but then 24th. Oh God, it’s coming up. Yeah. Um, Oh great. Oh, but then that’s when I discovered gravel biking. Yeah. And like that was, I, I really had to lean into another sport because like for me, movement is so important. Like I always say my favorite way to move and train is running and trail running, but there’s also some other really cool ways to, to move and to train and get around. And I felt, I felt I chose gravel biking because you don’t have to be on the road, but it’s really cool because in Colorado we have tons and tons and tons of gravel roads.

Hillary Allen (18:59):

And then I started linking up, you know, when I could run again, I started linking up like bike to run to bike home and it’s like the coolest thing. And then I discovered these like ultra long, um, gravel bike rides, like dirty Kansas. It was a 200 mile gravel bike race in Kansas. And it’s technical, super technical people were doing not a mountain bike. And it actually has a, there’s some really steep sections on it too. You wouldn’t think. But, um, that was my first bike race. And like, I fell in love with this, with this other sport

Adam St. Pierre (19:32):

Going from zero to 200 miles on the bike.

Hillary Allen (19:35):

Yeah. But, um, so yeah, but like, again, it was like something that I could like really work hard at and like actually learn that you can get pretty fit on a bike. And the coolest thing was is that now, like I can break up my year with when I want to do gravel races or even break up my week of like, okay, like when do I feel like I needed a little bit of a break from running, I’m going to like, you know, go on a bike adventure or, you know, go on a ski adventure in the winter time. It really helps me to like, to yeah. To, to break it up mentally. But also I think like stay strong.

Adam St. Pierre (20:07):

Absolutely. I think, I mean kind of like we’ve, we’ve talked about before, you know, for you, if running is the cake then biking and skiing and strengths are like the icing on the cake. And then, uh, we were, we were talking earlier about, uh, we’re just starting to start workouts in Hillary’s training, you know, like heel repeats and fartlek stuff, trying to get a little faster running. And those are the cherries on top of the cake. Um, but for me, the, the cake is the most important part.

Hillary Allen (20:36):

Yeah. And what, I mean, I would think I’m a complicated, very many layer to cake.

Hillary Allen (20:44):

Yeah, me too. But I mean, I think actually this is what I’ve learned from YouTube because when I first met you, you know, back in Dayton, Wyoming, I mean, I was such a new, like I had no idea and you taught me what it was to be like super goal oriented and like make goals for yourself and have like a plan to be able to do like attack them and to be, to be able to achieve them. And something that I’ve learned from you too, is like, this is essential for having to coaches. I don’t come from a running background, so I didn’t even know like about workouts. Of course I’m a, I’m a coach too. So like, I know how to prescribe workouts. I’m like what to do, but it’s different. Like when, when it’s me like, as an athlete and it’s easier if I have someone else saying, okay, like we’re preparing you for this race. Like, let’s do these workouts here.

Adam St. Pierre (21:38):

Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a good point too. Like, yes, I’ve been coaching for 10 plus years, but, but I also have a coach. Like I work with another CTS coach. Corrinne Malcolm, who I also coached, but sometimes the coach, the coach often isn’t the motivator. Like you don’t need motivation. You don’t need me to tell you to go out and run. And I think my coaching, I don’t necessarily work best with athletes that need someone to just tell them to go out and run. Um, like my preferred coach athlete interaction is, is, you know, I you’re prescribed workouts assuming, you know, the optimal, like if everything goes well, like these are the workouts you do. And if something comes up, then, then we can change things. Um, but it’s more about, okay, you’re going to run well, if we’re talking about Hillary, you’re going to run like two to five hours a day. You’re up there. My job is to steer that energy. Um, and, and to put it into, into the right places, um, whether that’s, you know, running and biking or running and skiing or doing a hard workout. Um, so like my, you know, a coach at least, you know, like the relationship we have is, is more about guiding and steering your energy towards what I think are the right directions. Um, and that’s based on kind of your goals and, and, um, what races and events you have on the, on the agenda.

Hillary Allen (23:02):

Yeah. Um, and so I was actually talking, um, on my run this morning, um, with the friend for when he joined me for the first part. But, um, about this article that you wrote, um, because it always sticks with me. Um, and I’m always going to botch it up, but it was, uh, about the three different types of like limiting factors for an athlete. It’s like time, energy and structure structure. So talk to me about that a little bit.

Adam St. Pierre (23:27):

That’s funny that I don’t know that article, it came to me on a run actually. I was like out running and thinking. Um, but yeah, I think for most athletes or maybe all athletes fit into some, one of these three categories or maybe multiple, um, but many athletes are structurally limited. Um, like, you know, often your newer runners or your runners returning from injury or, or something, you know, maybe you only have six hours of running in a week that you, you can do before your body breaks down over time with training like that, that can go up. Um, then whether you do a good job of, of your return to run program, you know, maybe your, your structures adapt and you can then run, you know, seven hours a week, eight hours a week, 10 hours a week. That’s often a long slow process. You know, things like strength, work and cycling, uh, what some people might call cross training. Uh, but people from a Nordic skiing background just called training,

Adam St. Pierre (24:25):

Like those, those non-running activities can help to support the amount of running that you can do in the long-term. So there’s your structurally limited athletes. Um, then there’s your time limited athletes. This is most of your, you know, you’re adults, you’re working professionals, you know, people with kids, families, uh, whatnot, you know, they, they might have six hours a week to train and getting seven hours a week is just not possible with, without causing undue stress in other areas. Um, and these are people like guys. So if you have six hours to train and you want to be a runner and you’re structurally able to run six hours a week, then you probably should spend most of your time running. Um, there, like where specificity is, is key. Um, whereas like if you have six hours a week to train and structurally, you can only run four hours.

Adam St. Pierre (25:15):

Well, that’s where, you know, two hours of additional training, whether strength work or bike or ski or whatever, um, is beneficial. Um, and then the, the third type of athlete or limiter would be, would be energy limited. Um, and that’s, Oh, that’s like you that’s the professional athlete or the athlete who has, um, you know, maybe the super flexible job where they can, they can do whatever is needed, uh, to attain high performance or the best results. Um, and with these athletes, it’s kind of, it’s almost trickier, like a time limited athlete or a structurally limited athlete or simpler than the energy limited athlete. Um, cause the energy limited athlete, we’re like, okay, we want to have the right balance of, uh, of specificity. So, you know, for Hillary, we want to have enough running. Um, but then, you know, she probably has more time and more energy than she could just run. You know, Hillary typically trains anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week. Um, I don’t think many people can sustain 20 to 30 hours of running a week. Um,

Hillary Allen (26:22):

Certainly couldn’t like the beginning I think. And I do that. Like maybe, maybe it’s mostly running in the summertime, but I think, I mean, you tell me what is mostly my average run time.

Adam St. Pierre (26:35):

Well, like, I mean, there’s been some weeks, like when you did a soft DTMB soft TDS last year or you’re at, you’re running 30 hours a week. Yeah. But there, you know, those are essentially training camps, but your typical I’m just pulling up some data here in the last year, 43% of your training volume has been on the bike, um, just in terms of, of hours. Um, now that being said much of that’s, you know, just kind of easy spins, recovery, spins, endurance rides. Um, so you’re, you’re putting in a large volume of running, but you’re also supplementing with a large volume of, of cycling. Um, skiing’s a smaller volume strengthens, a smaller volume, but still pretty significant. Yeah, you overall.

Hillary Allen (27:19):

Hmm. But I mean, it’s really cool. Cause this is actually something that we wanted to talk about. It was, uh, a question that, that I posed to you because, um, I think that at least in my experience and what I’ve learned about myself as an athlete the past two years is that this volume, it seems like it’s, it’s a lot and it is a lot, but my ability to perform well as a runner I think has improved because I do these other things. And it talks about like, like you mentioned with, um, you know, at a time, a time crunched athlete, like, okay, if they’re training for running race, they only have six hours a week. I would not suggest they spend 50% of that time on a bike. You know, like there is something to be said about running specificity, but yeah, like what’s your opinion about like a runner? Should they only run all the time, especially if they’re an ultra runner.

Adam St. Pierre (28:14):

Yeah. I mean, like you said, I think specificity is important for the time limited athlete, but uh, I think non-running activities can supplement running. Um, so for like for you, you know, you’re typically running, you know, 10 to 15 hours a week, um, w which is a lot, um, and there are like many runners who are quite competitive on 10 to 15 hours of running a week. You have the energy and the desire and the drive to do more and to have those, those other activities, could you run 20 to 25 hours a week? Probably, maybe not as sustainably as we have, you know, uh, if we’ve, as we’ve done by including these other activities. Um, but I think for you also just being outdoors and movement is, is, is important. Um, and, and knowing that there’s a, a psychological aspect to, you know, athletes and coach athlete, and then you’re kind of a mover, you know, if you were only running 15 hours a week, I think you’d go stir crazy. It’s just not enough outside time for you.

Hillary Allen (29:22):

Yeah, that’s true. We’ve definitely had those, uh, you know, like every now and again, we’ll touch base and like, Oh, am I doing enough? Like what’s going on?

Adam St. Pierre (29:31):

And then we have days where you say, Hey, can I skip my day off tomorrow and go cross country skiing?

Hillary Allen (29:36):

Oh, wait, did I just say that? Yeah, that’s what I asked you before this call, you said, yeah, rusty for you is, you know, probably, you know, maybe an hour, hour and a half of, you know, low activity and yeah, you told me to, you know, not run or bike, but part of that could be an off day. And for me, actually, I noticed like on those days where I’m feeling like running can be, especially on the trail, like you can beat you up, like, especially with all the injuries have had, like, I can notice if my foot is still like sensitive or get sore on my ankles and it can be really nice to be able to spin the bike, spin on the bike. Like even after a long run, like my, my legs feel so much better or to take a day completely off running and just like, you know, go on a nice bike ride. And it, like, it can be refreshing both physically, but like mentally.

Adam St. Pierre (30:26):

Yeah, I think, um, Hilary suffers from what we term rest day depression. Um, and sometimes I’ll get like texts from Hillary that she’s just clearly in a very bad mood and I can look at her training log and like, yep, she’s, she’s taken today off. But for some, for some athletes, particularly elite athletes arrested doesn’t necessarily mean a day off. Um, it’s good to have like some athletes need and crave a day completely off, like with no training at all. But for other athletes, you know, the, the stress of doing nothing is, can be greater than, uh, than, than the stress of, you know, going out for a 45 minute bike ride. Um, or, or for Hillary going out for a ski. Um, because there’s, there’s more to exercise than just the physiological strain. There’s the, uh, there’s the social component, you know, if you’re going for an easy bike ride with friends, that’s not particularly physiologically taxing, then that’s probably okay for an easy day or a rest day, you know, if it starts getting, you know, two, three, four, five plus hours there that’s a little long, um, for, uh, for a rest day.

Adam St. Pierre (31:35):

Um, but yeah, short, easy, uh, activities are totally okay. On, on rest days.

Hillary Allen (31:42):

And, yeah, it’s, it’s funny. Cause I mean, I definitely obviously have, have noticed that, like, we’ve talked about this thing about, um, you know, what are other, what are other things you can that, you know, I’m a very busy person, so I like to be doing things so how, how I can do things and like, um, but still be, have like a restful day. And I think in my training, uh, it works better, especially in longer blocks. It’s having a rest day, every two weeks or every 10 days, like a complete day off.

Adam St. Pierre (32:07):

I think it’s also important there too. Like when we talk a lot, um, and like if there’s, you know, talk or text or whatever, cause you’re eight hours ahead. Um, but you know, if there’s, you know, a day where it seems really clear, like, Hey, you really need to do nothing today. Then, then we can communicate that versus they’re, Hey, I’m a little tired, but I want to go do this. And if you still have the motivation to want to go do something, then I don’t think it’s, it’s always the coach’s best interest to just say no and put your foot down. Um, that’s a, that’s not the, the coach athlete relationship.

Hillary Allen (32:45):

Yeah. Although sometimes you do, you do have to put your foot down with me and tell her to be okay

Adam St. Pierre (32:49):

If you’re going to do something that I think will be contrary to your best interest, I’ll put my phone. But if it’s like a six, one way, half dozen, the other, you know, if it doesn’t matter, it’s not worth fighting.

Hillary Allen (33:05):

Oh yeah. Yeah. I guess, I guess I don’t coach athlete relationships. It can kind of be like that. No, it’s a lot like that.

Adam St. Pierre (33:13):

What are your coaching adults or teenagers or parenting roles?

Hillary Allen (33:24):

Uh, but another one of my favorite, uh, favorite things to do. I mean, we’ve just like, I think it it’s so cool because, um, I just communicate really well with you. I can be like super honest. I can like tell you exactly how I’m feeling, even if it’s like very direct and like, I can kind of be a jerk sometimes. I think it’s sometimes I, I ended up getting in trouble because I tell the truth and people that get offended or something I’m like, no, I’m just telling you

Adam St. Pierre (33:51):

Trouble. Sometimes you might come across a little, little harsh.

Hillary Allen (33:57):

Uh, yeah. But, um, yeah, so coming off across a little harsh, um, so one of my favorite memories of, of with you, um, is when I paced you in hard rock, um, this is, this is what’s so cool. Cause I feel like I wanted to like return the favor to like, you know, coaching you. Oh yes. You’re showing me the metal for the, for the hard rock finishing. Um, was I too, was I too much of a hard and hard rock? Yeah. I got to pace you up over Handy’s peak. For those of you who don’t know hard, it’s a 14 or that’s at, for this direction we were going was about 60 miles into the race.

Adam St. Pierre (34:34):

It’s been 60 miles in give or take. It was like wanting fueled entirely ideas.

Hillary Allen (34:43):

Yup. And it was a clear, like perfectly clear zero wind. You’d see the moon. It was such a beautiful night, but like it’s, it’s, it’s so cool because I think like obviously running and training is it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but out of it have come some of the most important relationships in my entire life and yeah, you’re one of them. And I think that it’s, it’s really cool if you can, if you can, like this coach athlete relationship, like opens that up to two people,

Adam St. Pierre (35:12):

Hillary is a great pacer. Um, but I think she might’ve pushed me a little too much. Cause then I blew up from my next pacer and he had to put up with some whining.

Hillary Allen (35:22):

No, we were, I think were just like bantering the whole way up. We were just like, we’re talking about, I don’t even know, like probably

Adam St. Pierre (35:30):

That was gorgeous. It was magical. I look forward to crewing you at UTM B this year. Yeah.

Hillary Allen (35:36):

And I can you around at TDS this year because

Adam St. Pierre (35:42):

It’d be a fun, fun last week in August and show many.

Hillary Allen (35:44):

Oh gosh, it’s going to be so great. Um, but a question I wanted to ask you too, um, what we talked about this beforehand. Um, so what’s the most important aspect in a coach athlete relationship?

Adam St. Pierre (35:59):

Yeah, I think we kind of alluded to it already, but I think communication is, is probably, um, like I’m, I’m not a mind reader. Um, and I don’t think you should expect your coach to be, it’s not a, it’s not fair. Not many people are. Um, you know, I think we’ve been lucky that we’ve had a lot of in-person time, like when you’re older and we’d go on our 5:00 AM runs and, and you know, in-person is, it’s easier to get, uh, get a read on how S how an athlete’s doing and how they’re feeling the training’s going in person. But, you know, with, with phone and email and GPS data, um, reliably, um, text messages, you know, whatever form of communication, Facebook messenger, a million different ways to communicate, whatever, uh, whatever is the

Hillary Allen (36:48):

Snail mail. I can send you a letter. Okay.

Adam St. Pierre (36:52):

I think you might’ve sent me a card once

Hillary Allen (36:55):

I did. Yeah. I think it was when I was injured, just because I couldn’t drive. And like I needed some

Adam St. Pierre (37:01):

Yeah. But I mean communication because like, if I don’t know how your training is going, how can I, you know, plan out the best training possible? Um, yeah. Is key. And then similarly from the athlete perspective, like if you have more time or you are tired or, you know, you work out, it’s just, aren’t doing it for you. That’s important to communicate back. Um, and it’s better to communicate that early then, you know, to, to get all bitter towards each other for two months. And then, you know, how about have a battle,

Hillary Allen (37:36):

But which is good. We definitely don’t do that. But, um, and this is, what’s also so cool is like, you know, I’m a, I’m a coach of CTS. I have many athletes that I coach you coach the CTS and you are my coach. And you also have a coach who is a CTS coach.

Adam St. Pierre (37:56):

Yeah. I think we’ve got a really, I mean, I used to coach independently. Um, I had my own, my own company and I did that for about two years. And then I got kinda lonely, um, you know, a lone Wolf coach, um, and you know, being a part of, of the CTS ultra team, you know, with, with coop and, you know, at that time Johnny Fitzgerald was there. And then, you know, we’ve brought on a bunch of other coaches, Kerryn you, um, Duncan, you know, Darcy should, I should, I should listen to everybody now, anyone, um, we’ve got like, I think there’s nine of us now. Um, and it’s just a great, a great resource of coaches where we can bounce ideas off each other. We can share information and best practices we can, um, kind of synthesize the latest research. Um, so that we’re all, you know, kinda kind of up to date on nutrition, fads and shoe science and whatever else.

Adam St. Pierre (38:55):

So, um, it’s pretty cool to be a part of a team and a part of a group. Um, and yeah, like you said, like I coach Hillary, there is a coach, I coach Korean Korean coaches, me, green coaches, other people it’s sort of this weird incestuous thing. But, um, I think it shows, you know, how much I respect the coaches I work with that I would, uh, ask one of them to, to coach me. I think I’m a particularly difficult athlete to coach and maybe Corinne could, uh, refute or support that assertion. Um, but she puts up,

Hillary Allen (39:26):

I don’t think you are. I sometimes think that I’m a difficult athlete to go, but no, it’s all about, it’s all about the communication, things like that. But I also think it’s like, um, it, it, it, the test, it like what you bought you, there’s this buy-in that you believe in coaching and like what it can bring to an athlete. And yeah, I think it’s like, it’s also like a little mini team, like your support system that can help you, like get through these, I dunno, get through these, like these tough races.

Adam St. Pierre (39:51):

Yeah. And I mean, like, whether it’s, you know, whether it’s, uh, you know, coaches or whether you have a social group, you know, like every, every Tuesday I meet up with some friends, some of whom I also happen to coach, and then we go for a run or Tuesday shred, and that’s like, that’s an important part of the week. Um, there’s, you know, if you have your local group run that you love to go into a lot of my like start and running was just, you know, the, in Boulder we have the Boulder trail runners and they have, you know, four or five group runs a week. I just started going to some learning sales meeting, other people, and then you find, Oh, this guy is about my pace. And then you invite each other on a long weekend adventure. And that’s how you become a part of a running community. You make friends, you, you learn. Um, and for me as a coach, part of it, a big part of it is, is kind of trying to educate people like this is how training works. Um, you could probably figure it out yourself, but I’m going to try to make it easy for you. And then I’m going to try to make it, you know, better than you could do on your own.

Hillary Allen (40:57):

I love that. And what is your best advice for, I mean, someone who’s like looking for coach, or even who wants to kind of start, like start this, like coach athlete relationship, or, you know, someone that’s speaking to you, if you want to, if they want to work with you.

Adam St. Pierre (41:15):

I mean, I think, um, talking to a few coaches is a good thing. Um, I also think it’s good. Like, don’t, don’t like try a coach and if it’s not working, it’s okay to leave. It’s kind of like dating, right? Go on a couple of dates, you know, use your, your match.com or whatever, and try it out. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try something new. Um, that being said, it’s also key to, um, like give it a good shot. Like, you know, if you start working with a coach, you know, try to be really compliant in the first month, then communicate and do the workouts and see if you get better. And if, if you’re not talk about it and if the coach doesn’t seem to be able to change that, um, then, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. Yeah. That’s my,

Hillary Allen (42:09):

I love that. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Adam, you know, you’ve experienced. Um, yeah. Especially since you know, I, I was living in Boulder and, um, yeah, we’ve, we’ve talked many a time about everything from dating to workouts. You’re very, you’re very involved in my life.

Adam St. Pierre (42:28):

Yeah. I probably, yeah. I probably know more about Hillary’s Hillary than, than many people

Hillary Allen (42:36):

You do. Like I said, we’re, we’re really tight. Oh man. Let’s to not be shared on this, but all right. Yeah. Well, Adam, thank you so much for speaking with me. It was it’s obviously, I mean, we talk all the time, but thank you for putting this knowledge out into the world. And I just admire you as a coach, as a friend, as a mentor and yeah. You’re the best.

Adam St. Pierre (43:03):

Well, I think, you know, we we’ve had, we’ve got a pretty special relationship. Elliot is one I value a lot. Um, um, I’m thankful to have a number of athletes that I’ve coached for years now, um, and have really seen blossom as, as runners and athletes. So you’re, you’re one of them. Um, and we’ll keep, we’ll keep aspiring towards big things.

Hillary Allen (43:27):

Yeah. I know. I can’t wait to have you there with me. Well, okay. Well, thanks for joining us and I’ll speak to you soon, but yeah, if anyone has any, anything they want to look up about Adam I’ll post at the end of the show and you guys look up at him st. Pierre, he’s a great human and a great coach. Okay. Thanks Emily. Thanks.


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