Training Essentials For Ultrarunning 2nd edition podcast episode

Jason Koop On The Newly Released 2nd Edition Of Training Essentials For Ultrarunning

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Topics covered in this episode:

  • What new sections have been added to the second edition of the book
  • What content has been revised and updated from the first edition
  • An inside look at the book creation and scientific review process
  • The evolution of ultrarunning training over the years
  • A sample interview from the audio version of the book with biomechanist, Wouter Hoogkamer

Guest Bio:

Jason Koop is the Head Ultrarunning Coach at CTS and is the author of Training Essentials For Ultrarunning, 2nd Edition.

Guest Links:

Show Note Links:

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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.

Corrine Malcolm (00:08):

My guest today needs little introduction, and you may even chuckle at this slightly shameless plug for a project I’ve gotten to work on over the past year. What the conversation you are about to hear is with my colleague and mentor Jason Cooper, Jason is entering his third decade of coaching and poured that knowledge into what is now the second edition of training essentials for ultra running. I got to join him as a co-author, along with Jim Rutberg in bringing in this large book to life and it’s live it’s on Amazon right now. The following conversation explores lessons learned in that writing process and how those lessons can be applied to our own coaching and training and what you can expect from the new book. Even if you already own the first edition,

Corrine Malcolm (00:54):

Okay. Mics are hot, everything goes, nothing’s heading. Nothing is going on the editing room floor. That’s scary. Um, it is a little scary. We’ll, uh, we’ll see how this, this goes, but I am joined today. As you all know, by my colleague, my, I call my boss. He will fight me to the death on that term. Um, Jason coop, to talk about the book that many of you might have in hand already, despite me sitting here empty handed still, which is my own fault, um, about the second edition of training essentials for ultra running. And we’re very, very excited. I’m very, very excited to have gotten to finally touch a copy at my in-law’s house over Christmas. I did the, like the flip through, right. I just held it and I was like, look at all these pages. Um, so thank keep for joining us.

Jason Koop (01:49):

I’m sorry, you don’t have a copy yet. This, uh, the release of this has not gone the very prototypical way of most, uh, book releases.

Corrine Malcolm (01:59):

Yeah. People, people got it really, really quickly. I feel like as soon as it went live on Amazon, I was getting pictures sent to me by, by people who had it in hand. And that seemed insane that it went

Jason Koop (02:11):

So well. It’s, it’s a tail, it’s a tail of two polar opposite. Some of, some of the process went really quickly. And in other parts of it very, very, very slowly. That’s all behind the scenes inside baseball that nobody really cares about. But you know, needless to say the philosophy that I, that I, I kind of undertook when releasing it is, I wanted to get it hands with athletes first. And so, you know, the, the media and the influencers and the print magazines and the online magazines and things like that, they still, they they’re just getting, ’em kinda like right now. So the public’s had it for a month or so before any of the prototypical promotion happens from, you know, reviews and things like that.

Corrine Malcolm (02:50):

Yeah. I, I’m hoping lots of people woke up to it under the Christmas tree, um, just a couple weeks ago. Um, but maybe not, maybe, maybe not, maybe it is, uh, being a door stop or a paperweight or something of that nature, but I’m, I’m thinking it was a crisp, it’s kind of too big to be a stocking stuffer, right. It’s a little too big to be a stocking stuffer, but I’m hoping, I’m hoping it’s out in the hands of people. And I guess the big question for people listening at home is this is the second edition of this book. So why, why write, why write the book? Why write a second book? Well, it, it,

Jason Koop (03:28):

From the onset it’s always meant to be revised. Um, I, I, I remember when, uh, Jim, Rotberg, who’s a, co-author on this book alongside you, who kind of got me into this mess in the first place. One of the things that I was very insistent on when we started this project is it doesn’t end with the first book I wanted to create a title. And I wanted to create a piece of work that intentionally was set up to be iterative over the course of years and what that iteration looks like, you know, who, who knows whether it’s three years or five years or seven years, or it becomes something online that is that just gradually morphed. Uh, we really didn’t know what was gonna happen. And so the second book is just, it’s really just a manifestation of that initial philosophy, where we wanted it to be more of a living document and not something that ended up as a doorstop. Eventually I want people to, to, to who have bought the first copy to buy the second copy and not only people who have the second copy to consume it in both the hard back format and in the audio format and things like that, it’s meant to be a resource above and beyond all else. And so it needs to get revised every once in a while, uh, with that ethos.

Corrine Malcolm (04:40):

Yeah. I think that it’s, there’s a lot of having been on the inside having been part of the writing team for this. There’s a lot of stuff in it. There’s a lot of new stuff in it. I’m guess. I’m guessing kind of like if people own the first book I own the first book, it is earmarked dog marked, whatever you wanna call it. It’s highlighted there’s notes in the, the side of the pages. Um, I reference it constantly still. So why people own that book? Why like, why should they what’s new? Why should people buy the second version? Well,

Jason Koop (05:13):

I, I would divide it into two buckets. The, the first one is, is the revision of the content that was there. And the, the basic way to describe that is, is, is more technical. Um, I, I went through a pretty painstaking process in the first writing of the book to really determine how technical I wanted it to be. Um, realizing that that nothing kind of existed in the space at the time. I knew that I couldn’t really overshoot the audience because it would as soon actually kind of get lost, uh, on them. And, and I had the, the, the technical skill and the tech and the technical capability, you know, without sounding too arrogant to overshoot that audience. And so one of the, one of the ways that I, that actually plays out in the first edition of the book is a lot of the training strategies and the philosophy and the training design and things like that are kind of brought to the forefront through four characters, uh, who are athletes that I worked with Dakota Jones and D Bowman to elite athletes, and then Missy Gosney and Eric Glover to kind of normal athletes.

Jason Koop (06:17):

And I utilized their kinda real experiences to turn some of the esoteric natures of what we do as coaches into kind of like real life examples. And I felt that I, I felt that I needed that in a way to make the content a little bit more relatable. Um, and some people would say dumb, and I don’t, I don’t think that that’s an unfair, uh, I don’t think that’s an, that’s an unfair description of some of the content within the first book, but the, the, the first way that the second book is different is just within that context itself, it’s just making the content that was there more, more technical. And, um, I think that the audience that is out there and ultra running is definitely ready for that at this time. You know, it’s six years since we published the first book, there are more athletes and more coaches and more scientific papers and on and on and on and on.

Jason Koop (07:07):

And, and the, the level of the content in the book I think is, is reflective of the level of, uh, knowledge within the, uh, within the space as a whole. And then the, the second and basket of content that’s new is stuff that I really, for the most part kind of left on the cutting room floor, uh, for the first book, because of size constraints and technical constraints, and a whole conglomerate of oth of other of other things. And that runs anywhere from the women’s section that you wrote, that you did a fantastic job with writing the specific, uh, considerations for, uh, female athletes to considerations for high altitude and hot weather environments, which you’d played a really heavy hand in as well to the strength training component, the mental skills component and all these things that I just thought were either too advanced for the first book at the time.

Jason Koop (07:57):

Or I didn’t feel that the, that the knowledge base existed around, around them in as robust of the fashion that needed to be, to bring it to, to bring it to the forefront in the book. All of those things are new. And so the book’s bigger, it’s heavier, it’s a bigger, bigger, bigger format. It’s 500, you know, some odd pages and things like that. But I think broadly defined the, the way to about kind of the, the, the newness of the new content part of the book is the content itself has, has been revised to be a little bit more technical in nature. And there’s these just brand new, there’s these brand new sections where you can just compare and contrast the CA the table of contents to where they just didn’t exist before. And it makes the work a little bit more complete, you know, if I’m being honest, the first book had some gaps in it, and, you know, some of those gaps were definitely intentionally. They, some of them were definitely intentionally there, meaning, Hey, I wanted to do this. And I just didn’t for whatever, for whatever reason. And some of them were just gaps on my part where I didn’t think that the material was, you know, relevant or robust enough or whatever. And so I tried to fill those as, as, as much as possible. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s going to be largely unrecognizable to readers who have the first edition when they pick up the, the second it’s a, it’s a lot, a lot of new material.

Corrine Malcolm (09:18):

Yeah. Which is exciting, cuz we’re constantly learning more and more. And I think that’s reflected in us rewriting, you know, make like it’s in a lot of ways, really a new, a new book. And I’m wondering, I know that you had some pushback with the first one coming out, particularly about like the, the lack of the strength session section. Right. And it sounds like, and what you just said is that maybe that was one where it’s like, we just didn’t know enough or you didn’t think it was as important or maybe it got cut because of size constraints. But I think it’s really cool that we took, you took some of that feedback and information and now knowing what we know or what we’re trying to learn more about have, have made revisions or the case of strength training or the women’s section or even environmental physiology, we’ve added entire new sections to the book. Like pretty, pretty sizable chunks of, of writing. Yeah. Here

Jason Koop (10:06):

Here’s way I could, I would compare and contrast that the environmental consideration sections section I could have put in the first book, but I did not feel that I felt that that would overshoot the audience to use a phrase that, that, that, uh, that, that I brought up earlier, I felt that that that type of content was just a little bit too technical, a little bit too advanced to bring to the forefront. Here are all these heat, uh, acclimation strategies here, altitude acclimation strategies. Here’s how you can walk through which one might work or might not out work for you. I just felt that it was gonna be too technical kind of right out of the bat. And so I didn’t even, I, I kind of didn’t even touch that the women’s specific section. I didn’t even think about the first book. Like that was not even a, a consideration from, from the get go.

Jason Koop (10:51):

And maybe that’s poor design on, on, on my part, which, you know, I can raise my hand for, but that’s just the evolution of knowledge and coaching, right? I mean, that’s why this book is gonna have a third edition and a fourth edition, a fifth edition and, you know, however many iterations it could actually have before it, before it dies a slow death. But, um, we’re always going to, we’re always gonna learn something. There’s always gonna be additional kind of nuance to pull out of training for ultra marathons, because still, still, still, we are really early in figuring this out. If you compare what we know about ultra marathon to the, what I’ll call the traditional endurance sports. So cycling, running triathlon and things like that, we’re still a couple decades behind. And, and that, that catch process does not happen very quickly. We might gain, you know, one you year for every five years or something like that. And so we’re always gonna continue to find out more and more and more. And then the, the book’s gonna obviously evolve kind of, kind of beyond that every several years.

Corrine Malcolm (11:51):

Yeah. I was recently asked in an interview, if there, if I could ask the research community to do like one study, what would it be? And I was like, oh man, like basic physiology. <laugh> like a basic physiology study, like on training methodology. Yeah. For ultra running because, and, and we’re extrapolating and that’s not bad. I think that we can learn a lot from other endurance sports, but I was like, yeah, basic physiology research on ultra runners. That would be, that’d be a great place to start. And so keeping that in mind and keeping in mind that I think this book really, um, embodies this idea that as coaches, we never know everything. Like we’re always learning. I think if you’re a coach and you think, you know it all right now, that’s, that’s a very dangerous place to be. And I think knowing that this book will have, it’s got a second edition, it will probably have a third edition and a fourth edition is because we don’t know everything. And that’s a good lesson, I think for all of us to take home. And I’m wondering what are their lessons you learned through the process of writing the first one and now writing the second one, bring that to

Jason Koop (12:52):

Market? Well, I don’t know if this is so much to lesson, but this is something that was definitely reinforced when going through both additions of the book. And this is something that all of the listeners out there can, all the ultra marathon listeners out there can take to heart is that ultra marathons are not long marathons. And we can’t really treat them as such from a training and, uh, program standpoint. If we do that, it’s a, it’s, it’s a failure of coaching and it’s, it’s a failure of the athlete. I, I will say that when I wrote the first book, that statement was a little bit of a leap of faith because we didn’t know as much about the demands of the sport as we do now. And what I mean by that is, is somebody goes through an ultra marathon as, okay, what were the performance limiters?

Jason Koop (13:36):

Was it their view, two max? Was it the way their muscles worked? Was it the way their nervous system was working? Was it nutrition, hydration, and things like that? We were just start barely starting, you know, this 2005 when I was right or 2015, sorry. When I was writing the first edition, we’re just barely starting to kind of like crack the door open on, on, on some of those answers. And I made this, what, what I would consider a little bit of an extension of the research, um, to make the statement that ultra marathons are not long marathons, even though the name would connotate quite differently, especially from a training and preparation standpoint. I, I can say now, now that we’ve had six more years of research and we had six more years of coaching practice and things like that, that statement is even cemented further in my philosophy and in my, what, what I, what I do and what we all do as coaches where yes, there’s certain fundamental, fundamental, physiological principles that are gonna apply across any of the endurance sports.

Jason Koop (14:29):

But if you’re just saying, Hey, listen, I’m gonna get somebody in half marathon shape and expect them to form well on ultra marathon. That’s just not gonna cut it because of all of these other different considerations that exist in ultra running, that don’t even, that don’t even get mentioned in half marathon running or in marathon running nutrition, considerations, environmental considerations, how much muscle breakdown occurs during the, during the course of an event, how your nervousness system is affected after, you know, running for hours and hours and hours on end. All of those things don’t pop up in the, in the marathon literature, right? It’s all, how big is your V2 max? How much of the fraction of that V2 max, can you utilize and what is your cost of running? I mean, that’s Nike breaking to a on repeat, right? You’re trying to optimize those three variables for performance. And one of the things that, oh, one of the collaborators on the audio book, uh, really, really brought to the forefront through his research is this multifactorial approach to ultra marathon performance, where it has maybe a dozen different key factors of which we’re still kind of teasing out all of their importance. And we will for, for quite a while, but certainly we can say it’s more complicated and intricate and nuanced than, than, than, than we would than what we would typically think about for marathon performance.

Corrine Malcolm (15:47):

Yeah. And we’ll talk about the audio book more in a second, cause I think it’s really, really cool and I’m very, very excited about that format being released alongside the book, but you’ve got a good take home message there. And I’m wondering if there’s anything else from the writing process that you’ve, that you’ve brought into your coaching. Cuz clearly that is something that I think is applicable not only to runners, but it’s applicable to coaches coaching ultra runners. Is there anything else that you gather during the writing process that you’re like, I need to bring this into my coaching or you see, you see it in the interactions you’re

Jason Koop (16:19):

Having with draft? Yeah, I would honestly say it’s a little bit of a theme that, that this, this might be by 2022 theme, we’re recording this like the first week of the year. So maybe we’ll see, we can record at the end of the year and see if this kind of plays out, but it’s really to zoom out because a lot of times in the, the difference between the first book and the second book, or one of the differences between the first book and the second book really illustrates this, where I was trying to bring things out through very specific examples, but that’s very limiting because those specific examples are limited to those individuals. That’s how I coached those specific people specifically to coach Jones, specifically Dylan Bowman, specifically Gosney and specifically Eric Glover. And when I was writing the second book and I kind kind of ripped all those individual examples out, I had to learn how to communicate those ideas for everybody, right.

Jason Koop (17:06):

To zoom the lens out and say, okay, here’s broadly how this application would actually, what is actually functionally valuable, uh, for, for, for an athlete. And, you know, one, you mentioned some of the criticism around the straight training. Honestly, the biggest one, the, the big, the biggest one was there’s no, there’s no training program in it, right? You’re not gonna open it up and turn to page 270. And here’s your 12 weeks to your first 50 mile program. That theme is even more enhanced in the second book where people are going to, you know, have to dog year and highlight and underline and create notes and things like that. They really, they really, really, really are gonna have to apply a certain amount of thinking for themselves with this. There are no kind of magic, uh, magic answers. And, and I’ve brought, I’ve brought that into my coaching is to really kind of try to zoom the lens out a little bit, look at each person as an individual and take these fundamental things that, you know, we’ve known for, for sometimes long periods of times and sometimes have just kind of recently cropped up and try to figure out how to individualize those for, for, for each and every athlete.

Corrine Malcolm (18:16):

Yeah. It is. It’s a whole different communication style when all of a sudden you’re like, oh, this isn’t, this isn’t specific to this person. Yeah. It’s almost, it has to be generic. And yet specific at, at like I’ve been reading a lot of shoe and ski reviews recently and it’s frustrating and infu think, cause I’m like, I need them to do that. I need them to think more broadly than how they liked the ski or liked the shoe. And I think that’s kind of a, a, a similar example of like, how do you communicate that information to a lot of runners, not just, this is what happens when Dakota Jones does this work out or does this training plan type of a analogy? Yeah. It

Jason Koop (18:52):

Infuriates me when I see that as a coach. And, and that’s one of the reasons why even on social recently, we’re deviating already cor which we expected to do, even on social. Like I’ve started to steer away from, oh, here’s what I trained. Here’s what I did for training today. Cause I don’t want people to take that and say, ah, well, Fri so and so did this or coup did this with, you know, this athlete. So I’m gonna go ahead and do it. That that might be the case, but you’re getting lucky if that, if that’s the case, um, this individualization component, like I said, it just, if I, if I were to kind of broaden the book out to just more kind of coaching themes, that piece of it is, is just becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. And also we’re a, we’re more able to do it, I would say, versus as five or 10 years ago where we just didn’t have a lot of the insight and also the, the technological capabilities of, of, of looking at how those individual characteristics of each athlete unfold into programming and training and you know, what they should be doing day to day.

Corrine Malcolm (19:52):

Yeah. There’s definitely still lots of ends of, of one out there. Lots of echo chambers of this. Well, this works for my athletes and it’s like, okay, well, does it, does it work for all of them? Yeah. Is this a broad strokes? Like what’s not working for one of those athletes cause that’s that’s physiology, right? It’s not black and white. It’s it’s shades of gray. It’s not that the, um, the stimulus did or didn’t work or the intervention did or didn’t work it’s well, it worked for seven of the 16 people and it didn’t work and why might it not have worked? Like, I think it’s coaching, you have to have that nuance. Like you can take the science, you can take the information that you’ve gathered from years and years of experience. And then you have to look at that, you know, you can’t just repeat what Jim Walmsley is doing or what Dakota Jones is doing or what Britney Peterson is doing. You have to be able to say, okay, this is what, you know, this is what we know. This is what I know about this athlete. And this is how I’m going to put these things together. And

Jason Koop (20:40):

I athlete hate that though. Cause I just want the answer. Right. And people are like, Hey, just tell me what to eat. Just tell me how far to run today. Like they just want the answer. And so, you know, you can come up with some basic stuff, but to really, to really, to really do it. Well, I think it takes a lot of individualization for like for sure. Yeah.

Corrine Malcolm (20:58):

Yeah. Speaking, speaking of that, people wanna know, um, aren’t you giving away all of your training secrets

Jason Koop (21:03):

By so first off they’re not mine. Like I like my name’s on the, you know, front of the book, it’s got the biggest tight font on it alongside you and alongside you and our other, uh co-author Rudy, Jim Rutberg, but I’m, I will be the first one to admit that I’m not gonna lay claim that this is my secret sauce that I came up with or whatever, like it very, very much. So the entirety work as a representation of over this is my third decade coaching. So well over 20 years of all of the development and mentorship that I have had through people who I am in, I owe life debts to for forever. Um, I it’s it’s, I can, it, I can’t express it in words, how much of a, of not so much a group effort, but how all of those people and all of those experiences ha have kind of boiled down into a 500, a 500 page book.

Jason Koop (22:04):

So that’s the first thing is it’s not my secrets or anything like that. The second thing is, is I I’ve always, I’ve always had this, this mantra of, I wanna leave things better than when I found them. And if somebody picks up the book, whether they’re an athlete or a coach, and I’ll tell you what the coaching response to this has been kind of mind blowing to me. Uh, in fact, I can, I can plug this now because I just got, I just got word. So you, uh, you and I, we helped create this ultra running certification through SCA. And I just found out today that their ultra running sales are, are outperforming their run sales, which is yeah. I mean, that’s so cool. You know, nothing to see here. You think the running market is probably 10 X, maybe 20 X of the, of the trail running market to say that that running coach, the ultra running coach certification is outperforming.

Jason Koop (23:00):

The, the normal run certification is actually kind of, kind of mind blowing. Um, I forgot where I was going with that, but, uh, but anyway, um, the, the, this, if I can create a work that improves the training of athletes and improves the coaching of coaches that are working with athletes, I think I’ve kind of done my job. You know, I’ve left things better than I found ’em. And even when I look at it through a, a strict business lens, like I just look at it through, Hey, listen, I’m a coach. You know, I manage a bunch of coaches. Coaching is my business. I get paycheck every, you know, every month because of coaching and all that other stuff, I I’ve always, I’ve always ha had this principle that good coaching is good for coaching. Meaning if athletes are training correctly and coaches are doing the right thing, that’s good for the whole ecosystem.

Jason Koop (23:54):

And that’s good for me. That’s good for all the other coaches out there rising tide, you know, raises all ships and all those other, you know, cliches that you want to throw at it. And so I’m happy to divulge whatever I have learned over the course of my coaching careers to help, to help others, regardless of whether they, they work with us or not. Because if an athlete has a good experience, irrespective of the coach that they’re working with, they’re more likely to recommend coaching to a friend, whether or not it’s that coach or another coach or whatever, but the opposite is also true. Bad coaching is bad for the ecosystem of coaching. And this is kinda one of the things that I hammer home on a, a, a lot when I’m kind of out in the, when I’m out in the space, is that when I see bad coaching practices, I look at, I look at that even when it’s from somebody outside of our coach group, I look at that as detrimental to the whole coaching ecosystem.

Jason Koop (24:49):

Cuz once again, those athletes have the experience of, Hey, my coach didn’t respond to my email or I got hurt or, you know, they made this kind of mistake or kind of whatever, then there’s not there. Then there’s a lack of trust throughout the all throughout kind of like all of the coaches, it’s not as you WIC QS as, you know, normal like hospitality industry or kind of something like that, where you can kind of switch from one to the other. And so, yeah, I mean to, to, to the training secrets, I’m glad that they’re out there. You know, a, they’re not a secret, but B if it helps anybody, whether it’s an athlete or coach that’s, that’s out there. Great. I think it, if it’s good, if it’s good for one, it’s gonna be good for the Gand. And if anything, if it, if it helps raise the awareness around coaching in, in ultra marathon, great, we’re all gonna be a whole lot better off.

Jason Koop (25:35):

And that wasn’t always the case. I mean, there’s a, there’s a section in the, kind of the pre-law or chapter one of the book, and this is an honest to God truthful story. I’m not exaggerating it by any. He means were in the early two thousands. I went around to all the elite ultra runners and I got laughed at all those meetings. Every single one of ’em, you know, coaching is not for elite, you know, ultra marathons. It doesn’t really belong in the sport. I’m just gonna run a bunch of miles. And you know, most of those people are outta the sport right now. Let’s put it that way. Um, but uh, to, to see that tide change, it doesn’t happen a, it doesn’t happen over now. I, but B it does. It also doesn’t happen if you have, uh, or it only happens if you have good and efficacious training practices kind of around it. And now, you know, you look at the landscape and it’s a common practice. Yeah. Not every elite athlete has a coach, but it’s a common practice and it’s accepted. And people don’t like, look at me sideways when I mention it to him and things like that. So it’s been neat to see that, uh, kind of, kind of evolve as well. And once again, that’s all a byproduct of not having any secrets or anything like that, and wanting to kind of share all this information out there in, in whatever way I can.

Corrine Malcolm (26:44):

Yeah. And I’ve always chuckled when people are like, aren’t you giving away all your secrets? I’m like, it’s science. Yeah. Secrets. They’re not secrets like they’re, this is published information. Um, which I think is also very interesting about the book. And this was maybe the most stressful part of the entire process for me, but the book had two different, very, very, very smart individuals. <laugh> do kind of like a scientific edit of the entire book and you know exactly why I was so nervous about this because I had to go through every single comment on every single word I wrote. And sometimes I said, yes, this is a good change to make. And sometimes I pushed back on it cause I was like, no, no, no, this is what I intended to write. Um, but can you tell the listeners a little bit about that process? Cause I think it’s, I think it’s unique. I think that it, it brings some credibility, more credibility even to the material opportunity.

Jason Koop (27:34):

Yeah. Well let, let me kinda like back up a little bit, cuz this doesn’t happen without the story that, that sets it up and I’m not gonna get too far into it, but I, I do think it’s kind of material. So in the, in the first edition of the book, I wanted the exact same thing. I wanted some level of scientific scrutiny applied to it and there there’s a realistic budget constraint around this. I mean, let’s, you know, this is not David Goggins, we’re not selling, you know, millions of coffees of this thing. And so there, and so that scientific content I really had to cajole out of, uh, two, two people that I’m very, that I’m very fortunate that would lend, uh, lend some of their expertise. And that’s Roger CRO. Uh, one of my old biomechanics professors is that’s at the university of Colorado Boulder and one of the most foremost, uh, biomechanists in the entire world and former Western states, medical director, Marty Hoffman and, and they very, very graciously donated their time to very limited sections of the book.

Jason Koop (28:27):

Very, very limited sections of the book. And when, uh, and so when COVID hit, I had the opportunity to essentially acquire the rights to, to, to self-publish it. And I, and, and I did so, and we, we can talk about that at the end of this, if that’s a relevant topic or not, but the salient point for, for, for this conversation to kind of gave me more flexibility to kind to do what I wanted to do. And one of the, and one of the things that I really wanted to do was I wanted to bring more scientific scrutiny to the book a because I know more eyes would be on it and, and, and with more eyes comes more scrutiny, but B I wanted to be intellectually honest with myself in terms of, of the way that I was presenting the scientific literature, because what we do as coaches is we always look at the scientific literature and we’re when we’re forming best practices from it.

Jason Koop (29:18):

And there’s two steps in that process. There’s coming up with the right interpretation of what the literature is actually telling you. And that is not just as simple as reading the con illusions, right? Which is what a lot of what a lot of people wanna do. It’s making sure you understand the methods and the entirety of the paper and what it’s actually telling you. And then it’s taking those results and taking those conclusions and then actually making sense out of ’em and saying, okay, this is what we’re gonna do with an athlete. So that two step process, it happens, you know, a hundred thousand times within the book, right? It’s constantly citing scientific literature and best practice and trying to alchemize those, those two variables. And so I wanted to bring a greater degree of scientific scrutiny to the, to the table to make sure that at a, I was representing the sign correctly and B I was translating that science into actual practice correctly.

Jason Koop (30:06):

And so I wanted people that not only understood the science very well, but also were athletes themselves and, or coaches themselves that could make that second, that could make that second translation. So it wasn’t a strict like academic review, I guess, is what I’m, what I’m trying to get at. And so I brought in Stephanie, how, uh, and Nick Taylor, both PhDs, both fantastic, both well respected ultra runners and their own rights. Stephanie’s obviously won, won Western states. And Nick’s marathon Daab is in is, uh, a, uh, contributor to scientific Inquirer. He’s very skeptic or no wait, scientific skeptical, God, danging, I’m gonna screw the, the name of this magazine up Karen Lincoln and the show notes. Uh, but anyway, his, his, his like marque, uh, his, his marque publication is, uh, the sports skeptics guide or the skeptics guide to sports science. That’s I got the title right there.

Jason Koop (30:57):

It’s it’s, it’s a very, it’s brilliant. Yeah, it’s a very, very good. So anyway, I had both of them separate you pour through the entirety of the manuscript and yeah. I mean, that’s a, nerve-wracking very humbling process. And at the end of the day, you’ve gotta own the content, right? Cor you just mentioned, you’ve gotta go through the edits and it’s, it’s your voice. You gotta own, what’s ultimately in there, you’re gonna either take the advice or not take the advice, but to bring that level of sign scientific, scru scientific, and practical scrutiny to the, to, uh, to the book, I, I can’t express how much that raised the level of the content itself, but also my confidence in the content. And I, I know my confidence in the content is kind of like near neither here nor there listeners, but you really never know if what you’re putting out there is worth a darn unless you bring smarter people into the room to scrutinize it.

Jason Koop (31:53):

And so we certainly did that with, with, uh, with step, with, with step and Nick ed. Yeah. I mean, I, I think it’s, I think it’s cool. I mean, I don’t know a lot of, you know, not a lot of books out there like this at all, but there’s not a lot of even material, you know? I mean, you, you publish for, you know, I run far, you’re not putting out there scientific scrutiny on every single on every single article. They’re still very good, but it doesn’t have a level of scientific scrutiny that we could kind of bring to the book. So, yeah, it’s cool. And I, I can say that for, from where the book started before they got it to where it en where they ended up, there were a lot of material differences where I looked at something differently and said, okay, I’m gonna change the way that I explain this, or I’m gonna bring in this other reference over here, or, you know what I didn’t think about this angle, let me reword this, this one section, it made a tremendous, tremendous, uh, uh, positive POS positive impact on the, on the final product.

Jason Koop (32:50):

And I think that, I think it comes through, even if you wouldn’t have had known that it went through those two, uh, people to review. I, I think people will pick that up just, just because of the level of accuracy of a lot of the, uh, of a lot of, a lot of the content, it’s it it’s, it’s, I’ve heard from several people that it’s very apparent that it went through that type of scrutiny.

Corrine Malcolm (33:12):

Yeah. I mean, it was like the, it felt like extreme fact checking in a lot of ways and it was, it was really good. It was really good to be like, am I reading this? Am I, am I putting out what is some something that makes sense to a wide audience, but is still accurate? Because sometimes when you’re trying to explain things in a way to a broad, a, a broad, very intelligent, but still lay audience when things are super sciencey and jargon heavy, sometimes it can get lost in translation. So trying to, to bridge the gap there and make sure what you’re saying is still accurate. And then have people who also, you know, can, can see both sides of that. I thought that was very like for me and for my own writing, that was very beneficial to make sure that it was scientifically factual while still being understandable. And so that was rare

Jason Koop (33:57):

Combos to have, I, I would say in the entirety of the space, I mean, current you, I, people for podcasts and I interview people for podcasts as well. It there’s a huge spectrum of people in the scientific community in terms of their, their ability to communicate their, their research. It’s their domain experts on to the lay public. They all know their stuff, but that communication piece, that set piece that I was talking about earlier, that that part is a little bit, that part is a little bit more rare. They make for the better podcast interviews in the first part, all their research is valuable, but it’s very, very difficult to find those people that can understand the scientific side of it to the 99th percent of, you know, of, of, of, of the best people that do it in the world. And then also be able to, to understand how to communicate that to a broader audience. Those are, those are rare, rare skill sets and Steph and, and Nick just happened, just happened to have those. And like I said, I’m very fortunate to bring them on board.

Corrine Malcolm (34:56):

Yeah. And then in part, because of inquiring the rights to self-publish and, and speaking of Steph and Nick, they were also involved in what I think might be one of the coolest parts besides it being in hard cover as well as, as in paperback is the audio book that has also been released. And not only is that great for, we actually had one of my former athletes reads reach out, who’s a visually impaired runner saying like, thank you so much. Like it’s so rare that we get technical writing in an audio format. I can’t read books anymore. Um, this is, this is a gift like, this is so cool to have. And so which I like yeah, that hadn’t occurred to me when we were recording the audio book at all. And to be able to reach that audience, I think is very, very special.

Corrine Malcolm (35:37):

Um, but in, in it, like, again, in, in like acquiring the rights, you got to do some fun stuff, including recording an audio book. Um, and you, and it’s not just Jason droning on reading it, you know, reading it from start, you know, cover to cover. You did something really cool. And we kind of said, oh, it’s David Goggin’s que was kind of the, the, the, like how we brainstormed it. Tell, tell us, tell people who haven’t maybe listened to it yet, or who are skeptical of listening to a book of this format in as an audio book. Like what, what is, what does the final product look like and how

Jason Koop (36:14):

Is it first off? It wasn’t that fun to record? Oh, it was, it was a neat project, but it was definitely one that caused me a lot of gray hairs. And I’ll, I’ll tell everybody why in a second, but before I get into that, anybody out there who is a visually impaired runner or anybody that knows a visually impaired runner, the audio book is on me. So contact me, contact Karin. I’m very readily available through all social media channels. I’ll give you a code to get the Audi, uh, to get the audio book in whatever format you’re gonna, uh, uh, you’re gonna consume it in. I would just love for you to have it because I do realize just as you mentioned, Craig, how, how scarce those resources are. And I want to get it out to as many, uh, as many athletes as I can.

Jason Koop (36:53):

So let me, let me just state that from the onset. Um, the, the book was something that pretty much, not pretty much everybody, everybody tried to dissuade me from doing it. And, and once again, I, I started this book under kind of the VE press pocket, outdoor media umbrella. And I finished this book underneath my own umbrella, and I have tons of friends in the, you know, publishing industry and things like that. EV every single one of a, him not only told me not to do it, they told me it was a terrible idea <laugh> to, for whatever reason. Um, I just had this wild hair up my that I wanted to do it. And the thing that kicked me over the edge was my light friend, David Clark, who he SA, I asked him, cuz he’s recorded several of his own audio books, which are more personal memoirs, not training books.

Jason Koop (37:39):

And he said, dude, just do it, just do it. And you know, you’re, you might lose a little bit of money on it at the end of the day, but you at least you’ll know you’ve actually done it. And you know, I, so the audio book in the book is dedicated to him and, uh, I recorded it in the same studio that he recorded his final audio book in like literally two week before he passed away was kind of a surreal experience. But I knew that I couldn’t just read the text cuz it’s too boring and I’m not a good reader. Like those two things. Like it’s just, it’s just fact, right. I don’t, you know, yeah. Reading is hard.

Corrine Malcolm (38:15):

Reading is very hard, it turns out.

Jason Koop (38:17):

Um, but so in order toe ants, the audio book, I kind of, I had, I had two requirements. The first of which was relatively easy as I just wanted to create a digital packet and I wanted to make all the figures and all the tables freely available to the people that purchased the audio book because it is a very visual book and somebody listening to it. If I refer to table 2.1 and it’s the only way that I can really describe, you know, what’s going on is visually, I want them to be able to like download a copy and kind of actually be able to, uh, to, to look at it. And so that part is easy audible in like within the audible app actually has a really cool way of, of accessing uh, uh, the PDF where you don’t even have to do anything.

Jason Koop (38:59):

You just can kind of get right outta that screen and look at whatever, whatever is right there. But the second one was a little bit more of a flyer and it was absolute, absolutely influenced by David, uh, Goggins, uh, book can’t hurt me where he was the first one that I really think that, that even did this period where he brought in these interviews with him and the person who’s narrating the book to, to bring some of the more colorful stories, um, to, uh, to life. And I wanted to use that style to bring some of the reading to life. And so I brought in some of the very influential sports scientists and coaches and practitioners to which I was referencing their work anyway. Right. I was talking like Steven Siler, right? I mean, I referenced his work. There’s probably 30, 30 of his papers, uh, uh, in the book.

Jason Koop (39:50):

And so it made all the sense in the world to bring somebody like him in to talk about that and to bring some of work that I was referencing to light. It has the additional effect of just breaking up the read because it’s boring. I mean, it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s not, it’s not the most con it’s not storytelling, right. And you need, you need breaks every once in a while. And the read to, to, to kind of just spice things up. And so practically if nobody’s listened to it, what happens is about once a chapter, usually towards the end of the chapter or something like that, we’re bringing in a domain expert for about a 15 minute interview to talk about what ju what just transpired during the book and how to bring it to life and in your own training and how to, and how to bring, uh, and how to bring that content, uh, uh, to a little bit more of a practical level.

Jason Koop (40:37):

And the people range the gamut from all your stereotypical sports scientists to obviously you KA, uh, we’ve got some of our coaches, uh, in, in there as well. I’ve got a couple of my athletes in there that kind of bring some of their, uh, some of their training and then what we’ve done to, uh, to light as well. And I, I, I, I did the quality control of the book while I was driving back from the Pacific crest trail. And it wasn’t until I heard it in its entirety all 17 hours worth or however long it is to where I like, kind of figured out how it all, how it pulled together very, very nicely. And a little bit of that is just lock that, that kind of worked out like that. But a lot of that is the, uh, audio engineer that I was working with up in Boulder.

Jason Koop (41:21):

So shout out to two V levy who, who was very gracious with his, uh, uh, with his, uh, with his time in his studio and, and helping me kind of figure out how to piece all of these different parts together. And also, uh, to Jim Rutberg, who is a co-author, who I made sit virtually in the studio with me for all. I think we racked up like 80 hours of recording time or something like that for all 80 hours. And we were literally a lot of the, the, we changed a lot of the way the, the read actually really came out in real time, because a lot of times when you’re reading it, you’re like, ah, this just sounds stupid when I say it out loud, it’s correct. Right. It’s correct. As written. And so we would go through that and he very painstakingly listened through all that, just to make sure that, that, that, that everything that we were trying to communicate actually did get communicated.

Jason Koop (42:11):

So I’m, I’m super stoked about the audio book. I’ve had a number of people already reach out to me that have, that have both the audio book and the physical book, and they’re kind of using it as a companion to like reference each other. Yeah. So cool. Uh, I’m, I’m, I’m stoked about it and it’s, it’s, it’s doing very, very well, you know, it’s one of those things I thought, you know, it’s sell like a hundred copies and it’s, so’s like, so white more than that. So I’m, I’m psyched about it. And I think it turned out really well.

Corrine Malcolm (42:38):

Yeah. It was books like this were listed alongside cookbooks and picture books, as things you should not record as an audio book. So I’m hoping that we, uh, we kick that, uh, kick that trend. But I also think that that’s a great, um, a great shout out point too, is that the, the digital packet that you can access with the audio book and all the graphs that are throughout the book, all the visuals throughout the book are done by one of your athletes. One of my teammates and really good friends, Abby hall, and she brought some really terrible scribbles to life, um, which is amazing. Like I think it, it, having now flipped the, through the new book once getting to see that all layout and to see the book in color and to see the graphs in color. Um, you know, I think that was another really cool part of self-publishing was that to have the flexibility, to do that and to have Abby involved in that process, I think was very, very cool. You you’ve got, um, people can’t see this it’s obvious of people are listening to this, but you’ve got her, uh, one of her jerseys on the wall behind you. So very cool to

Jason Koop (43:40):

Have her. Yeah. She was great as well. And she took every manner of early phase illustration that you and I had Corrin, whether there were scribbles on a notebook, or I had sent stuff from my whiteboard to I’d screenshot things from, you know, the scientific alert literature you can imagine. I, I, I told her from the onset, I’m like, listen, I’m not an illustrator. I’m gonna hook stuff over the fence to you, you know, running, you were a great illustrator. You figure out how to make it look pretty. Like you just do like do your thing. And she did the whole thing from the color palette, which is, I’m really stoked about to the interior layout. She did a all of that. And she even did this really cool thing where there’s a lot of these like Easter eggs in the book, kind of starting with a cover.

Jason Koop (44:24):

So if somebody can figure out, you know, what the Easter egg is on the cover, I’ll figure out a prize. Yeah. Those calves, those calves give it away. I’ll give, I’ll give you a prize. But the, the, the chapters are kind of demarked by Topo maps that have a certain color treatment to it. And they’re all Topo maps of iconic courses. But you have to kinda look at ’em to find a feature that you might know having run that force. So it, you know, it’s just like little, yeah. It’s just cool stuff like that, that I think is, you know, at the end of the day, it’s a training book and that’s what people are gonna kind of come to it for. But when you bring all these other elements in it, you know, that everybody involved from myself to you, Rudy, the illustrator and even the editors and the, you know, poor cat who I had to do the index, they’re all vested in the project. Right. And it comes out in the way that the content is all is all, is all tied together.

Corrine Malcolm (45:24):

Yeah. It’s, I, I think we all had a mega sigh of relief when we found out it was finally approved and, and getting released on Amazon. Yeah. Not an easy process, right. It, it was not an easy process, but it’s happened. It’s out there. Many of you have it in hand already. And I think to kind of close out the show, um, I know that I have found, this was a question I got asked recently that this year I produced a lot of content. I talked about running a lot. I wrote about running a lot. I, um, you know, it, it, it was all consuming and inundating in a lot of ways. And so I’m wondering through that process of, of producing a lot of content yourself, what is something that you’ve recently consumed, either reading, watching, or listening outside of your own book or your own writing or your own podcast that has brought you joy and that the listeners might enjoy

Jason Koop (46:16):

Right. Outta the gate. I just kind of I’ve finished. Most of it just recently is Kate Bennett’s book, uh, treating athletes with eating disorders. This is something that I’ve wanted this for 20 years. I mean, ever since I became a coach, I I’ve had an athlete that has been suffering with an eating disorder. And I, I, I, it’s something that I stumble around. I can’t even articulate, you know, how, you know, how, how difficult that’s kind of been for me to navigate as a coach and to have a manual written by somebody who not only has clinical experience, but also practical experie as an athlete that can tie together the, the, the clinical and the, and the practical and the, the practitioner, our worlds was is just something that I really, I just so desperately wanted for so long. And I finally got it. That’s the first one.

Jason Koop (47:03):

And then the second one, I’m looking back at my bookshelf right now. Where is it? It’s, uh, concurrent strength, training and endurance training. It’s by that group, the group at a Norway. Um, God, I can’t see it right now. Anyway, those yeah. Notes link it in the show. That was a really good one that it’s, uh, uh, it’s not quite as recent from a publication, uh, standpoint, but from me actually digging into it, it’s, uh, it, it, it’s certainly more, uh, it’s certainly more. Oh, and then the other one was, um, hold on one second. I’m gonna go get it. It’s this one. Speaking of dogeared pages and whatnot, it’s a endurance performance and sport, the psych logical theory and interventions. Once again, it’s a, it’s a sports psychology book that I wish I would’ve had 20 years ago. And, you know, the, the podcast listeners can’t see this, but there’s probably a hundred different pink and green sticky notes throughout this, throughout this entire thing. This is one that I actually dug into to get the mental skills chapter really, really hon down. And, and since I got that down, I took another, I took another breeze there recently, and it’s, it’s very, very good. And I’m a better I’m, I’m, I’m a much better coach having consumed that content afterwards as a good book.

Corrine Malcolm (48:26):

Amazing. Well, we will leave our listeners there. Thank you much for making time to join me today, but everyone else should stick around because we’re going to, uh, give you a little, listen into some clips from the audio book to hopefully, uh, encourage you to maybe go download that as well.

Corrine Malcolm (48:45):

It’s always a pleasure to sit down and have a conversation with Jason. And I think I too will continue to follow the theme of zooming out in 2022, both personally, and with my athletes as promised. The next clip you are about to hear is from the audiobook version of training essentials for ultra running. The second edition, this specific clip is from chapter five and gives you a little taste of how we used interviews to explore specific topics throughout the book, breaking up those chapters. The clip includes a segment with Walter, um, who gamer, whose name might sound familiar and it’s hard to pronounce. Um, but he’s a brilliant biomechanist who has worked on most of the carbon plated shoe research, including the breaking two project. We hope you enjoy.

Jason Koop (49:27):

I know this is a big, complicated topic, but can we generally summarize what is fundamentally different between running on flat level, train uphill, running downhill, running and hiking?

Speaker 4 (49:42):

Yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting question. I think mechanically the easiest way to think about it is that running is, is just bouncing around, um, on the level. So we’re running, we’re just bouncing, bouncing. Um, but then when we go uphill, you need to, uh, you need to gain that, that elevation, right? So you need to push off forward way more. Um, so that that’s a big difference where we need to put energy, um, into, um, our running movement by, by driving ourselves full, which is along the slope up the hill. And then for the downhill part, it’s kind of the opposite. We have gravitation on our side. Um, but if we just go with it, um, we, we starting to, uh, run faster than we can keep up with. So for the downhill running, it, it, it is more abs absorbing, uh, the energy. So every time you place your foot, you need to slow yourself down a bit.

Speaker 4 (50:36):

But at the same time, we’re running here a race often, so we don’t wanna slow ourselves down too much. And then, uh, the big difference between walking is basically the time that you spend on the ground. So when we’re hiking up hill, um, we’re no longer bouncing. We no longer have a short period of time, but we can produce a lot of force, but we can take our time and we can go through a larger range of motion at a slower rate. And, um, that at the level of the muscles is also totally different, um, than what we see in running. So those are the, the big differences between those four modes.


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