Podcast 013 – Mike Smith Interview

Mike Smith is a good friend and one of the biggest influences on my coaching.  Obviously you can go straight to the podcast and learn from him, but you might want to read this article he wrote for USATF on the concept of Building a Better Runner first, an article I’ve read and re-read many times.

He has worked with Olympians, NCAA DI Champions and NCAA DI record holders.  He also is one of the current instructors for USATF Level II Endurance.

Mike is the brains behind the Building a Better Runner series from RunningDVDs.com.

As always, you can listen to this podcast via iTunes.

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  • Travis Floeck

    Jay, loved this interview. Thank you. I downloaded it on itunes and love that you included that section after you initially signed out, some good stuff then also. Going to a coaching clinic tomorrow that I wish you could be at sometime. The JA Summit in Oregon put on by Chris Johnson, taking the idea that most of the best discussions at clinics are in the bar afterwards. Trying to re-create that environment with a two day roundtable discussion. Fortunately we’ve been able to collect some of the best coaches in the state for a great think tank. Anyway, thanks to you and Mike for this, great stuff.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Thanks for the kind words Travis. Chris and I actually had a nice email exchange before the holidays. Great guy.

    Would love to attend that clinic sometime – sounds fantastic. And I agree that much of the move valuable time at a clinic is spent outside of the lecture hall.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamKedge Coach Kedge

    Mike and Jay,

    Three quotes stick out to me in particular; 1) “sit and watch stuff happen”, 2) “I’m a good theif”, and 3) The Kenyans, “they’re desperate”. To all, this pod-cast is a must listen just to get these three quotes in context. Thanks for the info. No questions, just two comments tied together-

    I like how Mike reduces a large part of his job down to finding ways to increase work capacity in is athletes, yet still views them as athletes and not machines.

    As a coach of high-schoolers I find that my job is the precursor to yours… not in laying the foundation of increased work capacity, rather: How do I increase the DESIRE for any form of work capacity? I have 4 or 5 kids (2 of my very own) that are on board rip-roaring ready to go, then many, many more that still feel 3 days a week of 3 – 4 miles a day IS off-season trianing. That is, if it is warm out, if I don’t have someplace to go, …if, if, if… to them the 60 seconds of distance run in the IF poem seems to be taken literally. The magic will always lie in how bridge the gap between the unrestrained joy of youthful movement of a 6 year old that you touch on and the seriousness of purpose of a committed K-State type of athlete. If I can tap into that mine “is the Earth and everything that is in it.” Everyday I work to get one more kid out on the trail. I hope to see a new one out there today.

    I don’t long for Mike’s or anyone else’s job, I just long that I was better at mine. That is why I listen. Thanks for the great pod-cast. Mucho, mucho, informative!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KRIXL7URWLJ2LBS4IM4R3EHREA Matthew

    Prof Johnson — great podcast. I love hearing people’s stories, and lessons they’ve learned / things they wish they had known in the past. Related, this was an enjoyable book: http://www.amazon.com/Running-Kenyans-Passion-Adventure-Secrets/dp/0345528794

  • thomas_t

    This is an awesome post! Though I have my problems with Kipling (he is sort of the Mel Gibson of turn of the century British Literature–you might admire some of his work, “If” “The Law of the Jungle”–but his personal beliefs get in the way (“White Man’s Burden”) I love Coach Kedge’s reading of it. Inspiring.

    I think unrestrained 6 year-old Johnny-Football joy is key. I love the lunge matrix and invisible mini-bands (what we call lateral lunges) ABC’s and Silly Walks, however, I think they can be come mindless–at least to some high schools whose motivation to change is probably at a different level than the athlete’s Mike works with.

    Over break I came across a great blog post (blog.strongteam.com) by Alan Stein that talked about motivating athletes. One of his points was about perceived relevance–that athletes need to know why they are doing something to want to do it. Unfortunately, it seems that injury prevention isn’t always enough motivation in itself. Some people have to wind up in a boot to be motivated to do the little things right. For others even that is not enough. (And of course there are the others who will do everything right initially). Another factor was to be innovative because boredom leads to demotivation.

    Which leads me to Vern Gambetta who I was lucky enough to see at a conference recently. In his presentations he talked about exercises being FUNdamental (emphasis on Fun and Mental) and about presenting movement problems to solve, i.e. using BOSU balls and partially deflated leather med balls as “stepping stones” to hop back and forth on. As I go forward, I know I am going to use a lot of those ideas that Jay and Mike have shared while looking for ways that I can elaborate on them to help bridge the gap Coach Kedge talks about and hopefully find a little magic along the way.

    Also loved Mike’s quote in the last 10 minutes or so about how part of excellence is work ethic. You are always going to have those A+ kids who are going to go the whole 9 yards every day. I guess the art is finding ways to reach the kids who you aren’t reaching initially.

    P.S. did any one else catch the Monty Python/Spanish Inquisition moment where Mike was like “Our two principle tools are…our three principle tools are…”?

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