Running Speed Secrets from the World’s Fastest (Older) Man

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 102 with Allan Tissenbaum

Allan Tissenbaum, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Tissenbaum brings a high level of experience and skill to The Orthopedic Group, addressing all orthopedic issues from fractures to total joints. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physiology from McGill University in Montreal and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from York University in Ontario.

He completed his medical degree at McGill University, where he also served his orthopedic residency and fellowship in orthopedic sports medicine. Certified in orthopedic sports medicine, Dr. Tissenbaum has treated athletes at the high school, college and professional levels, including members of the Montreal Canadians and Expos.

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement where Allan Tissenbaum shares running speed secrets as the world’s fastest (older) man.

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:
• Why sprinters must harness their genetics to become an even better runner.
• How no one has the answer to when steroids stop enhancing performance.
• Why runners need to wait for their energy to replenish to perform at their peak.
• How strength is incredibly important for all different types of runners.
• How to do plyometric exercises while you’re walking up the stairs.

Connect with Allan:
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Website:
theorthopedicgroup.com

Connect with Steven:
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Xeroshoes.com
Jointhemovementmovement.com
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facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

Wait, I don’t want to say that. I don’t want to say that. I don’t want to say that. Yeah, I don’t want to do that here. Okay. If you’ve been following The MOVEMENT Movement Podcast, you know every now and then I talk about the fact that I’m an All-American Master, one of the fastest guys in my age group, but today, we’re going to be talking to someone who smokes me.

 

We’re going to talk about what it takes to be an older athlete and whether you’re interested in running, what it takes to run a little faster, be a little healthier, and many, many other things on today’s episode of The MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body, usually, starting feet first because those things are your foundation.

 

We break down the propaganda, the mythology, sometimes the outright lies that you’ve been told about what it takes to run or walk or hike or play or do yoga or CrossFit, whatever it is you’d like to do and to do that enjoyably, efficiently. Did I mention enjoyably? I know I did. That was a trick question. Because look, if you’re not having fun, just do something different until you are. You’re not going to keep it up if you’re not having fun anyway. So, why bother wasting your time with it? I’m Steven Sashen from XeroShoes.com, your host of The MOVEMENT Movement Podcast. We call it The MOVEMENT Movement, because we are creating a movement that involves you, really easy, doesn’t cost anything, more in a second, about natural movement.

 

We’re helping people rediscover that using your body the way it’s meant to be used is the better, obvious, healthy choice, just the way we think about natural food. The part that involves you is really simple. Go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. You’ll find all the previous episodes. You’ll find all the ways you can interact with the podcast.

 

When you do that, like and share and review and give us a thumbs up, hit the bell on YouTube to hear about upcoming episodes, subscribe to hear about upcoming episodes, things like that. Basically, you know the deal. If you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. So, let’s get started. Allan, I like not giving people intro, so I can hear what they say about themselves. Tell people who the hell you are and what you do.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Pardon me a little bit, bad allergies today. Grass is really bad in Pittsburgh right now. I’m an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in sports medicine, been practicing for 30 years. But more important to this part of the conversation, I reactivated my track and field career at the ripe old age of 39 and began running Masters track again.

Steven Sashen:

But there’s more to it than that. You’re not just an average runner as I hinted just moments ago. Please.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I started running a 39. I didn’t know anything about Masters track. I didn’t realize it’s a bad time to enter an age group at the end of the cycle as the cycle is 35 to 39. The first race I ran, I was 39 and 11 months and a few days and change. I won the nationals, which was not normally what happens.

Steven Sashen:

Let’s just pause there. Let’s just pause. You decided to get back into sprinting at 39. For me, it was 45. I mean was that literally your first race when you got back into track?

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I decided in the fall of that fall before I ran. Like everybody else, I went too fast, too hard, tore my hamstring, had a hamstring tear, settled down for a couple months, raced in February once, and then went to nationals in March.

Steven Sashen:

So, for all practical purposes, your third race, you won nationals.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Correct. Yes.

Steven Sashen:

Yes. So, I’m going to ask a specific question about that in a second, but that is not your only claim to fame. Please continue. Again, don’t be shy. There’s not a whole lot of us Master sprinters to begin with. To hear from someone who’s at the top of the game is very entertaining. So, hit me. Come on.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I only ran. I sprinted for a couple years in college. I went to college at McGill in Montreal. There was no outdoor track season. So, we ran two years indoors. And then following that, I moved to Toronto for a year. I studied in York University, but I really was there to run track, because people realized what was happening in the early ’80s, York University, that was a home of Charlie Francis. So, I ran with the Canadian national team for a year. It was a team that I was still running and then did that for a year, doing my master’s, was invited to try out for the Canadian bobsleigh team, made that team, did that for a year, and then went to medical school. So, that’s my background in a nutshell.

Steven Sashen:

So that’s the background part. For people who don’t know, Charlie Francis was one of the best sprinting coaches of all time. He coached Ben Johnson. There’s an amazing book called Speed Trap about Ben Johnson and Charlie Francis. Well, someone wrote it with Charlie about that era and Ben Johnson testing positive for steroids. Basically, a lot of his training and testing positive in Seoul and the reality behind that which is totally not what people think and a very, very interesting story. I mean, Charlie rather, phenomenal, phenomenal coach. So, yeah, just as a history part for that. But then when you got back at a Masters track, so other than winning nationals in your third race, please hit me, some of the other claims to fame post that one.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I’ve won nationals. I’m not sure how many times. At least once every five or age group, since I’m 39, I’m now 61, I’ve won the World Championships a number of times. I have five gold World Championships. But like all other Masters sprinters and probably more than some, I’ve had more than my fair share of injuries, serious hamstring injuries where I’ve torn the tendon right off. I’ve done that twice in the last eight years. I’ve had back surgery as a result of my training. I ended up having shoulder surgery as a result of my hamstring injury. That’s what I do. That’s what I take care of. I take care of this stuff. So, it’s a double edged sword. I’m the worst patient and the best client at the same time.

Steven Sashen:

I was going to say you put a couple of people’s kids through college.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Actually, truly, not really, because I don’t really follow my advice. I try to amend stuff. I’m not always doing what’s best for myself.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, so this is not a ringing endorsement for Masters track to hear about one injury after another and one surgery after another. But the fact that even through that and with that, you continue to perform at the highest level that one can think about. This raises the obvious question of nature versus nurture. When I went to the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Finland, this is 12 years ago, I asked this question to all the 85+ people. It’s like nature or nurture, genetics or training. Before I tell you what their answer was, how do you think about that?

Allan Tissenbaum:

I think there’s a combination of both. I think you’re born fast. You can become faster, but you never come fast. But everyone can make themselves better with the limit of what their body can do. So, there’s a strong nature part. There’s certainly nurture part. It is a combination. There’s certain people that are never going to be very, very fast, but they got to get faster. There’s certain people that are fast that will never get faster. They certainly have to be fast to start with or begin to be a sprinter.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a former Olympic who’s a hurdling champion, Ralph Mann. Ralph wrote a book about sprinting technique and he talks about what it takes to be a sprinter. He says there’s eight qualities, eight characteristics of being a sprinter. The first seven are genetic, and the eighth is how well you maximize your genetics.

Allan Tissenbaum:

I would have to agree with that. Believe me, I see that on a professional level and high school level. Over the years, I’ve coached a lot of kids, mostly just my friend’s kids, my son, his friends. I know from the first second I meet the person, the child, whether they’ll be faster or not. Not only I can make it faster, but I can tell you right off the bat. My own daughter, good example, she used to come train with us. She was four or five years old. She would be able to jump single stairs, double stairs when she was six, seven years old. She ended up being a very fast, phenomenal athlete where there’s boys that were 10 years older than her that couldn’t do the same thing she was doing. She’s doing the five or six, which was just natural to her.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. So, if we’re going to talk about the genetic part, are there athletes in your family before you, parents, grandparents, et cetera?

Allan Tissenbaum:

I mean, I’m sure my mom’s athletic abilities were tamped a little bit. She was a Holocaust survivor. So, she really never had a chance to develop her athletic skill, but she was great. She still is. I mean, she was a runner. She ran marathons in her 40s, very good athlete, play tennis. But my dad was the athlete of the family. We grew up in Montreal. Growing up in Montreal in the ’40s and ’50s, everybody knew who my dad was just from basketball. He didn’t run or anything. He played basketball, played baseball, but he was a natural athlete. He’s a guy who took up golf at 35. He got down to a legit two handicap in country club course, the real courses and played internationally or nationally for his club.

Steven Sashen:

Well, so I’m going to use this as a way of making myself feel better about how much faster you are than I am. I’m a pretty fast guy, but for me, it skipped a generation. So, neither of my parents were in any way athletic. In fact, my sister who is a figure skater, both of us were wondering how we became athletes at all. I don’t know how she concluded or figured out the answer for herself. But for me, I think it was after I started sprinting and my parents were moving out of their house. My mom had her father’s high school yearbook and I was flipping through it. I got to his picture and it said gymnast. That was my first sport. I was an All-American gymnast. It’s like, “Okay. Well, now, it’s not so enigmatic and ridiculous and out of nowhere.” So that made me feel good.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yeah, there’s got to be some link. Doing it as a sport is so native. It’s not like a hand-eye sport. Sprinting is something you have in you. Think about baseball, you develop your hand-eye skill. You can develop other things, your foot skills like soccer, but you either can run fast or you can’t run fast.

Steven Sashen:

So, by the way to close the loop, when I asked all the 85-year-old-plus people, nature or nurture, they all have the exact same answer, which was its 100% genetics that I’m able to do this at this age and this training that I’m beating that guy over there. The other guy over there was saying the same thing, pointing the other direction. So, the who wins part is a whole different story. At that meet, it was in Finland and was so much fun. There was a guy who was 101 years old. He did the field events. So, he came out on his walker up to where he is going to do the shot put.

 

He puts the walker down, takes two steps. They hand him the shot. I don’t know. At that age, it weighs five pounds maybe. I have no idea. He throws it 10 feet and the crowd goes insane. Everybody wants to be that guy. For Masters Athletics, I’ll explain it for people who don’t know. It used to start at 35 and up and now they just dropped it down to 25, I heard the other night. Did you hear that?

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, yes and no. So, when I started, it was 40 and over, but there was Submasters, 35 to 39. That first meet I ran was not recognized internationally as Masters. Still for international stuff or World Championships, 35 is the youngest. In the US, we say 30 to 35 is considered Submasters now. They’re allowing 25 to 29-year-olds to compete, but they’re not true Masters. I think what the hope is we get some of these marginal people that want to train still at that age, but they’re not really international that they’ll keep going on and become Masters later on in life.

Steven Sashen:

It’s a really interesting thing. Well, first of all, let me back up. So, starts at whatever age we’re talking about now, 20, 25, 35, 40, whatever, but it does in five-year increments. So, 35 to 39, 40 to 44, et cetera, all the way up and all the way up. Yeah, they even keep going from 95+. They don’t give you a break from 90 over. My favorite thing is there’s very few guys in the 95+. I think everyone’s hope is that they just outlive all their competitors. So, that way, they’re guaranteed something when they get into their 90s.

Allan Tissenbaum:

There certainly is an attrition to Master’s track. I think that what my experience has been the peak for guys is 50 to 55, 55 to 59 and then dropping off again. At 50, 55, people had their families. They have more free time. And then after 59, they start dropping off for health issues, injury issues or whatever. That’s really the peak in terms of numbers.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, well, so I was going to say something else about the age group thing. I had a thought and totally lost it. It’s okay. Well, I think one of the reasons that people start dropping off after 59-ish is how well they’re performing. Speaking personally, what I noticed, so I haven’t really gotten to do much training since COVID. So, I had my first couple of races in the last few days. Happily, I’ve still got really good 50, 60-meter time, but my 100 is falling off a cliff. Now, I’m 59. I just turned 59. So, part of me is thinking, “I’ll be okay when I’m 60,” but another part of me is going, “Ayayayay, I might have to relegate myself to just be happy with good 50-meter times and 60-meter times.”

 

So, we shall see. I know what it was. The thing about encouraging people to stick around, most of the competitive athletes that I know, people who were highly ranked sprinters in college and beyond college, they dropped out because they’re just so damn tired. I mean, they’ve been working really, really hard. They don’t feel the urge to keep going when there isn’t the same benefit. There isn’t prize money, there isn’t sponsorship money, all those things as they get older.

 

Now, one exception to that. One of my friends and coaches is a guy named James Davis. James is a world champion 4 x 100 meter runner. I kept saying, “Come on, James. You should get into Masters. It’d be a lot of fun.” He’s like, “No, I don’t think so.” And then he discovered that his high school nemesis had the American record. Therefore, he goes, “I’m back.”

 

So, this is my favorite thing about master’s track is training is really hard and gets harder. There’s no benefits. Again, there’s no prize money. There’s no extrinsic benefits. We’re all ridiculously competitive for no good reason, but we’re old enough and mature enough to know that we’re complete boneheads for doing any of this for working that hard and being that competitive. So, when I meet someone on the track, it’s like having a secret handshake. It’s like, “Oh, you’re an idiot too? Welcome to the club. Pleasure to meet you.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

I have to agree with that. There is this fraternity for sure amongst us.

Steven Sashen:

I’ve never met anyone on the track that I haven’t adored. I mean, it’s a wonderful group of human beings, at least everyone that I’ve hung out with. I imagine actually, with the guys who are competitive with you, those top five, maybe a little different.

Allan Tissenbaum:

There are some differences. I mean, there’s always the hint of the PED thing is always lingering over the top of Masters, even Masters track.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, no, no, no, not a hint of. I mean, there’s no question about it. So, when I was in the Worlds, there’s a guy sitting next to me, I’m not going to mention his name for no apparent reason. My wife is sitting on the other side and she leans over and whispers, “Do you think he’s taking something?” Oh, my God. Yes. He was in his late 50s. He had perfect skin tone, ripped to shreds. He wins the 100. He wins the 200. They pull him for testing. He started screaming, “Oh, this is all racist.” I said to him, “Dude, 85% of the people here are Black just like you. It’s not racist.” So, he tests positive.

 

His story goes from, “No, I didn’t,” to “Someone doped me,” to “You can’t tell me what I can do with my body,” to “I spent a lot of money to be here. I should be able to do whatever I want.” His last line of defense was, “You’re telling me I can’t take Viagra to please my woman,” which is a good one because they didn’t test him for that. But for people who don’t know, it sounds crazy, Viagra is in theory, potentially performance enhancing drug for sprinters, because it’s a vasodilator. It gets more blood in your muscles, et cetera. So, not necessarily the one you want when you’re running, but that’s a whole different story.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, that individually you’re referring to, I feel personally responsible for him taking steroids, because I beat him all the time until he did that. All right.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting.

Allan Tissenbaum:

And then one year ago, all of a sudden, I was hurt. He beat me. And then next year, world records and stuff and we’re back to the same pattern of me beating him all the time again.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, it’s a very interesting thing. I don’t know how true it is in general for Masters athletes. Obviously, you can take steroids and go off the steroids, but you still have a lot of lingering benefits from having been on at all. Have you seen the same thing with Masters athletes?

Allan Tissenbaum:

I do believe so. I mean, what’s running is muscle memory, right? It’s also training. Like you were saying, you’re having trouble with your longer distances. Well, that’s speed endurance. If you can train harder, train longer, you’re going to have lingering effects. No one has an answer to when steroid effects stop working. I believe it works forever. I trained with Ben and I trained with those guys. I can tell you, anecdotally, I see what happens is they’d be running with us. We’d be close. Lifting weights are the same. Then they go away for a month in their training camp. I say, “training camp.”

 

They go far away, and they come back. All of a sudden, their performances were outrageously different, dropping two seconds at a 200 or three seconds at 300. I remember lifting weights with one of the guys, benching 135 for 10 or 15. He comes back a month later. He’s benching two and a quarter for 10 or 15. This stuff, there’s no doubt about it.

Steven Sashen:

Same thing. It definitely does something. A lot of people think all you have to do is take steroids and then that takes care of the rest. You’re going to get big, you’re going to get faster, you’re going to get lean. But A, it affects people differently. There’s a YouTuber who did a really great video that was essentially if you want to know how steroids will affect you, do a cycle and see, because not everyone is equally responsive. He’s a bodybuilder. So, I guess, here’s some bodybuilders who at 18 were skinny little whatever people, and then by 21, were monsters. And then there’s a bunch of other guys who at 18 were the same skinny people and took steroids. By the time they were 20, they were still fit but relatively skinny. So, that’s the thing with Ben backing up.

 

I’ll give away the punch line to Speed Trap is the steroids that he extensively tested positive for in Seoul. He says, “Oh, I didn’t take that one, because I took it two years ago and I didn’t like it. It didn’t work for me. It made me bigger and slower.” So, he was hyper responsive. Ben went from being a skinny guy to being a huge guy. So, it was very obvious what was going on, but the book is basically explaining A, everybody was doing it, and B, I didn’t do the thing that you said I did. He claimed that an American guy doped him. That guy in a 30 for 30 episode on ESPN was asked… He wouldn’t appear on camera but was asked, “Did you actually dope Ben like he says?” Do you know what his answer was?

Allan Tissenbaum:

I remember I saw this.

Steven Sashen:

He said, “Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yeah, I remember. He wasn’t definitive, one way or the other.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, that’s the closest thing to an admission of guilt I’ve ever heard in my life. I mean, maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. The answer is no if you didn’t. I mean, geez.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Truth be told with that, that story is everyone was guilty. They did something you might not have been doing, but he did have steroids in his body.

Steven Sashen:

Well, but then again, Carl Lewis was in that same race. He didn’t test positive for steroids. He tested positive for stimulants. Go ahead. Sorry.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Carl was suspended earlier that year. He was put on probation. USDA dropped him.

Steven Sashen:

Carl is one of those guys who I have no question that they put him on some steroids at some point. You can see it just didn’t have that same effect. He didn’t get big. It just didn’t affect him that way. So, for him, if anything’s going to work, it’s going to be stimulants, because the steroids clearly were not… He was not responsive to that is my guess.

Allan Tissenbaum:

The thing that was the sine qua non knowing that Carl was doing something was all of a sudden, wearing braces in your mid to late-20s. means your bones are changing. Your bones changed, because you have growth in your bones. That’s a side effect of steroids and growth hormone.

Steven Sashen:

That’s an interesting point. Yeah. Watching people’s heads grow when they take certain steroids is freaky.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Barry Bonds.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, no, he didn’t take anything. Come on.

Allan Tissenbaum:

His hat size changed when he’s a third.

Steven Sashen:

It’s pretty rare for your hat size to change. Oh, shit, I never thought about that. It’s priceless. Well, let’s bring this down for normal humans. First of all, I always think there’s a comment about how there’s a big confusion about what sprinting is at all. So, for example, I rail against fitness guys who talk about doing high intensity interval training. They say, “Well, just go out and sprint for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat that eight times.” I say, “If you’re really sprinting, you can do that two times and then you’re down for the count.” They go, “No, I just mean go all out.”

 

I go, “Yeah, I don’t get it. I don’t think you get it. If I go all out for 30 seconds and I rest for 30 seconds, I can crawl for the next 30 seconds, but I’m still sucking air like there’s no tomorrow.” I said, “You might be running as fast as you can, but you’re not sprinting, you’re doing a very different thing.” If you can either echo that or argue with that and just talk about the difference between running as fast as you can and sprinting.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, it’s all about energy sources. So, this is the way I think of us is our bodies are just cars, different gas for different fuel economies. So, if you’re running full out, you’ll use up your high test gas first if you’re doing that. Once you’ve used that up, you don’t have any more of that left. So, you get to go to a lesser graded gas, which is not based on ATP. It’s the enzymes we use and creatine, which is the other stuff that we have that we fire when we sprint. So, once that’s depleted, it doesn’t replenish in 30 seconds.

 

You start using secondary sources. You’re using different anaerobic system, more lactic acid. You start building up, using your aerobic system. So, you can’t possibly use the same energy systems repeatedly like that. Our bodies just aren’t made that way. So, yes, you might feel like you’re running all out, but you’re running all out at a very different level. You’re not running the same performance as your times are going to be different. You’re using a different energy system. So, it’s truly not a sprint. That’s a high intensity workout.

Steven Sashen:

I have a theory that high intensity interval training works for people who aren’t sprinters for that reason, because it really is stressing them more than they stressed before and pushing them to the limit of the energy systems they have access to, but it’s a completely different game, I mean, for high intensity intervals. That’s what you and I do. That’s our normal modus operandi.

Allan Tissenbaum:

We train those things differently. Why do we lift weights? We lift to weights because it gives a little testosterone boost and also stimulates those. Those high intensity workouts maximize your energy systems. That’s why we train the way we do. The one thing Charlie Francis taught, going back to again, Charlie Francis, because everyone still uses his theories and coaches that way. I remember, he was completely way ahead of the curve. Where 1982, our workout was 3 by 300. That was the whole workout, but we were 20 minutes between each one.

 

He wanted to replenish your ATP. He didn’t think of it. He didn’t know it’s an ATP system or a CPK system, creatine system. He knew that it was an energy system he had to replenish. You’d have to wait 20 minutes. Doing it again in 10 minutes or five minutes, speed endurance, it’s not pure speed. He wanted pure speed workouts. We’re going to have a full recovery week. Those guys would be there three, four hours doing a workout because he wanted quality.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, there was something else in reading Speed Trap that made me envious of the people who are really at the top of that game, because it was not only that they were waiting for all that time between bouts, but it was also what they were doing while they’re waiting. So, the story of Ben, he shows up, gets massage, warms up, gets a massage, does that first 100 meters, gets a massage. I mean being treated like a racehorse. Man, that sounds like that could be really entertaining.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Entertaining, but time consuming. You can’t have another job when you’re doing that.

Steven Sashen:

Absolutely.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, in the Canadian system, people were funded, but they were funded for $2,000 a year. Charlie was great that way. No one gives Charlie credit for that. Charlie helped out those athletes with any way he could. He drove them. He picked them up. He fed them because most of those guys were from poor working class families. They couldn’t afford to do that. So, Charlie was phenomenal in that way. He doesn’t get any credit for that.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, no, he was very paternal with all his athletes. Yeah, that’s really amazing to watch. So, bring this down again, for normal human beings, for people, this is going to sound weird. I’m trying to think of how I want to ask this. Let me do it this way. Someone’s not necessarily a sprinter, sprinter, but they want to get faster. They want to work on their ATP system as much as they can just for the fun of it. If you’re going to give people advice on how to make the move into speed training, what would you recommend?

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I believe it’s twofold, threefold actually. There’s the flexibility fold, the flexibility component of it, which is important. I think it’s a bit overrated in some ways. I mean, if you understand muscle physiology, there’s a length tension curve. So, you can generate more length, more strength as your muscles get longer, but to the point where you generate less strength when you’re flexing a muscle if the muscle gets too long. So, people can overstretch. There’s a litany of studies that show people who stretch too much before performances, actually performances get worse. So, you need to get a comfortable physiologic stretch, but not too much. That’s one.

 

Strength is really important. So, you want to be strong enough to sprint. You don’t want to start sprinting if you’re not strong enough, because that’s when you get muscle imbalance. That’s when you get hurt. So, squats are still great, power exercises, cleans, hand cleans, snatches. Plyometric exercise is the next one. Those two things go together and then sprinting. So, if you’re going to sprint, sprint. When you’re not sprinting, do running that is not sprinting. It’s a really big thing on Masters right now. People are posting their workouts and they’re doing 10 by 200 slow. Well, if you’re going to do 10 by 200 slow, you’re going to run a slow 200 when you’re running 200. They’re just not interchangeable.

 

Do you want to run fast and you got to run fast, and you want to train to recover? Ten by 300 is a great recovery day if you want to do that. That’s what Charlie’s used to do. He used to have a recovery day just to repeat 100s and 200s, just to flush your body out and get your length back in your muscles. It’s not a training benefit. It’s a recovery benefit. Training has to be done at intensity that’s close to race pace or building towards it. There’s different ways to train. You got to train short, short to long, do short stuff, do intermediate stuff, do long stuff, but everything has to be quality. There has to be some quality in your workouts all the time.

Steven Sashen:

I’d argue that that’s the same for people who aren’t sprinters. In fact, this is the thing that… I don’t know why I’m having a hard time with names all of a sudden. My brain is just totally not working. Come on, New Zealand coach. This is embarrassing, Peter Snell’s coach. I don’t know what it is. I think about a year ago is when names started falling out of my head entirely. Yeah, anyway, it’ll pop into my head in a second. I’ll find it very disturbing when it shows up out of nowhere. Suffice to say, he’s one of the most successful distance coaches of all times, coached people from the 800 of the marathon and beyond, from New Zealand. He had more Olympic champions than any other coach. This is his line as well. It’s like, “You’ve got to train for the speed that you want to be running.”

 

He’s putting it along base to build up your aerobic capacity, et cetera. But the essence is even his marathoners were training with his 800-meter runners, because they needed to build up that speed for themselves. So, this is the thing when people ask about running faster, train to the pace that you want to be racing at. Now, if you’re doing a longer distance, that speed is going to change. You’re not going to be running consistent speed the whole time, but many people just push themselves very hard at all. I think sometimes they’re maybe rightfully so afraid to.

Allan Tissenbaum:

I agree and then that’s the fine balance. Truly for a Masters athlete, I think that’s where the injuries occur.

Steven Sashen:

Which part, when you’re pushing harder?

Allan Tissenbaum:

You have to push harder to get faster, but that’s your risk of injuries. You’re right, 100%. I think that happens more with Masters and with younger athletes. So, personally, I only get hurt when I’m at the top of my game. I never get hurt leading up to it.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Three years ago, went to nationals in Spokane. I raced rarely. A good year for me, I’ll have three races, just because I take calls. I work weekends. I work every other weekend every, third weekend, and just races in the area. So, if I’m lucky, I’ll have three good races in the year. That year, I ran two races. My third race was in Spokane. Ran great. Ran fastest 100 in the world that year, fastest runner in the world that year, but I wasn’t satisfied because that’s who I am and that’s probably what drives me.

 

So, I came back from Spokane having run the fastest time in 200s. I go, “I can run faster in 200.” So, I started pushing. I came back on a Sunday, went to track Monday, went Wednesday, went Saturday, had my spikes on. Sunday, I go with my son to do starts, blow up my hamstring. Boom, done, four weeks before World Championships, because I wanted to go faster, but I was running fast. It just wasn’t fast enough for me.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I don’t know why I didn’t ask this to begin with. So, what times you running these days? Yeah, let’s use these days instead of best of all.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Oh, two years ago was the best I can do. That’s the last race I ran. I ran 11 and 7 for that.

Steven Sashen:

You were what age then, 59?

Allan Tissenbaum:

Fifty-nine, yeah.

Steven Sashen:

That’s outrageous.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yeah, so it was the number one time in the world by a long shot actually. In the 200, I ran on 24 seconds. It’s also the number one time. I’m trying to get back there. I just know where I am, because I haven’t raced. I ran one race this winter. There had been one race this winter that I went to. It was in Virginia. It was indoor championships. I ran a 60. I hadn’t run a 60 in years. I flew all the way to Virginia for this race. The 200, I couldn’t stay and do, because they changed the schedule. It’s better than that. The 100, we get into blocks. Some gentlemen in my race false starts, where he’s literally two steps out before the gun goes off. They never called it back.

 

So, I ran the whole race chasing him. It wasn’t a very good race, because none of us went with the gun. I ended up beating them, but it wasn’t the race I want to run. I didn’t execute anything because I looked at my 1:00. Holy crap, this guy is two meters up on me. I know I’m faster than he is. So, I just put my head down and then run dry phase, didn’t run anything. I ended up passing about 30 or 40 meters in running, but that was the only race I ran. That was seven, seven, which wasn’t bad for the 60. I mean, it’s considered a good tie for our age group, but not sure where I really-

Steven Sashen:

No. I mean, I was running eight, two. So, I was two and a half steps behind you, which would have made me happy, frankly.

Allan Tissenbaum:

That was my one race. So, I’m pretty sure I should be close to 12. I signed up for nationals this year. I’d intended on running a meet before that. I was supposed to go to Atlanta two weeks ago. I had a little bit of a back stuff, a little setback. Driving for hours with a sore back was really not the smartest thing. So, I’ll just go to Ames without any races in my belt.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I just want to highlight. This is the life of a Master sprinter. You fly or drive to somewhere very far away, and you run for roughly 10 to 15 seconds total and then you go home.

Allan Tissenbaum:

You spend all your own money doing that. No rewards except for a little medal. Actually, the reward to me is it’s never the medal or anything else. I’m just driven by myself. I want to beat the time before. I know who my competition is going there. I never go in there confident I got to win, because I just don’t think you can be especially with sprinting. I’m running for myself. If I finish a better time that I ran the week before, I’m happy. If I finish first and I ran a slower time that week before, I’m not happy.

Steven Sashen:

When I first started sprinting, my goal was of course to win races. I didn’t know anything about what the competition was, frankly. And then very quickly, when I discovered what the competition was like and included a lot of former professional athletes, I realized that my goal was instead to get to the line and have people look at me and go, “What the hell’s he doing here?” Because I’m 5’5″, little White guy. I’m racing against a lot of guys who are really lean, buff, a lot of big Black guys. That was my first goal. My secondary goal was to finish the race and have people go, “What the hell?” So, even if I don’t win and that happens, I don’t know about you. Do you remember what age you became an inspiration?

Allan Tissenbaum:

I don’t think I’ve ever been inspiration. I mean, I’ve had people train with me.

Steven Sashen:

No, no, no, a lot of races, there’s a bunch of 30-year-olds. When I say, “I’m 59,” they go, “Oh, my God, you’re so inspiring.” I go, “Hey, bite me.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, I guess it was 40, 41, I went to an open meet. I was running with high school kids. There was no college kids there and I made the finals in the 55. One of the kids came up to me and asked what grade I was in. I was 41.

Steven Sashen:

That’s great. You know what? My mom had that. She was in her early 40s. She came to pick me up in high school for something. She walks in. They were selling yearbooks at the desk right at the entrance. And then she walks by. Someone says, “Did you get your yearbook yet?” She’s like, “Oh, my God. I love you.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

What’s your name?

Steven Sashen:

That’s priceless. So, back me up again. One thing you said about training, you mentioned plyometrics. For people who don’t know, can you give some examples of good plyo exercises?

Allan Tissenbaum:

Well, first of all, one way to define what plyos are, a way to transmit forces, muscular forces to the ground and back up. So, any jumping activity is considered plyometric if you go down and come up. It’s not just jumping from the ground. It’s the landing and the exploiting back off as a plyometric exercise. Let’s say you take a step down from a step and you hit the ground and jumped as a plyometric. So, what you’re trying to do is trying to get your muscles and the tendons to sense to ground and then develop an elastic force on the way out. That’s plyometric. Repeated jumping is a plyometric exercise. Repeated hopping is a plyometric exercise. Hopping for distance one after the other is a plyometric exercise.

 

I’m a big fan of doing plyometrics on stairs going up, because it’s easy to do, it’s manageable, single leg, double leg, every other stair, things like that, plyometrics on the ground, hopping for distance, how many steps you take over 10 meters, how many steps you take over 20 meters. The nice thing about that is you can check your leg, your strength. You can say, “On my left leg, I can do 20 meters and 5.5 steps. On my right leg, it’s making me sick.” So, you have an imbalance there, something you work on.

 

So, I think plyometrics are great. They can be overdone also, because it’s pretty hard on your body. You really have to build up to them really slowly, but it’s a great set of trainings. Especially, it’s really good as you can train, if you don’t really have access to a lot of weights, you don’t want to do a lot of weights.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, there are a number of exercise that I refer to as the poor man’s weight room. So, running up hills, for example, or doing stairs can be a really great thing if you don’t have access to actual training equipment.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Right. When I was training in college, so we were in Montreal. There was no indoor facility and the winter was -30. We still run aside sometimes, but we used to do a lot of wall running. You just lean into the wall and sprint for 40 or 45 seconds, get your knees up or extend your knee lift, works in your anaerobic stuff. Again, for poor man’s way of training. There’s ways to train. I also went outside in a skin suit in -30 degree weather, full blast. I have a full blast friend. We’re pulling stuff because you warm up and you go.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, back to your comment about injuries, because when I got back into sprinting, my first two years were just one injury after another, but I think it was mostly because my body was 45 and my brain was 20, 25. So, I just didn’t know what I was doing. I also had some form issues that I corrected when I got out of my shoes and started running barefoot, because I could feel them when I ran barefoot and that clean those up. Yeah, it was one after another after another. I’ve also got a compromised spine. So, that didn’t help either. But the thing that is interesting is when you are going all out, well, there’s two components.

 

One is it took me two, two and a half years until I was unafraid to go all out, where I just realized, “Okay, now I’m willing to do it. I’m not worried about getting injured so much.” I mean, I think the worry if there was any, I just pushed it to the side. I’m willing to do it and just see what happens. So, that was a very noticeable change. But high speed motion is a really difficult challenging neurological thing. Sometimes the signals just don’t get to the right place at the right time. You’re right on the edge of just how well a body can function and shit goes wrong.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yes. There’s a real rhythm to running. You feel as time goes on, that’s what I think changes as the season goes on, as your speed increases. I mean, you don’t think you’ve changed that much, but I think the rhythm you’re running, things feel more natural. It’s getting easier. However, saying that, as we age… I mean, I remember when I was 40, I step on the track, no matter what, just warm up for three minutes and go and feel great. Now, it was like 15 minutes and I’m starting to feel like, “Yeah…” I started getting some rhythm. Half an hour in, I’m starting a little bit better. Really, rhythm is the best way to put it. The rhythm gets better. The better your rhythm gets, the better you get to run. You have to have rhythm. It’s your emotion. That takes time.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. We talked about time as well. You glossed over something that I’m addressing and dealing with, which is at a certain point, you just can’t keep getting faster. How do you and your mind play with the phenomenon that over time now things are going to be getting slower?

Allan Tissenbaum:

That’s a very hard concept. If you want to look at it logically, you look back and go, “Okay, let’s look at the Masters records. Well, every five years, they’re going to be slower than they were five years ago. So, I should fit in that pattern.” But then you look at yourself and go, “I don’t feel that different. Why am I running slower?.” There’s no doubt. I look at races now with 55 and 60-year-olds running, God, they look so slow. I go, “That’s me.” It’s a big mind game. I’ll tell you what the other big awakener is. So, if you really look at AU times or kids’ times, there’s 13-year-olds guys that would be smoking 6-year-olds, 14-year-old girls, 10-year-old girls that are killing us. So, yeah, we’re doing what we can do, but our bodies are aging.

 

So, if you can get through that, you just have to put in perspective, that’s when you go to the age group thing. So, yeah, I’m running about half a second slower than I was eight years ago, but I’m still running half a second faster than the national average or whatever. If you want to make yourself feel good, that’s making me feel good. If you want to feel bad, you go, “Yeah, five years ago, this time I was running 11.3 and now I’m running 11.8.” That’s a big difference. It doesn’t sound like to most people, but to us, sprinters, that’s like night and day.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Yeah, I think you nailed it. I said to one of my training partners after a very slow 100 meters the other day, very slow for me, I said, “I think I’m going to use the outdoor season just to warm up for the indoor season, because I know, I still got a good 50 and 60 in me, but my 100 is…” It’s possible that it’s going to get down to a time that I’m happy with, but maybe not. So, I’m just reframing everything in my brain. I watched myself reframing, which I find utterly hysterical, but what are you going to do?

Allan Tissenbaum:

Cognitive dissonance is good for us. We have to reframe. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up to fail forever. Everyone else is getting slower. You’re not alone. This is what I tell people all the time. So, I ran slower this year than last year. Yeah, that’s because that’s what’s going to happen. That’s out of your control. You might get lucky, because you didn’t run that fast last year and this year might be a little bit better. But overall, every year, you get a little bit slower. So, it’s interesting to look at that stuff.

 

So, the average Masters athlete in the 100 basically declines about a 10th of a second per year or a second per decade. So, if you’re anywhere within that… So, when I was 45, I ran 11 flat for the 100. And then 50, my first year, I ran 11.2, 11.3. Then when I was 55, I ran 11.5, 11.4. So, I am doing that type of thing, but it is slowing down. I think I’m slowing down a little less than some of these other people, but I’m still slowing every year.

Steven Sashen:

The first time I went to the Senior Games, I was 50. A bunch of the 60-year-olds, I was hanging out with them, because that was all that was there. They said, “Yeah, once you turn 60, things start to fall off a cliff a little bit.” And then there’s a bunch of 80-year-olds who were standing around and they went, “Yeah, you guys have no idea what you’re talking about. Just wait.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

It’s always like that. I went to a medical school. We trained orthopedics. He was five or six years older than me. Wait until you get to be 40. I saw when I was 40. He goes, “Yeah, you still look good.” And then I saw him when I was 50. He goes, “Yeah, you still look good.” Because he was an old 40-year-old and I knew him when I was 35. So, it’s what you put in. It’s the amount of time you want to do. It’s discipline. It’s a life commitment. You can’t just be a Master sprinter or any type of Masters athlete couple months a year. It’s got to be lifestyle. It’s got to be commitment. One thing that I’ve noticed and I don’t know if it’s going to help very much is that sleep is way underrated and really, really important.

 

They always say, you sleep less when you get older. I don’t think that’s true. You need to sleep more when you get older. You need more recovery time. You need to take better care of yourself. Everything is geared for young people. They get all these massages and everything else. But I think you need that more as you age. People have less time or they have more time and they’re just less willing to do it. I don’t take advantage of that stuff. I have some stuff in the house. My wife’s physical therapist. We stretch together a little bit, but I don’t take advantage of the therapy that I have in my office. It’s one less thing. I don’t have that much time. If I have, I’m going to go train. I’m not going to go for therapy.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. My joke is I started Xero Shoes after being a Master sprinter. The biggest thing that fell off once I started Xero Shoes is being a Master sprinter, because I just don’t have the time to train that I had when I was in retired mode prior to 2009. So, it’s my fantasy to either build the company so that I have more time and/or at some point, be retired, so I have more time. And then again, like you said, see how slow I can slow down.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Right, that’s what it is. Try to slow down the inevitable aging process. We have no choice. I have my own little theory now that as we age, we see less muscular sprinters. I mean, the reason is we carry less muscle, but also, I think your injury risk goes up and the benefits of being uber strong are outweighed by the risks of injuries.

Steven Sashen:

That’s so interesting, because two of the guys who showed up on the track here, one’s 79, one’s 82. Each one of them has been in the top two, top three in the world. A, they’ve gotten significantly shorter as they’ve aged. They’re just skinny, skinny guys. They have fast turnover. They don’t have a lot of strength, but just watching how their bodies have changed and how they’ve adapted that is really, really interesting. Yeah, they’re certainly not muscular. They couldn’t be.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, case in point is Charlie Lee. Every now and then, we trained together in Pittsburgh. He’s had the same body type as he’s 40 years old. If you follow his career, he was good, he was good, he was good, he was good, he was great. His body type stayed the same, thin, muscular guy. Everyone else is trying to get down to that. Bill Collins, thin muscular guy.

Steven Sashen:

Well, Bill Collins actually is my favorite example because he’s skinny fat. He’s not muscular. He’s not huge, but there’s someone who was one of the PGP-10, one of the early people having genome sequence, who identified that for most sprinters, we’ve got some gene where we tend to collect body fat around the abdomen. Bill Collins is the perfect example of that. He’s got a bit of a punch. As do I frankly, but other than that, not a big guy and crazy fast.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Right. Well, I remember he was on the world’s record team in ’72 for the four by one.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, no, he comes to it honestly. That’s for sure.

Allan Tissenbaum:

He does. I think he’s trying to make a comeback also. For certain people, it’s all about comebacks. Someone like Charlie Lee, never really missed, never really got hurt. There’s other people that get hurt more then come back.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, Bill’s gotten hurt. Yeah. There’s a bunch of that. Bill’s very interesting, because he’s written a book where he outlines his training program. You look at that and go, “There’s no way any other human being on the planet could do what he’s doing.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

I mean, we ran together and stuff. I’m not convinced that any of those guys really do that.

Steven Sashen:

It’s so funny you say that. When I was in Finland, there was a British guy, I don’t remember his name, who was definitely top five, let’s say. I’m sure you know who it is, but again, names are not working for me right now. So, he described his training. He goes, “Three days a week, I go out, I run 300s at 13, 300s at 12, 300s at 11 and then I’m done.” I was 100% convinced that he was lying just to intimidate people.

Allan Tissenbaum:

So, Steve Peters?

Steven Sashen:

Okay, if you want to mention a name that now rings a bell, yeah, that was him.

Allan Tissenbaum:

That’s him. He’s legit.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, he’s for real.

Allan Tissenbaum:

He barely warms up, but then another day, he’ll do the same thing with 200s and 300s.

Steven Sashen:

No shit.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yeah, he’s pretty legit that way. He’s excellent. I’m pretty sure that’s who it is, because I’ve heard him talk about that.

Steven Sashen:

No, it is. It definitely is. But literally, part of me is going, “All right, maybe he’s running 11 highs on those levels. Maybe it’s 12 high,” but even still, it’s like yeah, the way he described it, didn’t warm up, just walked out, did nine sprints and walked home.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yeah, it’s true. I know him pretty well, because we’re on the world doping committee together. We investigate all these world Masters doping things, but we don’t investigate anything. Actually, all we do as a committee is people submit therapeutic exemptions. They’re taking this drug. They want to know if they can take it while they’re competing. We go yes or no.

 

The one thing that is a no pass with that, it’s interesting, is people want to go testosterone supplementation, because they’re hyper gonad or their levels are low, which everyone’s levels get low as you age. I mean, it’s part of aging, right? But as you get to normal levels, that’s not the way we’re put together. It’s fine. You can do that, but it is cheating as far as I’m concerned. You’re getting to a number that you’re not supposed to be at. So, that’s the big one for us. We get these exemptions for… They went their doctor. The doctor took their blood and their testosterone levels.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, there are a number of 50-plus-year-old weightlifting guys that I know or actually YouTube fitness guys and internet fitness guys who sell courses on how to get in shape and they’re all on testosterone replacement. That’s what they call it, replacement. Basically, they’re taking testosterone. All of them say, “Well, I was low testosterone. Now, I’m just high normal.” It’s like, “Dude, you were asymptomatic when you were ‘low T’. Now you’re jacked. That’s why you look like that.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

You can see it in the gym so often. It’s those shiny, vascular guys. Some of them still have a punch. That’s the funny thing. They’re ripped, but they had this gut and they stride around. I mean, it’s industry. It’s what it is. It’s an industry right now. So, what I was getting back to is that those people at least are admitting they’re taking and they’re trying to get an exemption. Some people are taking it and not trying to get the exemption that are there. We’re never as Masters get tested, because you don’t have the resources or the funds or no one really cares that much.

Steven Sashen:

No. Well, what’s funny is that the people who do care, I mean, it’s silly to be doing it at all, especially if you’re doing it for competitive advantage, because other than bragging rights, who cares?

Allan Tissenbaum:

You’re not making anything from it. You’re not getting anything from it. It’s ultimately all about ego, right? We also run because of the ego, let’s be honest, but it’s a question of, “Can you hold your ego in check with just being good, or do you have to be the best at all costs?” At track and field, it doesn’t make any sense.

Steven Sashen:

No, it’s completely ludicrous to do this, but it’s really satisfying for a number of reasons. One of my theories about why sprinters sprint is it’s the same reason you go to Vegas. It’s intermittent reinforcement. When I finish a race and someone says, “How did you do?”, my answer now is, “Can I give you the excuse, or do you just want the time?” Because you never do it perfectly and that thing of like, “Oh, it’s so close,” is really compelling. That’s what gets us, pulling the lever on a slot machine. It’s close, seven, seven, something else.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Yup. Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right about that. There’s always room for improvement, but always, always room. There’s always another race if you really want to do that.

Steven Sashen:

Well, that’s true. There’s something just intrinsically fun about trying to go as fast as you can, because you don’t feel like you’re going slower. You’re getting slower, but you feel the same as you did previously. So, that’s also good. I was at a meet before COVID. There’s a guy there. I mean, this guy, totally, totally jacked. He’s too younger than me, just monstrously big. He looks at me at the beginning of the race, dead serious, “Good luck.” I said, “Hey, man, there’s no bonus points. Just have a good time, stay healthy, get to the end, and I want to kick your ass.” So, the balance of that is very entertaining, because again, we’re old enough to know that we’re competitive for no really good reason. It’s enjoyable just for the fun of having an outlet for that urge.

Allan Tissenbaum:

As far as Masters track goes, there really is a camaraderie. When we go to these meets, I hang out with the same people. It’s just a nice group of people for the most part. I mean, there’s the outliers of the people. We know enough to get it done whatever else, but there’s a good group of people that genuinely care for each other. For me, personally, I care for those other people. I still want to beat everyone’s ass when I go. There’s no two ways about it. All right. I guess I’m not as friendly before races and the rest of the time, but that’s what it is.

Steven Sashen:

Well, again, I won’t mention this person by name, but there’s this a sprinter that I’ve done a bunch of work with. When he’s on the track before race, his resting face is I’m going to kill you. He’s got a resting “I’m going to kill you” face. When he’s not racing and he’s just relaxing and smiling, he’s got resting “I’m a male model” face. It’s so entertaining, watching him shift into holy crap, where you’re terrified of this guy and then to, “Oh, my God. You’re the nicest guy in the world.”

Allan Tissenbaum:

There’s certainly a nice part and I’m looking forward to going back to Ames, I hope we get a whole bunch of people there that we haven’t seen for a while. I mean, one of the funny things I found about Masters track now is… I’m running for So Cal this year. We’re a team. There’s no team in track and field. There’s really no team at all. We’re running with these students. I can put a relay with a couple of guys who can run well and we’ll see what we can do. That’s fun, because relays, to me, they’re like the birthday cake of track and field. It’s all good. It’s all fun. That makes the meet so much more fun. Everyone feels good about it, high fives all around. If you go around, relay makes every meet worthwhile.

Steven Sashen:

Well, when I was in Finland, I said to the guys there, I said, “Sunday, I hope that you pull me around in a four by one relay.” They said, “If you stay healthy at the end of the week, we might need you.” I said, “All right, keep me posted.” So, it hasn’t happened yet, but you’re right. I’ll tell you the only race that’s more fun than a relay, but for a totally different reason. There’s a meet they have here in Colorado at the end of the year, normally, Labor Day, but this year, it’s a couple weeks earlier. It’s an age graded 100. So, for people that don’t know how that works, basically, the older you are, the less you have to run.

 

So, my age, I think I’m running 80 meters. The 80-year-olds are running 50 meters. That’s adjusted for women as well. So, it’s all gender, all age race. The thing that’s so much fun about it is it’s a photo finish every time. I don’t mean between first and second. I mean, every position, it’s a photo finish, because at the last step, everyone hits the finish line at the same time because the age grading is really effective.

 

We’re all reasonably fast in that range. It’s the best. It’s also the only race where you have to pay extra to get in it. So, you pay five bucks to get in and the winner gets half the money. Second place gets 30%. Third place gets 20%. I instituted a policy that the winner has to pay for pie for everybody. It’s just a really good time. Yeah, between that and the relays at the end of that race or the end of that meet, it’s the most fun you can possibly have.

Allan Tissenbaum:

I’ve never run an age graded race, but they seem to be fun. Normally, they tend to be the most benefit for the older age groups.

Steven Sashen:

What’s funny about the race is the young guys are freaking out because they’ve never had to chase people like that, and the old guys are freaking out because they’ve never had people catching up to them like that before. So, it’s psychologically challenging for everybody, but my training partner, Cathy Nicoletti, who’s 70 years old. She’s a multiple world champion. Cathy twice has thought she was winning the race and puts her arms up in the last half a step just as she sees someone coming underneath her. So, yeah, it’s really, really brilliant. Allan, we got to get out of here.

 

So, this is a weird question. Because normally when I have people on the show, people are on the podcast, people have something that they’re pitching or something that they’re doing, coaching or training or whatever. I don’t know if there’s any reason that people would want to touch base with you. I don’t know if you would want to make yourself available. If you do, totally optional, if people want to hear about Masters track or if they’re in Pittsburgh and want to see what you’re up to and hang out a bit, is there an opportunity for anyone to do that?

Allan Tissenbaum:

Sure. They can always email me.

Steven Sashen:

What’s your email? Actually, we’ll put it in the show notes.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Funny, we’re getting the end. This is totally off the cuff. A couple weeks ago, you sent me a pair of your shoes to try. Remarkably, I was like an idiot the first day I put them on and I did way too much stuff. I didn’t get hurt. I was sore, but I got used to using them. Amongst my other aches and pains, I have chronic ankle pain, literally going back to 2007. There’s days that I just cannot run on at all. So, I’ve been doing all my warmup in the Xero Shoes. I’ve been warming up in the Xero Shoes, mostly on the turf, and then switching right to my spikes. I can honestly tell you, it’s the first time I’ve had almost no ankle pain in the past six to eight months on a daily basis.

Steven Sashen:

That’s awesome.

Allan Tissenbaum:

It’s making me concentrate on my landing and then spikes are flat anyway. So, every other shoe that has a lift, it’s really just not natural. Believe me, I’m not saying this is the answer for everyone, but it’s something that I think people should incorporate into the warmups or some part of their training just to get them to land, the way you’re mentally allowed to land or your midfoot not in your toes and certainly not in your hind foot.

Steven Sashen:

Well, conversely, I say to people, they’re the perfect recovery shoe, because they let your feet actually move naturally. So, you’re getting some circulation of air and keeping the muscles and ligaments and tendons moving. Whether you wear them all the time, whether you wear them for competition, whether you wear them for recovery, in short, natural movement and getting that feedback from the ground is critically important for anybody at any time.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Again, I really believe it strengthens the muscles, the muscles in your feet that we don’t spend enough time.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, there’s research from Sarah Ridge of BYU showing just walking in minimalist footwear. She didn’t do the study with our shoes, but I know that she wears our shoes in her lab. Everyone in our lab does. Just walking in minimal shoes builds foot muscle strength as much as doing an actual exercise program for your feet.

Allan Tissenbaum:

Absolutely. I mean it wasn’t a pitch or anything. I’m just telling you that four weeks into the stuff, that’s all I’m using to warm up right now. For four weeks now.

Steven Sashen:

Love it, happy to hear it. All right. We got to go, because of all things, I just looked at the clock, I’m getting my hair cut in about 15 minutes. So, not much, I don’t look like a total hippie freak. Anyway, Allan, been a total, total pleasure chatting. I hope people got something out of this, just an insight into Masters athletics or how they might be able to train and what’s going to happen as you get older.

 

Most importantly, back to the things about the podcast, if you have any questions or recommendations, people you think should be on the show, anything, if you need to reach out to me, just drop me an email, move@jointhemovementmovement.com. Again, go back to the website to find previous episodes and other ways to interact with all the content we’re creating and how to find us on YouTube and Facebook, Instagram, et cetera. But most importantly, go out, have fun, and live life feet first.

 

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