In this episode of the The Art and Science of Running, coaches Malc Kent and Jacob Puzey share their histories as athletes and coaches in the sport of running.
Jacob began running in middle school to get in shape for basketball. He ran in high school in the state of Oregon, USA before walking onto a Junior College Cross Country team at Ricks College where he was part of 2 x National Championship Team.
Even at 18, Jacob noticed differences in coaching styles between his high school and college coach. After a 2 year break from running and university studies, Jacob resumed his studies and began volunteer coaching and learned everything that he could from myriad mentors and books.
After a few years of pre-medicine and Exercise Science course work, Jacob gravitated toward the humanities and social sciences – cultural studies, anthropology, world languages, linguistics, language learning, and biolinguistic revitalization, etc.
During this time, Jacob coached high school teams and athletes throughout rural America to their first state track and cross country team and individual titles. He was also actively training and racing toward his own athletic goals and coaching other adults on the side. He continued to learn all that he could through books, articles, mentors, and coaching certification programs.
These experiences have led Jacob to approach running and coaching through a holistic lens trying to balance both qualitative and quantitative aspects of running and life.
After about 10 years of coaching high school and collegiate athletes, Jacob began coaching athletes remotely under the direction of Greg McMillan and Ian Torrence at McMillan Running.
After two years at McMillan Running, Jacob started his own online coaching company, Peak Run Performance, through which he, Malc, and other professionals coach athletes of all ages, abilities, and ambitions from all over the world.
Malc started running cross country in the UK as a young kid. Gradually worked his way up to the English School’s championships as a teenager where he ran against the likes of Mo Farah. He was also a national champion in orienteering at the age of 16.
His analytical mind helped him outperform even those who were fitter or more athletic. Malc started strength training as a rugby player in his teenage years. He began formally strength coaching in his early 20s.
Malc’s academic background is in applied physics and biomechanics. He has worked the last 14 years as an applied scientist or in biomechanics or mechanics.
Malc noted a BIG turning point 8 years ago when measuring with wearable technology which allows runners and scientists to get outside lab and measure in an authentic environment.
Jacob and Malc discuss the evolution of wearable technologies from Garmin footpods and basic GPS watches to power meters.
Malc asks: What is your philosophy on data? Do you treat all data the same or do you value some data more than others?
Jacob explains that time is the number one metric he relies upon in his own training and when designing training for athletes. He details his rationale in this article: DURATION vs. DISTANCE