If you want to learn how to run easy and use that to perform better as you age, then you should listen to this episode.
If heart rate training confuses or frustrates you, this is the episode to clear it all up! No seriously… Mike Trees is one of the most positive, knowledgeable and generous endurance athletes I’ve ever met.
He has the skill that to make super complex things like heart rate, extremely easy to understand. Not to mention he’s almost 60 and runs faster than most 20 year olds!
What You Will Learn
- Answer the question of what is too easy and too hard running
- Is it possible to build aerobic and anaerobic fitness at the same?
- What His Individual HR/IMAT Heart rate formula is and why it might make more sense than others in the real world
- One thing that can keep you committed and focused to help you perform your best at almost 60 years old!
- Why all coaches are right… and wrong!
- Why starting with your endpoint objective is the most holistic and effective way to come up with realistic training plans
- And Much More
About Mike Trees
- True Generalist/Master of some/Jack of all trades; British Ironman Record holder in 1994, British Universities 1500 metre champion in 1983, multi-national champion in England and Japan, Sports Scientist Lecturer, Pro triathlon coach based Tokyo. Coach of Tim Don
- He’s originally from the Northeast of England, grew up in Libya Africa but now lives in Japan
- He gives away all his information online (Instagram @RunNRG ) and thinks coaching is on part science, one part voodoo magic and the middle is where the coach/athlete relationship sits
- He is the co-founder of the coaching collective – Triathlon NRG
- He cleverly figured out a glitch in the Asian pacific ocean triathlon pro circuit by finding races that the faster guys didn’t go to but had prize money so he could sustain a career
- Mike Trees Coaching https://linktr.ee/Run.nrg
- Mike Trees Instagram https://www.instagram.com/run.nrg
- Mike Trees Best Times – https://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=4851
- Triathlon N R G $5 Training Plans – https://www.nrg-coaching.com/shop
- IMAT Heart Rate https://z-p42.www.instagram.com/p/CHLyqYtD59C/
- Maffetone 180 Formula https://philmaffetone.com/180-formula/
- Running energy systems explained https://runnersconnect.net/energy-systems-running/
- Blog Post Article – Why I stopped training with heart rate https://dlakecreates.com/why-i-stopped-training-with-heart-rate/
- Suggested episode to listen to next: Why I stopped training with heart rate – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/why-daren-stopped-training-heart-rate-dlake-deliberation/id1420395891?i=1000432763923
- Podcast Concept, Production and Marketing BY POD PASTE
- “An easy run is a run you enjoy. If you can chat and do Mental arithmetic – It’s easy. That’s it.”
- “The biggest issue with new runners is, a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. You need to know what your goal is and how to do it.”
- “Every day I wake up I want to run. I just want to work on improving something.”
- “You might not add years to your life, but you can add life to your years.”
- “As I got older, I kept asking myself “How can I stop slowing down, the slowing down”
Original Music Used Here
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Daren Lake: If heart rate training confuses a frustrates, you, this is the episode to clear it all up. No seriously. Mike trees is one of the most positive, knowledgeable and generous endurance athletes I’ve ever met.
He has the skill to make a super complex things like heart rate training, extremely easy to understand, not to mention he’s almost 60 and runs faster than most 20 year olds.
And this episode. You answer the question of what is too easy and too hard running. Talk about individualized heart rate training, and why has I’m at HR formula might be best for you. Touch on the difference between aerobic, anaerobic, and ATP energy systems. Get to a secret to running fast that almost 60 years old and much more
Mike trees’ calls himself…
Mike Trees: …an athlete coach, but foremost, a father and a husband. I train twice a day, every day. I just do. I I just love doing it.
That’s what I need to do. I say this a lot. Life’s a journey. You got to do something useful every day and you’ve got to enjoy something in every day and that’s about it. Don’t try and get to the end of the train journey because it’s not nice.
Daren Lake: He’s originally from the Northeast of England, grew up in Libya, Africa, but now lives in Japan.
He gives away all his endurance information online and thinks coaching is one part science, one part voodoo magic. And in the middle is where the coach athlete relationship lies.
He’s the co-founder of the coaching collective triathlon energy. And he’s a true master of some generalists. Check out these accolades;
in the 1990s, he was the British Ironman world record holder. I use a multinational championship as of even the last few years. England and Japan, he’s a sports scientist lecturer, a university level pro trapline coach in Japan. And he’s the coach, not even to end it all, but he’s the coach of world record Ironman athlete, Tim Don and so much more than let’s get into it.
So you subscribedto () Maffetone, I’m a big Maffetone Method and is it your age minus, Oh, sorry, one 80 minus your age? Or do you modify it?
Mike Trees: Okay, so we’re going down a rabbit hole already.
Daren Lake: It’s funny, this isn’t actually even the questions, but let’s just do it.,
Mike Trees: First of all, I I respect Phil Maffetone all the research he’s done and where he’s come from. I also realized that a lot of his research in the early days were done on young kids in their teens, in their twenties decent athletes. And I don’t think it applies to the older athletes. Now there’s a lot of youngsters coming through that, follow me.
So his theories can work with them. And he’s one 80 minus age is a great starting point. And even, he’ll tell you that. And I love listening to his podcasts with him talking now. And it’s I think people take things for granted that there’s a one set formula that works all these things that his coach is we’re doing.
We’re trying to give people a few guidelines that get them going in the right direction. So what I found was that when. In the early days when there weren’t, the heart rate monitors around, which is what Phil was saying, you’d go to a lobby, get tested, you find your heart, and then you get a base point to work from.
And he found that to get people going that couldn’t get tested one 80 minus that he was a good starting point. And then you could tweak it. But you’ve got to learn to understand your body. What I found that these days, everyone has a smart watch of some description. You work out your maximum heart rate and it’s not a nice thing to do, but if you’re fit and healthy, you got to put the the legal bits in it.
See you checked with the doctor you’re fit and healthy, safe to do it, go out. And basically you run yourself into the ground over 800 meters. And the ideal is that the end of 800, you have something like a nice steep Hill. You just run up until you literally can’t go any further. It’s totally painful, but that will find your maximum heart rate.
Once you’ve got your maximum heart rate, it could be way off one 80 minus eight. I found that based on and principles, you could then come up with your own individual maximum heart rate. an IMAT heart rate.. And it’s about 40 beats below that maximum heart rate. So what it’s doing, it’s adherring to Maffetone and his principles in the way he’s worked it out.
But if your maximum heart rate is way off the scale and doesn’t adhere to one eighty minus age knowing your maximum heart rate minus 40 is going to give you somewhere in the ballpark of your maximum aerobic base to run out. And yeah, I’ve modified it a little bit.
And I’m not saying mine is the only way or his is the only way, but all these ways are just tools to help the runner learn a little bit more about their own body and what works for them.
Daren Lake: Yeah, well, we’ll put, so let’s not beat around the Bush. What is your definition of easy training for an average listener?
It’s vague. it’s really vague
Mike Trees: I’m about to make it more vague. So I’m going to take a vague question and give you an even more vague answer.
If it doesn’t feel easy it’s not easy. So I tell everyone go for an easy one. How easy is easy? I said, look, it’s not easy. It’s not fun. It’s if you go out and run and you’re running around and it feels easy, it’s an easy run.
And then I say, look okay. You might be young. You might not be experienced. If he can breathe through your nose, it’s pretty much a good idea that it’s an aerobic easy run.. Some people can breathe through their nose easily. Other people having a blocked up nose. It’s not that easy, but the general thing is if you can get enough oxygen through your nose without much. stress, it’s easy.
If you can chat, it’s easy. If you can do mental arithmetic, it’s easy. Now this sounds simple, but you give someone a tempo and say what’s five plus five. And I do this all the time. I’m when along five plus five is five plus side. Yeah. It’s five plus five. I can’t come up with an answer, but an easy run.
You go. Yeah. Five plus five is 10 that’s simple mate. So when you start pushing it, your body blocks sets down a little bit. The brain doesn’t work as well. Mental arithmetic becomes tougher. So that’s another little rule, but. Yeah, I’ve got to go back to the first answer. If it doesn’t feel easy, it’s not easy.
Daren Lake: All right. Now we’ve established that what’s too easy. And then what would you say a steady, because I’ve seen you talk about Z one, would that be too easy and then Z two. And you’re talking about heart rate zones, correct? Yeah. So
Mike Trees: you got to define it to. I’m writing on Instagram, I’ve got a limited number of words I can get out there.
And I have to assume that some people are following more than others. And I can’t be defining my terms all the time. So easy. It depends on what you’re going out for the run. What is your objective? If you don’t have an objective, you can’t define what is too easy. What’s too hard because you don’t know what you’re trying to get to.
And that is the problem with most people. They want an answer without letting me know what they’re trying to achieve, which so it’s impossible to give them an answer.
So the answer is nothing can be too easy, depending on what you’re trying to. If your objective is to have the easiest one possible and not walk, then it can’t be too easy because that’s your goal.
So who’s to say you’re wrong. If your goal is to run 1500 meters. In realistic, a young guy, only five minutes. It’s a stretch target. It’s realistic. Running very slow runs by just above walking all the time. It’s going to be too easy that all the time it might be that you need some of the time.
There’s no, no such thing as too easier run at times. And there’s no such thing as too harder at times it’s getting the balance between the easy and the hard. So if you’re out for a recovery zone, one one and lots of this, there’s so much, if you Google it on what zone one is, some people say it’s 50 to 60% heart rate.
Some of the people. So they know that’s a little easy. It needs to be 55 to 65%. Again, I’ve never really thought about this in myself when I go running. And when I talk to my athletes, it’s just go for an easy run and they know what it needs to run is it’s just a run that you run for set amount of time that we predetermined that you enjoy running in that run.
And that’s it. Is it an easy recovery run? Yeah. So it’s an easy recovery run. You can’t go too slow.
Is it an aerobic building one, which is what people mistake with? Maffetone that’s a different thing again. So what Musk talking about with his one 80 minus eight, that’s the maximum aerobic. So it doesn’t mean you have to do that all the time.
And this is the other problem I get with. Is it too hard? People will go out at MF one 80 minus the age, and I will try and hold this heart rate. If I was to run it, my Maffetone pace. I’d be dead. If I run there all the time, that’s hard for me. You find that, see that I would probably do my 5k pretty much close to my mouth maximum heart rate because I can hold a really good, I got a really big aerobic engine, but I become so aerobically fit that I can actually push myself quite hard.
So if I’m running at my Maffetone heart rate. It’s actually too hard for me to go for an easy run. And this is what a lot of people don’t quite understand. They have a little bit of knowledge, which is dangerous, but not enough knowledge to take it somewhere. And yeah, going back though, it’s coming back to where you start.
There’s no such thing as an easy one but you can’t go too hard on an easier and quite easily.
Daren Lake: That makes sense. And thanks for explaining that in you just shed some light for me this podcast while I try to help listeners. The listeners that are listening it, it’s always a selfish slightly selfish for me.
Cause I’m like sweet. I’m learning something new from someone much more experienced and knowledgeable. You said something really interesting about Moffitt tone and. The thing with with amateurs is the gap between their easy run and their race. Pace is depending on the race, obviously it’s such a big someone needs to run their 5k.
It could be anywhere from two, a minute and a half, two to three minutes per K difference. I’m talking about per K, not a mile, sorry, Americans. But… with Kipchogee he was running a one 59 marathon he’s easy run quote unquote, or steady is like 15, 20 seconds slower than his actual marathon pace, which blows a newbie runners mind.
They’re like, how was that? And it’s like you were saying, So aerobically fit, he runs 230 250 Ks a week. Building that it actually is so hard on his body and Maffetone actually talks about that briefly. But he says I think it was Mark Allen and all the guys who trained Mike Pigg, he goes, they’re aerobic engine is so fast that they actually can’t run at Maffetone that much.
Whereas a newbie can actually run him off the tone a bit more. They probably shouldn’t do it all the time, but depending on what your objective is, so yeah, totally. I totally get that. I’m not one of those people that where my opportunities so damn fast. Like I have a, my rubric engine has built up over the past.
Say five years, five, six years running was. But I definitely come from a speed background. 100, 200, 400 jumps into 800 very late. And I think I’m anaerobically blessed as I get deeper into this aerobic game. I’m like, I just don’t think I have the endurance speed of you or keep Jogi or a Mark Allen.
But who knows I still I’m 39 and I still feel like I have Few more years before I can see my peak. According to you, I could probably see my peak at 55. So
Mike Trees: Yeah. A couple of things to pick up on that. I would probably run the first half of a marathon at my mass taste.
So most people would just consider that narrow a big one, but yeah that’s how big my engineers. I have probably one of the lowest heart rates ever recorded. It was 27 when I was at my peak. It’s now 30 resting heart rate. Resting Halloween. Robbie tells you, yeah. Is when people talk about rights, I find it quite fascinating because if you think of heart rate and you think of stroke volume, how much blood the heart puts out.
So say you’ve got a guy looking at all the models that people do. So guy you number one, or girl, number one has a resting heart rate of 60 and they wanted double air. The heart rate. So they want 120. And according to the theories that they’re 20 years old, 120, and it’s an easy aerobic, right?
120, then they double their heart rate again. So all they’re doing is from the house point of view, it just knows how hard it’s working per minute per hour, how much blood is pumping. So they go 60, they double it ones 120. They double it again. It’s two 40. They can’t do that. So they can’t double their resting heart rate twice because it’s going to take them way off the scale.
Now we’ll say at my age now, Nope. It’s easier for maths as well. My heart rate is 30 when I wake up. Yeah. So when I start running, my heart rate is usually around about 50, 55. So I’ll run the first one kilometer and my heart rate is somewhere between 55 and 70. And so if it doubles, if my resting heart rate doubles and up to 60, if I double it again, it’s up to 120.
So you already see how. There’s something with the models that doesn’t quite stack up in terms of just using heart rate in each person. It’s that heart rate reserve. It’s like the difference between my resting heart rate and my maximum heart rate is the important thing, because I can actually be training at 90.
Rate per minute and that’s three times my resting heart rate someone was 60 training at three times, their resting heart rate is one 80. They’re actually in the red zone, they’re actually killing it. They’re really hurting. So heart rates are individual and that’s what we need to get back to all the time.
And when I’m talking with people, I keep saying, yeah, these are just models to get them started. It’s super important to understand how it plays, but how it. Pertains to you and works for you. And I’ve realized that it’s so difficult to compare them and to come up with different models for heart rates.
Particularly when I realized I don’t conform to any of the models, really. It was my base heart rate being so low,
Daren Lake: interesting points there. I think I’m on the other end where. My resting probably a bit higher than where someone as fit as I am, but I also have a really high max heart rate.
I can max it like one 93, whereas I sit technically according to the age, two 20 minus my age, my max should be one 80, which is BS as it’s a starting point. So I think rather than it being like, This where this is the lowest and it’s the highest, I think I’ve just shifted mine up.
So the heart rate actually doesn’t apply to me. And I’m a tiny bit higher than where Moffitt tune was. I am well, that’s
Mike Trees: why I liked the IMAX. Sorry to interrupt. The IMAX would work perfectly for you. Your max your max heart rate minus 40 in a sense that just takes into account.
It’s not Fatone principles, but based on the fact of knowing your maximum heart rate, that might work a little bit better, do that maths and see how it fits for you.
Daren Lake: That’s actually it. Yeah, because I know one 50, one 50 is about the top one 50 and I’ve been there for 10 years. And according to Moffitt don’t I should have gone down to one 40.
I really loved the way you explained all of that. Here’s a random question that I have yet to get the answers from the internet. I love your take on this. I know there’s no perfect answer, but Maffetone is big on saying he goes, you can’t build a aerobic fitness and. Anaerobic fitness at the same time, I remember reading his book and I was like, Oh, and he’s don’t do hard runs.
When you’re a Rubik stage at the 16 weeks you’re going to undo all your aerobic fitness. And I like, I believe that for the first year and I didn’t touch it. And then I went to race and I was cramping and everything hurt, and I was like, what’s going on? So as I’ve slowly realized, I can, I need to incorporate very fast sprint stuff in my aerobic build period.
And then slowly ramped it up. As I started getting towards race specific work. Is it possible to build both at the same time or is it like weight training weightlifters where. They can’t lose body fat and gain muscle at the same time. Like they have to have a cut phase and a bulk phase is anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
Can you do it at the same time?
Mike Trees: It depends who you ask. So suppose, or you ask is what you get the answer. So the theory in the sense is, yeah, you shouldn’t work the aerobic and the anaerobic at the same time, but we live in the real world as well. I found, I think that as long as you do a little bit of speed work, you’re not going to take the end off the edge of that era began.
So yeah I idea to the principal. And in principle. So I did it the principle that we should do at least 10 weeks of aerobic training with no anaerobic training in there. However, what I also realize is that you can do some, a lactic work, which is based on the ATP system which for anyone who doesn’t know the ATP Idina site tries phosphate is the initial energy stored in the muscle.
That happens before we go on aerobic. So we keep the sprint short seven to 10 seconds take long rest between we can get the leg speed work doing. We can actually get used to running quick without developing lactic acid. So it’s not blocking the aerobic receptors and prohibiting the the Arabic development.
So we can put that within an easy run. So I quite like doing those sort of things, but also we have to be practical that you come off, this aerobic base need to go into racing. I don’t adhere to up. Solutely smashing it with intervals on the truck. Six, 400 big breasts C can you do maximum time in that aerobic peak, but I quite like the VO two max work and the 5k fits that perfectly, that 15 to 20 and for the elites and the 15 to 20 minute zone, but basically a 50 a 5k effort.
You’re probably running mostly aerobic the whole way. And you’re just dipping in a little bit of anaerobic stuff in the last two or three K to get to the end. Yeah. It’s. It’s so modular. Yeah, you’ll be a little bit sore the next day. Once a week. It’s not going to take anything off the aerobic engine.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, we try not to, but I get the best results out of doing a big aerobic bait that making sure there’s one good solid workout a week. And there’s one life leg speed work in there a week. So that would be my take on it. I
Daren Lake: like that. They thank you for explaining just to define to the listeners, it would be really interesting to to hear your take.
So just so people know anaerobic, isn’t actually just all out sprinting. That’s the ATP creatine system that you were talking about. Christine is actually just like five seconds power and aerobic is actually much larger than people that people, a lot of people think. Aerobic is easy and anaerobic is absolutely sprinting for 20, 30 seconds up a Hill.
Whereas anaerobic is actually more of the longer a tempo and threshold type work. Is that correct? And it’s in it’s how long you stay there and how long your heart rates in there, is that correct?
Mike Trees: Let most people really don’t understand this. The simplest way of explaining it is that.
Anaerobic means without oxygen aerobic means with oxygen. And when you run, if you run at a pace that slow enough, you supply all the oxygen needs to your muscles, as you breathe. And it’s with oxygen at short periods of time when we were hunters and gatherers, we had to escape. So got fight and flight mechanism.
We can survive for up to two minutes without oxygen in the muscles. And it produces energy from the store. Energy in the muscles, but the byproduct of that is something called lactate and that builds up in the muscles. And so the problem, once the lactic builds up in the muscles, it prevents oxygen from getting into the muscles.
Therefore we have to slow down. So if you go fast for short period, the payback, as we all know a realtor is, wow, my legs are burning. I can’t read anymore. I’ve got to slow down. And that’s because we’ve used too much anaerobic energy. And those are the two most lactic. But people think there’s this threshold and they call it 80 work and aerobic threshold.
They’re on the borderline between aerobic and anaerobic. It’s not a line it’s a zone. And imagine the simplest way to explain it to people is, imagine that it’s snow, but it’s above freezing. And the grounds quite warm. The snow comes down, the snow hits the ground and it melts. There’s no snow on the ground.
That’s where most people are running. They’re in that aerobic zone with a little bit of lactic building up, but the body is so efficient. It’s reabsorbing it and it’s not building up so it’s snowing, but there’s no snow building up. Then all of a sudden the big storm comes down. That’s you picking the pace up and it snows really hard and the snow starts to accumulate quicker than it can melt.
So it’s still about freezing. The snow is melting, but it’s building up quick and it’s melting. That’s the lactic building up in your muscles. So if you think of it like that, it’s a little bit easy to explain. There is no one line it’s not I’m aerobic and anaerobic. It’s a gray area. And generally in base training, we want to keep as far away from that as we can.
And when you’re doing anaerobic work, you obviously want to go over that line and work it as much as we can. And the idea is that we can more efficient and convert at a quicker pace. Without going on aerobic. And so that’s the point of doing training where you work this threshold, you try and on a graph, deflect the graph to the right.
So we can run at a faster pace, but still stay aerobic. So I hope that explains it a little bit.
Daren Lake: I love the story about that. I love that analogy with the snow. That’s very visual. Very good one. Let’s go a bit back into your past. How did you get into endurance sports? Feel free to tell me a story.
I’m always, I always loved stories. You have good
Mike Trees: ones. I have too many stories. I’m going to keep being told that you’d like to book basically add.
Daren Lake: This episode was brought to you by me, delight coaching. We show you as you get older, how to perform better in health, fitness, wellness, and Dorn sports in life. We’re all getting older. So rather than being like most humans on the earth and declining. Why not be better, stronger, smarter, faster, and more wise than the 10 years ago.
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And back to the show,
how did you get into endurance sports?
Mike Trees: I have too many stories. Basically I was always beaten in the sprints or my mum just to keep me quiet said, are you better at longer distance? And so I got into, because my sister was a very good runner and she was. She actually broke the world record for squat thrusts once.
And she did 120 in a minute, but was too shy to actually get the Guinness book to come around and get it ratified, but she was a super athlete. So anyway, I held her hand and went to the running club and as happened with her, she got bored and moved on to other things and started doing cricket football, hockey.
And I just stayed at the running club and didn’t get out of it and just kept thinking I’ll be better when I’m older. And the funny thing was I was constantly looking at people who were old and setting good times, and I saw the marathon, the average in the athletes around the 28th.
And then Carlos Lopez came along and 37 broke the world record for the marathon. I thought. Oh, that gives me lots of time and I’m still only 13, 14. I got plenty of time to get good. And I kept just looking at the future thinking as long as I keep training, I’ll get there. And that’s how I stuck with it.
Always like looking at the future and thinking, yeah, if I keep working at this, I’ll get somewhere. And now as I approached 60, I’ve realized now I get the comments on Instagram and things. I realized, yeah, I have a pretty good aerobic engine. I am getting somewhere now and starting to pay back, but it’s 50 years of training, 50 years.
Daren Lake: That’s. That’s so good. That’s just, I love that frame of the I have time and a lot of people, they don’t think they have time. It’s a, what is it, zoom out in the macro and zoom in on the Microsoft focus more on your day to day. And don’t worry about the future.
The future will come and like you do have time, obviously life is short for some people, but most people, the majority of people aren’t dying tomorrow. Like really thinking about tomorrow and the day after, and next year, next, next decade is probably the best. We’ve spoken a bit about the theories behind it all, but.
A lot of new runners, they come in, they don’t know exactly what to do. So w what do you think is the biggest issue that new and experienced runners deal with in, in particular tracking their metrics?
Mike Trees: The biggest issue is a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. So everyone has a little bit of knowledge, but really don’t understand the bigger picture.
So the bigger picture is, forget the heart rate, monitor, forget the watch, forget everything. It’s what are you trying to achieve? I ain’t trying to achieve running just for fun. Do you just want to run with your friends? I’d be serviceable. Do you want to be world champion? Do you want to finish a marathon?
Do you want to finish a marathon at a set time? You want to run a 1500? You need to know what your goal is, why you’re doing it. And most people when I asked them, they haven’t really thought about this. And so that’s the first problem. The second problem with all this, they suddenly, we then define their goals and they say, yep.
I want to run. I’m going to say this just simply. I want to run a subsidiary Almarez and say, okay. I said, challenging, go. Where are we? Now? Let’s look at the South end point. And how do we get there before we even get onto any metrics? Then I say to them, this is what we’ll need to do. The next thing is we need to fit this into your life cycle.
So there’s no point in thinking, how are you going to train and do everything if. You’ve got a sick mother. You have to look after and do work. Or if your job is 12 hours a day, so everything has to fit in. We have to look at all the external factors playing. Are you a student that has to pass your exams first?
Then we might say, okay, that’s more realistic. You’ve got to get through those exams to maybe the marathon. Isn’t so good. Now maybe let’s look at something simpler and get a different goal. So we then define our goal and what’s realistic within the social academic and financial lifestyle. And so we can fit into a daily part.
Then we can come to, do they need a watch? Do they need to start looking at the metrics and where they’re going? So we start to look at how fit they are, where they need to go. And I think you don’t need that watch yet. You, as you said, right at the start, I don’t know if it’s going to be cut out or not, but the point is they when they start training, there’s so much that they just have to run and they’re gonna get quicker.
So my thing is just get them running, but also get the money at a sustainable level that they’re not going to be running for three weeks, then injured and miss three weeks. So let’s get sustainable buildup and then let’s start adding complexity along the line. So it never gets easier. They just get more in.
In tune with their own bodies and able to cope with more work and more metrics, more knowledge. So I don’t want to be saying, let’s have a look at your cadence to a runner who’s just starting. I’ll just get them to run. And I’ll happily look at their cadence like, Oh, it’s near enough there. Or thereabouts, let’s forget about that one for now and look at something else.
Are they’re landing really badly let’s work on some form things. Let’s look at the most important things. So the metrics come last too many people. I went to it these days, they’re into the gadgets and I, to be honest, I love them as well. I love looking at it, but it’s just, for me, it’s a fun little thing that I like looking at.
It’s not serious. And I posted about how smart watch has given me a VO two max of 70. That just confuses most people because I’ll tell them to do an aerobic run. And the metric on the smartwatch actually don’t count aerobic ones to build up their VO two. They just count zone three. They just look at the heart rate and say, have you been in zone three for how long?
Yes. You’ll be able to. Max is going up. Have you been in zone one too much? Oh, you’ll be able to is going down. So they often don’t understand how the metrics work on the smart, what is it? It confuses them. And the smartwatches. Totally overestimate the metrics. It gives me one of 70, for example, whereas when I had a a video to a 70, I was running three 45 for the 1500 meters.
And 70 is actually classified as an international runner. So you’re on the board of just about getting international status running, which is what I was. Derek Clayton and the VO two max of 69 broke the marathon world record. So there’s so much in these metrics that are meaningless, but interesting.
And I think the main metric to have a little bit of idea on it is hard, right. Just to understand it to where you’re going. That’s the first one to get into if I had to pick one metric and start to learn about your body and your heart rate. You
Daren Lake: spoke about staying healthy in in your answer to what metric to focus on you were like, just be healthy.
What, how do we keep you healthy and not injured after three weeks? You’re hitting almost 60 years old at the time of this recording and you’re just crushing it, I think personally, with all your accomplishments. Thank you. No worries. What’s the one secret that keeps you motivated and healthy and injury free.
Mike Trees: I think that’s an inherited it’s nature and nurture. I think there’s this desire to achieve. It’s just inherent in me every day I wake up, I want to run every day. I just want to work on improving something. And so when I was younger, I just wanted to run as fast as I could. And that’s another one that I quote a lot.
It’s trained smarter, not harder. And as I was a youngster, I just tried harder and harder and got myself into a hole, got glandular fever and got sick and was out for a year or so. And then as I got older, I reinvented myself as a triathlete. I got a new lease of life. I never made it as a runner because I tried almost too hard.
And I also partied a little bit, which is another story, another rabbit hole, but I had a bit of a bad reputation for drinking. So once I got into triathlon, I reinvented myself and so I’m going to get it right. And I started listening to my body and the first thing I did was. The first year I got it wrong, by the way.
I, so all the pros are training 30 hours a week at all. 30 hours a week, that’s it. I’m a pro now I’d be professional contract I’m and I missed it. I’ve made it I add that added up all the hours I was doing at the end of the year and found out that actually when I’ve reached up, I was only training 13 hours a week.
And so I thought, okay, let’s get here to the principal at the first principle of training 10%. So we added 10% off and then still being a bit young. I had to be on for the measure. And I think I put 15% the following year. So I’m up from 13 hours a week, 15 hours a week. But because I’d built all my training principles around that I did 15 hours a week got through that and I smashed it.
And the Japanese national triathlon championships in those. Yeah. Yes. I got bonuses. I basically did really well. I was really lucky in a lot of races. And people I raised, I managed to, as I say, cherry pick and bake a few people and he got me established, I got known. And then I started realizing I was training smarter.
And then the more I got into it, then that’s when I really started using my physiology. I went to a place called Scooby university and worked with their research and physiology department and started really trying to hone in on, on the new thing. That’s coming out, their heart rate. How can I help this to make me recover better, train more.
It’s just that desire. Conflict to improve. And it just kept going all my life. It was the end of my career. I’d been racing for Japan because that was the Olympic rules that, but of course I’m not Japanese. I don’t have black hair and Brown eyes. So the odds of me going to the Olympics for Japan.
We’re pretty slim. And so I decided that I’d like to spend my career racing for great Britain because when I was getting towards 40, so I had to go back to the UK. I went back to the UK for education for life missed a couple of years, got on the British team and raised elite athletes. My swim wasn’t good enough that it days, but I got up to second in the world as an elite athlete in the pro division at the age of 42.
And that was my best variety. And I then realized that you can still achieve great things as you get older. And as I got older, I then started, how can I start slowing down the slowing down? And that’s, what’s got me hooked. And that’s what I love passing that knowledge on to other people that there’s a way of slowing it down.
And as you get older you might not add. Years of your life, but you cannot live two years. So I want to be running until the day I die. I might not live long with anyone else, but I don’t want to be in a wheelchair. I don’t want to be overweight and ill just through negligence of letting myself rust out.
I’m full of cliches that I want to keep working smarter, not harder, and I want to wear I’d rather wear out the rest out, but having said that I don’t even want to wear out. I want to see how I can preserve this body so I can keep doing this for as long as possible and having fun.
And to answer your question, I just have fun. Every day I look forward, I focus on each day and what fun bit I’m going to do in each day. And actually we even sit down at the table at night sometimes and say to my daughter, my wife, what did you do? That was fun today. So we remind ourselves that we’ve had fun.
And then what did you do? That was shit today. You know what was bad? Okay. Let’s forget that. But we’ve got to remind ourselves we don’t do it again. And so I enjoy every day. I get up every day. I look forward to getting up every day and training and living beautiful
Daren Lake: That’s your story is it’s very Forrest Gump.
And what I mean by that is you’ve done a lot. And when you look at it, when you zoom out, you’re like, Oh my goodness, look at how much you’ve done. And it’s just amazing. And I think I’m sh I’m going to strive for that. I keep telling people younger than me.
I’m always like I’m old. And then like compared to you, I’m not saying you’re old, but it’s I still have a lot more to learn and what to do. So thank you for sharing all that. And thank you for inspiring me at the minimum.
Mike Trees: No, no worries.
Daren Lake: Is there anything else you want to S yeah.
Is there anything else you want to say in general that we didn’t cover and also where can people find you and talk about
Mike Trees: your coaching. Oh, it’s a funny story. So I actually had a distribution business with my wife and I, and we interviewed, we S we had brands in Japan and the UK. It was quite a big successful business.
And one day we both woke up and said what do we really want to do? And she said, do you want to do acupuncture? And I said look, I just love coaching. So we decided that’s what we really wanted to do. So we sell the business. We got out of that about five years ago now.
And Got back into this. And then I was with my son and he was in New Zealand training and he said, dad, I said, what you’re doing? He said, dad, I’ve just got onto this Instagram thing. And there’s a girl here. She actually gets paid for wearing things and posting on Instagram. I said, Oh, I’d love to do that.
I need to promote my my new coaching business. And he said, look, daddy. He said, it’s all new technology. You wouldn’t have a clue what to do. I said, marketing is marketing Long as you got 70 to say, it’ll work. So I then got onto Instagram as a platform and I stuck with it. And I just put out posts right on Instagram, use that as my main tool to promote me.
And I’ve got. I don’t actively look for clients. I’ve got enough people contacting me that I’m happy with the numbers I’ve got I, I do take on new clients from time to time. I work with young coaches as well and introduce them to coaches. So we’ve got a great successful business and we’re really happy with where we’re at.
And that’s all via Instagram. I tend to put most of my training on Strava. I have it private actually. And then. Send things through, not to hide what I’m doing, but just, I hate seeing striver accounts where warm up two minutes comes on three minutes this season. So I tend to siphon through and just, and sometimes I forget to post, but I put my stuff on Straub.
If people want to see what I’m doing, I’m not hiding anything with my running. And then what I’ve done is my son. He followed my footsteps. He’s on Instagram as well. I send links to him. He’s Coach Tommy NRG and he’s, he does more personal training. A lot of running stuff was a very good triathlete as well.
And we were just actually doing, this is the PR bit we’ve just doing, because I get so many people asking for coaching and I don’t have there’s one thing. It is an economic cost. That is quite a lot of money for a lot of people. And I don’t have the time to coach everyone. And so that’s why I put things on there for free, but people want more and they say, where can I get more information in April?
We’re going to launch a whole book of IE booklets that we’re going to sell via the website. And if we can put a link to the website in the notes, after they sit, we all, some that people can click on the website. Which would be fantastic and they’ll be able to buy for wind pounds in the UK fiber time, a good 16 week booklet that will give them how to train for a marathon, how to train for a 5k.
We’re going to do it in both miles for the Americans who haven’t caught up to the real world. We’re going to do it in metric for the rest of the world. We’re going to do it in kilometers as well. We’re going to do all times, so it can be from beginners, right? The way through. From really easy to rig advanced and it’ll get the terminology, explain it and it’ll break it down week by week.
And what we’re also doing is if you get stuck with saying, just contact me and Tommy, and we can give you pointers to help you, we will not be personal coaches as in, we can’t. Talk to you all day, every day, like we would do the personal coaching, but we want people to feel that they’re bought into a system where they’re getting some advice and some help, and they just haven’t just downloaded something and they don’t really know how it applies to them.
So I’ve been so as demand for that’s my sort of sales pitch. That’s what we’re going to do from April. And everyone will be able to get a training, like a personal coach at a reasonable cost to a over time. So that’s what we’re going to be launching from April onwards.
Daren Lake: I like that. That’s awesome.
And it’s always a good problem to have too much business, but I like that you’re using technology to scale yourself yet. So it’s just run that NRG. If you type in Mike trees, I think you’ll get my trees in there. The Instagram algorithm search algorithm is pretty good to to find you. Yeah.
So definitely check him out. Thank you for your time. Next section. Let’s get to know our guests a bit more with the fun cool-down segment called the five furious, fast and furious. That’d be
Mike Trees: up in the gym, just working number,
Daren Lake: fax five fast and furious fitness facts. That’s five apps too. I really liked that.
AKA get to know your local Cornerstore master of some. Cause you know, we’re just hanging out at the corner store and you’re like, I want to know more about you. This is what this podcast segment is for.
Here we go. So yeah, just answer these really quick. Just a few words, one sentence it’s supposed to be like rapid fire, fun quirky. Here we go.
Mike Trees: As you realize, you don’t get quick answers off me, you get long answers.
Daren Lake: No, it’s fine. It’s fine. Some people end up it there’s no stress.
But do whatever you want. All right. If you had to pick one thing to focus on for training for a half marathon. Would it be heart rate with the strap, pace or power
Mike Trees: every time.
Daren Lake: Number two, sum up your first running race in one sentence.
Mike Trees: Fucking awful. I bet. I bet. Explain why. I was nine years old and the Andy Lawrence won the race. I think he was national champion, top three in the country. I did two 36 with 800 and he went very close to two minutes. So I was pretty much 200 meters behind.
And I think I was last by a hundred meters. So I started running from a base of thinking I was crap. So for people who think there’s no hope. Yeah. It was it was a long, slow journey, but I kept going.
Daren Lake: That was before all the self-help Instagram quotes and stuff and books. Yeah. Yeah.
Number three, who is your favorite runner or cyclist? Dead or alive or triathlete that you would want to do it, sorry that you would want to do a one hour easy run or bike with, so it’s just one person, any person. That you want to just train with?
Mike Trees: Yeah. I filled out this, I think it would have to be after Lydia.
He was a coach, but also run that he practiced what he preached. He did what I did was like, I love running and I got to maximize what I do. I want to maximize on athletes needed to say and his principles were just solid down to earth principles that Jack Daniels Quotes him so Maffetone will quote in most modern scientists even code training and most modern scientists would base their principles on stuff that after Lydia developed, if you don’t know him, look at us, look about the leader online, absolute guru Most of the aerobic stuff that we follow now came down to him.
So I’d love to go for a run with an hour with him and pick his brain. Yeah.
Daren Lake: Wouldn’t we all
number four, your least favorite race distance. These favorite least favorite. Let’s be specific least favorite running race distance. There we go.
Mike Trees: The marathon. Oh, why? Why? I have to tell you why. So I when the British landed when the the university’s 1500 meters as a child, I wasn’t surprised at that.
I have the British record three I, and for triathlon. So I’ve done distances all the way up, but I only tend to the marathon recently just cause I thought I’ve not done it really. As a standalone, my buck, I had a back operation five years ago now. And I got lost a desk. And what happens is I can travel along at a slow pace for me for three hours and have no problems.
I can do a 10 K and I’m okay. But when I get to the half note and I notice I get pins and needles and twinkling down one leg and the inflammation from the back, it causes the nerves touch and it effects the muscles and I can get to about 30 K with the marathon and just everything falls apart.
Coming this down the leg, I just have some new little problems. And so it’s not just a physiological problem. It’s it’s not just heart and lungs training. It’s just the whole physical structure in my body. So I’m still trying to work out how I can run a sub three hour marathon, which I should be able to do that tomorrow without the body falling apart.
And I seem to fall apart before I get to finish lines. So that’s my goal is to get the finish line before I fall apart. So the marathon is my hardest race. Okay.
Daren Lake: I’m sorry that’s happening. I can only imagine how difficult that is, but it sounds like a good challenge. Sounds like you’re up for this challenge.
Mike Trees: Aye. Aye. Aye. I get sidetracked. So I was running one day and I was actually breaking the masters records at 52 53 and then my back went and. I literally couldn’t use my left leg and then eventually an operation. And my wife said most people would be depressed. And what I did is I just woke up the next day and said, okay, we were in race mode now we’re in rehab mode.
Okay. What do I need to do? I need to see you doctor specialist. I need to work on the core. I need to keep the aerobic system going while I’m rehabbing. So the reason I came back from the injury was. I used to get the disabled seat on the train to the swimming pool because I was on crutches. He couldn’t walk.
I would then put the clutches by the side of the pool and swim, and I decided it wasn’t going to make the back any worse. And my back hurt whether I was lying in bed, taking painkillers as well as swimming. So I was going to be hurting, whatever. So I thought we might as well keep swimming and doing that and constantly is looking how to go forward.
And set up the position for when I knew I would rehab the back and the surgeons I went to, they said, yep, we can put a titanium plate in your back and you’ll have 60% movement that no, that’s not good enough. I need a hundred percent movement. I want to run fast. And one surgeon we walked through, we said, look, I can do this.
It’s not a hundred percent that you’re probably going to have problems because there’s no ego, no disc in there, and there’s no titanium structure to hold it back. You need really strong core and you need to work on it. And so I obviously worked on the course. I’ll do it, I’ll do whatever. And so I then had a plan to get 50 games.
My mindset is constantly just work with what you have and set a goal and work towards it, and you can be happy and you can achieve that goal. So my goal was to run and. The first girl, when he had the operation, it was, how can I get out of the hospital? He said you got to walk. So we have to achieve those things and then to, and to get on.
So yeah, set yourself little goals and be happy. So that’s what I did. Sorry. I keep forgetting the questions. No rabbit holes
Daren Lake: my own. No, that’s a great story. I was trying to actually hear the story about how you injured yourself. W we set it in the warmup earlier,
Mike Trees: but no. The injury actually with the back.
I was in the very first world cup triathlon that was televised globally. And the camera crews hadn’t quite worked out how to do the coverage. And basically they knocked me off the bike. I was doing a 50 Ks an hour on the bike and they were filming and they just went straight into me, become a man was filming.
And the driver didn’t see me and they just. Bank took me out. And the doctors, when I went to hospital I chipped a bone in my neck and my lower back and they said, you’re young, but this will come back to bite you in the bum when you get older. And it literally did.
Daren Lake: Oh, no, I’m so sorry.
Mike Trees: Oh, wait. No I never feel so everything happens for a reason it happened.
And then you just get on and work with donuts. I feel so what you have just work out how we can maximize that situation because you feel then you’re going to be negative and sad. See you then say, this is what the is. How can we work the best with what we have.
Daren Lake: That’s phenomenal advice. And I need to listen to that more and more people do.
All right, here we go. Number five, you’re living internationally in Japan originally from England. So I know Japan isn’t really. As far as oppressed goes there are minorities, there you are minority. So you see how it is. You’ve been there for a very long time. What do you think one thing that the world can do to better include, or it’s a very big question.
Mike Trees: a big question. And I’m glad you asked it. So being Caucasian from England. I hadn’t in the North of England. Hadn’t really appreciated racism at all. When I came here and then I saw, and then I lived in Japan and it wasn’t racist, it was just, it’s an insular country. And we looked at outsiders and then I saw the film, Mr.
Baseball. With Tom Selleck and he was in Japan playing baseball and he said, wow, look at these problems. This is so racist. And and the black guy said to him he said, welcome to my world. That’s what it’s like being black in America now. And yeah, Tom Selleck was this white sort of European heritage of Caucasian.
And then. To upon made they’re aware of racial problems and things. And so what my two things are that, that I suggest is if people travel more and make friends around the world, you don’t see Kalita see race, you just see people that you want to be with and you enjoy being with and have common links.
And it makes it really hard if if I got a guy who cycled through Iran and he’s got so many friends, he said, It makes it really hard for me to hate your run when I know how great Iranian people are. It’s just the government in that, the moment that we have problems with, for example, Oh, we disagree with ideologically.
I grew up in Libya and I’ve traveled a lot. So I, my first thing is the more travel you do, the more it opens up your mind to understand things. And the other thing that I do is I see a lot of people who do travel, who then say, Oh, this is crap. This is not like I have in England.
They don’t make beer here. Like they do in England, or they, don’t what I made my wife make a point of doing is we try and just talk about the good things in Japan. In England and the good things about England in Japan, as opposed to the bad things. So we say Japanese cherry blossoms, awesome. Or this, we don’t talk about how people are living in smaller apartments compared to where they are in England.
Whereas in England, we’ll say the great thing in England is we have these great big guns. It’s great. Or we have more free time for work. People in Japan work a lot. So we try and just introduce ideas and things that we can help. Make positive changes in Japan. And when we go back to England, we introduce ideas and things to help make positive changes back in the UK.
And so again, it’s that positivity that we do. And then you’ll see on Instagram people say, I didn’t realize Tokyo was so green. All my pictures are taken to Tokyo. I don’t, I deliberately don’t take pictures of me running past factories and build a terrace because I try and get to nice those the shelf, the nice things.
That’s how I get in my way. Everyone has a different way of doing it, but that’s my approach. Try and travel a lot more and just talk about the positives of each country, not the negatives. One
Daren Lake: last, you do quite a lot of things in the endurance world. You have you’ve got your branch all the energy in RGS.
As we talked about your coaching, that you have your social media, your own running. I don’t know if you cycle I actually, you still cycle. I see that. When you’re Strava. Here with master of some it’s whole, the whole thing is mastering some things. And I actually like to challenge people like you and myself and say, what’s one thing you can focus on.
So your question is what’s one thing that is going to go back in the past. If you could go back to your 30 year old self what’s one thing you would tell yourself to focus on more.
Mike Trees: Yeah. Smarter, not harder. So it actually, it was around about 30 that I got that it was the it was the young kid. The ten-year-old runner.
I would, I just want to do everything as hard as I could train harder and train more. That was when I went to, I achieve one or two things, but generally I trained too hard and got sick. I went to LA and London for a year. It was running 140 miles a week because that’s what everyone was doing back then.
I got to think or chondromalacia patella, which is quite a big thing back then, it was a six weeks operation and it took it finished my running career. And so just too much and just not really being smart enough. And so the thing I would tell a younger version of me. It is I think and train smart.
You don’t have to do more. You just have to think about what you’re doing and how it applies to you