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Ryan Lochte's Olympic Trainer On Fitness

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Matt DeLancey is Ryan Lochte's trainer who got his body in gold medal shape!

He's a strong powerlifter, an Olympic athlete trainer and an avid runner.

So it's safe to say he knows a lot about everything fitness.

He recently sat down for an interview, where he gave some great advice:

What’s your training like?

I started running in January a little bit but really picked it up in July. That first run was 2.17. My mile pace was 11:17; now my pace on that 2-mile run is more like 8:30. I’m 7:38 for my best mile. And I weigh 281 right now. I do weights twice a week, maybe three times. I lift when I can fit it in. Right now, my emphasis is running.

I can’t seem to make strides, and I see your times on Twitter just dropping, dropping, dropping.

My strength base is huge. Strength helps a lot. If you can maintain a stride length that much longer [he holds his hands apart a few inches] over a mile, you’ve cut 10 to 30 seconds [a mile] depending on your level. Naturally, your body does certain things on its own. When I’m stronger—or when I’m at my more ideal weight—I can feel my stride is longer. The whole equation for speed is stride length by stride frequency.

So what are your goals?

Now when I go out for 2 miles, my best is 17:00, so I want to go 16:45 next time I go out. I want to go 14:00 for two miles—that’s a long-term goal obviously. Best part is as you get better, bodyweight comes down and it takes care of itself. I have a goal for each run. I took a football helmet off my shin when I was in college in ‘96, and I’m [bleeping] hurting today. I’m in pain. This thing has been throbbing for two weeks. I’m gonna put some compression on it before I run and take three Bayers… What are you going to do? I've got goals. The time on these goals, they crank. You can’t miss your days, or you won’t hit your goals. I want to run my mile under 6:00 again. I know when I get to 250, I’ll be able to hit a 6-minute mile.

A lot of people get motivated by training for a race. But you’re motivated by tracking your stats. [DeLancey logs and analyzes all of his runs on Nike+.]

This is like Call of Duty for runners. I was a gamer my whole life. Call of Duty games are all very competitive driven. You get rewards for doing certain things. As human beings, we’re competitive. I've got a couple friends on here, and I’m looking at them. I’m a little behind one friend, and he’s 100 pounds less than me, so I’m like, I need to pass this dude. It’s easy to ignore shin pain when you’re pissed off and trying to pass somebody.

It seems to me like crazy-good improvement since July.

It’s easier to get back to something you’ve already done. My base from wrestling was ridiculous. I have a high metabolic tolerance. I think there’s a reason why this guy [pointing to a photo of Lochte] and I train so well together. He’s got a lot of tolerance.

I’ve tried different things—volume, speed—but just feel like I don’t make many strides.

What kind of weights are you doing?

I probably lift more than a lot of runners.

What kind of numbers?

I’m not doing a lot of heavy.

That’s a mistake distance runners make. The best strength gains are made at 5 reps and under. You don’t put size on with those numbers. You put size on with 8 to 12 reps. Running is running – it’s still force application whether it’s sprinting or distance. Watch a miler at the Olympics and how fast are they going? There’s a heck of a lot of force in that mile. They need to be strong. They need to be able to support that foot strike. You’re doing conditioning at track. The weight room should be about eliminating weakness and making athletes strong. Being a more efficient athlete and more efficient runner means you’re expending less energy and your times go down. Any strength exercise we do are 5 reps and under. If you want to wear a runner out, have them do 8 to 12 reps. You only have so much energy in your pie. If you’re taking more from the weight room, you’re stealing from the running.

I’m digging all the tire-flipping. I have a couple myself, and I’m doing a lot of 1-minute sets. That’s wrong?

It’s a mistake. You’re already dipping your sponge in the cardio bucket as much as you need to [if you’re doing a lot of running]. You put a sponge in a bucket and pull it out, dip it back in and pull it out, the sponge only holds so much water. Cardio is the same way. So do strength; get strong. If you’re not strong as distance runner, especially in your hips, you’re going to end up with runner’s knee.

I think I have mindset that I’m a bigger runner, so I’m not supposed to run fast. And that’s part of the roadblock.

Bull [bleep]. Run fast.

He sounds like an awesome guy!

We're gonna try and follow some of his advice!

He's got a "just get out there and do work" attitude and we like it!

[Image via Matt DeLancey.]

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