Bart Yasso: “My Life on the Run” | Talks at Google
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Bart Yasso: “My Life on the Run” | Talks at Google

November 29, 2019


BART YASSO: Thank you so much. I love this venue. I love your building. This is so cool. How many people are running
a marathon in the next couple weeks? Chicago, New York, Philly. Yeah. This is the crazy
season right now. So it’s kind of fun. I want to talk just a little
briefly on some training stuff, and then I’ll do my
PowerPoint presentation, which I call Never Limit Where
Running Can Take You, which is really based
around my life on the run. But just some
training things I’ve learned from coaching
all these people and being a runner
myself for 38 years. People do not run slowly
enough on those, what we call, easy days. Recovery days. When you’re doing
long runs and you’re doing speed workouts or hill
repeats or things like that. Those easy days
after those workouts have to be done at
a very easy pace. And we tend to be crazy about
our little bit of free time we have, and we tend to
run those too quickly. The other mistake a
lot of people make is they run their
long runs too quickly. And by the time they get to the
race, their body’s too tired. They don’t have that peak
performance on race day. And so those long runs should
be about a minute per mile slower than the pace
you’re projecting yourself to run in the
marathon or the pace you think you could
handle for 26.2. I know it sounds
counter-intuitive to say running slower you will make
you faster, but trust me it really does. So if you slow down
on those long runs and slow down on
those recovery days, it’ll allow you to
run faster on those what I call quality
days where you’re doing a specific
type of workout. And that’s how you get faster. And then the other
part of the equation is to stay injury free. And that’s hard to do in
running, especially marathon running. But it can be done because
I did it for– I really didn’t have any injuries
for 25 plus years, and I used to run
a lot of miles. But I really listened to
my body and I was never afraid to take a break. I was always willing
to take some downtime to allow my body to recover and
do some cross training, things like that, in that time period. And it was the way I was
able to stay injury free. Because I find the people that
hit these peak performances, that run a time they
never thought they could do for a 10K, half
marathon, marathon, is they stayed injury
free and trained consistently for a
long period of time. And that’s when they
hit that ultimate goal. Yasso 800s, that workout that’s
named after me– first thing, never have a work
out named after you. Amby Burfoot, a gentleman
who won the Boston Marathon and was executive editor
at “Runner’s World” for many years, he named them
after me without me knowing it. Because what
happens to me– I’ll be somewhere like
Portland, Oregon, and I’ll be in a Starbucks
working on my computer. And this young woman will
come in and recognize me and she’ll go,
you’re Bart Yasso. And I say yes, and
I get a big smile. I want to find out her
name and she’ll go, I curse your name
every Wednesday night. Because her running
club does the Yasso 800s every Wednesday night. And if she says
that in– if someone would say that in
a group of runners, they would understand
what she’s talking about. When you’re in a coffee shop,
everyone looks at me like wow, that guy is really mean. I wonder what this guy does to
this poor woman every Wednesday night that she curses his name. But the Yasso 800s is
a marathon predictor, so it’s 10 times 800 meters
or the 400 meter recovery. If you’re trying to run a
marathon in four hours and 10 minutes, you do this workout. Each 800 meter repeat
of four minutes and 10 seconds, that’s
the correlation. You can Google it. There’s tons of stuff out there. Most of it’s not mine. It’s all the other people
that talk about Yasso 800s. I think the last
time I searched there were over 100,000
views on Yasso 800s. So it’s obviously used
by a lot of people. But the beauty of all of this–
if you can train well, stay injury free, do these races,
that’s where the fun is. So I go around and tell my
story because I went out to run one mile 38 years ago,
just to kind of get in shape, never thinking I
would run marathons or work at “Runner’s
World” someday. But it changed my
life in so many ways. And it literally has
taken me around the world. So I talk about some of the
benefits, the experiences I got to have through
this great sport. I start out with
Sarah Reinertsen, who I consider the greatest
athlete I’ve personally met. Now I get to meet Olympic
gold medalists, world record holders. Working at “Runner’s
World,” you get to meet the fastest
people in the world. And a lot of them are
personal friends of mine. But I got to admit, I
think the greatest athletes are these people that
overcome so much just to get to the starting
line, then let alone go out and do these races. And a person like Sarah,
who was the first female to do the Hawaii Iron
Man on a prosthetic leg. Forget about, you
know, she started– she did the New
York City Marathon and then she got this idea
to do the Hawaii Iron Man. And when you do a
Hawaii Iron Man when you’re an above
the knee amputee, you have to have a cycling
prosthetic, a running prosthetic, and swim
without your one leg. I mean, it’s amazing
what these people can do. So I consider her the greatest. Not only her athletic ability,
but she shares her story. She’s just a
powerful individual. And then this woman, Kimberly. This was taken at the
New York City Marathon– photo was taken at the New York
City Marathon expo last year. The New York City
Marathon weekend. And it was the third
marathon I saw Kimberly at in about a four-week span. And every time
she’d come up to me and we’d get our
picture together. I knew she had a
story, but she wasn’t really willing to talk about it. In New York she really came
clean and told me her story, that she was actively being
treated for breast cancer, getting chemotherapy on Friday,
running the marathon on Sunday. And she told me she
works with her oncologist to time when she
gets her chemo based on the starting time
of the marathon. So she knew how many
hours out from the start of the race where she would
feel good about running, where her body would
react the best. And I thought wow. What other sport do you
experience things like this? And I get to experience
this every weekend. These people blow me away. We have no limitations when
you meet people like Kimberly. And this gentleman, Brian Boyle. This was at the finish line
of the Philly Marathon. I was the race announcer
that year and Brian came in and he’s giving me five and I’m
screaming over the microphone. What I was screaming
over the microphone, I knew he was running
a personal record, because I knew his time. And he wanted to stop
and he was saying, I want to be Bart Yasso. I want to do all the
races that you do. And I was like, dude, get
across the finish line, because you’re running
a personal best. Then come back and talk to me. And I don’t know why he
wants to be Bart Yasso, but we have a very
good friendship. But his story is amazing. He was in a horrific
car accident and in a coma for two months. When he was in that coma, he was
pronounced dead a couple times. And they never thought
this kid would live. And he wasn’t a runner prior
to this horrific accident. But eventually he
loses 100 pounds, he goes through all this trauma,
and then what does he do? When this picture
was taken, I believe it was his fourth
marathon in six weeks, about three years removed
from being pronounced dead in a coma. When you meet people like this,
again I get this every weekend, it’s mind-boggling. The last marathon I did
was in Tacoma, Washington this past May. And I went there to
be the guest speaker. I wasn’t going to run the race. I wasn’t really in good shape
to run a marathon at the time. But the day before the
race, I’m interacting with all the runners and
this guy comes up to me and he said he just survived–
this is his first marathon after surviving fourth-stage
pancreatic cancer. And he said, when I was really
sick, I was reading your book and some of those
chapters made me laugh and it kept my spirit up. And he said to me, can
I run with you tomorrow? I was like, whoa. I had to tell him I
wasn’t running the race, but I got second thoughts. Maybe I should go out and run
so I could run with this guy. And I thought well,
maybe I could just run part of the
course or something. Within another 30
minutes or so, this woman comes walking towards me. And I recognized her and she
said, we met at this marathon. And she goes, my husband Brian
is running his last marathon tomorrow. He came down with ALS and it’s
already affecting his arm. His arms barely move and it’s
starting to affect his leg. So he’s going to do
his last marathon and his dream is to run
part of it with you. And I’m like, do I
have a sign on my head that says anyone with
any problems come get me? I was like, wow. So I texted the race
director right away and I said, you got to
get me a bid number. I gotta go out and
run this marathon. So I went out and ran and met
up with these two runners. And it was amazing to
have that experience, to run just part of
the course with them. They ended up, both of them,
they ran faster than I did, I’m pretty sure. But I did go out there
and experienced– just run alongside them for a mile
or so and got some pictures. And it was really fun. But in that same context,
all this crazy stuff happens to me at
races like Tacoma. So I had that real
serious side that happens. And then the day before, we
did these little shake out runs that we do to kind
of shake out the nerves and shake out the cobwebs. And afterwards we all– a
group of about 20 of us– we got coffee afterwards. And this one runner
said to me, she said, you’ve got to tell all
the stories tonight. I’ll tell the
stories this morning. So I said great,
I’m off the hook. So I thought she
was going to tell some kind of running stories. But she was a flight
attendant, and she started talking about
passengers on her planes trying to join the mile-high club. These stories were
awesome stories. I was cracking up. And I was so happy I
didn’t have to say a word. I was just listening. And I travel a lot on planes. I have never experienced
anything obviously what a flight attendant
would experience. So the next day in this
marathon, after I connected with the two runners I did, and
I was a pretty emotional wreck. There was a little out-and-back
section of the marathon. And we’re coming along. And it just so happened to be
as I was running this direction, that woman was running
the other direction. Her name was Heidi. And we go running up. And she looks over
and she says, Bart! Bart! And I’m running with a
group of eight or 10 people. And she’s screaming my name. And I yell over and
recognize her and say, hey. And she said, it’s me, your
favorite flight attendant Heidi– the mile-high club. That’s all she said. Now these runners that I was
running with, they were like, dude, you are the man. And I had to explain
to them that I’m not a member of the mile-high club
and explain the whole story. But that’s the beauty of
this sport– the things that can happen out
there, the fun I get to experience all the time. When I say never limit
where running can take you, places like a
marathon that started at the base of Mount Everest. That is me in my younger
days, believe it or not. Did have hair back in the day. That’s the finish
line of a race. My friend [? Danelle– ?] we did
a course tour the day before. It’s the finish line
of a race in the South Island of New Zealand. They are crazy trail
runners in New Zealand. Typical– they don’t
think anything of that. I’m one of those
people fortunate enough to go to all seven continents. That’s the way we
got to Antarctica– a Russian freighter from
the tip of South America. The beauty of Antarctica,
the leopard seals. The only spectators in
the Antarctica marathon right there. A little different than running
in Chicago and New York. You’re running on glaciers,
but it was beautiful. Such a cool place to be. And then I did a
race which was– so we were in
Antarctica down here. Flip. So this race was called
the Arctic Circle Marathon. So we’re up in the
Inuit land and running near the Arctic Circle. And the same thing,
the beautiful wildlife. A pretty arduous
course, pretty tough. We actually got to see 13
polar bear in the wild, which to me was, as an animal lover,
one of my coolest experiences, to see polar bear
swimming from one island. And it was amazing to
physically witness. All right. I use this race, this
Badwater race as something that– I speak at a
lot of pasta dinners the night before the race or two
nights before the Chicago, New York, Philly. And I always get
these people that say, I only made it 20 miles– it’s
their first marathon– I only made it 20 miles in training. Am I going to make
it that last 6.2? Or it’s a half
marathon, they only went up to 10 miles in training. Am I going to make
it that last 3.1? Well, when I did
the Badwater race, 146 miles in Death
Valley, finish line on top of Mount Whitney, which
is 14,496 feet, the highest mountain in the
contiguous 48 states. And they hosted in
mid-July, because it’s the hottest time of the
year, 123 degrees and all that craziness. I just remember
being at the start. And the race director had
this little starter pistol. And he just said,
one minute to go to the start of
the Badwater 146. And that 146 just went
through my brain like, I never ran past the marathon
finish line at that point. I had a lot of
marathons under my belt, but I was like, this race is
120 miles longer than I’ve ever run. That is scary. And this is not the
time to think about it. And I’m not that stupid. I knew that going there. I just never really processed
it until right then and there. And I’m like, wow. How do you run 120 miles
longer than you’ve ever done in training? And then I had two crew
people from “Runner’s World.” Each runner had to have
a vehicle and two crew. And my crew, they were
worried about these 123 degree temperatures. So they literally,
as the race director is saying all these little
words of encouragement to us as we’re ready to
start, my crew kind of ducked behind the little
mini RV that we had. And I followed them, but they
didn’t know I followed them. And I heard them say– first
thing they said is, OK. Somebody’s going to
die in this race. We hope it’s not Bart. And I’m like, guys,
I can hear you. And they– and I thought wow. The 120 miles longer, the
123 degree temperature, my crew actually
really thinks someone’s going to die in this race. I just remember now
there’s like 20 seconds to the start of this race. I just remember telling
myself, just all those miles you’ve run, all these years,
just go out and enjoy it. Don’t get crazy about it. Thank God I did that
because I went out there and had the
time of my life. And now I’m not going
to say it wasn’t arduous to run 146 miles in the
extreme weather and the finish on top of Mount Whitney. But I can stand
here today and say that it was actually fun to do. It was a crazy fun kind
of work assignment. There’s Mount Whitney. And then the finish line– when
you’re standing on the highest peak in the
contiguous 48 states, you get a beautiful view of
the Sierra Nevada mountains. But then you have to walk 11
miles off of this mountain back to meet your crew. And I think they should count
that in as part of the race, because it’s one
of those things. Again, like I knew I had
to walk up that mountain, but I was just so focused on
getting to that finish line. You get there and then you’re
loving this view and then, wow. It’s like a three hour walk
to get back to a vehicle to get back to another
couple hour drive to get to Vegas where
there’s any civilization. It was crazy. Because I hear runners
complain all the time that do the New York City
Marathon when they send you out on Central Park
West, and then you’ve got to walk back down to
kind of get out of that area. That’s like a mile or two. And you’re in New
York where there’s coffee shops and places to go. A little different
than doing Badwater. But if I did that, you
guys will have no problem. I really thought I was
going to die in this race. And I had no clue what
I was getting into. But I was told to do this race
in Westcliffe, Colorado, called the Burro Run. And I said well, I
can’t do a burro run. I don’t own a burro. And they said, oh. You go there, you’re
going to meet Taco Bell. And you and Taco
Bell do this 10K. Well, I didn’t know
that burros run as fast as they
do until that day. So you’ve got this rope. And actually there’s
a picture of Taco Bell and I before the race. And we didn’t get along
prior to the race. He was dragging me
around, but eventually I got control of him. There were about 40
runners in the race. We get to the start. You’ve got this burro
and this 20-foot rope. And the guy shoots this shotgun. This bang goes off, and
the burros get scared and they jump up in the air. And then they touch down,
and my buddy Taco Bell did the first mile in about
four minutes and 30 seconds. And I was 20 feet
behind him attached to the rope that was
attached to Taco Bell. And I remember going
that fast saying, I’m going to die
in a burro race. This is going to be my demise. I cannot hold this pace anymore. My lungs are going to explode. But not only Taco Bell, but all
the burros, about two miles, three miles into the race,
they completely stop running. About four miles
they stop completely and get that stiff leg thing. And you literally
drag this animal the entire rest of the race. It was crazy. But it sounded really
easy in my office. Sounded like an easy
work assignment. My favorite race that
never came to fruition was a race in the
lowlands of Nepal in a place called Chitwan
Park, which Chitwan Park is a reserve for tiger
and rhinoceros. And this guy Jim
Crosswhite, he knew that, but he was convinced he could
set up this half marathon trail. But he was a smart guy. He wanted to do a test run
before he had the race, so he convinced me into
doing this test run. And there we are, about three
miles into our test run. I’m on the left. You can see who
is in the middle. My buddy Jim on the right. My favorite picture
is two seconds later because I’m not in that picture. And that line you
always wanted to use, I didn’t have to outrun the
rhino, just my buddy Jim, and I knew I was faster than
Jim, so I wasn’t scared? But I remember saying to
him– I said Jim, just say you’ve convinced 25
people into doing this race. What do you do with
25 runners coming down a trail with a rhino
in the middle of the trail? Like, you can’t do this. So he said OK, I get it. So I said if we
run back to where we camped, we’ll get in a
6-mile run, have breakfast, everything will be good. As we ran back to
where we camped, we ran into at least
six or seven more rhino. Someone would have gotten
killed in this race, I swear. But luckily, he ended
up scratching the idea. Now, my scariest work
assignment is this race. I’m going to go through
these slides really quickly. The Bare Buns Fun Run, and
you’ll get the gist of it. The start of the Bare Buns Race. There’s me finishing naked. And then I got my medal to
prove I did it and my t-shirt. So the Bare Buns Run is 5K. It’s held on this nudist camp
outside of Spokane, Washington. When I committed
to this thing, I didn’t know the
race would promote that I was coming to the race. I didn’t think that
was part of the deal. So the race starts promoting,
Bart’s running naked, doing this 5K. And the race swells in size. And then they say to
me– they called me– the race director called me
about a month before the race. And he said, Bart, we
have so many people coming to this race, we’re going
to have our own dinner because there’s not enough
restaurants close enough to the nudist camp
to feed everybody. So we’re going to
have a pasta dinner. We’re going to set you up
to speak at the dinner. So I committed to
that over the phone. When I got there,
I realized people are going to come to
this pasta dinner naked. And get in the buffet
line to get their pasta and then sit at
these round tables. And they’re going to
throw me up on the stage naked to do my presentation. And I thought, they didn’t tell
me any of this over the phone. So I thought, OK. By the time they
get the room set up, this will be my easiest
presentation ever. I’m not going to look at
naked people eating pasta. I’ll just look over
their heads and act like I’m looking at them. And I’ll do my PowerPoint,
hide behind the podium that they’ll have for
me, and then I’m gone. I did not have a podium. They gave me like
two cinder blocks that were like this high
to put my computer on. So I do my presentation
and I thought, OK. Every talk I do when I’m done,
I hang out and meet and greet everybody. I’m not sticking
around after this talk. I’m literally finishing my
talk and running out the door. So I thought, I better
have a good closing line to just depart this
room in a second. So I figured out my line. I finished, got
to my last slide, I wished everybody luck
in the race tomorrow. I said, I hope everyone
has a goal in this race. And I said, I got one goal. I don’t want to come back to
the “Runner’s World” office on Monday with some
medal in my hand that says I was smallest
in my age group. And I literally ran out the
door and left them thinking. And it was crazy. So you got to watch
what you commit to. I had no clue what I was doing. I’ve done a couple
races in Africa. The first race I
did in East Africa was the Mount
Kilimanjaro Marathon, which I was fortunate enough to
do three times over the years. The first time I did it,
I was the only non-East African in the race. You want to line up with
120 runners, and 119 of them come from Tanzania,
Kenya, and Ethiopia, it is the scariest thing. When that gun went off there
wasn’t anyone running slower than six minute per mile pace. No one in the race. And the thing I remember
during the race– I always say if you run a
marathon in North America, people lie to you. They always say,
oh you look good. At 25 miles in the
marathon and you’ve got like drool coming
down and you’re just trying to get to the finish,
and they tell you you look good. And you don’t look
good, but they don’t want to tell
you you look bad. Or you’ll hear people
say you’re almost there or there are no more hills. Well, when I was running this
race, I kept hearing Swahili. They would be cheering
for us and I’d come along, and in Swahili they would
say, [SWAHILI] and smile at me and cheer. And I was like, wow,
they’re telling me I look good in Swahili. Because for me, I
had a good race. I was running pretty well. But I was way in the back
in this field of runners. So I found out after I finished
what [SWAHILI] means in Swahili is look at the slow white
man, is what they were saying. But they weren’t being
mean, to be quite honest. It’s just matter-of-factly
what they saw. And when I was there
on one of my trips, I got to– I challenged
some young Maasai warrior kids, way off the
beaten path, to see is everyone in East Africa fast? The answer is yes. Because I went to these kids
who had never really done an organized run in their life. We set up this little race. And I’m running with my
camera just to get pictures. And these kids were so
fast it was ridiculous. And that is, you can tell, a
pretty good running stride. But when I was there, I tried
to get the young women to run with me, the young Maasai women. And they wouldn’t do it
for cultural reasons, and it really bummed me out. But they took my running medals. I take all my running
medals to– actually, all my running medals now are
being auctioned off on eBay. But back then I used to take
a lot of them to East Africa. So they took these medals. I don’t know what it says
on the back of the medals. Something about first
place in the 55 to 59 age group or something. I don’t know what’s on
the back of those medals. But ceremoniously they
took those medals. And they gave me that beautiful
smile that I never forgot. And so whenever I get
a medal around my neck, the first thing I think of
is this moment that I had, and I always remind
myself culturally how lucky we are
to do what we do. Because it doesn’t
happen everywhere. This is a pretty spec–
if I went back there now, I know I could get these
women to run with me. But prior to a lot of the
East African women doing well in big races like
London and New York, the Maasai women were told not
to do anything with a man– certainly not anything in sport. I just threw that animal stuff
in there because I love it. And in my personal– in all
my years at “Runner’s World,” I’m going to close with my
two feature stories that come to mind as my
favorite in this 28 years I’ve been at “Runner’s World.” This was a race– it’s
called the Comrades Marathon in South
Africa– the largest ultramarathon in the
world and the oldest ultramarathon in the world. They’ve been running
this 56 miles run through the hills of
South Africa since 1921. And 20,000 people
line up to run it. It’s amazing. And I wanted to do it
back in my younger days when I would run this distance
at a pretty fast pace. I used to run 50 mile races
right around 7.20 per mile pace. I can’t do one mile at
that pace these days. But I always wanted
to do it back then. And because of
reasons like apartheid and different reasons, I
never got over there to do it. So I did get over in 2010
and got to finish that race, and it was the
coolest experience. To see the human spirit
that lives within this race. It changed the physical
makeup of South Africa. They suppressed
the black athletes from running Comrades
for many years. But then the white
athletes were the ones that said if you don’t
allow the blacks to flourish in this sport, we’re not
going to come and do Comrades. So it all changed
and now there’s many black citizens
running Comrades, in fact winning Comrades. To see that change,
that’s the reason I really wanted to go over there
and run this 89 kilometers, 56 hilly miles through
South Africa. And we did a whole video series
on it and a big feature piece. And then the other
feature piece, this picture was in
“Runner’s World,” called “Running with the Amish.” And this is as the
Amish race that they do outside of
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And when I first
went to this, it was this handful
of Amish runners. Literally, four or
five Amish runners. They would run in their
traditional Amish clothing. Wait until 10 o’clock
at night to run, because they didn’t
want anyone to see them. They would run through
the Amish fields. And they asked me if I would
come run with them, and I did. And it was a cool experience. And then they asked me
to come back and speak to the entire Amish
community about running. So I committed to this talk. And I went to this barn and
no electricity, no anything. But they told me they would–
my PowerPoint would work, they had a projector. And this guy went
out and fired up a generator, this
big old Amish guy. And boom, the lights came
on, some artificial lighting that they set up. And I look and there’s
all these teenagers, and people in their 20s and
30s, and then the adults and then these bishops
in the background. And I’m in this barn with 500
Amish people, and four of them run. And I got to sell
them on running. And it was a challenge,
which I love, but just that opportunity–
it was the coolest thing. And then I helped them
out with this race they do called the Bird
in Hand Half Marathon. Bird in Hand is a small
town outside of Lancaster. And when I went there
that first year, there were literally
four or five Amish people participating in the race. This past September, the
numbers are over 400, plus Amish people
either doing the kids run, the 5K, or
the half marathon. In that short period of
time, the Amish community just embraced running. And it wasn’t me or what
I talked to them about. It was the power of
the running community and the way they
engage with people. I think I got one slide here. I think– yeah. That Amish kid is
finishing a half marathon. Look at the stride on that kid. Now they are wearing
Garmin watches, which I don’t know– I’m not
saying– they may break a few of the Amish rules, but
I’m not going to go there. But that is amazing how
fast these kids are. I don’t know this
kid’s time in the half. I don’t remember, but when
I did the awards ceremony, all the younger
age groups were all won by the Amish boys or girls. All those younger age groups. These kids were so fast,
it was unbelievable. And now, why would the
Amish really want to run? A couple reasons. The simplicity of it. You don’t need any
fancy clothing. They can run in
their Amish clothing. They just need shoes. The other part of it is
that running community. And I just think
they embraced it. And the Amish community
is now having problems like we’re used to. They all used to be farmers and
everybody was skinny and fit. But now they’re landlocked, so
not everyone can have a farm. So now they turned
to traditional jobs like a carpenter, a
plumber, and a roofer. And they got a little
lazy in the big picture and started diabetes and started
having Amish overweight, which never was– it was never
a problem in the past. So to have running as
part of their lifestyle, it’s changed their
community all to the better. So whenever I do
my talk, I always throw it back to the
running community, because they’re such a
powerful group of people, such a compassionate
group of people. And that’s truly what I
love about this sport. And my tagline, never limit
where running can take you, you can see it literally has
taken me all over the world. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Questions? No one has a question. Someone has to have a question. Oh, here we go. AUDIENCE: Thanks so much for
speaking here today, Bart. So I wanted to ask you
about some of your thoughts about where the running
community, industry is going, going forward. Especially now with the, I
guess, international popularity of running really rising over
the past four or five years, as we’ve seen the American
professional athletes really come into their own, both
in the marathon distances as well as on the track. Just in terms of promotional
sponsorships from companies, where the incentives go,
and things like that. And then I have a separate
question about the recent world record in the marathon. The whole two hour thing. BART YASSO: Two hours,
two minutes, 57 seconds. Yeah. I’ll start out with
that world record. Unbelievable. There’s all this talk
about, will someone break two hours in
the marathon someday. Well, they’ve gotten a lot
closer, running 2:02:57. I never thought I
would physically see somebody run that
fast in my lifetime. So they’re already
at high 2:02’s. I think to get sub-two hours
is going to take a long time. A lot of times the world
record in the marathon will level off for many
years, like 20 or 30 years. They hit a certain level
and then it will level off. But I see a couple more
records in the near future, and maybe hitting like
2:02:30ish and then leveling off for awhile. Again, that’s my own opinion. I could be totally
wrong on that. We could witness
sub-two hours someday. But you know,
someone comfortably has to run a half marathon in
57 minutes to run sub-two hours. And I just don’t see
that happening right now. So the other part– what
running is happening globally. You know, it’s still growing. These marathons are
more popular than ever. The six majors that they have,
New York, Chicago, Berlin, which just happened, Tokyo. I mean, there’s
hundreds of thousands of people trying to
get in these races that only have space
for 50,000 people. It’s a good problem,
I guess, to look at. I wish we could accommodate
everybody, but we can’t. But there’s so many
races out there. I see a lot of
people gravitating towards smaller races that
only have 5,000 or 6,000 people because they just want
a more intimate feel. But the big races are
obviously still doing well. But I see a lot of
those smaller races really thriving and doing well. At “Runner’s World,”
we do a– in two weeks we have what we call the
Runner’s World Half Marathon and Festival. So we do a 5K, 10K Saturday,
half marathon on Sunday, and then a festival all
day Saturday with clinics on nutrition and training. And so I see a lot of
races going that way. So there’s something
for everyone to do over a two to
three day period. Disney is big at it. People do the Dopey Challenge
and the Goofy Challenge where you run multiple races. In our race, of the
6,000 runners that we’ll have in two weeks,
about 1,000 of them do what we call the Hat Trick. They do all three events. And that’s a new phenomenon
and has been very popular. People love more t-shirts,
more finisher medals, all that stuff. They just thrive on it. It’s kind of fun to see that. It is more being involved,
being part of the community. It’s not just about running
fast for a lot of people. And that’s a change. But by far the biggest
change that I physically witnessed in this
sport is the amount of women doing the sport. When I used to do races
in the ’70s, if there were 200 people in the race, there
were five women, 10 women. Now to go to some half
marathons and the race announcer goes over the demographic and
says, today’s race, 58% women, I mean, that’s
amazing to witness. They didn’t allow women in
the Boston– in the old days, we didn’t go on the
computer to enter the race. We had to fill out a
form and mail it in. There was no gender box on the
Boston Marathon until 1972. So there were Kathrine
Switzer, Roberta Gibb– there were a few women
that ran it prior, but they weren’t counted,
they weren’t official. So to think that this just goes
back to 1972 is amazing to me. In that short period of time
how much women’s running has taken off. It’s been the big
growth in running. Does that answer your question? AUDIENCE: Yeah. Thank you. BART YASSO: Thank you. Yes. AUDIENCE: Hi. Thanks for coming. You mentioned
earlier how important it is to take it slow
on the long runs. BART YASSO: Yeah, recovery day. AUDIENCE: That has
been really great, but what about the
day after a long run? How do you approach– say you’ve
run, I don’t know, 20 miles, and you want to
get some miles in. I think “Runner’s World”
has called that junk miles. You want to get them in. How do you approach those? BART YASSO: Yeah. So there is a term
called junk miles. You did your long run, but
you still want to go out. I don’t call any
mile junk miles. Every workout should
have a purpose. Every workout should not be
a fast workout or a quality workout, but it
should have a purpose. And that purpose
could be you just want to go out and cover
five miles and have fun. You don’t wear a watch. You consciously tell yourself
just run as easy as you can. Run along the west side highway
and look out over the water, look at New Jersey,
look at the sky. Whatever you want to do,
just go out and enjoy it. Or, more importantly, find
someone new to the sport that you know is a lot slower
than you are, and take them out for a run. And encourage them that
they can improve on this. They can finish a
marathon someday if they put in the hard
work and commit to it. And that’s the better thing. Then it’s not junk miles. Then it’s like a quality day. You get to help somebody. You get to go out
and enjoy the views, and you’re not
worried about time. And the best thing is
not to wear a watch and to tell yourself
the minute you leave to slow down
the whole time. Run around that reservoir,
whatever you want to do. Just take in– you know,
and the two things I say to myself all the time. How lucky we are physically
to do what we do, and culturally to do what we do. We have this freedom. We can run anywhere. Go out and enjoy it. Don’t get caught up in what
kind of miles they are. And I don’t believe
in junk miles. I think every mile
helps you at some point, whether it just helps you
mentally or physically. AUDIENCE: Thanks. BART YASSO: Thank you. AUDIENCE: Hi. Thanks for coming. What do you recommend
for beginner runners for learning proper running
form and good pacing? BART YASSO: Sure. So beginning runners. The first thing
beginning runners do is they run too
quickly, because they think you have to run fast. You know, everybody’s watching
you, they’re timing you. And they’re really not,
but you get that feeling. So beginning runners, I
always tell them to slow down. If you slow down, you’ll be able
to cover a little more distance than you think is possible. You’ll build endurance, which
is going to help you long term, and then you can
get a lot faster. But it’s hard to do. It’s hard to slow people down. But if you slow down, you’ll
learn better running form. You’ll learn a better
way to pace yourself. And if you can learn
how to pace yourself so that when you’re doing
a race you stay consistent, that’s when you’re going
to run a good race. But you really teach
yourself that in training. You don’t need a
coach to do that. It’s something you can do
by really paying attention to what you’re doing,
the workout you’re doing. Start out slowly and
build up that endurance, and then it’s a lot easier. People that go from the
couch to the marathon is not the way to do it. The couch to the 5K, the
5K to the half marathon, the half marathon
to the marathon, is a much better formula
than couch to marathon. So if you’re patient
about it, allow your body to gain the endurance of
running slowly and adding more miles as you’re
able to do that, all the other stuff, the
good form and the pace will just happen naturally. AUDIENCE: Thanks. BART YASSO: Sure. Yes. AUDIENCE: Hello. BART YASSO: Hi. AUDIENCE: So I wanted to
sort of ask a pre-question about the run the day after. BART YASSO: Yeah. AUDIENCE: One thing
I’m particularly bad at is recovery
right after a run. So I was wondering
what your thoughts were on stretching and– BART YASSO: Yeah. So I mean, you’ve
immediately finished a run. AUDIENCE: Yeah. BART YASSO: So a lot happens
on especially a quality workout within the 10 to 15 minutes
after you’ve finished the run. The hydration part of it, a
little bit of food part of it, the stretching part of it. Because that’s going to
allow you to feel better the next day. If you’re really
gutsy, you can take an ice bath, which
ice baths aren’t fun. But they really work
after a long run. But there’s a small
window 15, 20 minutes after you finish that run. If you do a few things,
it’s going to help you out and you’ll recover faster. Number one is to make sure
you rehydrate properly. Because even if you take fluids
with you, most of the time you’ll get dehydrated,
especially on the longer runs. So if you can
hydrate right away. And then get a little
bit of food in you, which is going to help the
glycogen in your muscles recover a little bit better. And then some form
of stretching, light stretching after
the run, that you can keep that flexibility. Because the worst thing to do
is to go to bed at night really stiff and sore, and
then you’re going to wake up much stiffer
than when you went to bed. So that little
bit of– you know, I’m not crazy about stretching. I don’t think you
need a whole routine, but just a little bit
of smart stretching. I like to do stretching that
has a little bit of strength and flexibility. So just light weights
and I do a little thing in our workout facility
when I can after a run. And I find then I
recover so much better. So it’s a hydration,
a little bit of food, proper food like a banana,
get that potassium, something like that after a run. And then to do some form
of strength and flexibility afterwards that you feel
better the next day. That’s what you’re looking for? AUDIENCE: Yeah. Thanks. BART YASSO: Thank you. Yes. AUDIENCE: Hello. Thank you so much for sharing,
especially the pictures, because it just helps
to put us in your shoes while you were
doing those races. But I was hoping maybe you
could tell us a little bit more about how you go into running. BART YASSO: Sure. AUDIENCE: And how you
got to “Runner’s World.” BART YASSO: Yeah. Two crazed, crazy routes. And I like to do
my PowerPoint a lot because people don’t
believe my stories. They don’t believe I
was chased by a rhino. They don’t believe
I was attached to a burro and
drug down the road. When they see my
pictures, they know. I did have one kid
challenge my rhino picture. I was speaking to
a third-grade class and this little kid said I
used Photoshop on that picture. And I remember asking his name. His name was Johnny. And I said Johnny,
that picture’s way older than Photoshop. And I’m way older
than Photoshop. And I never use Photoshop. And then I said, if you want
to get to the fourth grade, wait till after the presentation
to ask the speaker a question. Because he blurted it out
right in the middle of my talk. It was so funny. But to get to your
question, 38 years ago I was not living
a good lifestyle. I really needed a
change in my life. I didn’t want to go
out drink every night, like what I was doing. I really wanted a change. And I used running as a
way just to get in shape. I wasn’t really thinking
I’m going to be a marathoner and do all these races. I just went out and I
just started running. I fell in love with the sport. And I just increased
my mileage and started running two days a week, three
days a week, four days a week. And it just came along
for me at the right time. And then “Runner’s World” at
the time was owned by a company and published in Mountain
View, California. Gentleman by the
name of Bob Anderson owned “Runner’s World.” And he sold it to the Rodale
family, and “Runner’s World” moved into Pennsylvania
close to where I was living. And then “Runner’s World” moved
into Pennsylvania and Rodale bought it. After Rodale bought it, I got
to meet all the people that work at “Runner’s World.”
and they said, we like you. We’re going to get
you to work for us. I was pretty connected
with the running community, and it was something that the
magazine needed at that time. So that’s how I started
out– working with events, physically going
to events, and then my job just evolved
over the years. And having the job title,
Chief Running Officer, it is the coolest title ever. I spoke to these
high school kids who were going on to
college, all had GPAs of 4.5. And this one guy
said, you’ve got to come speak to this group. And you know, I said my
GPA wasn’t anywhere near those kids. And he said but
you’re the right guy. So I showed them my experiences
and what I do for a living. And I told them, I
said, get a vague title that you really– nobody knows
what you’re supposed to do. It’s the greatest thing. If I was the Editor
in Chief, you know you’re responsible for
every page in the magazine. If you’re Editor
in Chief Digitally, you’re responsible
for every story that appears on everything
we do digitally. So there’s all these
job titles which absolutely you know
you’re responsible for. The CEO. But when you’re the CRO,
the Chief Running Officer, you get to do a little
bit of everything. And that’s what I love. I get to work in all
facets of the magazine. So it’s fun. I ended up there. I don’t think I would’ve ever
ended up at “Runner’s World” if it wasn’t purchased by Rodale
and moved into Pennsylvania close to where I was living. But when I got my position at
“Runner’s World,” the first job, I just knew this
is where I wanted to be. I had to work hard to flourish. So I just put that commitment
out there that I was going to work– not harder
than anyone at Rodale, not harder than anyone
at “Runner’s World”– I personally said to myself I
was going to work harder than anybody in the running industry. That was my goal I
personally set for myself, and I’ve been going at it
pretty hard for 28 years. And I absolutely love what I do. People come to me
all the time and say, aren’t you ever going to retire? Don’t you get tired of this? And I go, no, I actually
love it more now than ever. Why would I step away from that? If you’re loving something,
you’ve got to keep it going. And you never know
where the sport will go or what changes will happen. So I’m still riding that
wave and having fun doing it. Thank you. AUDIENCE: Thanks
very much for coming. And thank you for all the
fun and motivating stories that you told us about. My question is actually
about motivation. I’ve been running marathons and
so on for a number of years. Nothing crazy, like a few,
one or two races a year. BART YASSO: That’s crazy. AUDIENCE: As masters runner,
now injury is setting in, the recovery takes longer, you
notice it’s harder to go out. And I realize that I’m not going
to improve my time, you know. So I did a marathon
in the spring, and my running has
been kind of flagging. I haven’t been running as much,
haven’t been as motivated. So I was kind of curious
as to whether you went through periods where
you’re less motivated and how you got yourself out. BART YASSO: Yeah. Yeah, I went through
it yesterday. And it’s so true. But I did a 50K
trail run yesterday. 31 miles. It was pretty hilly and outside
of Reading, Pennsylvania, around this lake
call Blue Marsh Lake, and I didn’t realize it was
going to be as hilly as it was. For some reason I did
this stupid thing. I looked at what my personal
record was in 50 kilometers before I went to the race,
just out of curiosity, because I knew I was going
to go so much slower. And I looked. My personal best
for 50 kilometers was three hours and 24 minutes. Yesterday I ran eight
hours and three minutes. So why would I be out there? Why would I want to
do a race that I’m so much slower at
than I used the run? And I finished like
fifth from the end where I used to win a lot of
these races in the old days. Well, a mile into this race
this runner came alongside of me and he said, Bart, man, I’m
one of your biggest fans. I want to run a mile with you. And I said, no problem. We’ll run a mile together. Well, we ran 30 miles together. He ended up being
like a Siamese twin. Like I think we were
literally attached by the hip for 30 miles. To have that experience, it
was worth being out there. And that’s what I personally
use for motivation. Because you’re right,
there is a bell curve in running like anything else. And if you’ve been at it for a
long time and start when you’re younger, you can
improve for many years. And then all of a sudden
you hit this high spot and you become on this
side of the bell curve. And you slow down. It’s inevitable. I’ll be 60 next year, so I’m
not going to get any faster. I’m only going to get slower. But that’s what I
use for motivation. I just go out there and be
happy I have these experiences. I really don’t know why
I entered that race. I kept saying to myself
when I was driving there, what was I thinking? I’m not in any shape to run
31 miles, but thank God I did, because to run 30 miles
with this guy, Daryl, it was such a cool experience. And I don’t think
he would have– I don’t want to brag about it
and say that I had to be there for him, but I was talking to
him, how to do these hills, and how to do the
downhills, because I still know how to do that stuff. I just can’t do it
as fast as I used to. So I was coaching him
for literally 30 miles and talking him
through this race. And when we got to the finish
and I got that big bear hug from this guy, man, it was
worth the eight hours and three minutes or whatever
we were out there. And literally 30 miles
of it with that guy. But that’s what I use for
that motivation to keep going. You know, there’s other
things to do in this sport to help people, to work
with beginning runners, because you have a
lot of experience. And I think that
keeps you motivated. But don’t give up on the running
just because you get slower. There’s so many
experiences out there. If I didn’t ever do
Comrades or the races that I did so much slower
than I used to run, I would feel that
I cheated myself. Because even though
I was slower, the clock was still there. I still get that same feeling. I get excited about it, just
being part of the community and ending up in these
locations to do these events. So that, to me, is
what it’s all about. When I did Comrades, I
did a TV interview right before the start. And I was up at the front. And like I said, if I was
doing Comrades back in my 30s, I would have one of those
runners at the front of the race trying to run 7.20
per mile for the entire 56 miles. But when I went
there in 2010, I was going to run 13-minute miles
and start way in the back. When I did this interview,
I couldn’t get to the back where I needed to be. And the race announcer
and the race director said, you’ve got
to go in the front and start with this lead group. You don’t have a choice. The race is going to
start in a minute. And I was like,
wow, these guys just heard me say on
the TV station I’m going to run 13-minute miles,
and that lead group was all going to run under six minute
per mile pace for the entire 56 miles. So you think I got
to get off that stage and mix it up with those guys,
they’re going to be mean to me. They all hugged me. And then they did say,
when the gun goes off, move off to the side,
which I told them I was definitely going to do. I already had that plan,
but that’s the stuff. If I didn’t get to
live those experiences, I really think I would
have cheated myself. It happens to everyone. It’s the way you deal with it. If you can keep it fun
and attach yourself to some other people
that you can help out, you can keep doing
it for a long time. I still think you
probably run pretty fast. You just– AUDIENCE: Yeah. You motivated enough that
I’m going to go out for a run this afternoon. So we’ll see. BART YASSO: Thank you. That’s the cool thing to hear. No more questions? Oh yeah. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: So what do you
think the right amount of time to run, you know, I
guess the average mileage per week for optimal health. BART YASSO: Yeah. I really believe
that if you’re just using running to stay fit, if
you can get out there four days a week and run 30 to 40 minutes,
you’re going to be happy. That’s enough to
relieve that stress, keep your weight at
the proper level. I mean, you really don’t have to
go out there and kill yourself. And then once, maybe once a
month, really think about, I’m going to do a long run. So I usually just run at lunch,
get away for 30 or 40 minutes, but on Saturday I’m
going to just try to run two loops
around Central Park. And you could do that stuff
if you slow the pace down. And that’s kind of
a cool thing to do. And then it’s kind
of cool to say– you know, you go to a coffee
shop and say, oh yeah, I just did two loops
of Central Park. Because not everyone in that
coffee shop has done that. It’s kind of fun and
you’ll motivate people. But I really think that’s
the beauty of running. You can do it anywhere. Traveling for work,
whatever you’ve got to do, you’ve just got to take some
running clothes and running shoes. It’s easy to pack. And that 30, 40
minutes can sustain you for a long period of time. Now, if you want
to get into racing, then maybe get a
little more technical. But just absolute fitness, I
mean it really is beneficial. The benefits of
running are incredible. Yes. AUDIENCE: What do you
think of the treadmill? BART YASSO: Question
about the treadmill. I love the treadmill. The beauty of the treadmill,
if you use the same treadmill in the same type of environment,
the environment doesn’t change. So when you run outside, it’s
raining, it’s cold, it’s windy, it’s hot, it’s cold. And your body changes based
on what your body likes. If you’re running
on a treadmill, it’s usually the
same temperature whether it’s in a garage or in a
fitness center, whatever it is. And if you tend to use the same
treadmill, because some of them are programmed differently, you
can actually see improvement because it’s right there. The numbers are
staring you right in the face the whole
time you’re running. We tend to run a little
faster on a treadmill than we would outside,
because everyone’s staring at you because
you’re at the gym. And you don’t want to be thrown
off the back of the treadmill so you tend to put those
numbers, that speed up a little too high
and kind of look good for everyone in the gym. It’s just human nature. But some people have run
very well, very fast, off of treadmill training. And it’s a great–
I hope we don’t have any winter like
we had last year. People lived on the treadmill. All I saw on my Twitter feed was
the devil’s– they called it– they had all kinds of names. The deadmill, the devil’s–
I forget all the names now, but oh. People were used to getting
on the treadmill maybe 15 times over the winter because
of snow or stuff like that. Now they were on it every day,
and it was driving them crazy because it is not the
most exciting thing to do. But it is really a good
way to test yourself to use on that quality workout. Because like I said, the
environment’s the same. You set that speed
that doesn’t change. So you can use it and
try to improve and record those workouts. And it’s a good device. And it does help on those foul
weather days or cold days. I used to love to
run in the cold. I would go out and run 25
miles and come back with ice everywhere on your face. I loved it. Now? I fire up a cup of coffee
and look out the window. Hope to see a runner go
by, wait until it warms up, and maybe go out and
run two or three miles. Nothing like I did
in the old days. That cold weather
bothers me these days, but it didn’t faze me early on. But the treadmill’s
a good thing. Use it to your advantage. And it’s a smart thing. Any other questions? Well, I hope those books
arrive from Rodale. I don’t know what happened
with the FedEx thing, but I hope they arrive. And good luck to everyone racing
in this fall in a marathon, or people just starting out. It’s a great sport. It’s an enjoyable sport. Keep it fun. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: All right. Thank you, Bart. Appreciate it.

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