The Natural Running Network show

The Natural Running Network

Summary: Running is the most popular recreational activity in the world. More people run to achieve fitness than any other medium of exercise. Unfortunately, over 70% of the running community is injured due to improper training and running form. The Natural Running Network addresses these issues and provides highly relevant tips to help runners stay healthy. We also interview luminaries from the endurance world including but not limited to Obstacle Course Racing, Triathletes, Ultra-Marathon runners, Obstacle racers cyclists and all the support systems and professionals tied to these sports.

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  • Artist: Richard Diaz
  • Copyright: Copyright 2013-2015 Diaz Human Performance LLC


 Hunter McIntyre revisited | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:28

As many of you fans are aware (if you follow the sport of obstacle racing), Tough Mudder came out of the box with a new product… Tough Mudder-X which was a stadium style short course, action packed, high intensity event. The field was tight and packed with stud and studettes from the OCR and Cross-Fit communites. The promo was relatively hush, hush but now that its done and the program is slated to air on CBS in August we can talk a little about it.  Given the winners were posted all over social media, I think its safe to offer a congratulations to my friend and client, Hunter McIntyre for taking the win. Before you get too excited, this episode does not cover the race. It is an interview I did with Hunter a few months prior.  I felt it might be interesting to revisit his mindset leading into this new event.  Full disclosure: we knew of this event at the time of this initial broadcast.

 Unleash your Running Potential with Coach Diaz | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 56:07

If you want to perform optimally in a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or any Running event for that matter; it’s important that you address the WAY you run before you concern yourself with HOW MUCH you run. There is quite a bit of confusion that exists in relation to running stride frequency vs. heart rate. It seems for many to attain a desired higher cadence can only come with a greater less efficient cost of work. Coach Diaz has asked his wing man Miguel Medina to join him as he attempts to shed light on proper running mechanics and unravel the cadence/heart rate frustration.

 Better Together – Breaking News for OCR Athletes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 47:07

I love Peanut butter and Jelly. Jelly’s nice but never as tasty as when its combined with its soul mate peanut butter.  Every Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, or any obstacle course style athlete knows that to be successful in the sport you need to be a proficient as possible as a runner. Of course, if you can’t navigate through the obstacles without failure, this too is problematic. In this podcast, Yancy Culp, the founder and principle coach for Yancy Camp and I (Coach Richard Diaz) have come up with what we feel is an excellent opportunity for those that seek solutions to these aforementioned challenges. You’ll need to listen to the show to find out what it is!

 Heart Rate Variability and other Dumb Stuff | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 69:34

Miles Keller, host of Link Endurance the podcast, asked if I would be willing to discuss my take on heart rate variability.  At first, I was not that excited, but after thinking it through, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the things I feel athletes waste their time, energy and hard earned money on. If you are curious about what heart rate variability is, or what I think you should not be doing, be sure to listen to this episode.

 The Spartan Diva – Laura Messner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:32

A Diva, by definition is: “a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera.”  Laura may not be an opera singer but she is the sweetheart of Spartan Racing and yes, she can sing.  Better… she is an incredible singer aside from being a pretty tough OCR competitor.  I asked Laura to come on to discuss her choice of racing apparel, our upcoming OCR Running Clinic and… you guessed it. I asked her to sing and sing she does.  If you’ve never hear Laura sing, you need to listen to this episode.  You’ll be glad you did!

 Interview with Spartan Race’s Steve Hammond | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 41:01

If you want to know what to expect from a Spartan Race course, ya gotta go to the source! Steve Hammond is behind the scene (literally) at Spartan Race. His title is “Race Course Manager” and if you don’t know him, you’ve no doubt seen him blazing around the race course in his souped up off road buggy, with a beard flailing in the breeze as big as life and a smile that says it all.  He’s having a hell of a good time. Steve and I met and I was sure from the first minute we would be friends. He is one of the most knowledgeable course managers in the obstacle course race business and he knows the competition.  In this interview, Steve and I talk about the competition how they’ll fare, the race course design and the upcoming races and the formidable challenges they pose.  If you plan on racing Palmerton or Asheville or, if you simply want an inside view-recap of Monterey, this is the episode for you.

 The Obstacle Course Racing Q and A Show | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:59

A while ago, my wing man Miguel Medina and I (Richard Diaz) did a Q-n-A show in where we took questions from our friends on social media.  We ran out of time and tabled a page full of questions we promised to get to at a later date. As it turns out, this is that later date! I had to roll solo but I hope I addressed the questions presented with some clarity, questions like… “How much running should you do to prepare for an obstacle race”? “How can you measure heart rate effectively relative to grip strength training”? “How can you tighten up loose ligaments”? And much more… thanks to those who wrote in.  This is a pretty quick, down and dirty episode; you should have plenty of time to give it a listen.

 The Rabbit in the Race – Mark Batres | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 42:29

In every Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or any obstacle course race, there are always a few guys who I would consider “the rabbits”. They bring blinding speed to the competition.  Sometimes it’s just the ticket, other times the carries and strength work can toss a wrench into best laid plan. Mark Batres is a threat at any race he appears, with a 5K PR of 14:27 and he has been working hard to even the score when it comes to the bag and bucket carries. Will it be enough to win the NBC Series Monterey Spartan Super? Well… I asked him just that question, along with his opinion on the women’s field, going pro and the state of the sport at large.  Tune in to hear what he had to say!

 The Young Gun – Cole Schwartz, Elite OCR Athlete | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:19

Cole Schwartz has a message for Spartan Elite Athletes… “Watch your 6, I’m coming”. Truth be told, Cole never said this but he’s been saying it with his actions. Recent winner of both the Montana Spartan Beast and Sprint race, he’s bent on winning and is implementing a plan that’s working for him. Cole Schwartz and I (Coach Richard Diaz) spent some quality time together in “The Secret Lab” recently and decided a follow up interview was a good idea.  Here it is for your inquiring OCR athletic minds.

 EFFNorm (Norm Koch) Speaks Out | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:00

The veterans of Spartan Race are well familiar with the notorious race course designer Norm Koch who was the mastermind behind the torturous event obstacles. What some may not know is that Norm is no longer with Spartan Race Inc. He’s moved on to another event producer known as “Bone Frog”.  It was a bitter sweet move and curiosity as to the politics and behind the scenes rationale overcame us, so we had to ask: Why did he leave? We also touch on the future of the sport, his thoughts on the Olympic potential and much more.  Norm Koch is a pioneer in this fledging sport of obstacle racing and his unvarnished view from the inside is worth a listen.

 Alyssa Hawley – Elite Spartan say’s… I wanna stop Faye! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:24

Alyssa Hawley member of The Spartan Pro Team has become a serious threat to the old guard in Elite Spartan Racing. She brings a unique blend of stamina along with the ability to out carry most in the field due to her strength. I caught up with Alyssa to get her take on the competition, find out who she is gunning for and her strategy moving forward to the NBC Spartan Super at Monterey. Guess who’s on her hit list and why?

 A Rising Star – Nicole Mericle | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:57

The NBC Spartan Race Series is just starting to heat up, there are the familiar faces and some not so familiar. Nicole Mericle has yet to become a household name in the sport but many believe that is subject to change. Her background as a collegiate Track and Field Steeple Chaser has provided her with the running pedigree to pose a threat to the pro field and thus far she’s had some pretty impressive outings given she’s only raced a little less than a dozen times in her career to date. I asked Nicole to be a featured guest so we can discuss her strategy, strengths and weaknesses leading into the Monterey NBC Spartan Super and she was open to sharing.  Give a listen!

 The Sheriff – Hunter McIntyre is back! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:28

It’s hard to keep a handle on Hunter McIntyre. He’s either one of the fiercest competitors in Obstacle Racing, reigning champion on The Broken Skull Challenge or gone missing. Yep, I coach him and sometimes that’s not easy! I thought it would be fun to bring him back and have him share his thoughts on future competition, who he feels is a threat, his feelings on the women’s pro field and his plans for the upcoming NBC Series Spartan Monterey Super.

 The #1 running injury Plantar Fasciitis and how to deal with it | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:19

As a runner, there is nothing worse than a nagging running related injury that just does not want to heal. Plantar Fasciitis is one of these injuries that left unchecked can easily ruin an entire race season. Listen as Dr. Brian Abelson, author of “Release Your Body- Resolving Plantar Fasciitis” and Richard Diaz discuss this injury, how to self-diagnose and self-treat this problem. You will also learn what the reasons the problem arises are and what type of exercises are best suited to defend against re-occurrence. If you have ever felt that nagging pulling sensation at the base of your heel as you are training for your next Marathon, Triathlon or OCR you owe to yourself to tune into this episode!

 Running Perfection What it takes to be a great runner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 69:33

In this episode Richard Diaz and his featured guest Elijah Markstrom of The Obstacle Order discuss a variety of topics that can get foggy in respect to running performance, be it in an Obstacle Race or any endurance running event. Topics such as how to effectively assemble intervals, how heart rate plays into these sessions and finally an analysis of superb running mechanics as illustrated by Galen Rupp the American record holder for both the 5 and 10k events.


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