Monday, December 12, 2016

Where Running and Weightlifting Collide: An Interview With Dave Albo

To kick off my installment of running interviews for the blog, I am beginning with Dave Albo, a highly accomplished masters runner and photographer who has experienced the benefits of strength training firsthand and was gracious enough to chat with me about his training with Barbell Strategy.

First, give me a little insight as to where you were before beginning supplemental training at Barbell Strategy. What is your training background?

I'd been a competitive runner for about 15 years prior to starting the Olympic lifting training. At first I naively trained for a marathon (unsuccessfully), then went with 10k and 5k (not very good), then 1 mile and 800 meters (got very good under Ric Rojas, probably the best was 12th in the world at 800m 5 years ago). Due to some health issues I have moved down even more, to 400 meters.

What do you feel has been your most significant take-away from the weightlifting?

Strength. I'm stronger now than I was 5 years ago, which is not "normal" for an aging person.

I saw that you recently ran an incredible masters 400 time! Do you think that Barbell Strategy played a role in your performance? If so, in what way?

I think that both the start and the finish were improved. The first moments of the race, and the last 5 seconds. The start was more explosive and got me up to full speed a little quicker. At the end, the ability to hold form when that gorilla jumped on my back, which all 400 runners know about, seemed significantly better.

On a similar note, was there a race or time trial where you could pinpoint the effects of the training?

Based on feedback from longtime training partner Bobby, I "never looked better" when recently running a 300 meter time trial (fast time). And I will say I felt good for a good 290 meters, which has not always been the case. So maybe my form throughout the race was improved, but hard to say for sure.

It was mentioned to me that you follow a strict Paleo diet. The carb-free diet is a really intriguing concept to me and I have noticed that it has quite a large following in the power lifting community. How long you have been sticking to Paleo and how your body has responded to the combination of being carb-free and weightlifting regularly?

The initial motivation was the health problem, which was some kind of mystery neurological thing, with MS like symptoms. Paleo was a diet that helped some MS people, so I gave it a try. That was years ago. What I found is that after a painful transition period, my energy became a LOT more stable. (The health issue very gradually resolved). I can now fast before workouts including strength sessions, which was never the case on a high carb diet. And I don't need to refuel immediately after or else I turn into a monster, which is what happened with high carbs. And, the higher protein/fat seem to be good for recovery. I'm not quite so strict anymore, but do keep those carbs low mostly. It works for me.

What are your plans for this upcoming USATF season? Any particular meets you are targeting?

For fun I might go all the way down to the 200 and 60 meter races this season, and compete either at the Indoor Masters Nationals in February, or the Coaches 200 at the Simplot games, or.. TBD.

Any concluding thoughts?

One thing I found is that the Olympic lifting is really fun! I love self experimenting. This is a pure sport with a long history, just like track and field, so I respect that. I'm learning that as the weights go up, you must do the move correctly or else. This translates over to running (that mindset.)

Dave showcases his gains on the track and on the platform. 

I will be continuing with a few more installments about runners' experiences at Barbell Strategy. I am aiming to get a wide variety of athletes involved, with all different experience levels, ages, and backgrounds to demonstrate the diversity represented and supported at Barbell Strategy. If you would like to share your experience, please email me

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