Welcome to Episode #59 of the Mile High Endurance podcast. Mile High Endurance is your weekly connection to coaches, experts and pro athletes to help you reach your endurance and triathlon goals. We're your hosts Rich Soares and Bill Plock and we thank you for giving us the next hour or so. We have a very different kind of guest today. Mark Mastalir, the Chief Marketing Officer and Halo Neuro Science joins us to talk about an innovative product.
Thanks again to Amanda Stevens-Sadler for joining us to talk about metabolic efficiency training and diet, as well as a bit of a discussion on swimming form. If you missed that episode - are you crazy? Get on the website or iTunes and listen to it. She really was a lot of fun to talk to and had great information to share.
If you did listen and enjoy the interview with Amanda, would you please go to her Facebook page at @docamandastevens and tell her you liked what she had to tell us.
Episode #57 was just 2 weeks ago. We spoke to Terry Laughlin, author of "Total Immersion" and Founder of the swim coaching company of the same name. His insights in the interview were amazing. We ran out of time and agreed to get him back - soon. I've been in touch with Terry and we are just trying to line up dates. Now I'm already starting to prepare my questions for Terry. As I'm re-reading part of Total Immersion recently, I came across the following quotes.
"Because SSP (Sensory Skill Practice), as I call it, is a good deal more important - each drill heightens the kinesthetic, or sensory, experience of how 'right swimming' feels. In SSP, we practice swimming while focused on feeling"
"Just one repetition of a new drill may start the learning process, may even begin tracing a faint neurological imprint that will make the next repetition easier and more natural. But real skill requires that the groove be cut deeply through many repetitions, done the same way." - muscle memory through repetition, right?
This is not ground breaking right? Have we heard this before? Of course we have.
Back in mid-December we had Marc Evans, author of Triathletes in Motion. He is probably the foremost expert on bio mechanics and the importance of training the body and developing strength and flexibility to achieve optimal form for your best performance. During the interview, we asked him where the greatest opportunity for athletic performance improvement could be found. He said that the greatest opportunity lies in the connection between our brain and the neuro muscular skeletal system.
You'll hear more about it in the interview, but there is another book that is extremely relevant to today's subject. The book is titled "Make It Stick - The Science of Successful Learning" by Peter Brown. In short the book takes the latest research on how we has humans learn effectively and what learning methods have been debunked or proven ineffective by contemporary research. Mindless repetition does not improve retention and learning. Hard effort thinking like trying to recall information without cues. Asking questions before you read so your brain is activated trying to search for an answer to a question while it's reading - really working. Traditional learning teaches a subject one topic at a time, right? If you were attending auto mechanic school, you might learn fuel systems, then electrical systems, then the air flow system, then suspension systems, etc. What contemporary research tells us is that understanding how the fuel system, electrical system and air system work together. Learning 3 or 4 topics within a subject at the same time, may seem hard and it its. However, it is the context of how things relate that makes learning occur faster. Learning can be equated to walking across a grassy field. If you plot a straight line across this field and walk lightly across it a few times and you might start to wear it down a little. Drag or shuffle your feet across the grass and it's harder, but you may wear a path faster. The path through the grass is a metaphor for the neural connections that are developed in our brains. The harder the work, the faster the neural connection development.
The brain is plastic and always changing. We can make it change faster with proper learning approaches and techniques. What applies to learning the inner workings of a car or applies to memorizing equations for your next math exam, also extends to bio mechanics, proprioception and movement. Early in the book Make it Stick, they talk about a study of the 3 foot toss. Two groups tested for accuracy throwing balls into a basket place 3 feet away. One group practiced from 3 feet, and only 3 feet. The second group practiced from 2 feet and 4 feet, never from 3 feet. Guess which group tested with a higher accuracy and percent of balls in the basket? The answer - the group that practiced at 2 and 4 feet because they had context. Because it took greater concentration. Because it was harder.
There are brain games that people subscribe to for developing their brains performance and increasing the activity in the brain and exploiting the plasticity of the brain to develop neural connections. How is learning to do something physical any different. We are an organism learning to do something new or be better at something all the time.
You will hear in the interview today all about the company Halo Neuro Science and the product Halo Neuro Sport. You will hear about the medical research and origins with years of research on how to stimulate the neuro motor cortex for epilepsy patients. We are going to learn how Olympic athletes in many sports, including triathlon, are using this device to shorten the learning curve and lock in desired muscle memory faster.
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Check out 303 Triathlon for the latest news on triathlon in Colorado.
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Stay tuned, stay informed, and enjoy the endurance and triathlon journey!