Running & Power: Exploring ‘Mechanical Output’ with David Roche

Power is a concept that runners rarely talk about. While power has gotten more attention in the cycling world, runners of all levels will benefit from understanding what power means and how to develop it to make you a stronger, faster runner.

David Roche with his wife Megan and dog Addie

If you haven’t thought much about power as it relates to your running, you’re not alone. As runners, power isn’t something that we often consider in our training. 

Mathematically, power and mechanical output are complicated equations. But understanding their dramatic impact on your running is much simpler, once you learn what these concepts look like in practice. This week’s guest can help you understand how to develop power in your own training.

David Roche is an elite trail runner, author, and running coach. He is a two-time USATF trail national champion and the 2014 Sub-Ultra Trail Runner of the Year. David publishes regularly in Trail Runner Magazine and wrote the book, The Happy Runner, with his wife Megan.

David Roche on power and mechanical output for all runners

David and Megan work with a wide variety of runners at SWAP Running, and his athletes have won some of the biggest trail races in the world.  David’s energy and enthusiasm for both the science and joy of running and coaching are evident in our conversation. As a “recovering lawyer”, David is also an expert at explaining complicated concepts, as he does on this episode!

Although the subject of power and mechanical output may sound daunting, never fear! David breaks down the concepts in a way that makes it understandable, approachable, and easy to apply to your running year-round. We discuss:

  • The definition of power and mechanical output, both in theory and in practicality for runners
  • Why power is a bigger limiter for non-elite athletes
  • How most benefits of developing power come from very short work intervals
  • Why maintaining power is your key to longevity in the sport
  • The success of the Norwegian system using power development
  • Five way to consistently improve your own power

David is insightful and enthusiastic when it comes to discussing the technical aspects of running.  You’re bound to learn something new to apply to your own training!

Subscribe to the podcast in Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Links & Resources from the Show:

Thank You InsideTracker!


This episode is brought to you by InsideTracker, one of the most reputable blood testing companies in the world. They were founded in 2009 by aging, genetics, and biometrics scientists to help you analyze your body’s data and get a firm idea of how well you’re responding to training.

Understanding your body’s biomarkers, from stress hormones to testosterone to Vitamin D, can help you figure out if you’re over-training, under-training, optimally training, or if you have a health issue that might be affecting your running. But the best part is that they give you personalized optimal ranges for each of these biomarkers and a host of ways to improve these markers through diet, lifestyle, or exercise changes.

I’ve gotten several Ultimate tests from them and the process is simple, easy, and very eye-opening if you haven’t done a deep dive on your biomarkers yet.  Of all the investments you can make in your running, this one is like getting a detailed checkup or regularly scheduled maintenance for your internal physiology. I scheduled another Ultimate test for myself soon and it’ll be interesting to compare with the test I got in February. Get yours today!

Thank You Athletic Greens!

Thank you to our sponsor, Athletic Greens! They are a health and wellness company that makes AG1. This is a category-leading greens mix that has 75 vitamins and minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, and adaptogens.

One scoop per day is what I’ve been doing to help me fill in any nutrition gaps in my diet. It also provide a nice boost of energy and focus throughout the day. With all 3 of my kids in school, I know I need to support my immune system or else I’m getting sick and can’t train.

I also love that AG1 has changed over the last decade. Athletic Greens has made 53 improvements to the formula based on the latest research to make these nutrients more absorbable.

For our listeners, they are offering a year’s worth of free Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs of AG1 with your first purchase. You can sign up for single shipment or for a monthly drop – the choice is yours. Check out Athletic Greens to redeem your offer today.

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt