Cross Country Training Advice

Two Paths With Three Easy Steps To Improved Cross Country Performances This Fall

Option One – Do More Great Work

  1. Keep your mileage up during the season
  2. Keep longer intervals in your training throughout the season
  3. Continue pliability work, flexibility functionality and core strengthening work throughout the season

Option Two – Do Less Bad Work

  1. Be sure you are getting enough sleep
  2. Be sure you are properly fueling your body
  3. Be sure you are utilizing proper post-run recovery techniques

Track and Field Training: 800, 1600m, 3200m

Fast Track Recruiting

Below you will find a sample training week of Sean Dolan. Sean Dolan is a recent graduate of Hopewell Valley High School in New Jersey and a signee with Villanova University with PR’s of 1:50.53 – 800m, 4:05.01– Mile, 9:02.66 – 3200m

Former Columbia Coach and colleague of mine, Robert Marchetti, recently interviewed Sean for an article for Milesplit.


MONDAY: 5-6 Miles @ 7:15-6:50 pace on the road. Followed by 30 meter acceleration bursts on the track x 6 reps, w/ walk back recoveries. Hurdle mobility circuit, stretching, core, and weights.

TUESDAY: Track workout. 3x1200m or 3x1000m near threshold pace w/1:00 to 1:30 rests between each. Followed by 4 to 6 x200m at miler pace, jog 200 between each. Stretching and core.
(*Before big meets do the 600 to 100m breakdown described earlier)

WEDNESDAY: 5-6 Miles @ 7:15-6:50 pace on road. Followed by 6x100 on the track @ mile race rhythm. Stretching, core, and weights.

THURSDAY: Usually 6-7 miles @ 7:15-6:50 pace on road. Sometimes this is a little harder, @6:40 range, depending on goals for the week. Stretching and core.

FRIDAYS: Pre-meet day. 30 minutes very easy @ 7:15 pace. Sometimes followed by a few striders at the goal pace for race the next day.


SUNDAYS: Recovery run, 7-9 Miles on trails or towpath @ easy 7:00 pace.

To see the article in it's entirity click here

Passing Through Your “Valley of Disappointment” and Getting Back on Track!

All great athletes have gone through periods of time when they feel the effort and sacrifice being made are not worth the outcomes they are experiencing. The gap between what one thinks should happen and what is actually happening is often responsible for discouragement, non-persistence, and negative feelings. It is easy to be positive, train hard and dedicate yourself to the task at hand if the fantasy you play over and over in your mind coincides with your reality. However, when you find yourself in your own personal “Valley of Disappointment “ it is imperative that you stay the course.

Over my thirty-year college coaching career, I observed many unimagineable breakthroughs occur when the “Valley of Disappointment” was traveled through. Conversely, I wonder how many such breakthroughs awaited one’s arrival on the other side only to be disappointed to learn the individual’s journey had been discontinued.

A few suggestions on how to survive your journey follow.

Enjoy the Process

“The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.” ― Phil Jackson, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

James Clear states, “We often expect progress to be linear…people feel discouraged after putting in weeks and months of hard work without experiencing any results”. Track and Field is a numbers driven sport. Its’ participants live and die by inches and hundredths of a second. Oftentimes, arbitrary numbers are dreamt up and a goal is set. When that arbitrary number isn’t actualized the journey is considered a disappointment. I would suggest (as do many, many others) to focus on the process and to enjoy the moment at hand. For instance, you are training and competing alongside your best friends. The moments shared in a pre-race huddle will accompany you for the rest of your life. As a coach, I would often encourage my athletes to stop and take it all in, to fully grasp how cool what you are experiencing really is.

Don’t Over Analyze

“When the mind is allowed to relax, inspiration often follows.” ― Phil Jackson, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

There is an old Indian Proverb that states, “If you live in the river you should make friends with the crocodile”. It is imperative to realize that the sport of track and field and cross country will be filled with ups and downs, each quickly passing and reappearing. One of the most challenging aspects of my personal coaching career was managing the emotions of such. A PR and Ivy League upset win by one of my hardest working athletes would be soon followed by a false start by my best athlete moments later. As an athlete – don’t over analyze the journey through your "Valley of Disappointment". Just keep putting in the work, remaining positive and allowing yourself the opportunity to succeeed.

Focus on Small Incremental Wins

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” - ZEN PROVERB

As the season progresses without your goals becoming actualized, it becomes increasingly more common to become even more outcome-focused. Athletes become fixated on splits, PR’s or qualifying marks. Instead, focus on small, daily winnable goals – improve 1% each day. The difference small daily improvements can make over time is astounishing. Focus on relaxation techniques before the race or a small aspect of your race that you can fully control.

As Stoic philosophers so often stated, “We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?” Meet conditions, field sizes, trips and falls, wet rings and headwinds will always exist. Focus on what you can control and eagerly await for your moment. Your work, commitment and positive attitude will not be wasted. Your breakthrough has already happened somewhere in your future and it awaits your arrival. Do not disappoint it by not showing up!

Fast Track Recruiting

800m - 1500m Training - How We Trained The Week of Penn Relays

Licoln Financial Field

800m - 1500m Track Training

Here is a look at what we did the year we won the Penn Relays 4 x 800m.

1500m Runners

Monday           50 – 65 minutes easy + 6 x 100m strides + weights

Tuesday           2 x Mile in 4:44 w/ 3’ rest + 2 x 800m in 2:12 w/ 90" - rest 3' + 4 x 400m in 62 w/90", 1 x Mile in 4:20

 Wednesday    am       0 - 30 minutes easy     pm       50 minutes easy + weights

Thursday         35 minutes easy      or        am       0 - 30 minutes easy   pm 50 minutes easy

Friday              PENN RELAYS        or         35 minutes easy

Saturday         PENN RELAYS         or        50 minutes easy

Sunday            1:30 – 1:45 easy


800m Runners

Monday           50 minutes easy + 6 x 100m strides

Tuesday           4 x 800m in 2:14 w/ 2’ rest + 400m 28/25

Wednesday     50 minutes easy + weights

Thursday         30 minutes easy + 2 x 200m in 28

Friday               PENN RELAYS

Saturday          PENN RELAYS

Sunday            75 – 85 minutes easy

Columbia University 4 x 800m - 2007 Penn Relays

Licoln Financial Field

Written By: Liam Boylan Pett, Lope Magazine

“We’ve got Kansas, Oral Roberts, Mississippi State, LSU, Michigan, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova all in this mix. But it’s Columbia, in the light blue, leading.”

That’s what Mark Floreani, announcing for FloTrack, said on April 28, 2007, when Erison Hurtault handed me the baton with a five-meter lead in the Penn Relays College Men’s 4×800 Championship of America. Our first leg, Mike Mark, handed off in third before Jonah Rathbun kept us in the race through two exchanges, handing off in fourth. Then Erison unleashed an unruly kick, passing seven runners on the final turn, and there we were: with two laps to go, Columbia University was in perfect position to win the 4×8 at Penn.

As noted by Floreani, who listed off eight other schools in tow, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Columbia hadn’t won a relay at Penn since 1938, and hadn’t won the 4×8 since 1933. No Ivy League school had won at the relays since 1974.

But there I was, leading in front of 46,363 spectators at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. It didn’t last long — 200 meters into the race, Prince Mumba of defending champion Oral Roberts, who had run more than three seconds faster than me in the 800, sprinted past me and into the lead. I hung as tight as I could, but by the final turn, I had slipped to third behind Mumba and Michigan’s Andrew Ellerton, who had finished second in the 800 at the NCAA Indoor Championships a month earlier.

“This is a great last 150 it’s gonna turn out to be,” Floreani said as we rounded the turn. “Ellerton and Prince Mumba, and Columbia is holding on there in third. This is a great run for Columbia.”

It seemed like that would be the last time Floreani would mention Columbia — and why would he as the two stars battled for victory? With 70 meters to go, Ellerton inched past Mumba, and entering the home straight, it seemed like that was it. Ellerton was poised to sprint away from Mumba for the win.

“Ellerton is on the shoulder of Prince and it looks like Ellerton”—then Floreani stopped. Just then, I moved to the outside and shifted gears, passing Mumba and pulling up on Ellerton’s right shoulder. With 60 meters to the finish line, I was even with Ellerton.

Floreani couldn’t contain the surprise in his voice as he interrupted himself: “But here comes Columbia.”

High School Cross Country Training: Are you running enough?

Cross Country Training

The discrepancy in high school cross country training is immense. I have coached individuals who maxed out at 30 miles per week in high school and others who exceeded 80 miles per week. There are so many different thoughts on mileage, staying healthy and avoiding burn-out.  The key is to find the optimal volume to ensure you reach your full potential as a runner. You need to identify the proper balance between enough and staying healthy – the edge. Approach it, but don’t cross over it.

I reached out to one of the top high school boy’s cross country coaches in the country, Coach Paul Vandersteen to take at closer look at the type of mileage the boys at Neuqua Valley High Schools are logging over the summer.

Freshman Boys: 35 – 40 miles per week

Sophomore Boys: 50 – 55 miles per week

Junior Boys: 60 – 65 miles per week

Senior Boys: 70  - 75 miles per week

*** However, their weekly mileage rarely exceeds 65 miles per week once school starts.


High school girls who want to follow this program’s volume philosophy should adjust accordingly:

Freshman Girls: 25 – 30 miles per week

Sophomore Girls: 35 – 40 miles per week

Junior Girls: 45 – 50 miles per week

Senior Girls: 50 - 55 miles per week

For more information about our personal coaching programs CLICK HERE

What To Do After The Last Cross Country Meet Of The Season

Cross Country Training

Cross Country Training

I have been asked numerous times over the past couple of weeks what to do in regard to training after the cross country season is over. Obviously, you will need some downtime to ensure you physically and mentally recover from the season. However, you need to balance this with not losing the fitness you acquired over the past several months. I used to give our runners two weeks completely off and then would spend the next six weeks ascending to full volume. Over the years, I learned that if we stayed active during the first couple of weeks after the xc season that our runners stayed healthier and maintained greater levels of fitness. It always seemed that our runners would start experiencing pains and/or developing injuries while we were in the middle of complete rest. It just never seemed to work effectively for us. So, I changed the phase name from Rest & Rejuvenation to Active Rest. I would prescribe a small shakeout run the day after the last meet and then have them take 2-3 days off. After that, our runners would run 30-35 every other day to finish out the week – the pace assigned during this period of time was embarrassingly slow. To transition out of light running every other day, we would run two days in a row – then rest one day, run three days – rest one and then start up again. Our first week after our Active Rest phase was typically 50% of their goal volume with two days of easy strides – around 10k pace-ish at the fastest.

Below is our first two weeks after the conclusion of XC


Monday           30 minutes easy

Tuesday          off

Wednesday     30 - 35 minutes easy

Thursday         off

Friday              30 - 35 minutes easy

Saturday          35 minutes easy

Sunday             off


Monday          35 minutes easy

Tuesday         30 minutes easy + 3 x 100m strides

Wednesday    35 minutes easy          

Thursday        off

Friday             35 minutes easy + 4 x 100m strides

Saturday         40 minutes easy

Sunday           35 minutes easy

Cross Country Training: How To Peak At Your State Meet?

Photo Credit -

Photo Credit -

Cross Country Training

I have received several emails and texts recently asking me how to peak at the State Cross Country Championships. Because the State Meet is often the defining factor for your entire season, it is important that you have an understanding of what is required to ensure you are at your best in November.

As a college coach, my focus was always on the Conference Championships, Regionals, and the NCAA National Meet. I spent 25+ years trying to perfect the process.

Here a few suggestions that will give you the best chance to be at your best when it matters most.

1.     Maintain your Long Run throughout the season. Do not let this go. Prioritize it through the month of September and keep it in your training schemes through the month of August.

2.     Maintain your mileage. Don’t allow your mileage to drop too much or too often throughout the season. Constantly remind yourself that you are training for the State Meet. Meets in September and early October are ultimately meaningless and quickly forgotten if you don’t run well at States.  

3.     Keep longer intervals in your training deep into the season. Avoid the temptation of running all of your intervals at significantly faster paces over shorter distances. As the season progresses reduce the quality of your longer intervals and utilize them to maintain your strength.

4.     Choose your moments of being “jacked up” wisely. You only have so many times that you are able to dig deep into your emotional well. Don’t waste any of them in September. Don’t waste them on course records or hitting a certain time. Be business like in your approach until it is time to be jacked up!

5.     Similarly limit the times to dig deep into your physical well as well. You only have so many bone crushing, heroic performances in you. Never waste one in practice or at a “donkey” meet no one will ever remember. Choose your Herculean moments wisely.

6.     Realize that if you line up at your State Meet physically, emotionally and mentally ready to compete that you are worlds ahead of the majority of runners lining up next to you who have spent everything they have weeks ago and find themselves completely fried.

I hope this helps and good luck with the remainder of your season.

 Need help with your off-season winter training? Want to train like Kyle Merber, Johnny Gregorek, Ed Cheserick and numerous other NCAA All- Americans and Olympians? We offer personal coaching – CLICK HERE for more information.

What I Learned in Peru This Summer

College Track and Field Recruting

By Charlie Teeter - High School Runner

Training at altitude is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. For the first two days in Peru, nobody ran. We just took this time to get used to the lack of air. At this point, I didn’t notice any difference in the air when I was doing daily activities. The next afternoon we went for our first run. Things felt weird. I did 4 miles at about 8-minute mile pace, but I was breathing as I normally would running 6:50s on my easy runs back home. As the trip went on, we began doing some pretty taxing service work throughout the community in Pisac. One day, I spent an entire morning carrying dirt, fertilizer, and roofing up a mountain to help a local farm relocate to a nearby school. I must have made fifteen to twenty trips up and down within a few hours. This was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. We had about twenty people in our group helping out the three or four people who worked the farm. We saved them countless hours of work by coming to help, and it was clear how genuinely grateful they were (I also got an amazing workout out of this, so that never hurts). Our running gradually increased in intensity as well. At about two weeks in, I did an 11 mile run at 7:45 pace, and I was holding back a little bit to stick with the group (I would’ve liked to drop the last 3ish miles closer to 7:15 pace to push myself a little). I was really happy with this run, considering we had only been at altitude for a little over two weeks. 

There were sometimes when I worried about not getting good enough training. Every run we went on was pretty easy paced, and we only did one or two workouts while I was there. (EDITOR’S NOTE – See Flotrack workout video where CU Buffs legendary Head Cross Country Coach urges his men and women to keep the pace easy on a scheduled long run because the hills and altitude would provide the workout).  I was forgetting that just sleeping at 10,000ft is good training for your body. I was more worried going into our last week of the trip because we weren’t really going to have the chance to run at all during our four- day trek to Machu Picchu. I thought I was missing out on four days of training, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Over the course of four days, we covered about 50 miles, reaching a high point of 15,300 feet above sea level. We climbed up and over multiple mountains, and my legs were absolutely destroyed from so much walking. (EDITOR’S NOTE – Most Elite Kenyan runners include long walks into their early training phases. It is not untypical for Kenyan runners to conduct three long walks of over 2 hours in duration into their early season conditioning programs).  I don’t think I’ll be having much trouble with hills this cross country season after this experience.

Traveling to get back home was tiring. I took a bus and four planes to get home over the course of about 22 hours. As one would expect, I was very tired when I finally got to my house. I had a good dinner with my family and got some energy back, so I decided to go for a little shake out run that night. This is when I noticed the effects of being at altitude. My legs didn't feel great, but my three-mile run felt easy at 6:35 pace. It’s incredible how much air there is closer to sea level. It was almost as if I was taking in something that I didn’t know was there. It just felt good to be going a little faster again.

This experience has taught me so much about myself, running, and life as a whole. Spending three weeks practicing another language, getting to know local market workers and their children, immersing myself in another culture, and making new lifelong friends is something I’ll be forever grateful for. I’m excited to use this knowledge to reach new heights on the cross country course this year. Thank you, Peru.





Arkansas Track and Field Recruiting - Class of 2022 - Men


College Track and Field Recruiting

Are you wondering what it takes to run compete in the SEC? See how stack up with the University of Arkansas incoming track and field recruiting class - 

Vernon Turner, High Jump | Yukon, Okla./ Yukon High School / University of Oklahoma
Event: High Jump
Personal Best: High Jump – 7’7.75”

Tre’Bien GilbertHurdles | Converse, Texas / Judson High School
Events: 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles
Personal Bests: 110-meter hurdles – 13.53, 300-meter hurdles – 36.18

Rashad Boyd, Sprints | Houston, Texas / Alief Hastings High School
Events: 100-meters, 200-meters
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.61 (10.55w), 200m – 20.93
Accolades: TSU Relays 200-meter champion, 200-meter state qualifier, Texas Relays 100-meter finalist
Boyd on Arkansas: “What gets better than the Arkansas track team?”

Boyd was the twelfth-fastest high school 200-meter runner in the United States during 2018. He placed sixth in the 200-meter final at Texas 6A State Championship and was the Texas 6A Region III runner-up in 200m. His brother, Rakeem Boyd, is an Arkansas football signee.

Travean Caldwell, Sprints and Hurdles | Crossett, Ark. | Crossett High School / Arkansas Baptist College
Events: 400-meters, 400-meter hurdles
Personal Bests: 200-meters – 21.69, 400-meters – 47.30, 400-meter hurdles – 52.77

Kevin Wilkinson, Middle Distance | Moorpark, Calif. | Bishop Alemany High School / Arizona State University
Events: 800-meters, 1500-meters
Personal Bests: 800-meters – 1:50.91, 1,500-meters – 4:00.81

Trey Grayson, Middle Distance | Glenpool, Okla.| Glenpool High School / Oklahoma State University
Events: 400-meters, 800-meters
Personal Bests: 800-meters – 1:51.49, 1,600-meters – 4:16.10, 3,200-meters – 9:43.63

Carl Elliott, Sprints and Hurdles| Fort Pierce, Fla. | Fort Pierce Central High School / Edward Waters College
Events: 200-meters, 110-meter hurdles, triple jump
Personal Bests: 200-meters – 21.66, 110-meter hurdles – 14.24, TJ – 45’1.25”, LJ – 21’7”

Kyle Costner, Multi-Events | Brentwood, Tenn. | Brentwood High School
Event: Decathlon
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.41, 400-meters – 50.2, 110-meter hurdles – 14.81, LJ – 22’1”, TJ – 42’5”, HJ – 6’2”, PV – 13’, SP – 40’, DT – 114’, Decathlon – 6,309-points

Brittan Burns, Multi-Events | Prior Lake, Minn. | Lakeville South High School
Event: Decathlon
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.85, 400-meters – 52.99, 1,500-meters – 4:52, 110-meter hurdles – 15.24, LJ – 21’8.75”, HJ – 6’4”, PV – 12’6”, SP – 38’1”, DT – 109’4”, JV – 117’8”, Decathlon – 5,873-points

Daniel Spejcher, Multi-Events | Bloomington, Ill. | Lake Park High School
Event: Decathlon
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.2, 200-meters – 22.3, 400-meters – 53.2, 110-meters hurdles – 14.99, LJ – 22’11.75”, HJ – 6’3”, PV – 10’6”, SP – 45’4”, DT – 127’6”, JV – 125’8”, Decathlon – 5,715-points

Connor Holzkamper, Multi-Events | Keller, Texas | Liberty Christian School
Event: Decathlon
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 10.90, 200-meters – 22.48, 400-meters – 55.18, HJ – 5-6

Jon Conley, Sprints/Jumps | Fayetteville, Ark. | Fayetteville High School
Events: 100-meters, Long Jump


When To Start Nudging Our Young Track and Field Athletes Toward Greatness



Parents of track and field athletes

In a recent conversation with a parent of an elite 7th Grade runner from Massachusetts, I was asked when would be the best time for her to start getting serious about her training. I realized that despite my thirty years of NCAA I Head Coaching experience, I had never given this subject matter a great deal of thought. In my role as a college coach, I was accustomed to dealing with older runners and had never really given much thought to the beginning of the process.

We often read about college coaches signing multi-million dollar contracts, and yet the men and women in the trenches of creation – the coaches out there helping plant the seeds of determination and skill development are typically volunteering parents. As a result, it is easy to assume that the system works and that the most talented athletes will eventually rise to the top. However, it is quite possible that this “wait-for-the-fire-to-ignite-within” approach to skill development and commitment levels in the sport of track and field is selling our future elite athletes short.

Imagine a young musician, artist or scientist delaying the development of their skill-set simply to avoid burnout. As coaches and parents, we oftentimes sit back, waiting for the young athlete to find their passion – as if it is sleeping within simply waiting to be awoken. A new joint study by researchers from Yale- Singapore and Stanford University states that “the ‘find your passion’ mantra may be a hindrance, distracting the individual from the actualization of their potential.”

In that study, researchers asked the question, “Are interests there all along, waiting to be revealed or must a spark of interest be cultivated through investment and persistence?” From the results of this study, it appears that developing and nurturing passion can be highly effective, particularly when compared to taking a wait and see approach. With more deliberate action, it becomes the responsibility of the participant and their network of support to help grow that “passion” through a systematic plan of logical progression and pedagogy. 

So, how does this apply to your elite junior high track and field athlete? Maybe, it is time to rethink the traditional model in our sport of waiting for that inner fire to ignite or for the tangible line in the sand to be crossed at a particular age. Perhaps, with a sound training plan and the right encouragement – we can develop these middle school athletes into highly successful high school, collegiate and post-collegiate runners by getting them started earlier.

We must ask ourselves how do we start developing this passion in a healthy manner. A former runner of mine at Columbia University and highly touted author, David Epstein (See – The Sport’s Gene) suggests that positive feedback is linked to higher performance. He cited research by sports psychologist

Christian Cook in which subjects performed better and were less likely to repeat mistakes when they were given positive feedback at an early age of participation. “I don’t know if it’s counterintuitive that positive feedback works, but it’s not the intuitive way for [coaches] to act,” Epstein says, explaining that coaches naturally identify what’s wrong and instruct athletes how to improve. “If you had to choose between needing feedback when we did something wrong or when we did something right, I’m convinced now it’s when we did something right. And that’s when people don’t give feedback,” he says. “They pay attention to what’s wrong.” So, during this time – clap before correcting. There will be plenty of time to correct in the future.

Epstein’s thoughts were reiterated in a recent article by Jenny Anderson entitled, “ Parents: Let Your Kids Fail. You’ll Be Doing Them a Favor”. She lists three ways in which we can help younger athletes develop their passion and succeed:

            1. Praise efforts, not outcomes (clap before correcting)

            2. Cheer like a grandparent, not a parent. (clap before correcting)

            3. Realize the coach is your partner, not your adversary.

For a tangible example of how effective helping younger athletes develop their passion can be -  look no further than this year’s World Cup. According to Troy Engle (former USMA Head Track and Field Coach and current Director of Coach Development for Sport Singapore), Belgium and France have  “Two of the greatest sporting systems and coaching development programs in any sport in the world. Hardly a coincidence that they are among the four remaining team…there is a lot for all of us to gain from their best practices”

To answer the initial question of when is the logical time to get started with a more formalized plan for younger runners hoping to become elite runners. I would suggest somewhere between ages 11-13.

How To Train Like A State Champion – An Inside Look at Dustin Horter’s Championship Season Training Schedule

Dustin Horter

How To Train For the Mile

Want to run fast at the end of the season?  Below you will find the final 13 days of Dustin Horter’s incredible high school running career. Four things to take away from Dustin’s running log:

1.     Stay with what got you there – remain consistent.

2.     Do not taper too much

3.     Don’t press - stay controlled and comfortable during quality work.

4.     Communicate with your coach about everything.

His Final Two Weeks:

Sunday – 9 miles @ 6:20 pace. Slower than usual but getting ready for States.

Monday – 6 miles @ 6:23 pace + 4 x 150m in 20-21. Smooth and relaxed run with coach.

Tuesday – 1.5 mile w/u jog – 8 x 400m in 65 w/ 60-90 seconds rest – 2.5 mile cool down. I felt really good and strong. I did not feel like I was pushing myself at all

 Wednesday – 6 miles @ 6:24 pace + 4 x 150m in 20-21. Slowly drawing back on intensity, but keeping mileage consistent. I felt very relaxed.

Thursday – 1.5 mile warm up +8 x 200m in 29 – 1.5 mile cool-down. I spiked up for this one. This workout was the easiest I have felt all week.

Friday4 miles at 6:49 pace at 7:00 am to get as much rest as possible before tomorrow + 4 x 150m in 20-21.

Saturday – Ohio State Meet – 4:06.96 (1st), 9:05.88 (3rd)

Sunday – 6 miles @ 6:21 pace. Staying consistent with what we have been doing to get ready for the national meet. Kept things pretty chill – no long run this week as my coach and I decided not to consider mileage this week at all. We decided to supplement harder workouts for missed mileage.

 Monday – 1.5 mile easy + 400m in 58, 2 x 300m in 44, 600m in 1:28 – 800m recovery jog – 4 x 200m in 26-27 – 1.5 mile cool down. Overall this was a great day for me and a confidence booster going into the weekend. I felt comfortable and controlled!

Tuesday – 6 miles @ 6:11 pace + 4 x 150m in 20-21. Pretty easy day. 

Wednesday – 1.5 mile warm-up -8 x 200m in 29 – 1.5 mile cool-down. This is basically my go to tune-up before big races (see above). Felt great, other than it being so hot out.  

Thursday – 4 miles @ 6:40 pace . Nice jog with some friends out in Seattle – a lot of talking and laughing. Followed run with 4 x 150m.

Friday – Brooks PR Invitational – 4:04.68 (1st) 


How They Trained In College

Johnny Gregorek

2017 World Championship 1500m Finalist - USA

Fast Track Recruiting

Cross Country Prep - Sophomore Year

July 2011

Monday - 9 miles at 6:50 pace

Tuesday - 8 miles at 7:15 pace + 4 x 100m strides

Wednesday - 10 miles at 6:30 pace

Thursday - 8 miles @ 6:22 pace

Friday - 2.5 miles easy – 6 sets of 3 minutes on (xc pace) / 2 minutes easy + 2.5 miles easy

Saturday - 10 miles at 7:15 pace

Sunday - 14 miles at 6:15 pace

See other runners I coached here

Johnny Gregorek and NJNYTC

The History of the United States According to the Women's Steeplechase

Below is an excerpt from Liam Boylan-Pett's amazing historical look at the evolution of the steeplechase. It is this month's feature article in his newly created Lope Magazine - a magazine devoted entirely to providing eye-opening stories from the track. road and trail.  "This is the hurdle Emma Coburn has been waiting for—the final water jump of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2017 World Track and Field Championships. She is in medal contention with less than two-hundred meters to go, but she is not focused on that right now, or the fact that fellow American Courtney Frerichs is also in position for a medal. Coburn is dead set on one thing: Nailing this final water jump."  "To understand how we ended up in this situation—how the United States, who had won only one global medal in the women’s steeplechase (not to mention, only eleven on the men’s side since 1900), had two runners leading the 2017 world championships with less than one-hundred-fifty meters to go—you have to go back to 1991, when American women finally had a chance to race for a national title in that odd, nearly two-mile event made for horses with immovable hurdles and water jumps."  Check out the archive section of Lope magazine to read more about  “We’ve got Kansas, Oral Roberts, Mississippi State, LSU, Michigan, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova all in this mix. But it’s Columbia, in the light blue, leading.” -  perhaps my and Liam Boylan-Pett greatest sport's moment. -   To learn more about Liam Boylan-Pett and other former athletes I coached click here  -

Below is an excerpt from Liam Boylan-Pett's amazing historical look at the evolution of the steeplechase. It is this month's feature article in his newly created Lope Magazine - a magazine devoted entirely to providing eye-opening stories from the track. road and trail.

"This is the hurdle Emma Coburn has been waiting for—the final water jump of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2017 World Track and Field Championships. She is in medal contention with less than two-hundred meters to go, but she is not focused on that right now, or the fact that fellow American Courtney Frerichs is also in position for a medal. Coburn is dead set on one thing: Nailing this final water jump."

"To understand how we ended up in this situation—how the United States, who had won only one global medal in the women’s steeplechase (not to mention, only eleven on the men’s side since 1900), had two runners leading the 2017 world championships with less than one-hundred-fifty meters to go—you have to go back to 1991, when American women finally had a chance to race for a national title in that odd, nearly two-mile event made for horses with immovable hurdles and water jumps."

Check out the archive section of Lope magazine to read more about “We’ve got Kansas, Oral Roberts, Mississippi State, LSU, Michigan, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova all in this mix. But it’s Columbia, in the light blue, leading.” - perhaps my and Liam Boylan-Pett greatest sport's moment. -

To learn more about Liam Boylan-Pett and other former athletes I coached click here -

Training with Olympic Gold Medalist William Tanui and Fast Track Recruiting


 Want to train like an Olympic Gold Medalist from Kenya? If so, William Tanui has provided Fast Track Recruiting with unmatched access to the inside through an open discussion about how he trained. Below is a summary of the Kenyan training philosophy and practices following the conclusion of their outdoor season.  

NOTE: William Tanui was the 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 800m and placed 5th in the 1500m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.  Tanui has PR’s of 1:43.30 in the 800m, 3:30.58 in the 1500m and 3:50.57 in the Mile.

Phase I – rest

You need to fully recover, both mentally physically, from your previous season. I suggest a complete shutdown. Use this time to ensure that you are completely recovered and fully prepared to resume training.

Editor's Note: Kenyan runners place a high premium on rest - "complete rest". It is imperative that you incorporate this phase into your summer training as it is equally as important. In the US system, we are often extremely impatient and rush back to training and quality running way too quickly. 

Phase II – General Preparation - During this phase, your focus should be on leisurely low-end aerobic work. I suggest focusing on very easy running and cross training during this phase – swimming, biking and strength training. Everything should be performed at a low intensity. In the prime of my career, I would perform five two-hour sessions per week. I would advise that you start with a much lower goal duration.                                                                                                                                                                    

Editor's Note - The Kenyans use this time to develop a massive aerobic base with low-intensity work. Many of the top collegiate programs loosely adhere to this same philosophy as most good programs avoid quality work as they ascend to full volume. 

Phase III – Early Season

During this phase, we start to increase the intensity. At this point, you should start doubling when appropriate. You should focus on high-end aerobic work during this phase through progression runs, runs at a steady pace and hilly runs ( Editor's Note - read Run With The Buffaloes or research old-school Arkansas training).  This is a great time to focus on hill repeats to strengthen your quads. We also perform two days of strength work a week to strengthen our arms for the push to the finish line.

Phase IV – Late Season

This phase will be the most intense period of your training. We do traditional interval work two days a week, if not racing. We do a great deal of ladder work, often including short speed reps toward the end of the session. We also did a fartlek session once a week in a wide open field where the focus was on very fast running.

Look for future articles from William Tanui about coaching, international recruiting and other subjects related to running and track and field.

See how 2017 World Championship 1500m FInalist, Johnny Gregorek trained over the summer while in college here:


How to Outrun Your Performance-Related Thought Hurdles


Derrick Adkins – 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist. “Shatter the glass”.

Elliott Blount – Head Cross Country Coach, Troy University. “Focus on the movement”

Over the course of my career, I have had the pleasure to work with many amazing coaches and athletes. Among the coaches, I worked with are 1996 Olympic 400IH Gold Medalist, Derrick Adkins and sub-4 miler, Elliott Blount. During their running careers, both possessed successful means and tricks of the trade to overcome performance related anxieties.

Through the affirmation of a seemingly simple statement and training of the mind, the athletes they worked with were able to calm themselves to a level that would allow them to compete at their highest level of potential, assuming they were physically ready.

As the most important meets of the season draw near – try these two simple proven strategies to optimize your performance. Coach Derrick Adkins would encourage his athletes to visualize each specific anxiety-causing factor. He would have his athletes visualize placing each of these thoughts on to a large piece of glass. When all of the negative thoughts and anxieties were placed upon the imagined glass, he encouraged his runners to “shatter the glass”, allowing them to watch their anxieties crumble apart and fall to the ground. On many occasions, I often overheard Coach Blount to tell his athletes to, “visualize the movement”. This mental exercise simply entails focusing your mind energy and attention on the correct execution of the required movement at hand. This allows the athlete to focus on what is physically required of them, pushing out the worries and fears of unknown arbitrarily identified and hoped for outcomes.

At this point of the season, you have done all that you are physically capable of to ready yourself for optimal performance. To fully actualize your potential be sure to ensure that you and your mind are on the same team.

"Hey, Coach - Any Tips for Breaking 50 in the 400m"


400m Training


I was recently contacted by a current high school senior who is stuck at 51 in the 400m. His goal for this season is to break 50.00! He wrote me asking for a few tips. I have three suggestions for you if you want to PR in the 400m or break 50!

TIP ONE - Run hills. Hill training in the early season will significantly increase your finishing speed/strength over the last 100m of the race. Several years ago, the University of Minnesota had two different men run 44. They were both local Minnesota HS runners with modest HS pr's. I was so intrigued by their development that I collected all of their training information from their coach. They did hill workouts twice a week in the early season and continued them deep into the outdoor season. One of my favorite hill workouts is to run 6- 8 x 150m-250m hills with a walk down recovery.. Take 5 minutes or so to recover and then find a 500m hill to sprint up with all you have left.

TIP TWO - Incorporate Aerobic Strength work into your training. There are many ways to achieve this goal without having to become a cross country runner. A few of my favorite aerobic strength workouts include 3 x 5 minute runs at a quick tempo with 3 minutes rest, 10-12 x 100m in 14-15 with 45 seconds rest and multiple sets of diagonals on the track. For more information on how to run diagonals see here: - I would suggest working up to 6 sets of 3 diagonals with a 3 minute rest in between sets.

TIP THREE - Run split intervals with short recovery to prepare your body for the late stages of the race. My favorite specific prep workouts are 2 sets of 2 x 200m at goal race pace with 30 - 45 seconds recovery (you should take 10-15 minutes before starting your second set) and 2 x 300m - 200m with 45 seconds rest. Run the 300m controlled, but fast enough to get you tired (aorund 45 seconds for a 50-second 400m runner) and then run your 200m as fast as you are able.

For more 400m training suggestions see here-

To see the effectiveness of this training methodology see here -

Want To Run Sub 4? Tips for Running A PR In The Mile


By: Willy Wood



28 college runners have run sub 4 indoors this year alone. Of the 28 runners who have broken 4 minutes in the mile, 21 of them have different coaches. Obviously, there are many ways to the top of the mountain. However, most training programs share more similarities than differences. A few notable commonalities include:

Routine easy runs of 50 - 70 minutes at a comfortable pace.

Morning Tempo runs ranging between 4-6 miles coupled with an afternoon hill or speed session am 5 mile controlled tempo run (around 5:00 pace for sub 4 miler) pm 8 x 150m Hill Sprints

Strength work through sub-maximal, controlled intervals of 800m - Mile 8 - 10 x 1000m with 2-minute recovery jog (2:50 - 3:00 for a sub 4 miler)

High-quality race pace and sub-race pace intervals. 1 x 800m in 1:52 with 8-minute recovery followed by 6 x 200m in 27 with 2-minute recovery or 4 x ( 2 x 400m with 1-minute rest) 3 minutes rest - set 1 in 62, set 2 in 60, set 3 in 59, set 4 in 58

Long run of 14 - 16 miles