High School Cross Country Training: Are you running enough?

 High School Cross Country Training

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

WEEK ONE

Monday           30 minutes easy

Tuesday          off

Wednesday     30 - 35 minutes easy

Thursday         off

Friday              30 - 35 minutes easy

Saturday          35 minutes easy

Sunday             off

WEEK TWO

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 -  http://www.dyestat.com

Photo Credit - http://www.dyestat.com

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.

TO SIGN UP FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TRAINING ABROAD PROGRAMS CLICK HERE

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON KENYAN TRAINING CLICK HERE

CU BUFFS – WORKING HARD VIDEO CLICK HERE

 

Arkansas Track and Field Recruiting - Class of 2022 - Men

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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

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MIDDLE SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD TRAINING

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) 

SEE VIDEO OF RACE HERE

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. -  https://lopemagazine.com/2018/05/14/columbia-penn-relays-4x800-upset-liam-boylan-pett/#about     To learn more about Liam Boylan-Pett and other former athletes I coached click here  - https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletes-i-have-coached/

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. - https://lopemagazine.com/2018/05/14/columbia-penn-relays-4x800-upset-liam-boylan-pett/#about

 To learn more about Liam Boylan-Pett and other former athletes I coached click here - https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletes-i-have-coached/

Training with Olympic Gold Medalist William Tanui and Fast Track Recruiting

SUMMER CROSS COUNTRY Training

 

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: https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/training-blog/2018/1/18/how-they-trained-in-college

 

How to Outrun Your Performance-Related Thought Hurdles

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrick_Adkins

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

https://troytrojans.com/coaches.aspx?rc=1096&path=cross

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"

TRACK AND FIELD TRAINING

400m Training

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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: http://www.sweatelite.co/david-rudisha-key-workouts-diagonals/ - 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- https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletic-recruiting-blog/2017/11/27/college-track-and-field-training-train-like-a-top-level-ncaa-200m-400m-runner

To see the effectiveness of this training methodology see here - https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletes-i-have-coached/

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

TRACK AND FIELD TRAINING

By: Willy Wood

 

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    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

    Maintaining Motivation and Purpose

    Track and Field Training Blog

    By: RebEKA Stowe of Radix Running

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    Staying motivated during this time of the year can be one of the most challenging parts of training. Our last 2 posts were about the cold weather and cross training, in addition, many of you are coming up on midterm exams. Life will happen, there will always be other things to manage and working through these things on top of your running, requires maintaining focus and motivation.

    The starting point, the launch spot, the beginning of becoming and staying motivated is to identify what you are trying to achieve.

    What is your goal? What is your purpose? Today, tomorrow, next week, a month from now, a year from now, 5 years from now… (I will stop, I assume you get the picture)

    On the first night of camp, Coach McCaff, sat you down and asked you all to write down our goals for the Cross Country season ahead.

    How many of you have done this for the Indoor season? If not, the time is now. What are you going to do today, tomorrow, next week in order to be where you want to be, a month from now, a year from now, 5 years from now?

    The more of life I live, the more I realize success comes to those who are able to maintain motivation and passion. Honing your direction and refusing to be thrown off track in your pursuit is essential to success.

    This requires you to remind yourself daily of the purpose behind what you are doing.This means staying awake to your goals. Post them where you can see them. Make your goal time the passcode to your phone.Your background the track you’ll be racing that next big meet on.

    Maybe you’re trying to rebuild your confidence.Go watch or replay in your mind a successful race Make a list of your strengths as a runner, give yourself some credit. Talk with your coach, be open with them, let them support you

    Maintaining motivation is hard, but the best, they build through the tougher times and come out on the other side. Day by day, task by task. Building, always building. Always Staying awake to the necessary work.

    Coach Rebeka Stowe is a New Jersey transplant. She competed in high school and college in Kansas before moving to New Jersey in 2013 to continue her athletic pursuits with the New Jersey-New York Track Club. In high school, she was a multi-sport athlete and two-time state runner-up in cross-country. Upon graduating from Olathe Northwest High School in 2008, she competed for the University of Kansas finding her niche in the Steeplechase. While at Kansas she was a three-time all-American, school record holder and 2012 Olympic Trials Finalist in the Steeplechase. Coach Stowe is currently coaching at The Wilberforce School & with Nike+ Run Club in NYC. She continues to pursue her professional running career.

    For more information on Radix Running check out - https://radixrunning.com/

    "Hey, Coach - Any Tips for Breaking 2:00 in the 800m"

    COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD TRAINING

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    I was recently asked by a sixteen-year-old high school runner who is stuck at 2:01 in the 800m. His goal for this season is to break 2:00! He wrote me asking for a few tips. I have three suggestions for you if you want to PR in the 800m or break 2:00! 

    TIP ONE - Run hills. Hill training will significantly increase your finishing speed/strength over the last 150m of the race. My favorite hill workout is to run 8 - 10 x 150m hills with a jog down recovery. The goal of this part of the workout is to conclude finish as quickly as possible - so you'll have to hammer the downhill as well. Take 5 minutes or so to recover and then find a 600m hill to sprint up with all you have left. 

    TIP TWO - Incorporate Lane 8 Tempo's into your training. This is a far more fitting manner to get in tempo/threshold work for an 800m runner as it breaks the run up into 400m segments and allows the 800m runner to perform this at a faster pace than if you had them do a standard 3 - 4 mile tempo run. 

    TIP THREE - My favorite sharpening workout is 600m- 400m- 200m- 200m. The goal is to rest as little as possible. During this workout, we just get after it. The 600m should be around goal pace or slightly faster. The 400m should be at the same pace (this will be very difficult to accomplish). The 200m's should be a pace slightly faster than the 400m. Although the stated goal is minimal rest - you don't want the quality to suffer! You may have to rest 10 - 12 minutes after the 600m. 

    For more 800m training suggestions see here- https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletic-recruiting-blog/2017/11/28/college-track-and-field-training-december-800m-training

    To see the the effectiveness of this training methodology see here - https://www.fasttrackrecruiting.com/athletes-i-have-coached/

    Tips For Winter Running - Radix Running Camps

    TRACK AND FIELD TRAINING

    https://radixrunning.com

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    By,  Mike Mazzaccaro

    After several teeth chattering runs, bone-chilling, pink-cheeked runs, I decided to write down some of the best tips and tricks for winter running that I’ve learned and heard over the years.

    Make it Fun!

    Run with your friends. Nothing makes a 50-minute run, in freezing weather, better than having some friends to push through the misery with you.

    Find new places to run. The winter is a great time to go exploring. Often, your go-to runs are too snowy or icy to be used. This makes the winter a great time to find some fun road loops that can provide new but reliable training

    Pick a fun place to finish. Find a loop that finishes at your favorite coffee shop. Instead of finishing and having to hop into a cold car you can settle down with a hot chocolate or warm cup of coffee before the ride home.

    Stay Warm

    Layer, Layer, Layer. Layers are the key to running in the cold. For a long time, I only ran in cotton long sleeves in the winter. This often meant I was cold at the start, sweating in the middle, and frozen wet by the end. Be smart and pick a bottom layer that wicks away moisture.

    Know thy self. My college roommate could run in 25F weather with a long sleeve, shorts, and a baseball cap. Personally, my hands and ears go numb at any temperature below 40F. As a result, I always have a spare hat and gloves (socks) laying around. It’s important to know what YOU need to make sure you’re worried about the effort of your run not if your ears are going to fall off.

    Keep Hydrated

    Hydration is key in the summer. Hydration is key in the winter. Hydration is key all the time. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. We tend to worry about our water consumption less in the winter as its much colder out and we tend to sweat less but, because of this we drink less water and are often dehydrated.

    Watch for Injuries

    Often, as a result of the winter weather, people change where they run. If there has been snow on the ground for 3 weeks forcing you to run on roads for the same amount of time be aware of this. The roads are a lot harder on your body than grassy trails. As a result, maybe pair back your mileage and replace some of that mileage with cross training such as biking or swimming.

    The cold also means you have to warm up longer! Whether this means starting off runs a little slower or changing your warm-up from 5 to 10 minutes make sure your muscles and tendons are ready to go before you put them to work in cold weather.

    Know the Elements

    Be creative.When it’s windy and cold out, sometimes splits and times go out the window so it’s important to focus on effort as the temperature drops. Maybe substitute some fartleks in for timed intervals

    Start into the wind. Maybe I’m alone on this but I much prefer the first 20 minutes of my run into the wind than the final 20.

    If you have any good tips or tricks for winter running let us know in the comment section

    Coach Mazz

    Kyle Merber - Ten Years After His Win At Millrose!

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    Kyle Merber jogs lightly under the stands at Madison Square Garden.

    He’s 17 years old, a senior at Half Hollow Hills West High. As a native New Yorker, a kid from Long Island, he’s been here plenty of times before, but on every previous visit he’s gazed down on the arena floor to find a hockey rink or a basketball court— Rangers or Knicks. Maybe a circus or a concert stage. But tonight, the self-described track nerd peers down the concourse walkways, through the gaps in the stadium scaffolding, blinks past the overwhelming arena lights, and sees a track. 

    A beautiful, historic, 11-laps-to-the-mile oval.

    Even the sight of the Mondo surface sets his heart beating faster. He’s run on plenty of tracks before, but never this one. Never at Millrose, where you have to be invited, where the high school milers compete in the same meet as the professionals.

    And now, deep in the bowels of this venerable arena, he’s preparing for that race.

    Maybe the biggest race of his young life. 

    He's been keeping a journal of his preparation for DyeStat.com, a Web site where — if he’s honest — he probably spends too much time, especially on the message board known as The Playground, where he goes by the handle: g2g4gold.

    He agreed to participate in the blog — called the Road to Millrose — before he’d even qualified for the meet, which seemed like a reach, possibly hubristic, but it worked out. 

    Lots of things have worked out this season. 

    He’s put in the miles and pursued his goals and taken care of the small things. All the stretches and striders and nutritional choices. The habits that provide the advantages someone needs in order to qualify for a race like this. 

    Years from now, when he thinks about himself at this age, he’ll say he was “the kid reading Once a Runner and Running with the Buffaloes, doing 50 push-ups before bed every night, calculating splits during class. The quintessential, obsessed, high school running nerd.” 

    That’s Kyle Merber at 17. 

    He had run in another invitational mile a week earlier in Massachusetts, the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. There, he found himself in the most competitive high school field he’d ever faced, dropped a three-second PR, and didn’t come close to winning, but the highlight might have been meeting Australian distance star Craig Mottram. Kyle and some of the other high schoolers called Mottram’s room at the event hotel, got his autograph and peppered him with questions. 

    And now, in the cramped warm-up room at the Garden, there’s Mottram again. 

    Bernard Lagat and Nick Willis and Galen Rupp. All of them, somehow more human and more imposing in person. Kyle observes their routines, absorbs their preparations, admires their kits, covets their spikes. Files away the small things. The manner in which these stars ready themselves for the same 11-lap contest he’ll be running against fellow teenagers. 

    In a few minutes, he and the other prep invitees will burst into the glare of the lights. 

    Kyle will bounce through a quick lap on the track, finding his friends and family in the crowd, hearing the hometown cheers, the shouts of G2G4GOLD! aimed at the kid from The Playground. 

    The only kid from New York. 

    When the gun goes off, he’ll block out everything — the noise and the fans and the rumble of the feet on the track — and focus on staying in contact. He’ll handle the elbows and cover the moves and notice the pain and keep an eye on Robby Andrews and his notorious kick. 

    He’ll make a bid for glory with two laps to go, and hope it sticks. On the homestretch, he’ll sense daylight and dig deeper. 

    Lanky legs in full stride. 

    Crowd thundering to its feet. 

    Steps from the line, his face will be all joy. The celebration, poster-ready. An expression caught between a gasp and a grin. Arms spread wide, finish tape about to be reduced to tatters, fingers pointing to the cheap seats, the nose bleeds, the rafters. 

    Letting all the hometown fans know what place their boy is about to finish. 

    In this race. In New York. On national television. 

    On the NBC broadcast, Lewis Johnson will exclaim, “And what a moment for Kyle Merber, the only New Yorker in the race. And he’s able to come through the last 400 with a great kick and drop Robby Andrews for the Millrose win!” 

    Kyle will stagger in a half circle, extend his palms in salute to the roaring fans, allow his forearms to fall languidly over his head. Still struggling to comprehend his accomplishment. 

    “I crossed the line,” he’ll note in his final entry for the DyeStat journal, “and just looked around in disbelief. I looked into the crowd and I saw a ton of people yelling and clapping. I was in complete euphoria and I just put my hands on my head, wondering to myself, ‘What did I just do?’” 

    For the rest of the story go to http://www.dyestat.com/gprofile.php?mgroup_id=44531&do=news&news_id=508802

    Flat Track Conversions For Indoor Track and Field

    College Track and Field

    Indoor Track Conversion - By Willy Wood

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    Are you wondering how your times stack up compared to performance on other indoor tracks? The NCAA has a conversion chart based on years of data collection to create a more equitable look at performance. The configuration of an outdoor track and field running facility has been standardized in the size (overall circumference) of the oval for a long time, with very little departure from this standard. While there is a standard for the size of an indoor track and field running facility, many indoor running facilities were designed to fit into existing buildings; therefore, there are many variations of sizes for indoor track facilities. Varying facility configurations produces inequalities in performances, which affects the goal of valid comparisons among event performances. These inequalities are the reason why conversion differentials, dependent on facility configuration, were developed for qualifying standards. The NCAA converts all times produced on a flat track to a banked track equivalent to ensure fairness.

    See below an estimated conversion chart that will allow you to covert your time on a flat track to the equivalent banked track performance.

    200m – subtract 0.4 seconds

    400m – subtract 0.8 seconds

    800m – subtract 1.7 seconds

    Mile – subtract 3.3 seconds

    2 Mile – subtract 7 seconds

    4 x 400m – subtract 4 seconds

    If you run on a track that is less than 200m the conversion is even greater.