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.
TRACK AND FIELD 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: 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/