The Top 3 Articles, Programs & Answers of October 2013

Posted by Latif Thomas

I understand you probably don’t have time to catch everything that we post on during the course of the month.

So, today I’m doing a quick(ish) recap since you probably missed some stuff you’d be interested in.

Below are ‘The Top 3 of October 2013’ for the following categories: 3 Most Popular Articles, 3 Most Popular Training Programs, 3 Best Q&A discussions. Click on the title to visit the article page or program.


Top 3 Most Popular Articles (in terms of total views)


#3:  Top 5 Sandbag Training Exercises by Matt Ellis (Primal ATC)

 Why it ranked: Internal surveys show strength training information is the 2nd most requested topic (event specific program geared toward the HS level is #1). Combine that with the crap budget of the HS coach and innovative ways of getting results are increasingly popular because we have no other choice!

#2:  Top 4 Farmers Walk Handles Exercises by Matt Ellis (Primal ATC)

Turkish Get Ups are nobody’s friend.

Why it ranked: See #3. Not to worry, we will be releasing a program showing step by step how to build all the tools you need to develop strength…for less than $250. Looks like an early 2014 release.


#1:  8 Tips on Preparing Athletes for a College Visit by Marc Mangiacotti (Harvard University)

Why it ranked: Generally speaking, guidance counselors and high school coaches are not particularly knowledgeable about, generally speaking, any relevant part of the process of helping athletes get in front of college coaches or how to impress them when they meet. So practical, real world information is useful to all of us.


Top 3 Most Popular Coaching/Training Programs (in terms of sales)


#3: Complete Speed Training Vol. 2 by Latif Thomas (Bishop Feehan HS – MA)

The Gold Standard for HS Coaches

Why it ranked: I don’t have a USATF Master Coach designation like the other two beasts whose programs sold in the Top 3 this month. But, I am a high school coach getting consistent results with, um, suburban sprinters in a small school in the Northeast with no track for more than half the year and a converted closet for a weight room. I’m in the trenches making it happen and that resonates with other HS coaches in similar situations


#2: Multi Event Training & Practice Organization by Boo Schexnayder (SAC Speed)

Why it ranked: Well because it’s Boo Schexnayder and that sells itself. Most coaches struggle with trying to write good workouts while coaching too many kids and events. This brand new program solves that problem and I saw a lot of high school and collegiate coaches buy it last week.

#1: Advanced (Level II) Sprint Hurdle Development by Tony Veney (Ventura College)

Why it ranked: Another new program this month, this was very popular with customers of Tony’s first (Level I) program which means they’re getting results with the information. Experienced coaches love Advanced Concepts and Tony delivers here. He also keeps things interesting with a fair share of hilarious one liners. And you’ll be tempted to use his ‘7 steps to the first hurdle’ step pattern even though you know you shouldn’t.

REMINDER: Starting Tuesday, November 5, all members of Coach Veney’s first program will log in at The current site, www.ctfhurdletraining will migrate to the new home of all of Tony’s programs.


Top 3 Q&A Discussions (in terms of topics I found interesting)


#3:  From ‘Advanced (Level II) Sprint Hurdle Development by Tony Veney (Ventura College)

Question: For women 100h, would you use the same first 8 step marks for all levels of athletes (13sec-15sec)? Does the same takeoff distance (1.90-2.00) apply to those performance levels also? And do you think that they will eventually raise the womens hurdles? Every once in a while I hear someone say something about it. Was wondering what you think.

Answer from Coach Veney: It has too apply to everyone. It forces the 15 sec. girl to really have a great start and forces her to get up to top end hurdle speed so she can blast through the first 2 hurdles. The 13 sec. woman needs 2m so they have a set distance to apply force to the ground to effect a powerful and quick take-off. If you had a 15 sec. girl take 8 steps and long jump into the sand, don’t you think she would travel more than 2m (6’7″)? 2m makes the 15 sec girl get there faster and makes the 13 sec woman get quicker.

They won’t raise the hurdles until a majority of the top women in the world (top 25) all start running under 12.40. Or while trying to run fast 8.5m between the barriers cause more hurdle hits and falls from some of the elite women trying to bust under 12.2. Too many are afraid it completely changes the event if we move to 9.0 meters and 36″. What about the records and will the historical significance of the event be lost? As long as the event continues to have fast women of varied heights, the hurdle event will not change. But if the event takes a turn like the men where the best in the world are all taller, I think that will force a move. Shorter women will world class speed can still win titles and raising the hurdle height takes them out of the event. But if the event were to be dominated by 5’9-6 footers then you have a reason to make the change.

#2: From ‘The Training Model for High School Cross Country’ with Scott Christensen (Stillwater HS – MN)

Question: Hi Scott; Thanks for all the info on X/C. The kids are doing great as we move to Regionals and on to States. Any thoughts on the transition to indoor track? Some of the kids drop to the 800 while others go to the deuce or mile.I like to keep them as a group as much as possible but as indoors moves on the events demands call for different training.

Answer from Coach Christensen: Great question. The first order of business is to give them some time completely off. I believe a high school distance runner needs about 6 weeks off each year. If you have indoor track soon, than take 2 weeks off now and then 4 weeks in early summer. If no indoor track. 4 weeks off now after CC and then 2 weeks off in June. Once they come back, their aerobic system will be back in just a few weeks. The heart did not get much smaller, the blood volume did not crash etc. Long runs and VO2 max get it all back quickly. Your anaerobic system will be a mess however. The fast twitch enzymes degrade quickly with no training. Be gentle in bringing back the special 1 and special 2 sessions. Keep the rest in your normal range, but downscale drastically their intensity. Best of luck

#1: From ‘Advanced Concepts in Training 400m Runners’ with Marc Mangiacotti (Harvard University)

The Reviews for this program are impressive.

The Reviews for this program are impressive.


Question: I was curious about during the winter/championship season power point/video on Fridays you would have your kids do 3 x 200 at 80%, 83%, 85%. Would those be considered your buildups that you wrote in your training plan that you gave in the master class(This workout fell on the week of the BU meet in January)? Also I was curious on the thought process behind doing that workout, and how it fits into what your trying to do that week and down the road? Honestly I have always used Fridays as a day to do accelerations, and other things in preparation for the meet so I was intrigued. Just want to see your point of view, the presentation itself is very insightful and it was worth the purchase so thank you for doing/sharing this information. Look forward to your response. Have a great day!

Answer from Coach Mangiacotti: Great questions. The 200′s are indeed build ups. Sometimes I will use 200′s and other times I will prescribe 150′s.

During the indoor and outdoor season their could be up to 21 different opportunities to race. If the coach backs way off the day before each competition then the athlete is missing out on 3 weeks of training. Towards the end of the championship season rest is paramount. During the rest of the year training is the most important. Most early meets are simply training sessions for the athletes so it is okay to do some training the day before. Instead of a full training session at this point in the year I cut it in half.

The reason for these types of repetitions the day before races is to continue to train without killing the athlete’s chances of running moderately well the following day. All long sprinters should be able to do 3 intensive tempo repetitions (like 3x200m) without feeling exhausted afterwards. The following day the athlete should not feel like they did a tough workout the day before. Otherwise, they are probably not too fit and should not be racing.

How many times have you heard a coach say, “I wish I had two more weeks of training?” I have heard it a number of times. Doing a half session or something similar the day before 14 of your competitions gives you those two weeks coaches wish for.

I hope that answers your question.

Marc Mang


That’s it for this month’s installment of ‘The Best of’.

Post your questions, comments and/or topic suggestions for my monthly ‘Three Things’ below.

Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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