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General Adaptation Syndrome and Cross Country Training

In 1932, physiologist W.A. Engelhardt, for the first time introduced the definition of the training process as a physiological breakdown that serves as a specific stimulus for the subsequent adaptive recovery process.  While Engelhardt’s experiments worked with laboratory animals, injected drugs, and introduced stimuli far above what the animals were accustomed to, this idea became the starting point for the concepts of quantitative human training and levels of recovery in athletes.  In 1936, Austrian (later Canadian) endocrinologist Hans Selye expanded on Engelhardt’s hypothesis and wrote about a stress condition known as general adaptation syndrome (GAS). Selye first observed the symptoms of GAS after injecting ovarian extracts into laboratory rats, an experiment he performed with the intent of discovering a new hormone.  Instead, however, he found that the…

The most effective way to improve your coaching during the pandemic?

Organized coaches are successful coaches. All coaches could be more organized. And the foundation of every successful coaching system, from sprints to distance, is the specificity and compatibility of their Training Menu / Inventory. With the spring season being cancelled, the #1 thing you can do to guarantee you come out of the pandemic a better coach would be spending time creating, updating or upgrading your training menu. So where do you begin? Well, earlier this month I hosted a webinar taught by Colby College Head T&F Coach Dave Cusano titled ‘Advanced Coaching Systems’. Considerable time was spent on this topic because we knew it would be popular when we started breaking it down. Here are a few examples of what coaches had to say…

Advanced Coaching Systems: What Really Drives Successful Programs [Zoom Seminar]

On Thursday (4/23) and Friday (4/24) we’re running the 2nd (and final) round of our CTF live Zoom webinar. The first time we ran it, we opened it to the first 100 coaches who signed up and it sold out in less than 21 hours. This time, we’re once again making it available to the first 100 coaches who sign up. As of this writing (1pm on 4/21) we’re almost half way to capacity. Here’s the original promotion. I highly recommend you attend: ==-=-==–=-= I’m really excited about the topic for several reasons, not the least of which being that I haven’t seen anyone else teach these topics, and I think it’s something you’ll want to be a part of. Here’s the rundown: At some point…

Wicket Drills for Distance Runners

It’s no secret that modern training strategies for middle distance and distance runners have evolved toward using more speed training and speed development workouts and progressions typically found in sprints programs. But your strengths probably aren’t in your understanding of not only how to teach efficient sprinting mechanics to your distance athletes, but also how, when, and why speed development workouts are critical to the continued development and success of your endurance athletes. If you want to learn more about how you can best add this type of training to your program, but don’t want to become an expert sprints coach in the process, you’re exactly the type of coach who should consider adding maximum velocity wicket drills into your training. Distance coaches frequently assume…

Two Peaking Workouts You Must Do with Your Cross Country Athletes

A cross country runner that has a training age of two or more, and who had a pretty good summer of running, can expect about a five percent improvement over the 14 week fall season in their 5k time from start to finish.  Those with a training age of less than two years, or who had a sketchy summer of running, may improve more than 5%, but of course they are starting with a much softer time.  The 5% in-season time improvement in the experienced runner’s performance is commonly seen broken down this way: general prep (4 weeks) 1% improvement, specific prep (3 weeks) 2% improvement, pre-comp (3 weeks) 1% improvement, and the competition period (3 weeks) 1% improvement.  Today we will discuss two peaking…

How Much Rest Do Distance Runners Need After Cross Country?

Your distance runners come out of cross country season and you need a little bit of a break. This immediately brings up lots of discussion amongst coaches because there are coaches out there that think distance runners don’t need rest after cross country or during the year and there are other coaches that think the break after cross country is much longer than it needs to be. The facts are this: In high school, we’re dealing with growing, developing and maturing young men and young women and a lot of energy each day goes into this growth and development. When we are running hard, designing good workouts for both cross country and track, we’re tapping into that energy. It does start to wear on the…

Get Free CTF Programs When You Purchase Freelap

A couple of years ago I invested in a Freelap timing system and man oh man. What a game changer. That thing is a perfect example of ‘once you have it you don’t know how you lived without it’. If you’ve been kicking the tires, but don’t have a system yet OR you have a system and are thinking about adding more transmitters (the yellow cones we call ‘towers’), regular chips, or upgrading to the new Bluetooth chips so you don’t need the ‘Relay Coach’ (aka the thing that goes on the tripod) this email IS for you. Here’s my incentive/offer: If you order a Freelap system, add to/upgrade your Freelap accessories, and/or buy anything from the Simplifaster store through a link I’ve provided, I’ll give you 10% of your total purchase price in CTF Store credit. That…

When to De-emphasize VO2 max Training in Cross Country

Since the early days of exercise science testing and experimentation, it has been accepted that aerobic power development is one of four training domains used in preparing distance runners.  Consider the combined energy zone events of the 800 meters through the 10,000 meters; including both short and long cross country competitions.  Improvement in the anaerobic glycolytic domain in all of these races hinges on better management of hydrogen/lactate ion presence; while aerobically, the three domains are: improving running economy, shifting the lactate threshold, and boosting aerobic power.  These three aerobic domains have a sliding influence based on the distance of the race.  The shorter distance races lean more toward aerobic power, while the longer races lean more toward running economy.  Today we will consider how…

The Variety of Personalities on a Cross Country Team

A team is a collection of individuals attempting to accomplish like goals.  On a cross country team, the coach is responsible for providing the leadership skills necessary to bring individual personality traits together into a functioning unit that has selective group goals.  Goals vary between cross country teams under an array of context situations and circumstances, and many goals do not even involve running.  There are even a number of goals that are similar from sport to sport and likely extend to such organizations as business and educational teams.  It is through the activity of running that the cross country team exists in the first place, but goals for the most part involve the human variety of personalities and motivation, and not the actual sport. …

What’s In and What’s Out in Cross Country Training Theory

It is the end of the year, and with the change in calendars it is always fun to take a look at what’s in and what’s out – or more specifically – what is scientifically in and what is scientifically being pushed out in regard to cross country training theory for the new year.  Keep in mind that science does not “prove” seemingly logical ideas.  The role of science, using the scientific method, is to disprove flawed ideas.  This is why scientific knowledge moves along at a snail’s pace, with the route to answers being a web of paths that twist and turn along the way.  Scientific studies are presented to the public, along with an invitation to disprove the stated results by other scientists…

The Truth About Distance Runners and the Weight Room

  Finally! Scott Christensen’s newest course is finally ready for you, and we can’t wait to see the results you get because of it. If you’re currently trying to incorporate a functional strength training and power development component to your middle distance and distance program, or you think you want to start, make sure to read this entire post because it could be the missing link to finally running a fully modernized system for maximizing the potential of your endurance-based ATHLETES. You’re about to discover how a few simple strength and power training tactics could finally allow your runners to shed seconds and minutes from their best performances; times they simply can’t achieve by only doing more of the mileage and long interval training their…

The 6-5-4-3-2 Workout in Middle Distance Training

During specific preparation and pre-competitive training periods there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to achieve future competitive season fitness for the middle distance runner.  These two blocks of time are also the most crucial for including a close monitoring of workload by the coach in regard to under-recovery challenges.  Middle distance coaches have many competitions to fit into the track & field meet schedule beyond the work sessions at this time as well.  Considering this, today we will discuss the value of using the 6-5-4-3-2 workout in middle distance training. One of the least desirable approaches is to do too many work sessions that require 48 to 72 hours to recover from.  With so many training things to do, and so…

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