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Intensity – Can It Be Too Much In Middle Distance Training?

Middle distance events in track and field consist of races between 800 and 2000 meters because any races within this range share common energy demand characteristics.  The three most common events found in this spread include runs of 800 meters, 1500 meters, and 1600 meters, with the anaerobic contribution of these three races varying between 25-40% at exhaustive pace.  While the aerobic contribution from the energy system increases as races get longer (because aerobic processes are many and aerobic intermediary compounds have to be moved into mitochondria in stages which all takes more time) is crucial, there is no denying that anaerobic energy derived mainly from glycolysis (less chemical process steps, no mitochondria) is important for middle distance success.  Today we consider intensity – can…

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…

Intensity – What It Means for Middle Distance Training

Mitochondria are the aerobic powerhouse organelles of cells.  If a type of tissue does little aerobic work, then there are just a few mitochondria in the cells of that tissue, but if the tissue is a real aerobic workhouse, then the cells that constitute it are loaded with mitochondria; with the capacity to build many more in the ribosomes if the stimuli to do so is sufficient.  Most humans exist quite well on low-intensity activities, as the days of out-running saber tooth cats are thankfully over.  In this article we will review Intensity – and what it means for middle distance training. The aerobic ability of humans is well documented in their evolutionary history.  In a time-span of just a few thousand years, humans left…

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…

How Middle Distance Coaches Coach Speed, Not Time

The athlete profile is a tool that knowledgeable coaches use to shape a macrocycle of training and physical development for a middle distance runner.  At its core, an athlete profile is usually a well-documented history of past workout and race performances that is then used to guide the direction of future training.  To that end, we will consider how middle distance coaches actually coach speed, not time. Keeping an athlete profile should be more than maintaining an ongoing list of final and split time performances from races.  It should most resemble a grid that includes racing and workout data from anaerobic and aerobic training sessions, time trials data, and even projected performance data sets.  The profile should clearly point out runner strengths and weaknesses in…

Training Sub-Elite Middle Distance Athletes

Building and maintaining a healthy population of middle distance athletes is important in achieving rewards for a team, and in having a pipeline for future success.  Like it or not, individual performances are driven by internal dynamics directly related to the pyramid of numbers in a particular training group.  The really good runners do ascend to the top of the pyramid in training situations where all athletes are happy and feel like they have an opportunity for success.  So the focus today is training sub-elite middle distance athletes in three specific groups. Every high school middle distance training group in America has many more practice days than meet days.  The normal daily routine is to go to practice, the occasional day is to go to…

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…

Trainability of the Middle Distance Athlete

Why do some athletes develop into accomplished middle distance runners, capable of running fast and winning races, while others get just a little better despite doing similar workouts throughout their careers?  Also, most young seventh and eighth graders are about equal in distance running ability after their first season and usually only a few seconds separate runners of the same age, body size and skill level.  Yet, following puberty and many seasons of training, a tremendous diversity exists in distance running skill despite similar body size.  The reasons cannot be found just in athletic desire and determination differences among people.  There must be detectable physiological reasons as well that are less obvious than general characteristics such as body size differences.  Today we will discuss the…

Using the Kosmin Test to Determine Middle Distance Athlete Fitness

Athletes and coaches need easy ways to predict race performances and adjust their training without running the full race distance at maximum effort.  A coach can predict their middle distance runners 800 meter and 1500 meter times with the Kosmin Test in as little as ten minutes.  The Kosmin test is one of the most widely used tests for determining middle distance runner fitness. It is a nice way to get a very solid effort from middle distance athletes without topping out at such a high speed to risk injury. Additionally, because it is so widely used, it is likely that coaches will both be able to find colleagues to compare athlete test data with, and also build historical test records within the program.  As…

Understanding the Competition Period in Middle Distance Training

In considering the unique construction of a middle distance training macrocyle, the first point should be the length of time available.  Ideally, it should be set up to be between fifteen and twenty weeks in duration.  Secondly, the macrocycle should be divided into two phases which are called preparation and competitive.  In essence, the first half of the macrocycle focuses on general to specific preparation, while the second half focuses on the spectrum of less important to more important competitions.  Thirdly, the two phases should be sub-divided into four training periods (two periods in each phase) which are used to plan and implement different types of aerobic and anaerobic training sessions depending on the time of the season.  Today the focus is the competition period…

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