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Advanced Warmup Routines for Middle Distance Athletes

When middle distance coaches cluster socially or professionally, and the inevitable training talk ensues, the topics generally fall into three broad categories: training mileage, peaking strategy, or warmup routines.  While these are all fun to talk about and defend, the reality is that there is no right answer to any of these discussions. Mileage talk typically deals strictly with quantity, while quality is far more important, peaking strategy is highly individualized from athlete to athlete, and the warmup can be just about any set of sequential physical exercises that get a runner ready for the speed, speed endurance, or endurance unit of the work session without compromising force production.  In all of these topics, there are many Roads to Rome and a coach just needs…

An Endurance Training Session for Middle Distance Athletes

A training session is a block of dedicated time containing various units of work that pertain to the specific demands of the track and field event that the athlete participates in.  For a middle distance runner, a session more often than not contains a high degree of endurance work.  Thus today we will discuss an endurance training session. Of the five primary physical components that define athleticism—strength, speed, flexibility, endurance, and coordination; endurance is the primary target of improvement for distance and middle distance runners.  However, the other four components must improve as well to improve racing performance and training durability.  Most middle distance coaches feel comfortable with the endurance units that they prescribe for the daily sessions.  It is the implementation of work units…

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…

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…

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