The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) just announced their regional awards for the 2019 Indoor Season.
Three Harvard University coaches affiliated with Complete Track and Field won Northeast Regional Coach of the Year Honors:
🔥Marc Mangiacotti (Men’s Assistant) – CTF Clinic CoDirector, Hurdles Group Lead Instructor & author of Advanced Concepts in 400m Training.
🔥Kebba Tolbert (Women’s Assistant) – CTF Clinic Sprints Group Featured Instructor and author of Specific Endurance for Sprints & Hurdles: An Advanced Approach
🔥Jason Saretsky (Women’s Head Coach) – CTF Clinic Distance Group Lead Instructor
Today I want to talk about my guy Marc Mangiacotti.
At Harvard’s Conference Championship, Marc’s crew won the 400, 500, 800 …and 4×400.
In fact his group of sprinters, hurdlers, and horizontal jumpers scored 60 of the team’s 103 points.
That’s pretty impressive.
We can probably learn a thing or two from the approach Marc took to developing his group. He had some interesting things to say in this exchange we had the other day:
Latif Thomas: You ran the table at Heps in the long sprints and …super long sprints. Things must have come together this winter in an interesting way.
Talk about some key factors fundamental to success this season …but give me something that’s not the same thing everyone always says.
For your long sprinters – how important is speed-power development work compared to, for example, longer interval training or ‘endurance’ work?
Marc Mangiacotti: Speed doesn’t kill!
Regardless if the athlete is a long or short sprinter…sprinters need to sprint.
I try to prescribe the right amount of speed-power based on the event and the individual athlete. Some athletes may only do speed-power once every 10 days like an 800m runner.
Other athletes may do speed-power style workouts 2-3 time a week. I tried to identify the dosages that each athlete needed to be successful in their events based on their strength and weaknesses.
Latif Thomas: So if you have long sprinters doing speed-power style workouts 2-3 times per week you must subscribe to the camp of coaches who don’t believe in tempo runs …who focus on neural and specific endurance training …race pace meters per second and faster and all that good stuff.
Marc Mangiacotti: I have my long sprinters do tempo.
That’s right …I said it …
I believe in tempo on recovery/regeneration days for long sprinters.
Doing tempo shouldn’t feel like a workout. If it does, your athletes are in trouble.
For example, 10 x 150 or 10 x cross fields on grass @ 70% with 1 minute recovery is an easy day that doesn’t take away from more event specific workouts to follow the next day.
Latif Thomas: How do you get them ready for the specific demands of their races if a significant portion of the microcycle is spend on acceleration and max velocity work and/or extensive tempo recovery type runs?
Marc Mangiacotti: The athletes took race modeling workouts seriously so that they understood how the race should feel so it was not foreign to them in competition.
Latif Thomas: Some coaches might be wondering how they can apply your approach in their programs when you’re advocating speed-power work as infrequently as once every 10 days while, on the flip side, you’re dosing your sprinters with it up to 3 times per week.
Tempo runs aren’t very specific and the trend is to avoid slow aerobic interval runs.
How do you rectify using such a wide spectrum of training themes?
Marc Mangiacotti: ➡️I believe in coaching the athlete, not the event. ⬅️
Some athletes need a different training regime to be good at their event. One system does not fit all athletes.
If you have 10 long sprinters and they all do the same workouts all year, I can’t say it would be the right training for every athlete throughout the entire training year.
It may be right for some, but it may not be correct for all.
Latif Thomas: Could you share a training activity you like to use when teaching specific qualities and skills your long sprinters need in order to excel in their primary events?
Marc Mangiacotti: Sprint-Float-Sprint is extremely important to learn for the skill of running fast without using “wasted” energy.
I used Sprint-Float-Sprint as part of speed-power training and race modeling to help connect the dots at race velocities.
Another issue I constantly address in practice is that on acceleration or maximum velocity days long sprinters sometimes tend to run hard, but not all out.
The athletes need to run full speed to adapt to the neurological demand.
I try to use timing devices, friendly competition, or 4×1 hand offs to get them to go full speed.
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