Complete Track and Field

Posts by Scott Christensen

Gerard Mach Speed Drills

Most successful track coaches prescribe repetitive physical drills for their team members on a regular basis to facilitate the learning of an under-developed skill.  Warm-up activities are probably the most commonly done drills throughout the team, but other events, especially those in the field, have a selection of drills that are necessary for successful learning. …… More

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Running Cadence

It is well known by scientists through academic studies, and with coaches working in the field, that the two measurable factors that determine speed of performance in an endurance runner are stride length and stride frequency. A common term for stride frequency is cadence, and this word refers to the rate of leg gait cycling…… More

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The Genius of Frank Horwill

Frank Horwill was a middle-distance coach in Great Britain during the heyday of the British Milers Club, a training group that he founded.  Before there was David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, there was Steve Cram, Steve Crabb, Sebastian Coe, and Steve Ovett of the British Milers Club in the 1980’s and early 1990’s…… More

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Muscle Development, Fatigue, and Regeneration

  Training theory in the middle-distance events requires knowledge of biological adaptations and the work stimuli needed to achieve improvement of the body’s physiological functions.  Much of this physiological knowledge is at the tissue level and involves understanding changes to the muscle fibers as they interact with neighboring fibers in organs that are called muscles.…… More

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A Proper Cross Country Warm Up

  Cross country running coaches are always looking for new components to add to an already effective cross country warm up unit for their athletes, or are perhaps just looking for a set routine because their present one is too haphazard and unorganized.  What would constitute a proper warm-up or sound daily stretching and flexibility…… More

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Finishing the Race

  One of the most frustrating aspects of analyzing cross country running training is the post-race reflection of an athlete’s sub par performance.  Even the really great performances have something sour that catches the coaches’ critical eye.  As in any analytical, cause-result relationship, the result is more obvious than the cause.  One of the more…… More

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10 Facts About Successful Coaches

There comes a time in a cross country coaching career when the last steps are taken to cement a personal coaching philosophy.  Done too early, the philosophy will lack the experience that is necessary to really have meaning.  Done too late, it will not serve as the guiding light that it needs to be to…… More

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The Human Stride

   The human foot is designed to only do two things, propel the body forward and absorb the shock of doing so.  The center of mass of the body must balance itself on a broad, saddle-shaped pelvis that distributes the weight of the organism equally on either side of the sagittal plane straight down to…… More

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The Curious Case of Lactate

  Lactate is produced in the cells of the body on a constant basis.  Quick, blink!  You just produced lactate in the muscles of your eyelid.  Because these sorts of activities produce very small amounts of lactate, the body disposes of it quickly and efficiently by transporting it to the liver where it is filtered…… More

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Pace Awareness Using Borg’s Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

  Training and racing experience leads to a more sophisticated middle distance athlete.  Coaches measure this advancing experience with a concept known as training age.  Once the runner has physically matured and transitioned from middle school to high school (and beyond), training age becomes more of a conditioning factor than chronological age is in setting…… More

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Aerobic Capacity and Aerobic Power

  There are several critical aspects to aerobic fitness in all endurance sports, including cross country running in particular. For instance, aerobic capacity is an important factor, and is defined as the maximal oxygen intake in liters per minute for an athlete. It is a true measure of individual work intensity, and its measured value…… More

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Using Heart Rate to Control Training

  Using heart rate (HR) to control training intensity requires the coach or middle-distance runner to monitor the average HR during a workout session, time trial, or race.  The average race HR is called the performance HR and is specific to each runner.  Training intensity is then controlled relative to performance HR.  The use of…… More

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The Balke VO2 Max Test

  Training to maximize aerobic capacity is the cornerstone of all cross country conditioning for races of 8k or less, and very important to even 10k and 12k cross country races.  The ideal training scheme will have dedicated VO2 max workouts to develop aerobic capacity and tests to monitor the developmental progress of the advancing…… More

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The Macrocycle (Middle Distance Annual Plan)

Training design is the tool middle-distance coaches use to implement accepted and contemporary training theory.  Basically, it is a scheme for designing and scheduling various blocks of time in an attempt to accomplish appropriate developmental activities during specific portions of the athlete’s training plan.  These blocks of time vary from one year, which is the annual…… More

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Meet Day Protocol

Humans are creatures of habit in what they do and they operate most efficiently on a number of synchronized physiological cycles and psychological patterns, especially on meet day. Some cycles are so deeply imprinted that they are difficult to alter, but many can be changed by merely adjusting daily habits and routines.  General eating patterns…… More

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