The Top 3 Articles, Programs & Answers of February 2014

Posted by Latif Thomas

I understand you may not have time to catch everything I post each month. As I continue to increase the frequency of new posts across the spectrum of event groups and training modalities, I put together a ‘Best of’ each month so you can get your track nerd on.

Below are ‘The Top 3 of February 2014′ for the following categories: 3 Most Popular Articles, 3 Most Popular Training Programs, 3 Best Q&A discussions.

Click on the title to visit the article page or program.

Top 3 Most Popular Articles (by total views)

Don't be good. Be great.

Don’t be good. Be great.

#3: 10 Facts About Successful Coaches by Scott Christensen (Stillwater HS -MN)

Why it ranked: We all want to be successful and know that emulating successful people can help us achieve our goals and vision. Coach Christensen’s article hits the nail on the head with the 10 staple beliefs/actions found in successful people in all disciplines.

#2: How to Get Recruited by College Coaches by Latif Thomas (Bishop Feehan HS – MA)

Why it ranked: Most HS coaches and guidance counselors are fairly uneducated when it comes to guiding athletes through the recruiting/get noticed process. The responses from Division I, II & III coaches give specific insight to anyone looking to compete at the next level or help athletes do so.

#1: 3 Ways to Avoid Shin Splints by Latif Thomas (Bishop Feehan HS – MA)

Why it ranked: If you coach people who run (and especially if you’re coming off of a winter spent on the roads or concrete hallways) you’re going to run into shin splint issues. If you don’t address them before they happen, you’ll have athletes on the shelf. The spring season is short so this is how you head shin splints off at the pass.

Top 3 Most Popular Coaching/Training Programs (by sales)

NOTE: I didn’t include Summer Clinic sales/registrations in this category, but, real quick, the Top 3 most popular clinic ‘event groups’ are:

#3: Hurdles 
#2: Coaches
#1: Sprints

#3: Complete Technique & Teaching for the Jumping Events by Boo Schexnayder

Use this to eliminate cringe worthy jumps!

Why it ranked: People are getting ready for outdoors and they want to tighten up their jumps coaching game. Who better than Boo Schexnayder (with Todd Lane) especially when this package includes his very popular (and time saving) Training Inventory and Weight Training DVDs.

#2: Complete Speed Training Vol. 2 by Latif Thomas (Bishop Feehan HS – MA)

Why it ranked: Not a week goes by where a coach doesn’t email me or tell me at a meet that they can’t believe the results they’ve gotten with their sprinters using CST2. People like it because I work with the same types of kids as they do and it flat out helps kids run faster.

#1: The Training Model for High School Middle Distance (800-1600) by Scott Christensen (Stillwater HS – MA) 

Why it ranked: Coaches who use Scott’s info and programs love them. Coaches also love workouts and this program has workouts on workouts on workouts. By that I mean every workout for every day from January through Nationals in June. This program is a beast and while new program launches always do well, coaches were on this program when it launched like white on rice.

Top 3 Q&A Discussions (in terms of topics I found interesting and/or relevant to the time of year)

Note: I can’t really make a distinction between #3 and #1 so don’t read into the order they’re listed because it’s random!

#3: From Marc Mangiacotti’s ‘Complete Program Design for 100m’

Question: Could you elaborate on placing the back pedal at a 55 degree angle vs. 45 degree?

Answer from Mang: The front block is set at 45 degrees because that is the optimal angle of exit from the front block. If an athlete extends fully off of a 45 degree block then the athlete should extend to 45 degrees themselves. This sets the athlete up for maximal power, distance, and extension off of the front block.

Typically, I ask the athletes to put the back block at 55 degrees because the block is further away from the starting line. Because the block is farther away the angle of the back leg is greater than the front leg. However, if the back block is set at 45 degrees the athlete will have to jam their foot back too much to get their spike plate on the block pedal. Having the block set at 55 degrees allows them to place their spike plate on the block pedal in an appropriate manner. In a way, 55 degrees makes it easier for the athlete to get in an optimal position.

#2: From Ron Grigg’s ‘Complete Program Design for 400-800m Runners’ 

Question: What pace continuum should be addressed or utilized 10 days out from the indoor conference championship?

How to Coach Your 400/800 Runners.

How to Coach Your 400/800 Runners.

Answer from The Grigg: The answer is FULLY dependent upon what training has occured prior to the 10 day period in question. I will assume that the indoor conference championship is the last and most important meet of the indoor season.

Over the last 10 days, the greatest adaptations will occur through rest by reduced volumes or intensities. Any sessions of significant stress may make the athlete better down the road, but may actually depress their abilities during the 10 day window.

As a rule of thumb, the 10th day out is the last “serious” workout we would do. For a 400/800 type person, it might be 4 x 300 with 4′ rest looking for consistency over all 4 reps and a fast overall average. Or it may be a mixed rep workout of 600s at 10k pace, 150s at 400 pace and 75ms at max pace. It could be 6×300 w/ 2′ rest at esactly 800 pace with the last rep faster but not max. Something specific, I consider this the “culmination workout” and actually work backwards from that workout to plan all the qualities that will prepare them for the final big workout.

At the college level, most teams will not race the weekend before the conference championship. If you have a race planned within the 10 day period, you should consider carefully what you will run. I would run an off event, like something short and fast, like a 200 or 300, OR something longer like a 1k or mile. And I would avoid doubling and tripling if possible.

The last 10 days is a good time to return to “general” themes. So you can return to 10k pace work which although volumous, will be lower in intensity than specific work. Or you can return to max V work, that while intense, will be of short duration and lower in volume than specific work. I think of it as “topping off the tank” or simply maintaining fitness, not trying to “get more.”

Lastly, I would make sure that there are ample EZ days or even OFF days during that 10 day period. We might throw in a mid week OFF day, or have days that consist of just EZ runs, or “warmups” which will address all of the 5 bio-motor abilities to stimulate them, but not a real “training session” per se.

#1a: From Tony Veney’s ‘Advance Sprint Hurdle Development’

Question: I’ve been working a lot on your lead leg and box run off drills, but my top girl is having difficulty getting her trail leg to the side and well tucked when she goes back to running over the hurdles. I suspect this may have something to do with her take off and not leaving the trail leg behind. Any drills or other suggestions to help in this area. She was a state qualifier last year as a sophomore in the 300′s and wants to get there in the 100′s as well this year.

Answer from Veney: Having trouble keeping the trail leg folded could have alot to do with her take-off distance. Make sure she is at least 1.90 meters away. Her poor trail could be the result of being too close to the hurdle. Also, try more hurdle mobility drills to loosen up the hips which could improve her flexibility.

#1b: From Marc Mangiacotti’s ‘Complete Program Design for 100m’

Question: Could you elaborate on placing the back pedal at a 55 degree angle vs. 45 degree?

Answer from Mang: The front block is set at 45 degrees because that is the optimal angle of exit from the front block. If an athlete extends fully off of a 45 degree block then the athlete should extend to 45 degrees themselves. This sets the athlete up for maximal power, distance, and extension off of the front block.

Typically, I ask the athletes to put the back block at 55 degrees because the block is further away from the starting line. Because the block is farther away the angle of the back leg is greater than the front leg. However, if the back block is set at 45 degrees the athlete will have to jam their foot back too much to get their spike plate on the block pedal. Having the block set at 55 degrees allows them to place their spike plate on the block pedal in an appropriate manner. In a way, 55 degrees makes it easier for the athlete to get in an optimal position.

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So there you have it:

The best stuff at Complete Track and Field for February 2014.

In case you like looking for trends and patterns, here are the previous installments of my monthly ‘Best of’ recap:

Best of January 2014 

Best of November 2013      

Best of October 2013     

 



Related Posts

300 Hurdles & 400 Hurdles: Systems vs Philosophies

Upper Body Mechanics in the Throws

The Athlete Profile-Part 2

Drills and Progressions for Shot Put, Discus and Javelin

Managing the Meet Warm Up and Warm Down During Competitions

  • Chris Stevenson

    Coach Thomas:

    I love reading/listening to your stuff! Oh, and I’ve purchased a thing or two from you as well. Solid stuff!

    We just kicked off our indoor season yesterday, running 1:31.51 FAT in the 4×200 — currently the fastest time in the state (we finished 2nd last year); however, my third and fourth runners have some noticeable issues: my third runner runs like he is in a nutshell — all scrunched up and tight; my fourth runner has never met a sweet spot and runs straight up. They are fast — and both seniors — so I don’t want to give them too much to think about, but at the same time, I want to tweak their form a bit in the hopes that it will give them a stronger push at the end of each race. I mean, they have a fast 120 with lackluster form. The issue is they don’t close as fast as they might if they had good form. Would you mind watching the race? I posted it on my education page on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/thebluecollarcrew

    • http://completespeedtraining2.com Latif Thomas

      Sorry for the last response, but I did watch the video and post some ideas on your facebook page!