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The Two Best Workouts for Combo 400/800 (and 600) Runners?

When it comes to training the appropriate energy system, one could argue writing workouts for 100m runners requires relatively little nuance. But, if you coach kids who excel at both the 400 and 800 (and 600 if you live in the northeast), you’ve got to find the optimal dose of speed and endurance work. A traditional method for training these qualities is to address them in separate workouts within a training week (microcycle) or longer training block (mesocycle). And you’ve probably been successful utilizing this approach. However, another effective coaching strategy you might consider is to combine training themes within the same workout. Coach Ron Grigg (Jacksonville University) employs a multi-system menu of workouts for supporting both endurance and speed development. But, today, I think…

The Four Critical Workouts of the Middle Distance Competition Period

The competition period is the last three weeks of the season for a middle distance runner.  This portion of the track microcycle is characterized by a moderately decreased training volume coupled with a sharp increase in training intensity.  In ordinary language it is the tapering period leading to a peak championship performance attempt.  Rest is an important theme of the competition period because strength is gained through rest following an adequate training period.  Rest can be found in several places including a toned down lifestyle for the athlete, and in training it can be found in extended recovery days between hard work sessions and a greater emphasis on rest between bouts of work in a number of the harder training units. Middle distance coaches frequently…

Planning the Middle Distance Pre-Competition Period

A properly schemed middle distance training macrocyle should be set up to be between fifteen and twenty weeks in length.  For planning purposes the macrocycle is divided into two phases which are called preparation and competitive.  In essence, the first half of the macrocycle focuses on preparation, while the second half focuses on competition.  The two phases are 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.  Here we will discuss planning the middle distance pre-competition period. The pre-competition period, or pre-comp for short, is the early portion of the competitive phase and is characterized by two important thoughts: 1). meets consist…

Specific Preparation Period Workouts for Middle Distance

Ideally, a typical middle distance training macrocyle is set up to be between fifteen and twenty weeks in length and divided into four training periods.  The difference in macrocycle time lies in the number of training sessions dedicated to the first period, or general preparation period.  Once general prep is completed, the next stage is termed the specific preparation period, or specific prep for short.  For middle distance runners who are able to manage a long general prep period, specific prep is set at about half the length as general prep.  For those runners who could but manage general prep time to the minimum length, then specific prep is about equal in length to general prep.  In the longer training model it is three, twelve…

Why Coaches Should Attend the 2017 CTF Summer Clinic

When most coaches think of summer track and field camps/clinics, they assume they’re strictly for the kids. So, you may not be aware that the Complete Track and Field Clinic is different. Of course, our focus is on the athletes. But, we also encourage high school and youth coaches (and parents who work with their kids) to register and attend as well. We’re confident when you attend the 7th Annual Complete Track and Field Clinic, you’ll agree it is a World Class event. And you can get Complete Access (more on that in a moment) for FREE when you encourage 3 of your athletes to register. (Just send us the names of the athletes and we’ll register you. If you already paid, we’ll send you…

Growth and Development Issues in Distance Runners

Most cross country coaches’ work with athletes that have not yet reached absolute physical maturity and awareness of growth and development issues in their distance runners.  Many of these same coaches have teams with both boys and girls on them, which raises the concern of different rates of development.  Even coaches that have a program of one gender, grades nine through twelve, have athletes that are scattered on a continuum of physical growth and maturity and must deal with issues surrounding this fact on a daily basis.  Growth and development issues in cross country begin with the basic indicators of height and weight as these two variables are the most useful in examining rates of change and are controlled by the genome signaling of chemical…

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Running Injuries in the Middle Distance Athlete

Running injuries of the leg and lower back are the most common types of acute or chronic ailments found in distance runners.  Aches and pains are common in runners training in excess of 15 miles per week, but these transition to injuries when the ailment is severe enough to reduce the number of miles run over the course of at least one week and/or cause the runner to take medication or see a health care professional. Most running injuries are musculo-skeletal overuse syndromes related to cumulative stress and strain of the legs.  All of the common injuries have noticeable symptoms, related causes, and training characteristics as to what to try/avoid and how to treat the injury from a training perspective.  An observant coach will take…

Planning the General Preparation Period for Middle Distance Training

The first training segment of time is called the general preparation period, or just general prep for short.  This stage sets the tone for the season.  The middle distance training macrocyle is ideally set up to be between fifteen and twenty weeks in length.  The greater the amount of overall time available, then the longer the first training stage can be.  There are two middle distance general prep models found in this country.  One is the collegiate model which is characterized by a long fall training period of both general endurance and general strength building activities which leads into an indoor competitive season in the winter.  The collegiate coach can personally direct the middle distance runners through general prep in an unhurried, non-specific training scheme…

The Four Stages of Team Development

The start of a cross country (or track and field) season brings plenty of excitement for both athletes and coaches.  The anticipation of all of the adventures that are about to occur is what makes activities such as this so much fun.  Even teams that practice all summer seem to shift their level of anticipation as the official date of the cross country season approaches. Successful cross country running needs both individualized training plans for the athletes and an overall organizational plan for the team.  Both plans need to be structured with as much quantitative, measurable focus as possible.  The plan for the team should revolve around where the squad is today and where it should be at the end of the season if the…

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