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Tearing Down the Mile Race

The 1500 meter race is considered one of the most exciting cornerstone events in any major track and field meet by athletes, coaches, and spectators alike.  The race is characterized by a breath-taking early pace, plenty of competitive surging, a wicked critical zone, and a need to maintain bio-mechanical efficiency over every meter of the distance.  Physiologists consider the 1500 meters a combined zone event and their findings suggest coaches train their athletes in a manner that maximizes concurrent development of both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.  Over the years scientists have tried to approximate the combination of energy delivery from both metabolic systems for racing the 1500 meters and have settled on an energy contribution (for most fit people at exhaustive race pace)…

Periodizing Special Endurance 2 Sessions: Middle Distance

Periodizing Special Endurance 2 Sessions: Middle Distance Multilateral training done in planned balance is the general theme of modern middle distance training.  Much has been learned over the past couple of decades about the value of concurrently training all five of the primary physical components to achieve a better runner.  Sport scientists working with sizeable experimental samples of distance runners and sprinters have done a remarkable job of testing the hypotheses associated with the primary physical component characteristics relating to human running performance.  Training theorists applying accepted scientific principles have given middle distance coaches an outstanding roadmap for setting up training plans specifically emphasizing speed and strength.  In addition to recent gains pure scientific knowledge, speed-related terminology has been standardized so that coaches can communicate…

Summer Camp Registration Deadline is This Friday!

If you’re still debating whether or not to come to the clinic this summer, search #ctfclinic on Twitter to see what past attendees said during and after the event. So, every year we get a flood of last minute registrations and countless sad stories from coaches, parents, and athletes who waited too long and get locked out. If you want to take advantage of the $50.00 ‘Early Bird’ discount and NOT have to pay full price, you MUST register by the end of the day this Friday, May 27. ⇒ Register now for the 2016 CTF Summer Clinic (click on the event groups in the menu for their individual pages.) Coaches: Remember, if you send three athletes from your program, you can come for free. If you coach high school…

Middle Distance Training: Periodizing Special Endurance 1 Training Sessions

  Much has been learned about speed and speed development over the last 20 years.  Scientists working with coaches and sprinters have done a remarkable job of applying the scientific method to the physiology of speed in humans including biomechanics, muscle recruitment and energy systems.  Many scientific papers with replicable results have been peer-reviewed, published, and have trickled down to coaches.  Training theorists working with scientific data have given track coaches an outstanding roadmap for setting up training plans emphasizing speed.  In conjunction with the science, speed-related terminology has been standardized so that coaches can communicate in a more effective manner when discussing workout sessions and training units.  The lasting benefit of all of this recent progress in understanding speed is that it applies to…

Calories as Energy Currency for Middle Distance Runners

The concept of calories in food is everywhere.  Visit any bookstore and the section of the building that contains books on dieting and calories is among the largest you will find.  It seems so simple: eat fewer calories then one uses each day and body weight will be lost.  Consume more calories then is used each day and body weight will be gained.  Calories are scientific units of measurement that are used both in energy intake and energy expenditure by animals.  But, what really are the calories importance to a middle distance runner and their training and racing?  The everyday use of the term calories is a means to indicate potential energy in the foods that are available for consumption.  In actuality, foods are measured…

Do This When Middle Distance Performance Plateaus

What exactly is a performance plateau in middle distance running?  It is a temporary stagnation or slight decline in racing times or in key training markers.  When a plateau becomes evident to a runner it can be very discomforting and may lead to a questioning of the training, over-reaction to the situation, and even panic.  Rather than being a cause of concern it is important to realize that once a runner has been training for any period of time it is inevitable that they will hit a performance plateau.  In fact, if you have not witnessed this phenomenon, there may be something wrong with the training program. It is important to point out that a plateau in performance is not the same as overtraining.  Rather,…

Flexibility as a Primary Physical Component

There are five primary physical components that are targeted for improvement during physical training.  The degree of emphasis placed on each of the five components of strength, speed, flexibility, coordination, and endurance is sport specific.  All must be addressed for any athlete to improve performance capacity.  In cross country running, the component of endurance is by far the most targeted area of training with the other four to a lesser degree.  Flexibility improvement is sought by many cross country runners as a means for performance enhancement.  Current research has indicated that some areas of flexibility training are better than others in training endurance runners.  What are the modalities of flexibility training that cross country runners should be concerned with? The conventional definition of flexibility is…

Strength Training as a Primary Physical Component for Cross Country Runners

Strength is categorized as a primary physical component of the human body. The other primary physical components are speed, coordination, flexibility, and endurance. The aim of physical training is to improve the fitness of these five components in a balanced program to meet the specific demands of the sport. The role of a coach is to design and implement a program balance that improves the fitness of the individual primary physical components to the degree that is necessary for athletic success. Of the five primary physical components the one that is most stressed in cross country running is endurance.  Make no mistake about it the cross country coach needs to spend the great majority of training time addressing endurance.  Development of the other four components…

Age Appropriate Distance Training

One of the most important reminders for those coaches involved in training young distance and middle distance runners is they are not simply miniature adults. Not only are the bodies smaller, the mind less experienced, the systems of the body not at full development, but also training has far different effects and considerations as compared to adults. Success in distance running at any age requires high levels of energy system and muscular fitness, technical skills and motivation. For runners young and old, training to develop these qualities can be very demanding. Distance running can place extraordinary requirements on the young athlete’s body and mind. Understanding growth and development issues as well as the demands of aerobic and anaerobic training is crucial to training youngsters. Unfortunately,…

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