We’ve officially added the Distance Events (800, 1600, 3200, Cross Country) to our Summer Clinic being held at Harvard University on July 20-21.
The group will be led by Harvard University Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, Jason Saretsky.
Under Coach Saretsky, the Women’s Cross Country Team qualified for the NCAA Championship for the first time in 30 years. He also had 2 men qualify for the NCAA championship. Currently, the men have two athletes that have run under 14:00 in the 5k.
Traditionally, ‘Distance Camps’ are those week long, high mileage overnight trips in the mountains. But, ultimately, athletes do too much volume and don’t come back having learned too much about being a better endurance athlete.
As you’re probably aware by now, the trend in endurance training is to focus more on overall athletic development. Specifically, spending more time developing all five biomotor abilities (speed, strength, coordination, mobility, endurance) as opposed to just one: Endurance.
After all, even in Cross Country races, the goal is to run the fastest 5K, not run the farthest without stopping.
Over the course of the two day clinic, Coach Saretsky will take athletes through a modern distance training experience. You’ll still get your runs in, after all it is a Distance Clinic. But, it’s going to be much more than the same old thing.
You’ll be hearing from Coach Saretsky directly in the very near future. But, this is a great opportunity to get in front of the coach of the premiere University in the world. And with Harvard’s ‘Junior Day’ coming the Monday (July 22) after the clinic, it’s a great opportunity to be seen before joining the masses who come in to get a taste of the Harvard Experience.
We worked hard to get Coach Saretsky to lead this event group. Whether you’re a coach or an athlete, you should take advantage of this unique opportunity!
We hope to see you this summer!
- Latif Thomas
P.S. If you have any questions you can simply post them below.
We have a lot of new information to share with you today. Some of it is only being confirmed as I log into work this morning so I’m posting this before we’ve even added all the new info to the site.
Bottom line: This clinic is going to be pretty bad ass!
Update #1: We’ve added the Distance Events
The Distance Group will be headed by Harvard University Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Jason Saretsky.
Sure you can send your athletes/go to one of those week long camps in the mountains some place where you do too much mileage for the week.
But, if you’re an athlete do you really want to pass up the opportunity to get in front of, work with and talk to the coach who runs Harvard University’s Track & Cross Country program? I know how many apply to Harvard and try to contact Coach Saretsky. The numbers he gave me on that topic were, quite frankly, astounding. Now you can spend two days with him on campus (followed immediately by Junior Day) which is an opportunity that should not be ignored just to attend the same old camp.
If you’re a coach, now you have yet another event group you can go and observe and another set of coaches you can ask training questions in order to add some more tools to your coaching tool box.
You’ll hear more from Coach Saretsky later this week or next Monday, but for now just register before everyone else finds out:
Update #2: New Coaches added to the staff.
Confirmation of these coaches is just reaching me this morning so I haven’t even had time to add their info/bios to the site yet. I’ll post about them in more detail a bit later in the week, but briefly, we’ve added:
Distance: Jason Saretsky (Harvard University)
Javelin: Michelle Eisenreich (Stanford University)
Shot/Disc: Andrew Dubs (Harvard University)
High Jump: Kathrine Bright (Wheaton College – MA)
Update #3: Did you say 43’4″ in the Triple Jump?
Obviously, I think we have a rock solid coaching staff at this clinic.
And today I want to highlight some of the work being done by one of our Lead Jumps Clinicians: Columbia University’s Reuben Jones.
At the Indoor Conference Championship (Heps), two of the women in his jumps group went over 42′ in the triple jump.
But, this past weekend Coach Jones showed why we call him ‘Black Boo’ when one of his jumpers went 43’4″ putting her at #7 in the NCAA.
Are you serious, Reuben Jones? I’d be content with a boy jumping 43′ 4″!
I seem to remember Coach Grigg of Jacksonville University, our other Lead Clinician in the Jumps, having two ladies over 21′ in the long jump a few years ago. WOW…our jumps staff is talented this year!
Want to find out what they are doing with their athletes in the long and triple jump? You’ll discover their techniques first hand at the 2013 Complete Track & Field Clinic this July!
…Not to steal any of Coach Jones’ thunder, but Sprints Clinician Kebba Tolbert (Harvard) saw his athletes break the women’s 4×400 school record when they ran… 3:38.79 this past weekend at LSU. It’s the first team in school history to break 3:40.0 and was highlighted by a 54.3 lead leg and a 53.4 anchor leg!
I have to say I feel extremely grateful to be able to pick the brains and steal ideas from these coaches on a regular basis. And when you come to the clinic this summer, whether as a coach/parent or athlete, you’ll get to do the same.
See you in July!
The Tempo Run
Cross Country Training
The tempo run is a valuable training unit component that should be found in the microcycles of both middle-distance and distance runners, including cross country athletes. The name is derived from a musical term that refers to a recognized “rate of speed”. The rate of speed, or tempo, used in training distance runners is the ground speed employed at the individuals lactate threshold (LT) pace to reach exhaustion. The LT pace is an exercise physiology term that refers to the exact speed at which an individual runs at when the lactate metabolites and hydrogen ions that are being produced in the anaerobic glycolytic energy system cannot be effectively buffered or cleared to maintain homeostasis. As the volume of lactate and hydrogen accumulates in the working muscles from the reduction of anaerobically produced lactic acid, the muscles fatigue. Eventually enough collective fatigue occurs, forcing the cross country runner to stop completely.
The tempo run is an effective training tool that is used to enhance the hydrogen buffering capability of the cross country runner. The tempo run produces lactate at a slower rate than a special endurance 2 workout done on the track might do. It is a bit gentler on the body and thus has a shorter regeneration time period than a fast track workout might have. It t is especially effective in training for races like the 8k or 10k distances because it more closely resembles the specificity of these races. Beyond lactate buffering enhancement the tempo run also redirects glycogen stores to sites closer to contracting muscle fibers. Since the main fuel of the tempo run is carbohydrate, creating storage sites near the working muscle improves running economy. For a miler, two miler, or 5k runner, redirecting carbohydrate storage sites is not crucial to the specificity of the race, but it does help in creating a more fit runner for practice every day. For these reasons the tempo run should be done once in every 12 day middle-distance training cycle and once every 9 days in the cross country training cycle. The nature of the different lengths of microcycles for different endurance events allows workouts to be repeated at the proper training interval. For a 10k runner, doing a tempo run twice per 10 day microcycle would be a proper dosage.
A tempo run need not be a continuous effort but it is usually administered that way. This type of work can be broken up into intervals if desired, but it becomes a technical problem administering the proper amount of recovery. It becomes a real problem if coaching numerous athletes with different training profiles.
A tempo run is usually 20-25 minutes in length. Since it needs to be done at the lactate threshold pace of each athlete, the coach needs to refer to each athlete’s VO2 max pace in order to set up the proper individual training intensity. As you recall, VO2 max pace is the pace that a runner uses to run two miles to exhaustion. This is the athlete’s aerobic capacity. A cross country runner’s lactate threshold pace is between 60%-88% of VO2 max pace (Figure 1. Wilmore and Costill 2004). The variation is found in the runner’s training age, genome, and date fitness. This is the time to individualize the workout for each athlete. Use your experience as a coach to determine where in that range each athlete falls, and assign each a percentage for their threshold. Then divide that percentage number into their VO2 max pace. That will give you the important value for each of your athletes: lactate threshold per mile pace. Find a good 4-4.5 mile course and multiply their per mile lactate threshold pace to the distance and you have an individual time goal for each athlete for the tempo run that day.
Figure 1. (Wilmore and Costill 2004)
Scientists have said that lactate threshold pace is about the intensity of 15k pace for each athlete. That can also serve as a good reference point for you in setting up individual pace and goal times. A good way to administer the tempo run is to stagger it. Handicap the best runners by sending them out last. The least proficient runners precede them in a calculated way so that if you are good with numbers everybody finishes at the same time. It is good for the best runners to be catching people along the way while the others attempt to hold their own. Remember though, this workout is not a race. It is a disciplined 25 minute run at about individual 15k date pace.
Recovery, Regeneration, and Rest
It has been said that the most important reason a runner needs a coach is to help them with the time intervals between work, and not for the work itself. It is somewhat surprising that the concept of training at goal-paced effort or faster, punctuated by periods of rest in order to endure the effort, did not become a popular training modality until about 50 years ago. Now it is an accepted training routine for most middle-distance runners, but to this day the practical application remains anecdotal in the training literature. Middle-distance coaches routinely prescribe interval work, but are not at all sure how to alter the training effect of the workout based on the current needs of the athlete. For example, a workout of 6 times 200 meters can be either a speed endurance workout, an anaerobic efficiency workout, an anaerobic capacity workout, or an endurance workout; not by altering the repetitions or distance, but by altering the recovery interval. Further complications arise in sequencing workouts both within the training session and the microcycle sequence. For example, 6 times 60 meter strides done at the beginning of a training session is designed to improve maximum speed in the athlete. Move those same strides to after a six mile run and you have a workout designed to promote additional endurance, rather than maximum speed. The same problems are present in sequencing sessions within the microcycle, as some workouts need 48 hours to regenerate from, while others require 24 hours of regeneration. By not paying attention too these details the desired training effect of the workout changes drastically.
Let’s get the terminology straight. Recovery is what happens to the physiology of the body after a bout of work ends. This can be monitored in many ways such as heart rate, body temperature, breathing rate, or by analyzing the blood for enzymes, hormones, pH, or lactate metabolites. Once the runner recovers to a certain desired level it is time to work again. In contrast, regeneration is what happens to the body in the time following the workout. The regeneration period is the time that the athlete’s fitness improves. The coach must prescribe enough resting time for the particular energy system and muscle enzymes used for a specific workout before another similar workout can be prescribed. Rest is defined as the absence of work. The word is used to describe the body’s physiology when a workload is not being applied.
A good marker used in determining recovery time for an interval style of anaerobic work (8 x 400 meters as an example) would be the clearing rate of lactate. Lactate is a residue produced in muscle cells when glucose breaks down rapidly, but incompletely without oxygen. First, lactic acid is produced, which almost instantly reduces itself to a lactate salt and hydrogen ions. If there is lots of lactate present in the blood then we can infer that lots of hydrogen ions are also present which lower the pH of the blood and inter-cellular fluids causing acidosis. The culprit is hydrogen atoms in causing anaerobic (glycolytic) fatigue. This condition is similar to any weak acids effect on living things. Acid rain from sulfur pollutants damages plant tissue and acidosis in the body damages animal cells and tissue until it is neutralized. So lactate, which itself is actually harmless, becomes the marker to follow in setting up a recovery pattern in an interval workout in an attempt to tolerate the effect of acidosis. Since racing at any distance produces lactate, it becomes advantageous to “teach” the body to tolerate the effects of acidosis without destroying too many cells or degrading the effort too badly as the work wears on. Table 1 indicates the recovery time from a large dump of lactate (18 mmol.) such as what would be produced in running a hard 400 meters.
Active recovery would be characterized a combination of walking and jogging. It is now up to the coach to decide what percentage of recovery the middle-distance runner should achieve before the next bout of work begins. For example, a two minute recovery will achieve a 50% recovery rate for this marker. The workout is sure to degrade if many bouts of work are done with two minutes recovery time. If the intent is to keep the intensity of the work high then the recovery needs to be somewhere in the 80% range to ensure the workout will not degrade. In summary, any rest length can be prescribed, but always be aware of the percentage of recovery so that it matches the desired outcome of the training stimulus at the point in the macrocycle that your athlete is at.
Regeneration is defined as the rest time that the athlete needs in adapting to a training stimulus. This time period varies slightly from athlete to athlete but can be generally categorized as:
24 Hour Regeneration Time Period:
• Normal long runs, strength runs such as hill repeats, recovery runs, base runs, moderate tempo runs, alactic intervals such as flying 30 meters
48 Hour Regeneration Time Period
• Races, long runs plus, lactate threshold runs, basic anaerobic intervals, strong tempo runs, runs paced at VO2 max
72 Hour Regeneration Time Period
• Long races, very strong anaerobic work such as big sets and reps, very strong or long tempo runs