Simple concept.

Better to be under-trained and fresh, than to be over-trained and drained.  A runner who is rested and energetic will race faster than a runner who has put in more miles and/or more intense training, but is tired in the days leading up to the race.  Again, simple concept, but an important one for both coaches and athletes.

Related is the topic of burnout.  Here is my good friend Patrick Wales-Dinan talking about burnout in high school runners.


Should Runners Static Stretch?

Static Stretching has been a staple of running training for several decades. But is static stretching good runners?

This is an excerpt from Dr. Jeff Messer‘s presentation “Endurance Training: Current Science and Application to Program Design” from the 08.03.13 Boulder Running Clinic.  I think this is a great example of someone like Dr. Messer taking a closer look at a published paper to see if the findings of the paper actually apply to runners.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

All of the videos from the 08.03.13 clinic will be available later this month at BoulderRunningClinics.com.

Should you take an Ice Bath?

I’m fortunate to know Dr. Jeff Messer.  He’s a great coach and a unique mind in the running world.  Here are his thoughts on ice baths for runners from his presentation, “Endurance Training: Current Science and Application to Program Design” which he presented at the August 3rd, 2013, Boulder Running Clinics event.  Dr.  Messer’s full presentation, along with five other presentations, will be available for sale later this month at BoulderRunningClinics.com.

Five Bio-Motor Abilities and Distance Running

I received the following question as part of the Q&A for High School Summer Training:

What do you believe the keys to success are for the runners coming up from junior high to high school, high school to college and college on?

Great question. Obviously more running is appropriate from ages 14 to 24. And more intensity on workout days and a faster weekly long run. But what else does a runner need to do to continue to improve over a decade (or two) of serious training.

USATF Coaching Education identifies five bio-motor abilities (the “Five S’s”):

  1. Strength
  2. Speed
  3. Stamina
  4. Suppleness
  5. Skill

Distance runners obviously need to spend the majority of their time developing Stamina – i.e. developing the aerobic metabolism. The weekly long run, the fartlek workouts and the threshold runs, the long aerobic repeats, must be the primary focus of the training if a the athlete is to evolve into a faster runner.

But the problem I have with most training philosophies out there is that there is little or no acknowledgement of the other four bio-motor abilities. [Read more…]

Q&A: Summer Training for High School Athletes

I’m pretty excited about this. Look up at the menu bar and you’ll see a tab that says “Q&As.” I am working with the good people at Crowdhall to put together a dynamic Question and Answer on a specific topic.

These Q&As are flexible and ongoing in order to best meet the needs of your schedule – write in when you have time.

To be a part of it, all you need to do is:
1. Step in. Follow this link at any point over the next week.
2. Ask me a question or share an idea here during my one week online Q&A “town hall.”
3. Vote on the questions you’d like to see answered.
4. Keep checking the page or get notified when I respond to top issues.

That’s it. This should be a fun experiment for all of us. I plan to start answering the questions on Thursday and I will continue to answer questions on Friday and Saturday. We’ll end this on Saturday, but we’ll keep the page up so you can use it as a resource.

Looking forward to this experiment.

Should Masters Runners Lift Weights?

I had a great discussion with Dr. Richard Hansen the other night (over a fantastic meal by the way) and we were talking about the differences between high school athletes getting injured and masters runners getting injured.  Richey coaches high school athletes, but in his clinic he sees many serious masters runners.  The key point he made was that the masters runner could really benefit from work that changes their hormonal profile.  They need to up-regulate human growth hormone, testosterone to stay healthy.  But it’s a really hard sell because this group truly loves to run.  And they understand going out for an easy run on Monday, workout on Tuesday, easy runs on Wednesday and Thursday, workout Friday, easy run or day off on Saturday, then a long run on Sunday.  They’ve done that for years.  They’ve found a way to make that running schedule work alongside their family life and social life.

So back to the question, “Should Masters Runners Lift Weights?” [Read more…]

Should Runners go to the Weight Room? Part 1

The first thing we need to acknowledge is that in training athletes to become the best runners they can be there are “Many Roads to Rome.” That said, I’m a firm believer that runners should do non-running exercises if they want to to run faster. If you improve your General Strength and Mobility (GSM) you can reduce the chance of injury, and when you reduce injuries you’ll maintain consistency in your training, not missing days, weeks or months at a time. Consistency is one of the most important factors in racing to your potential.

So if you buy into the idea that you need to do non-running activities to reduce injury and maintain consistency in your training, the question becomes, “What non-running activities should I do?” For many runners this question is answered with “I need to get in the weight room, work on my core, and get strong.” That’s a not a bad idea, but it’s not my approach. The weight room has a place in distance running training, but I believe it comes after a progression of exercises and routines that can be done outside of the weight room. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning Reads – 05.12.13

First, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers reading this.

The high school and college track seasons are winding down. Here is a quick article about how long it takes to watch (and compete in) a track meet. Hopefully the state track meet in your area has a enough volunteers that it moves quicker than all of the meets leading up to it.

Have you ever thought of cutting a course and faking your race time? This article from the New Yorker is one of my favorite running articles in the past twelve months, even if it makes you sick that someone would do this. Long article but well worth your time.

A couple short training articles I’ve written. Some general running tips and three training questions answered.

Finally, this blog post by Macklin Chaffee, a miler I coach, is a detailed account of his third place finish at the Medronic TC 1 mile (a road mile) this week. Macklin was not very physically strong when we started working together this spring. He is fired up to get into the weight room, but we’ll wait until the fall to do that as we still have gains to make in terms of General Strength and Mobility (GSM) (article and article). Here is Alberto talking about how weak Mo Farah was when they started working together.

Have a great Sunday.