Houston Texans- Now I know why we suck.

I did it. I solved the mystery of why the Houston Texans suck. It's something that none of the newspaper writers (sorry Mr. Justice or McClain or any other Houston Chronicle writer, I figure it out before you) or any talk show callers figured out.

Want to take a guess what the secret is?

Nope, not David Carr's fault.
Charlie Casserly? No
No offensive line? Nope
The offense? deffense? special teams? Nope, nope, nope

Oh I got it, passing on saviour Vince Young? Not even close.

The reason is..............

THEY HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO RUN! Wait, don't stop reading, this is good stuff.

In my neverending quest for knowledge on training I ventured over to the Houston Texans website which had their Training Manual. Being a high paid NFL team I expected a gem of a traning manual with lots of good info. I've even listened to their trainers radio show occasionally, so good things were expected. Instead I found this:

"Any vertical lift will force you to spend more time in the air, less on the ground, and slow you down. Eliminate the vertical component and you’ll increase speed. "

I immediately took a double take and read that sentence about 4 times. I decided to continue reading on hoping, praying that there was some justification for this comment. Instead I found more.....crap....

"Fast runners often appear to run effortlessly. Their heads remain level once they have reached the upright position. "

It doesn't get much better. throwing the knee forward, an incomplete backswing, shoulders back, and on it goes.

They then use the age old justification that football running is different than regular running.....Ya that's great logic.... They are right though, apparantly Texans football running is slow and WRONG!

TO keep this from being an entire trash on Texans fest, they did get the right idea that you should not reach for the ground and you should put the foot down near your Center of Gravity. THANK GOD for that!!!

I could take several paragraphs and tear all of that stuff apart, but frankly I'm tired of doing that for today, so I'll that for a later rant. However, the vertical displacement thing really got me. I mean, have they EVER watched someone sprint. I agree that too much vertical displacement is bad, but trying to eliminate it and stay flat?! That's just stupid. No way around it. You have to come up off the ground. You cover ground in the AIR. It's like the old HS physics question. If you shoot a cannonball with a very small angle, trying to keep it flat, it isn't going to go very far.

MEMO to TEXANS: GO WATCH SOMEONE SPRINT. They have a vertical displacement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO there's the answer. Your Houston Texans have no freaking clue how to run, which may be why all of our cornerbacks and Safetys get absolutely BURNED by every team....

You'd think an NFL team would know the basics of how to run correctly.

AHhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, ignorance kills me.

Rant over.


The trip to Mt. Sac ended up being a pretty good and fun one. I headed out there with Calum and it was quiet an adventure at times. We didn't have a car so figuring out how to get to and from the track and such was always interesting. The hotel had a shuttle but it wasn't always on time or prompt (One time, some friends waited about 45min at the track for it....the hotel was a 5min drive from the track). Anyways, it worked out well as through all of our frequent shuttle troubles we met some Women running for the Boulder Running Company who had similar lack of transportation. That was pretty cool because it gave me and Calum some people to cheer for and gave us a little cheering section during our races.

The race ended up going okay, not great but not bad. I got the regional qualifier out of the way running 3:47.26 for 1500m but I faded a bit at the end.

Overall, the race went pretty well. It was a big field of around 20 so that meant some pushing/shoving went on and I got thrown around a little bit. I tried to stay on the outside, running in lane 2 most of the time, so that I didn't get boxed in or stuck behind anyone. Most of the race I spent in the middle of the pack and as far as splits went I was basically even 60s or just a tad over most of the way.

I felt really good until around 200m to go. Right around then I got clipped and stumbled a little and probably tried to regain momentum a little too fast. The last 70m pretty much sucked as the legs weren't responding, but I didn't completely fall apart like last year.

Looking back at the race I made a couple of mistakes. I tried to relax too much during the middle of the race, thus letting my feet get out on me and getting a bit too flat. Besides that, my asthma showed up for the first time this year. Not nearly as bad as last year, but the whole breathing, smokers like cough, and inability to take a deep breathe for a couple days after were all present. The latter, being really annoying. I went to my doc on wed. and it turns out that something out their irritated it. When the doc listened to my breathing he said it sounded like it would if I had chemical bronchitis. He said some alergy or pollutant probably caused the reaction. Since I have to run out in Cali again, we changed the medicine up a little bit to hopefully give me some more protection.

Anyways, the day after me, Calum, and the family headed out to Disney Land. My sister gets dragged to all these track meets, so I promised her I'd go to Disney with her. We had a good time and saw the Arkansas boys there too. After spending about 8 hours at Disney, we were freaking sore!! All of that walking around killed, but it was worth it. The best ride was probably the Indiana Jones one. The worst one was when me, Calum, and my little sister all squeezed into one of those little airplane on the airplane kiddy ride where the planes circle a center spinning thing (ya i know, not the best description...) . There was literaly no room, and hopefully that picture taken doesn't get out on the internet...

Next race is in two weeks, back out in Cali.

- Jeremy for winning both the 1600 and 3200 at district in 4:26, 9:42. He's off to regionals next week to qualify for state.
-Ryan running 9:52 and getting 3rd at district in the 3200, and therefore advancing to regionals.
-Bryan getting two 5th place finishes at district, but PRing in the 3200 and having a seasons best in the 1600.

Quick Updates

Two quick things of note:

An article I wrote on learning how to run properly for Running Times Online. Check it out, let me know what you think:

A recent interview for trackshark.com :


-Strength Endurance Hill Circuit
-How to correct Running form and mechanics
-Me doing 100m sprints working on running form.

Strength Endurance Hill Circuit from Steve Magness on Vimeo.

Running form from Steve Magness on Vimeo.

100s for form from Steve Magness on Vimeo.

Texas Relays- 35 deg. in Tx in APRIL?!?!

Who would have thought that it could be snowing in Texas in April. While, Austin just missed out on the snow, there was plenty of cold, rain, and sleet. These were definately the worst conditions that I've raced in for a track meet. I ran the 1200 leg on the DMR and you can see the race on flocasts.com.

Before the race, I had on a long sleeve shirt, and 2 jackets and was still shivering! I didn't bring any gloves so I was wearing socks on my hands to help keep them warm. We jogged 2 miles to try and warm up and that helped a little bit but it didn't last long. We tried to keep moving more than usual to try and keep warm before the race, but it wasn't really that useful. Even with strides and such before the race, everything was still freezing. As the race was about to start, rain and then sleet came, making things even more fun!

Stripping down to just jersey and shorts was just painful and grasping the baton hurt. As the gun went off, I just settled into about 5th on the outside in lane 2. Right away I realize that we weren't going to run fast and to just race and forget about any splits. Coming into the homestretch on that first lap was pretty freaking bad. The cold wind just hit you all at once. At around 600, Thorne from Texas took the lead and I moved up to his outside and back a little bit. We came through 800 in like 2:02-3ish I think. Things pretty much stayed the same until 100m to go. At that point my legs were pretty much frozen and my hands hurt like hell. Instead of pushing to kick in, I tried to stretch out and lengthen my stride that way which is a big No-No. But anyways, we went 4 wide down the straight and I handed off in 3rd or so just a step behind the leaders in 3:02ish.

After the race, I wasn't even really tired as breathing recovered pretty much instantaneously, but the legs were frozen like no other. The most painful thing was probably trying to hand off. It hurt to try and open my hands up. The other guys ran tough, but Daniel had a rough one on the anchor leg (who can blame him, conditions sucked). After we got off the track was probably the worst, as I couldn't use my hands to do anything. Putting on my jacket and pants was rediculously hard and trying to untie my shoes was not going to happen. It's rather comical looking back, but man did that suck.

Overall, I was just happy to get done with the race and get out of there! With everything surrounding the race, I wasn't focused enough on the race, but it was a good effort.

On another note, I highly suggest you check out the Canadian athletics coaching website. In particular their, audio interviews. There are some really good interviews/articles on the website for coaches. I wish the USATF would do something like this. I think it would be very valuable to our coaches to get some of the best coaches we have to do some training interviews like were done by the Canadians. In particular, check out Tom Tellez' interview. It's lengthy but very good.


1st outdoor meet, biomechanics revisited

1st outdoor meet- LSU 5k- 1st- 14:21.49 PR

It feels good to win a race and set a PR again. Going into the race I didn't know what to expect and I was not trying to hit a certain time or anything like that. I just wanted to get into a good rhythm, run right and relaxed, and compete. The race ended up going went very well.

From the get go, the LSU runners (Joseph Simuchimba and Drew Haro) took the pace from the get go and I just tucked in behind them. They surged/switched leads a couple of times and I just gradually moved with them. I finally moved around the half way point when I felt things slowing down a little bit. It wasn't really a big move or anything, I was just trying to maintain my rhythm. I really felt like I was jogging through about 2 miles and was barely breathing. After 2 miles, boredom kind of set in and I lost concentration for a couple of laps. This caused me to get a little sloppy running wise too, but not too bad. Since I haven't run many 5ks for time on the track, I know it will take a race or two before I get comfortable with running the whole race focused. Anyways, as I got to the last bit of the race and finally "woke up". I felt great finishing and closed the last 200 in 28sec.

Afterwords I recovered pretty dang quickly. I am really aerobically fit right now and it's good to know I have that extra gear there if I need it. It's been a couple years since I've felt like I could just burn the last part of the race if I wanted to. It DEFINATELY feels good to get back to that point in races and in workouts again. That extra gear has been missing for a while, and I'm glad to have it back.

Anyways, a 11sec PR in a less than ideal race at LSU, so I'm definately pumped about this one.

Also, it was good to take a track trip with the team. You never realize how much fun those can be until they are gone.

In my biomechanics class our professor showed us some pretty interesting/pertinent information that I thought I'd share. Of course, it's nothing new for those who have been coaching mechanics correctly for years, but the masses seem to miss the info.

Stretch Reflex mechanism:
If you put a stretch on the hip through extension, it automatically "makes" the hip return to it's initial position. It's kind of like a sling shot effect. You stretch the sling shot back and then let it go. Same sort of principle.

The key is that if you put the correct stretch on the hip, then the leg will pretty much cycle through the recovery phase automatically with very little muscle activation. Thus if you actively try and pull the leg through or you don't extend the hip, thus activating the stretch mechanism, then the leg cycles through the recovery phase slower and it takes more energy/muscle activation to do it. So it is both slower and less efficient.

This principle is missed by a LOT of so called experts on running mechanics out there. It's one of the reasons why methods such as Pose are not correct.

Anyways, our professor showed us the data but to demonstrate that it actually works in real life he showed us some data and then video of people with spinal chord injuries "walking" on a treadmill. Since they had spinal chord injuries they could not use their legs. They stood them up on a treadmill and then had two people actively push their legs so that they initiated the push off phase of the walking gait. They initiated extension and the stretch reflex. What then happened was the key. They basically took their hands off the persons legs during the recovery phase of the walking gait and the leg automatically cycled through that recovery phase with very little to no assistance. These were people who could not actively use their legs in any way.
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