Week of July 22nd-

This will be a short entry as I'm off to London for vacation. SHould be a pretty sweet trip. I'm looking forward to running in a new (and cooler) place. Besides the regular vacation junk, I'll be attending my first european meet and it's a big one (Norwich Union London Grand Prix). So far, I know Webb's on the entry list so should be a good one.

AM-10- 1.5mi w/up, 20:15 LT, 2E, 8LT, 1:30E, 6:45 LT, 1.5mi c/d
PM-6mi easy

AM-8mi easy, plus pool plyos
PM-8 easy

AM-8 easy w/ HSers
midday- strength workout
PM-8 3mi easy, progression run last 5mi w/ andy, last 2mi we were really moving (on a full stomach from dinner 15min before too)

AM-8 easy
PM-7 2mi w/up, 10x30sec speed variations w/ 2:30 easy, c/d

To answer a question, my strength workout varies, but it's mostly body weight stuff. Takes 40min or so. A mixture of ab work, and upper and lower body stuff. Nothing fancy. Lower body stuff varies but includes single and double leg squats, lunges, step ups, quick touches, single leg stair squats, and sometimes wobble board squats.

Alan Webb is the man.....My week of training

Alan webb is the man. What an incredible race by him in Belgium. Check out flocasts.com for a great video of it.

I decided to try and post occasional updates of my actual day to day training. I figure there's no need to be secretive and I'll take a lead in being open about my training. So here goes,

July 16th-22nd:

Morning-9 mi- 1.5mi w/up, 21:30 LT, 2E, 8:30 LT, 1.5mi c/d- felt good, 73-74 split at 5min
Afternoon-7mi easy

Morning-7- (6.5mi easy, 4x80m good strides of 1 good, 2 easy pattern)
mid-day- strength workout
Afternoon-8mi- 2mi w/up, 10x30sec speed variations w/ 2:30 easy, 1.5mi c/d

morn-8mi-easy on hill loop with HSers, 6:40ish pace
aft-8 easy

morn-7 2mi w/up, 8LT, 1:30E, 5LT, 1:30E, 3LT, 1.5mi c/d- felt good (4:50 pace throughout)- done after full breakfast so tough on stomach
mid-day- strength workout
aft-8 easy

morn-7- 5mi easy through mud, 6xshort hill sprints, 1xlong, 1.5mi c/d

17 with andy- 100m change of pace at 30min and a couple 15-20sec surges in last mile

10 w/ andy at golf course
mid-day- strength workout

Joining together in furthering the cause of American Distance Running

We have a problem. Look at the information available to the public or even coaches out there on training elite runners. The information is sparse at best. Sure you could go to a clinic and pick up as much as you can in a 1 or 2 hour presentation, but can we really learn that much about an entire training system in that short of a period? Furthermore, the vast majority of us can’t afford or don’t have the time to attend these clinics. Thus limiting our exposure to the coaching “elites” in our country. That is only half of the problem though. Many coaches guard their training like they discovered the secret to success. Sure they might give tiny morsels of information here and there to make it appear like they are sharing info, but we can see right through that gig. Others will give vast generalizations such as “we build a base, then do some speed work” which does about much good as telling us the key to running is in fact…..running. But getting the information out there isn’t the only problem.
Elite coaches are not perfect. No matter how confident in their system they appear to be, they are constantly looking for ways to improve it and sometimes their athletes fail too. They make mistakes. Lots and lots of them. They learn from them, but in most cases no one else does. So other coaches have to spend their time making the same mistakes and learning from them. Sounds like a big waste of time to me.
Let’s look at what Renato Canova and the Italians did to reach success. They brought together a number of young coaches and sent them around to learn the training systems of successful distance running countries. Then those coaches would get together every month or so and discuss how the training was working for their athletes and what modifications were made. They shared the information they got from testing their athletes (lactate, vo2, altitude, etc.). In his own words:

“But there were no secrets, in any case. So when we met each time, for example, one could tell ‘I use this system.’ And in the minds of the others was, ‘This is a stupid system!’ But after three days somebody tried to use the same system with some modification. And next month there was a report of what happened, and this was the system for growing all together. This happened when we were young, and we had results. We won (a) World Championships with Panetta. There was really good communication between everybody. And it was the only way for really building something.”

So what is the point of all of this? I think something similar could be developed in the U.S. Put our best efforts together with the goal of competing on the world level. Of course with the internet we could make it more widespread and practical. So here are a couple of my thoughts on how something like this could be done:

The best way would be to set up a website. The site would be one where you had to register (either as a coach, athlete, or fan) to participate, so that the irrelevant childish stuff would be kept to a minimum. On the site, coaches could periodically post the training schedule of their successful athletes along with a general explanation of why certain workouts were done and there general training methodology. Since there obviously is going to be some secrecy in training, the coach can choose to post the training after the season or at a later date for discussion. This would prevent any “secrets” of what kind of shape so and so was in during the season and wouldn’t in any way jeopardize the athlete’s chance for success in the season. With the training posted, other coaches could comment or ask questions about the training to further their knowledge. Basically it would be a place to post, share, and discuss what training a wide variety of successful coaches give their athletes and more importantly know WHY they give their athletes that training. In addition, variety of test results could be posted and explained. For example, VO2, lactate, etc. tests could be posted much the same way that US swimming posts their results of post competition lactate tests for all registered coaches. Of course, final decision on how much or how little is posted would be up to the coach.

If Renato Canova can give the people of letsrun a copy of exactly what the world’s best steeple chase runner did day in and day out AND explain the methodology behind his training, don’t you think that us Americans can share some of those “secrets” that let our athletes run 100m behind Shaheen?
Yes, it would time to develop the idea and iron out the kinks and more importantly get several top athletes/coaches on board, but the end results would be worth it and would further the cause of American distance runners.

Hello Cross-Country and Base training

To answer some of the questions I've gotten in response to e-mails and posts:
-Track season is done for me. As I posted, I ran that 800m TT of sorts and considered racing some more, but unfortunately I went to the Doctor and my diagnosis of Vocal Cord Dysfunction was confirmed. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I had a small camera take a look at my vocal cords from two different perspectives (through the mouth and another one through the nose). So, I've got to have some cool vocal training....sweet deal...

-CC training is going excellent right now. Let's hope it stays that way. I've considered posting what I do training wise, every day, like in the old days but I don't know if there would be any interest.

-I'll be writing some more articles and stuff to add later. Right now I'm focused on training and doing some coaching stuff. I'm just finishing up my sparknotes version of my training philosophy and when I get that done, I'll post it or you can e-mail me for a copy. All it is is an attempt to shorten the massive amount of information that I use in training. Because let's face it, you can have read every single training book ever, but it does absolutely NO good if you don't understand it and condense it into something useful. You've got to figure out a way how to make the new knowledge useful. For example, it does no good looking at someones training schedule unles you know WHY they are doing something and WHAT they are trying to accomplish.

One more thing before I'm done. For all you coaches out there, you have to develop your own MODEL of training. That means you don't just do X and Y because it's in a book or because it improves some mythical thing called VO2max.

Instead you have to create a model (in running) of several different things. Create a general model of what happens when you run and what mechanisms need to be improved to help you race better. You need to consider:
-What happens during the race, what causes fatigue during the race,etc.
-What are your individual athletes attributes?
-What are the limiters of your athlete in the race?

Once you've established those, then you can create a model of how to improve performance for that particular athlete. When you've established those variables, then you look at specific workouts to improve those variables.

You don't need to use scientific mumbo jumbo to do that either.

I could go on and on, but that's all for now. If you ever want me to cover a topic in a blog, just leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

take it easy!
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