My interactions with Lance Armstrong

With Lance Armstrong's confession being the major news item of the moment, I figured I'd throw my two cents in and give my perspective.  I had a short interaction with Lance when I worked with Nike.  Essentially we had to help Lance with his running form and training a little as he transitioned into triathlons.

It was an interesting experience, given how much I despised drug users, and looking back enlightening.  Why? Because it gave me a brief glimpse into why people might have chosen to bury their head in the sand instead of facing the facts presented before them.  This continual burying of heads is what kills fair sport.  It's not just the athletes, but also the media, journalist, fans, coaches, and perhaps most importantly agents and sponsors.  I'm not sure if there is an answer to the problem of doping.

But I would start with a radical departure that might include taking aim at those who control things and have power.
-Doctors- any doctor supplying an athlete be banned from working with athletes in that sport (if an athlete is caught working with him, he gets banned).  Work with US govt. to maybe make it a hit on their medical license.
-Sponsors- Right now it doesn't matter if athletes dope to sponsors. If they run well and don't get caught, great.  If they get caught, then they just distance themselves and don't take a hit.  Create penalties that if the sponsor knows, they get fined X dollars.  If a coach the sponsor pays has athletes busted, make it where there has to be an immediate termination of that coaches contract.
-Coaches- Have a rule against coaching drug users. If someone you coach tests positive, have a consequence.  If you get to 2 or 3 athletes who have tested positive, ban from coaching.
-Agents- Similar to coaches.  Have them take a hit if there athletes test positive.

Basically, create consequences for those beyond the athletes.  Just some quick thoughts.

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Long term development: Coaching HS, college, and professional runners

I was fortunate enough to give a presentation for the Gulf Coast Scholastic Track Coaches Association Clinic this weekend.  In the talk, I focused on the keys to long term development.  I don't like giving generic talks on training, so my hope was to explore some of the differences between coaching at different developmental ages.  I use HS, college, and Pro to classify, but it's really tailoring training to their actual "training age".  I've posted the power point presentation below, and hope you enjoy it.

What do Orthotics and shoes actually do? Looking at data from a professional runner


Often times in research we focus on norms.  We look at the average effect of different interventions and then apply them to everybody.  In this way, as a whole we get what the effects are for most people.  By doing this, sometimes we miss the individual effects.  So in today’s first blog of 2013, I want to share with you some data on the effects of running shoes on data with one  individual athlete, Jackie Areson, who runs professionally for Nike.

In this data, what we did was stick her on a treadmill running at the same speed for every trial and set up my poor man’s high speed video analysis system (Casio Exilim + free motion analysis software), and took side and back views of her running.  What I was looking at was a comparison of shoes impacts on her mechanics.  Using barefoot as the “normal” and comparing from there.  We looked at all sorts of different Nike shoes (because that’s her sponsor), her old shoes she trained in in college (Brooks Ravena) and then just for the heck of it, each shoe with custom orthotics and without custom orthotics (she does NOT wear them) to see the effects orthotics had on her mechanics.

 So what you'll find below is a chart comparing I’ve included pictures below for you guys to take a look at that give a good indicator of things and includes  a few other shoes not included in the chart (because remember, this data is analyzed the old fashioned way so it takes a while to analyze it all!).
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