Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ask the Coaches...

We have a very knowledgeable group of coaches that visit this site so if you have any questions concerning running, training, strategy, diet etc., feel free to add your question in the comment section below.


Anonymous said...

Is it okay if my prerace meal is a Supersize McDonald's Burger and a Mountain Dew?

Anonymous said...

If you really thinks it works for you, why change it

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is acceptable to hold up a hand and your index finger after winning a race, or is it taken as arrogant?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to become a successful middle distance runner when you're larger than average? Not fat, but I'm tall and weigh about 175. What is the best strategy for me to improve in the 800?

Craiggypop The Angry Panda said...

To Annoymous at 1:27 PM:

Paul McMullen was not a "skinny" distance runner and he ran 3:33.89 for the 1500m. I don't recall his 800m PR but I'm certain it was pretty fast.

Improving in any event is always dependent upon who you are. Some individuals thrive on training more like a long distance runner and some have more success when they train like a sprinter.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at what you do and talk with your coach about it.

Best of luck!

Craig Lee

miles of trials said...

How to train to improve my kick?

I'm sick and tired of closing races in 62-64. I want to be able to close in 60 flat or faster. What kind of intervals or training can I do (other than just striders and getting aerobically fitter)?

Anonymous said...

you mean strides?

Andrew said...

@miles of trials

You need to increase the ability of your muscles to contract quicker and for longer. The longer mainly comes from aerobic training. The quickness comes from plyometrics and weight lifting.

I just gave the simple answer since I don't know what your training currently is and if you already do these things.

Anonymous said...

My coach isn't really giving me any real advice for training over the summer, but I feel like it would help. Our rival school is getting faster and their training program seems very similar, but they run over the summer. This question definitely varies by coach, so the more responses the better. Thanks a lot

Hicham El Prefontaine said...

Overall, what is the viewpoint from you coaches on listening to music while running? For a while, I would never run without my ipod, but after a while I felt like I was cheating myself. I felt that if I do all distance runs and workouts with my music, that I would get too used to it to the point where if I'm in a race where music players are prohibited then it'll be harder for me to run, since I'm so used to doing it with music.

These days, most road races to my knowledge allow you to have music players with you while you run. In my first paragraph, I was talking really about high school meets where music players are prohibited.

So what do you all think?

Albert Caruana said...

I won't allow my athletes to run listening to music. First of all, it's dangerous as you may not hear a car heading in your direction. Second, what are you telling your teammates when you would rather listen to music than converse with them.

Anonymous said...

How does a bigger runner( 6 foot 2 153lbs) get a quicker cadence during colligiate length distances and any advise for training for the 3000m steeplechase?

Anonymous said...

How do I get one of these coach's massages everyone is talking about?

Matthew Tompkins said...

Hey runner @ 11:02 posting

This is an oversimplified version of what you can do to train over the summer. Obviously it is dependent upon how much mileage/time you are used to running but here is my best stab assuming you can handle 50 miles a week or more.

1) Monday - Easy long run 40 - 70 mins.

2) Tues. Hill run - 50 - 80 mins. push the hills

3) Wed. Easy flat run - 40 min.

4) Thurs. Hill run - 50 - 80 mins.

5) Friday - Easy 20 min run and 6 strides

6) Sat. - Long easy run (flatish) 60 - 90 mins.

7) Sunday off.

You just need to build a big base over the summer so when you start your school training you will be ready to start intervals, tempo runs and speed work. A simple way to think of it is summer is where you build your endurance and the season is where you start building strength and finish by honing you speed.

You should start conservatively and add mileage at most 5% per week.

- Look on the website for training groups or even reach out to the "rival" high school and join them for summer runs. I used to train with my "rivals" over the summer when I ran for Gunn High School and occasionally during the season.....

Good luck!

Coach at The King's Academy

Anonymous said...

How important is an off day? Asked another way, can it be more beneficial to train every day instead of taking a day off?

Albert Caruana said...

I think off days for young athletes are very important. You can be very successful in cross country running 6 days a week and if you really need to do something active on that off day, then go our for a bike ride or a swim.

Anonymous said...

would you guys advise lower body strengthening during the summer? like squats and lunges? I've had people tell me that I should strengthen my hamstrings and calves but i'd be worried about the soreness taking away from my actual running.

Albert Caruana said...

Unless you overdo it, soreness from weightlifting should not take away from your running. If that is still a concern, then do your running first on the days you lift.

Coach Ozzie said...

If you plan to lift (which I think is a good idea), make sure of a few things first.

1) Understand how to properly execute each lift and pay close attention to make sure that you are actually doing the lifts correctly. It is far less risky and more beneficial to lift correctly, even if it means lifting substantially less weight.

2) Have a plan. Don't simply go to the gym and lift what you feel on different days. Understand why you are doing the lifts that you are doing and how that plan will progress throughout the summer and into the fall.

Proper form and an intelligent plan should prevent soreness from reducing the amount of running you do or detracting from the quality of your efforts. If you want to add some extra insurance, lift following your more intense efforts. This will make it so even if you are sore the next day, you will be sore for a recovery run and should be able to complete it anyway.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of lifting, what do you and the other coaches recommend in terms of what lifts to do, how often, and especially what rep ranges to do? And does this change for cross country vs. track and mid-distance vs. distance during track season? Thanks for any advise!

Coach Ozzie said...

First, as a distance coach, strength work is not my area of greatest expertise. I've done a fair amount of reading in the past couple of years, formulated some opinions, and with the help of my assistant coaches, who are more versed in strength training, have put together what I consider to be a fairly comprehensive strength program. That said, my opinions are just opinions and more qualified people out there could have a totally different take on what people should be doing for strength.

In general though, we lift twice a week. In addition to this, we complete a strength circuit or sometimes multiple strength circuits once a week that utilizes mostly body weight as resistance. At this time of year, everyone is doing the same thing in the weight room, which is about 4 exercises per day, 3 sets of 10 reps, with about a minute of recovery between each set. Weight is not so much and the emphasis is on form and full range of motion. Our inexperienced lifters stay in this type of program for a full year (cross country and track). Although I don't believe that this is the most beneficial way to lift, I do believe that it is a very important part of the learning process in our program. Lifting low weight and high makes it much easier to learn how to properly execute the lifts and much less risky in terms of injury. For an athlete with little to no experience in the weight room, the athlete will still get much stronger in this program. Assuming that the athletes develop good habits in that year, they move into a program where their reps decrease and the weight increases significantly. We still do three sets, but we only do 2 exercises in a day and the sets are of 1-3 reps. Focus is still on mechanics and range of motion and in fact it is more important in this program. The more weight that is on the bar, the more likely it is that an athlete gets hurt lifting. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @ 1:27-Parker Deuel was pretty successful in high school and is running D1 now. He's 6'4 or 6'5 and around 180. If you're tall and you want to get faster, pay attention to the length of your stride. Tall guys tend to overstride and heel strike. Consciously shortening your stride and planting below your hips will speed up your turnovers, use less effort, and be easier on your body.

Anonymous said...

My daughter as a sophomore tired of the 10 mile Varsity girls 2 hour "slog" runs and chat fest and decided to run with the Frosh-Soph Boys instead [final runs of the day without a coach] who ran at a much faster pace. Coming off a hip-flexor injury she dramatically increased her times running with the boys Even with her hip flexor injury, she was the teams no. 2 runner. Her coaches became furious with her despite her improvement and required her to run again with the Varsity Girls. Question: How many coaches or programs try to design personal workouts for their athletes ?

It is obvious that some of my daughter's teammates benefited from the 10 mile plus varsity girls slog runs whereas my daughter benefited from a much faster but shorter (6-8 mile) boys runs.

MVMoose said...

To anonymous at 4:14

I was 6'2" and 175lbs in college and ran the steep in the 9:20's.

The best advice I ever heard in a race was to lay back the first two laps then reel everyone back in over the next 5 1/2 laps. I used this strategy quite nicely, ticking off 74 second laps over the course of the race.

I hurdled each barrier.

I assiduously avoided other runners over the barriers, usually moving outside to give myself plenty of space.

About once per week, I'd work-out over hurdles.

I never really figured out the water barrier. We didn't have one at our track.

Otherwise, I trained with the 5000m runners.

Best of Luck!

Just another coach said...

To anonymous Dad,

Talk to the coach. Open lines of communication are always welcomed and encouraged (most of the time). There may be a reason why the coach is having her run slower.

Maybe she is injury prone? Lacking endurance? And another thing to consider is that xc is a team sport. Track is all individual. In xc I know college guys who ran for top a top 5 spot instead of risking going out and blowing up costing the team points. Lastly, if your daughter is slightly out of shape but healthy that is better for the team than running injured. Again, in track you can risk more as it is more individual.

Another reason, some schools have desperate programs.

There are a lot of possibilities as you can see which is why communication is so vital. Pick up the phone and give the coach a call. If they know what they're they will be able to explain the reasoning.

The question is, if it is not the answer you want to hear will you support the coach or bad mouth at home causing distrust?

Rob Collins SLV said...

To Father of 9:23,The Anonymous is Right Communicate with the Coach and find out what the plan is. We as Coaches and there is a lot of good Coaches on this site that all have plans for are athletes. Some are based on Lots of Miles and some not as Much. XC Should be a Team Sport, but also a Individual sport based on training and who the Individual is. As a Coach, Majority of the Time my girls run together as a Team but then we do mix in with the Boys. Personally I'm based off a little off of 5 to 8 mile runs vs 10 Mile runs for a 3 Mile race or even Track. But Once in a while a Few might get that 10 Mile run in! But that works for me and my Program and Maybe not for others, but as coaches we tinker with things every year. But Like I said before you should really talk to the coach and just see what the training method is and explain your concerns and he'll explain his!

Anonymous said...

Also interesting to note an 18:30 5k runner (5:57 pace) sees a training benefit as "slow"'as 8:58 per mile according to many running calculators. Add in hilly runs and that 8:30 slog isn't so much a slog. I'm not sure if your daughter is 18:30 but if she is in the 20-22 min range even 10 min pace isn't bad. I'd be more concerned about the 10 miles. Running 1:30-1:40 for every training run seems a bit much for high school students.

Christopher R.V. Puppione said...

I would have a hard time taking advice or giving credence to input from Anonymous posters.

I offer this not to discount all that the Anonymous poster(s) have to say, but that you should know who you are listening to. And coaches (or people posing as such), you should really be responsible and identify yourselves before blindly lobbing grenades of advice over the wall at the questions posted here.

Oh, and to the dad of the girl who didn't like/respond to the 10-mile runs--your question was about individualized plans.

Yes--I would say there are coaches who do this, even more who say they do this, and others who disregard and execute blanket training plans.

I agree with Rob (since he is the only one who identified himself)--talk to the coaches and work with them. In the end, no philosophy should prioritize anything more than what is best for the kids.

Anonymous said...

Well the anonymous poster who asked the question threw his own jabs. So anonymous responses is all he will get. But since we are asking questions how can Carlmont be so good with revolving coaches. Answer, coaches are over rated, it doesn't matter if you are good or a puppet, what it comes down to is talent. So check your egos coaches, it has nothing to do with you.

Anonymous said...

Really Anonymous 9:34! Any school with over 2100 Students better Be Good!

Christopher R.V. Puppione said...

Anonymous @ 9:34 PM-

Thank you for illustrating the point with your veiled and directionless rabble.

I am quite certain that the only ego that is on display here is yours--and it is clearly fragile. Why else would you hide in anonymity?

The rest of your rant does not merit a response as it is presented. It sounds like you may have had a bad experience that has left you jaded. Perhaps you should resolve that rather than subject others to it through angry posts in a thread designed to help others--not attack.

That said, I would also suggest you consider what "talent" really is and where it comes from, as science has helped us realize that it is not the mythically divine gift many people (like yourself) regard it to be. It could be a nice opportunity for you to learn something by doing a little research on the subject.

I would also add that there are certainly plenty of instances where novice coaches have had athletes under their charge who performed quite well. You may consider that perhaps the power and efficacy of the coach may extend beyond the writing of workouts. Let's face it--anyone can write a workout.

However, coaches do not coach events. They coach people.

And there is a lot more to people than paces, miles, and talent. There are a lot of people walking this world with untapped talent. While some talent is necessary for success to take place, the brand of talent can be quite diverse--and it will not guarantee you victory either.

Some people have a talent for hard work, and this is most often cultivated in the home or the community. Others have a talent for toughness, and this can be learned on the streets or in quieter moments of lonely struggle that can ultimately lead to transcendence. Still other people have physical talent which can be carved out through lifestyle choices or force of circumstance or blessed habits that become powerful traits.

This "talent" you speak of is both enigmatic and universal. What it is not, however, is omnipresent. Much of the talent we may or may not possess as people is hidden from our view until someone helps us find it. And if it goes undiscovered--if it is never brought to the surface or conjured out of us with the right music, it will die quietly inside and we may be none the wiser.

Either way, I agree with Emerson when he said, "Every artist was first an amateur."

A coach, then, can simply be the one who gives an athlete the canvas and paints and allows them to create. A coach can also go so far as to teach the brush strokes and styles that have created past beauties. A coach may even help the athlete fins the means to display their artistry in front of the finest galleries and to much acclaim. Whatever the involvement of the coach--regardless of his/her technical skills--if they understand people--if they prioritize the athlete first--regardless of the amount of "talent" an athlete has, that coach can help that kid get all that they have out of even the most minor of gifts.

Are coaches overrated? I am sure there are those who are given greater regard than they are due--in any sport. However, are coaches unnecessary or obsolete? I would disagree with you and say that coaches are an integral part of this sport and for good cause.

When I began teaching and coaching, my father (a coach and teacher of worthy regard in his own right) offered me this advice--"Don't be a sage on the stage. Be a guide on the side." I have tried to do just that.

Consider this--a general leads his army from the back, trusting that his soldiers have been prepared for battle and will perform as planned. And while the soldiers are the ones who fight, and they are certainly the ones who claim victory over their opponents, they still need to be led.

So, stop being angry, understand that not all coaches or "talents" are alike, and do your best to recognize that we are here in an effort to help one another--not tear each other down.

Anonymous said...

"But since we are asking questions how can Carlmont be so good with revolving coaches. Answer, coaches are over rated, it doesn't matter if you are good or a puppet, what it comes down to is talent. So check your egos coaches, it has nothing to do with you."

Actually, I would argue that Carlmont is a perfect example of what a good coach can do.

Anonymous said...

They have had a revolving door and will be on their fourth coach in 5 years. So... Yeah. They won section titles since the school opened. It is clearly not the coach/es.

Anonymous said...

Coach Puppione, It's a good thing that you disregarded your father's advice and at least this one time became "A sage on the stage." It makes me wonder what undeveloped talents I may have had but never discovered. Sadly, I am now retired and too old to realize any untapped potential I may possess.
A writer? artist? athlete? Your kids are lucky to have someone with your insight and obvious intelligence as their coach. Posting at 1:08? Up late reading Poe, Balzac, Dostoevsky, Tolle?

Anonymous said...

Um... Ever heard of Jordan Hassay?

Anonymous said...

Letsrun trolls have found your niche site Albert.

Albert Caruana said...

Some just can't help themselves and love to stir things up. Just focus on the quality questions and answers.

Anonymous said...

Why are there so many male coaches in their 30's & 40's that aren't married?

Coach Tim said...

@Anonymous 8:03 - I think you're asking a joke question, but I'll offer my opinion anyway.

First, coaching doesn't pay the bills. My seasonal stipend as a Head Coach is about enough to pay this month's rent. So we're all balancing our coaching demands with another career (commonly teaching), which often means that once practice is over, we've still got a few hours of work left to do.

Second, it's difficult to meet people as an adult, especially when you're committed every day after work, and every Saturday.

Third, most people, between leaving high school and having high school-aged kids have virtually zero interaction with or interest in high school sports. Which means that a) Our passionate interest is totally irrelevant to most people, and b) the people we meet run in different social circles than the people we'd like to meet for dating. ie. Single 30-somethings don't hang out with parents of high-school kids.

Anonymous said...

So single 30-something women don't dig high school coaches? Ouch.

Coach Anonymous said...

@ 8:03

Not all are. Some are in their 50s and 60s and married.

Of the hundreds of coaches I know, only a small percentage fit into that category. Others are married. Others are single women of all ages, married women of all ages.

I find running coaches are nothing more than a cross-section of the communities they live in.

One aspect I was agree with is pay. Yes, the stipend isn't much, and in some cases, it is zero!

Albert Caruana said...

Somebody posted this under another post.

I think it would be good to post training questions. For example:

How many miles a week do you have your runners run? And why? Do you start your Freshmen runners low and progress over the years? And what training philosophy do you base that upon?

For instance, there are coaches who might have a junior boy running 50 miles a week, and yet another coach will have the same kid running 70? Why? Is there a benefit or detriment to higher mileage? If they are racing 5k, 3 miles, 2.2 miles, etc., is 60 miles a week necessary?

Training philosophy waxes and wanes, it appears, like clothing fads, and coaches frequently follow their favorite guru, so while one may favor slow and long runs, another likes progression runs and the third says, no, have them doing interval repeats all the time.

Another question that could be posted: Is coaching with scientific precision necessary? I know coaches who monitor the exact percentages of aerobic running, anaerobic running, their threshold and VO2 max runs, and other coaches who do not at all. Instead they coach by instinct with success. Is one method better than the other? Are we starting to move out of aerobic volume running and starting to lean more toward anaerobic or “speed” work? Even Alberto Salazar recommends now the slow run no slower than a minute and a half slower then 5k race pace. Of course, if one’s 5k race pace is 8:30, that’s a pretty slow slow run pace.

Another thing I’d like to see is you started a thread a few weeks ago called “Ask the coaches” or something like that, and although I think there were a number of trolls who hit that thread, at the same time, it could be beneficial. But if it’s buried 5 pages back, it’s not. Maybe it needs its own link at the top of the home page.

Christopher R.V. Puppione said...

I'll take a crack at this one:

"Another question that could be posted: Is coaching with scientific precision necessary? I know coaches who monitor the exact percentages of aerobic running, anaerobic running, their threshold and VO2 max runs, and other coaches who do not at all. Instead they coach by instinct with success. Is one method better than the other? Are we starting to move out of aerobic volume running and starting to lean more toward anaerobic or “speed” work? Even Alberto Salazar recommends now the slow run no slower than a minute and a half slower then 5k race pace. Of course, if one’s 5k race pace is 8:30, that’s a pretty slow slow run pace."

The only way I know to answer this one is to address specificity. Speeds within 20% of the goal race pace build the actual performance desired. This doesn't mean that you don't run slower than 80% of goal pace, but those runs outside of that window will not lend themselves to building a specific performance. Those runs will merely be for maintenance or enhancing recovery.

That's my quick response.

Anonymous said...

Why can't anyone comment on the article link about Eugene Hamilton?

Jack said...

Another view to the science thing:
In all reality, even when coaches throw percentages they are making it up. They do not have scientific testing, I don't know many HS kids getting blood tests for a lactate test or who go through an expensive VO2 max test. The reality is most coaches are just trying to get the kids to show up 5 days a week. Paces fluctuate based on the terrain as well. Even if you pay your money and take your tests on a treadmill or on the track it all changes once you go up hills or are on the trails. I think it's an important lesson to run by feel. I think the percentage thing is just a way to keep the pace honest. Works for some, not for others.

TKPWREG said...

@ jack...

Percentages drive me crazy. I know a guy who is anal about percentages in runs, percentages of aerobic vs. anaerobic work, percentages of hill work per week, and there is very little difference in outcome. I like you comment, "to run by feel," because at the end of the day, that's how they race.

@ 7:25

Because comments were rude and inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering am I doomed to loose all my endurence. I was running arownd 30mpw in summer amd now coach is haveing us run like at most 4 miles at most. lately no more that 14 miles a week he doesent believe in high mileage but its not like were doing any spedwork the most we have done 3weeks into season is 2 mile repeats. I wantbto know frkm a trusted resorce if this is tapering , if it is it feels farrrrr to early I'm a 15yr old jr girl

Andrew said...

yes, its basically tapering you. But maybe the coach is doing it for the newer runners to acclimate them into the training more easily. If you have the time, you should do morning runs on your own perhaps. But let your coach know what you are doing.

You should probably talk to your coach about your concerns that you posted here.

Albert Caruana said...

Agree with Andrew. Speak to your coach and add morning runs if possible.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:34

At this point in the season, it would not be tapering. Typically you would still building your mileage.

That said, when the season first starts, not all run summer base, so he may be starting every low and slow and building it up.

But, yes, the only person who really knows what your coach is trying to do is your coach. Every runner is different. Some need 50, some 60, some do okay at 25 mpw. Talk to your coach about his plans, and hopefully he/she is one that will listen to your concerns, but in the end, if you are concerned about losing your aerobic base, then, yes, as has already been stated, you may need to get in some of those runs on your own.

Be careful, though. You don't want to be doubling and end up with Over Training Syndrome.

Beth said...

I have been in a plateau this entire cross country season, I haven't improved at all. This is my first year running high school cross country, however I ran for two seasons previous that club cross country. I extended my club track season into the end of July and was only able to get two weeks rest before I started cross country in August (by that time pre season was over). My coach said that he thinks one of the reasons I have plateaued is because I didn't get enough rest in between seasons.

My question is whether I should run club XC into mid-December after high school ends (this Saturday) and whether running club or not running club would help with my plateau?
(The club I would run for is VERY competitive and rigorous, so it wouldn't be just easy running)

Anonymous said...

Monday: Easy 45 min (6 miles), 60 min long run (8 miles)
Tuesday: 8-10 mile long run w/ hills
Wednesday: Easy 45 min (6 miles), Easy 45 min (6 miles)
Thursday: 6-8 mile long run w/ hills
Friday: Tempo Run (3 miles)
Saturday: 10-13 mile long run
Sunday: Easy 45 min (6 miles)/off day (depending on feel)

This is my summer training schedule. Anything I should change?

Anonymous said...

What type of hill training should a high school xc runner do over the summer to build a summer base or prepare for the hills in the xc course?

H. Rono said...

Any hill. Often.

Anonymous said...

How long should an easy run be?

Coach Ozzie said...

The two questions posed here about # of hills run and length of easy runs are hard to answer because there is no singular correct answer. Let's address hills first. You can do any type of training on hills. You can sprint up a hill, you can run recovery efforts over rolling hills, you can do tempo runs over hills, you can run race pace on hills, and anything in between. It isn't so simple as "how many days should we include inclines in the summer plan?" It is also important to look at, "What should we do when we are on the incline and how much of it should we do?" Simply asking, "How many days a week should we run hills in the summer?" is a lot like asking, "How many days a week should we be on the track during March?" or "How many days a week should we run at the park down the street from the school?" A hill is just a venue. The real question is whether or not you are training all of the necessary systems at any given time of year. A hill can be used to train any of those systems, but is not necessary for any of them.

As far as the question of how long to run on an easy run, my best answer is admittedly unsatisfying answer...depends. How much weekly mileage do you plan to run over the summer? How many days a week do you plan to run? Will you do a weekly long run? How much volume are you running during your non-easy efforts? Very generally, I would say that for someone running 6 days per week, an easy run should be between 12% and 18% of weekly mileage, but that's a huge range. If all easy runs as 12% of weekly mileage, you will probably fall short of your mileage goal. If they are all 18%, you will hardly have any volume left for other types of efforts, especially if one of the remaining days is devoted to a long run.

Where it is important to look at each day of training and its importance, you need to look at the entire training plan and see how it fits together. Are you getting all the different activities in that you need to over a certain period of time and are those activities balanced in an effective manner? As many stated before, when this topic was last at the top of the page, talk to your coach. Coaches love when their athletes are students of the sport.

Anonymous said...

I am Interested in hearing what the results were from all these questions. Did anyone experiment or adjust their training? What worked and what didn't. Training is one big experiment after-all, anyone like to share?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing most questions were from 1 or two parents and coaches. Not much going on here to get the teenage traffic.

Albert Caruana said...

Don't see an issue with adult questions. You should continue to learn and grow whether you are a child or adult.

Anonymous said...

HS honesty survey: how many days a week are you really running?

I realize I am surveying the percentage of runners who at least try to care, as the kid who rarely runs is not likely on running message boards. But I am wondering...

How many times does your team meet in the summer?

Of the 7 days in the week, how many do you run in the summer?

Anonymous said...

Last summer I did 7 days a week with 3 double days and 3 weight circuits 2 swimming sessions with around 50-60 miles a week

Anonymous said...

What is a good weight/strength circuit who is unexperienced with lifting? I want to get stronger but I don't know where to start

Anonymous said...

What is a good weight/strength circuit who is unexperienced with lifting? I want to get stronger but I don't know where to start

Anonymous said...

10 runs and only 50-60 mpw? Averaging 5-6 miles a run? Might be better off running singles.

Add in 5 more sessions not running that's a lot of time in the office for not a lot of miles.

Peter Brewer said...

Summer running: establish duration first. Be able to run for a target length of time -- 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, et cetera. And then when you start to feel comfortable (two-three weeks), then . . .

Then, work on running a bit faster for the same length of time. Try to run faster the 2nd half of a workout. Change paces during the run. And when that starts to feel comfortable, then . . .

Then, the long run. Once a week go for an hour, or longer, and a pace that is right at the edge of being uncomfortable. Continue with the duration workouts on the other day.

Considerations - - 5 days a week is good. 6 days is better. If you want to do two-a-day workouts, it is better if you have at least one year of running under your belt. In that case, do the long runs in the morning and the short ones in the afternoon/evening.

New shoes -- every two months.

Then, and then, you are ready to start workouts once the season starts in late August, which should add specific attention to speed intervals of varying length, specific intensity targets, and all the other coach-directed parameters to fine-tune the summer conditioning into late-season racing greatness.

Anonymous said...

how do I get a breakthrough in running? like how do i run very big pbs in one season?

Albert Caruana said...

The key is staying healthy and being consistent in your training. Maintain your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Eat right and get your sleep.

Steve Palladino said...

"how do I get a breakthrough in running? like how do i run very big pbs in one season?"
The cliché goes "luck is when preparedness meets opportunity". Breakthroughs in running are just like that - preparedness meeting opportunity.
Preparedness is being consistent and structured in your training - over weeks, months, and years. How do you stay consistent? Set goals and stay healthy - "train hard, but recover harder (better)".
Oh, and don't forget to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.
- Steve Palladino (4:27 in
HS, 16:05 on Crystal Springs in HS, but eventually, 2:16 marathon and Olympic Trials qualifier just out of college.

Anonymous said...

Should there be one division state championship like Track or multi division state championships like XC?

GHPADD said...

To Anonymous 10:59 PM:
Just as training to race depends on what distance you plan to race, weight training is also dependent on the race you run. As an example, a 800M runner would need different weight workouts than a 5K runner. Other key items that a weight training coach MUST know prior to suggesting any weight training include: distances you race, racing and training schedule, body composition, current work out load, number of years running, knowledge of proper lifting techniques, are you training for speed, stamina or endurance, age, gender...get the picture? You do not want to initiate a weight training program that will interfere with your current training and/or racing so timing and amount of lifting is critical in initiating a program. My basic advise would be for you to complete any current season you are involved with and then over the winter/summer, visit a gym, or possibly even a weight training coach at your school, and talk to them about what you are seeking to achieve with the weight training. They can assist you in determining if weight training will even help you to achieve the goals you are seeking. If a weight trainer does not ask a million questions about you and your plans, prior to setting a lift regimen, you will not obtain a proper workout that will benefit you. Final comment: for most High School distance runners, a weight training regimen can severely hamper your progress in running if not implemented properly for the individual doing the training. So start with your coach. I'd be willing to bet that they could assist you with basic fundamentals and probably know a good lift coach to set you on your way.

I wish you luck in your racing, and wisdom in your training!

Anonymous said...

Any recommendations for a runner recovering from mono? I know everyone is different but if the runner feels up to it - when do they start pushing and competing again? Pediatrician is not that helpful.

Anonymous said...

Background: Diagnosis of tibial stress reaction in early October; no running but lots of non-weightbearing training (i.e., swimming only - but vigorous swimming, at the competitive swim team level) for 4 weeks.

Assumption: Medical all-clear to resume running starting at the end of October, 2 weeks before sectional championship and 4 weeks before state meet.

Question: What is the best course to ramp back running (following medical all-clear), in an effort to participate in the big season-ending XC meets?


anon hs runner said...

Alright, I'll give a stab at this. My times from August/September seem to be quite a bit faster than my current times. The only difference I can think of is my lack of recovery between workouts and races as well as lack of mileage while trying to recover.

So my question is: How do I get more mileage in even after I'm tired as hell from workouts? Am I running workouts too hard if it's too tiring for me to run an easy 1-3 mi afterwards? Or do I need to get more mileage in on my easy/recovery days?

Typical week might look like this:

Mon - Intervals
Tues - Easy
Wed - Hill Repeats
Thurs - Intervals Pt. 2 (Not sure why??)
Fri - Easy
Sat - Race

Steve Palladino said...

"Any recommendations for a runner recovering from mono? I know everyone is different but if the runner feels up to it - when do they start pushing and competing again? Pediatrician is not that helpful."
When did you have mono? When did it clear?
That is a big hit to the immune system specifically, and to your ability to respond to training stress in general.
For just a regular cold, your body shuts down in favor of supporting the immune system. Typically, a runner's body doesn't open back up for at least 2 weeks after the cold has run its course. IOW, you get a cold, your body shuts down and does not return to performing up to par for a couple of week AFTER the cold has cleared.
Mono is magnitudes worse.

Steve Palladino said...

"Background: Diagnosis of tibial stress reaction in early October; no running but lots of non-weightbearing training (i.e., swimming only - but vigorous swimming, at the competitive swim team level) for 4 weeks.

Assumption: Medical all-clear to resume running starting at the end of October, 2 weeks before sectional championship and 4 weeks before state meet.

Question: What is the best course to ramp back running (following medical all-clear), in an effort to participate in the big season-ending XC meets?"
1) Your assumption, is just that, an assumption.
2) If cleared to run, here is what I would do for a patient of mine in that type of scenario:
a) resume running no more than every other day - 3-4 days per week
b) continue to swim hard on the in between days
c) when you do run, it should preferably be off hills and hard surfaces - grass or dirt only
d) you are resuming running with good, relatively new shoes and an off the shelf orthotic (I often recommend Bonz inserts to the Maria Carillo runners)
e) your running should start at low volume, but given the upcoming racing needs, include fast strides or speed drills (eg- on the inside grass/dirt area of a track, run the turns easy, stride the straights.
f) remember that the aerobic fitness for any race attempt in 2-4 weeks will come from your swimming, not your running - the running is simply added to allow you to recapture mechanics and begin to restore neuromuscular refinement.
h) also remember that if you mess this up and go too hard, you risk losing off season prep for track season as a result

Steve Palladino said...

"Alright, I'll give a stab at this. My times from August/September seem to be quite a bit faster than my current times. The only difference I can think of is my lack of recovery between workouts and races as well as lack of mileage while trying to recover.

So my question is: How do I get more mileage in even after I'm tired as hell from workouts? Am I running workouts too hard if it's too tiring for me to run an easy 1-3 mi afterwards? Or do I need to get more mileage in on my easy/recovery days?

Typical week might look like this:

Mon - Intervals
Tues - Easy
Wed - Hill Repeats
Thurs - Intervals Pt. 2 (Not sure why??)
Fri - Easy
Sat - Race "

The way that you posed the question sounds like you have observed that your times currently are not as fast as those that you did in Aug/Sept, so the fix that you have decided upon is that you need to run more mileage.
Given the information that you have provided, the problem that you MAY be experiencing is physiologic over-reaching or worse yet, over-training.
Talk to your coach about your time differences and how cooked you are after workouts.
Sometimes the answer is not more, but less.
As an aside,
How much sleep do you get each night?
How many base miles did you run in June/July/Aug?

Anonymous said...

how important is sleep? WIll my times for track actually improve a lot? I honestly get 7 hrs on a goodnight, usually 6 bc of homework.

Albert Caruana said...

Great questions and replies. Keep them coming.

My first year coaching, my best runner was diagnosed with mono during August. We stayed very patient in September with no races and kept in mind that the big races are in November. He was able to return back to form, won the league final and gave a pretty good shot to qualify for the state meet.

I think patience is the key to returning from most injuries or illness. You can't return to the same workload that you were doing before. You also have to be realistic about your fitness and what you can accomplish this season. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that an injury may be season ending and really look ahead to the next track season or summer training.

In regards to sleep, it is critical. You cannot perform at your best with sleep deprivation.

Steve Palladino said...

"how important is sleep? WIll my times for track actually improve a lot? I honestly get 7 hrs on a goodnight, usually 6 bc of homework."
Sleep is a critical part of improving performance in running. We get caught up in a thought process that equates improvement and performance to how much / how hard we train. However, recovery is what allows our bodies to adapt to the training stress and improve. Sleep is an essential part of recovery.
Most HS runners SHOULD get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. In my running days, I found that as my weekly mileage went up, my required sleep also followed. When running 100+ miles per week in my post-collegiate career, I needed 9+ hours of sleep per night. When Kenyans do three-a-days in training camps, they nap in between.
There is a physiologic reason that sleep is so beneficial to improvement and performance - that is when our bodies secrete growth hormone (among other good stuff). Human growth hormone is a banned PED, but we can optimize our natural growth hormone production by getting sleep.
Unfortunately, HS runners have demands from homework that cut into sleep. It is your responsibility to become more efficient in handling the homework. Maybe a little less time on Facebook gets you a little more time sleeping.
Bottom line: sleep and recovery are just as important as the actual training that you do, when it comes to improvement and performance.

Coach Ozzie said...

Great answer by Steve Palladino on the sleep issue. To compound things, if an athlete is sleep deprived, not only will he or she not receive the boost from the hgh and testosterone that is released during sleep, but cortisol levels are increased. Cortisol is knows as the stress hormone, so you will feel on edge when it is elevated. When cortisol levels are high, the body does not process glucose as efficiently as it does when you are rested, so even if you have the proper fuel in your body, you won't use it as well. High levels of cortisol will also cause your pain levels to increase. This would mean that if 2 runners of equal fitness ran the same workout, the one with higher cortisol levels would have a more painful experience and would be more likely to give up.

So I'll agree with the above coaches. Sleep is really important.

Anonymous said...

What do you recommend for a pre race meal?

Anonymous said...

alright i've got one for you. Diagnosed with a stress fracture of my 5th metatarsal in April, and it was recommended that I take off 4-6 weeks. I'm fairly certain the fracture had something to do with Newtons, because the outermost lug, the contact point of the shoes, is the same spot as the break. Because it was my senior year and had no reason to give anything less than an ample amount of recovery, I gave it 3 months. After a week of running semi-consistently (4-7 miles 4 days a week)I felt the same sort of pain that I had originally. genuinely felt like my the fracture either hadn't healed or had broken again. Took two more months off, tried again. Same thing after no more than a week. Then a month or so after that, same thing I got the injury screened and the guy says it's a problem with my form, and it will keep breaking if I don't change my form. Conveniently enough, this guy has a running form clinic that will help advise me how to change my form and what do you know, it's expensive. I'm not saying I don't trust the guy, but it's a lot of money to be throwing at something hoping that it makes sense. Some have argued that I'm pretty light and even if my form is absolute garbage, my bone shouldn't be breaking under the little weight that I have. In the mean time, I've been cycling quite a bit, which technically is weight bearing, but still no impact. Any help or advice at all would be very, very appreciated. Thanks

Marty Beene said...

I have two contributions to these recent questions & issues raised.

First, on the sleep issue, here is my recommendation to get homework done. At our school, about 95% of teachers tell you what homework you will have to do over the next week (or more). For the ones that don't, you can usually figure it out (e.g., if you were reading and discussing Chapter 2 last week and Chapter 3 this week, guess what will be going on next week). So do this:
On Saturday, after your practice or meet, do the homework that's due on Monday.
On Sunday, since you don't have practice or a meet, do the homework that's due on Tuesday AND Wednesday.
On Monday, do half of the homework that's due on Thursday.
On Tuesday, do the other half of the homework due Thursday.
On Wednesday and Thursday, do Friday's homework.

If your teacher does not offer what your homework will be, ask him or her to do so because you are a student-athlete and you need to work ahead on the weekends to get things done. Teachers love this kind of attitude.

Yes, you will have to cut back on things like Facebook and XC Express. But you don't have to eliminate that stuff from your life; just cut back on it.

Second, on the pre-race meal issue. Here is my pre-race meal for a morning race: English muffin with peanut butter and banana. It took me 25 years of racing to figure this out because I didn't experiment before intense practices. On days when you have your hardest workouts, eat something you think would be a good pre-race meal. After the workout, reflect on how it worked for you: how did you feel? Did you have a good amount of energy? How did your stomach feel? etc.

Just my 2 cents....

Steve Palladino said...

"What do you recommend for a pre race meal?"
As a preface, understand that much of what has evolved regarding pre-race meals and fueling for racing comes from marathon practices. The fact is, that for most HS runners that consume adequate calories in their regular diet, muscle glycogen stores are never low enough to become depleted in the course of a race of 5K or less. IOW, concept such as carbo-loading and fueling right up until race time (and during races) is pointless.
Here are some considerations in pre-race meal planning for HS runners (and even collegiate XC runners, for that matter):
1) stay away from something that is not easy to digest, or that will be aggravating to your stomach. (yes, a hot dog might not be a good pre-race meal)
2) try to get your pre-race meal standardized (like Marty Beene mentioned), so that there is no guess work
3) lean towards a carbohydrate- dominant meal
4) timing is important (sorta ties into #1 above)- you want things settled and digested - having your pre-race meal 2 hours or more before competition works well for many athletes.
5) you don't have to eat a lot. Again, you are not running a marathon, and your simply will not run out of muscle glycogen. Shoot for a light meal - just enough so that you won't be feeling hungry as you start your warm-up.

Steve Palladino said...

"stress fracture of my 5th metatarsal "
That sucks!
I agree, that attributing your recurring pain at the stress fracture site to your running as solely due to running form doesn't make complete sense to me as well.

Stress fractures of the 5th metatarsal are uncommon. When they do occur, it is typically in the Jones' fracture area of the 5th metatarsal. A number of high profile cases are known in football and basketball player, with Kevin Durant being a notable recent example.

Jones' stress fractures may have a number of factors that paly into their development:
1) foot structure (a common issue in the many Jones' stress fractures that I have seen)
2) footwear (you mentioned Newtons in your case)
3) training load / intensity
4) particular stress applied to the foot during training (pivoting and side to side sports are frequent offenders)
5) form / mechanics

Given the above, I would suggest looking at all of these factors in determining the reason for your recurring problems.

Also, Jones fractures are notoriously slow healing. Is it possible that your fracture was never completely healed? Have you had follow-up x-rays?

One other question that I would ask, since Jones stress fractures are relatively uncommon in running: do you play a concurrent sport (eg, besides XC, do you also play soccer or basketball)?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Mr. Palladino! I never did get a full x-ray to assess the recovery, and I was told that as long as I wore athletic shoes around, then I wouldn't need a boot or surgery of any sort. That probably makes the most sense for me now. I never played any other sports, but now that you mention it, when I strike with the middle of my foot, I'm turning quite a bit inward it seems on the side of my fracture. The left foot basically comes around directly in front of my right, and lands out in front rather than under me. But in reality, I'm not running more than 4-5 days before I feel the fracture, which leads me to believe that it may have not healed fully. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!

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