- At Track Minnesota we have been very successful at developing young middle distance runners with a training program based on intervals. Of course we make sure our athletes have a good aerobic base and spend time working on flexibility and core strength at every practice. But the heart of our training is a combination of interval workouts developed (or stolen from other coaches) over many years.
We teach our beginning runners to break their races into 200 meter segments and attempt to run even splits. For example most of our 10 year old 800 meter runners are capable of running in the 2:40 range or 40 seconds per 200. Once every week we will do 200’s at 40 seconds. We start the season holding the rest interval to 3 minutes and doing 6 X 200. We progress to 2 sets of 6 X 200 and finally to 3 sets of 6 X 200. We also cut the rest interval to 2.5 minutes and then to 2 minutes making sure there is a full recovery between sets. We use this basic format for all of our 800 and 1500 meter runners, adjusting the pace to fit their abilities.
We use a variety of other interval-styled workouts and ladders, believing that they give us the most effective way to build both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. We also make sure that every week includes at least one day of long easy distance running, preferably on grass, one day of speed work such as 3 X 300 or 3 X 600 faster than race pace with full recovery between runs and one day of rest. A sample mid-season week might look like this:
Sunday: 3-4 miles easy running
Monday: 2 sets of 6 X 200 at goal race pace (3 Min. rest interval; full recovery between sets)
Tuesday: 3 X 1200 (90 sec 400 pace) full recover between runs
Wednesday: 3 X 300 faster than goal race pace – Full recovery between runs
Thursday: Distance ladder: 1 X 1000 meters at 3000 or 2 mile race pace; 2 X 500 at 1 mile race pace; 4 X 300 at goal 800 race pace (rest interval 3-4 minutes; heart rate return to under 100 bpm)
Friday: 3-4 miles easy running
Saturday: Rest day
We work very hard to give every runner a time for every training run. We have them take turns leading the intervals and making them responsible to hit the split time so that by midseason even the younger runners have developed a sense of pace.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Shin splints is the general name given to pain at the front of the lower leg due to inflammation of the tissue surrounding the tibia, the lower bone of the leg. The most common causes are:
· Increasing running mileage too quickly
· Improper or insufficient warmup
· Worn or inferior running shoes
· Intensity of workouts
· Jumping or sprinting on hard surfaces
With the very short high school track season in Minnesota, we frequently hear of coaches who have their athletes sprinting across the parking lot or in the school hallways during the first few days of practice. Almost as frequently we hear many of those athletes complaining of shin splints or pulled muscles. Competitive athletes should be encouraged to report for practice with a base, built on endurance work along with strength and flexibility work. Coaches should be encouraged know which athletes are prepared for intense workouts and which athletes need to begin more slowly. Most importantly, coaches and athletes should err on the side of caution. Rather than focusing on a personal best in the first meet of the year, point toward the Conference, Sectional and State Championship meets at the end of the season. Too much too soon very often means not being healthy when the season really counts.
· Rest to allow the injury to heal – This means no running.
· Maintain fitness with other non weight bearing exercises such as swimming, cycling or running in water.
· Apply ice or cold therapy in the early stages, particularly when it is very painful. Cold therapy reduces pain and inflammation.
· Stretch the muscles of the lower leg.
Make sure your warm up includes stretching the calf muscles and Achilles tendon
Choose the right shoes. Make sure shoes provide cushioning and replace them every 350 miles
Strengthen the leg muscles by doing toe rises and leg presses
Build mileage and intensity gradually
Get off the blacktop and run on grass when possible