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  #1  
Old 11-01-17, 07:15 PM
PatHelgerman PatHelgerman is offline
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Cross training vs Mile/2 mile in track

After 12 years of coaching CC, I'm finally going to be coaching distance for our track team in the spring. Most of my girls are Cross Country kids who are less interested in track.

Any thoughts on making this "switch". How do you all work your athletes differently in the winter /spring from what you do in the summer/fall?
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Old 11-01-17, 07:26 PM
ccrunner609 ccrunner609 is offline
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Get in the weightroom!!!!!
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Old 11-01-17, 07:30 PM
mathking mathking is offline
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We have a bunch of kids who do XC and not track. But most of our top XC runners do run track. I generally tell kids that if they are doing another sport, great. If they are not, they should consider running track. One because I feel that they will generally get more out of that than running on their own. Also because the experience of racing in track helps make them better at racing in cross country. Our training is not immensely different for the athletes who are 1600/3200, but there are some differences. The biggest is the distribution of paces at which we do workouts. In the preseason (winter to early fall) for track there is a more speed work (stuff that is at or close to full speed) than we do for XC. Speed takes longer to develop than fitness. During the race part of track season we do more work at around 1600 race pace and relatively less work at VO2 max pace.
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Old 11-02-17, 09:11 AM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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A lot depends on what events you are charged in covering. So, at a D3 or D2 school, you might have to have your kids cover from the 400 thru the 3200. Heck, there are years you have to cover the 100-3200. At a big D1 school, you might just be asked to cover the 1600 and 3200. Much different how you would train the kids. Say you are in charge of 400-3200 or 800-3200, you have to manage multiple workouts on the track at the same time and deal with kids that are spanning 2 or 3 different groups at the same time. Now, you say 1600 and 3200, but I'm almost certain that you will have 800 kids in the mix and kids that you might see as needing to drop to the 800 or 400. It's a little less complicated if you just have 1600 and 3200 kids to worry about, but will you really just have 1600 and 3200. I also think that you have to be more flexible with your work outs to be willing to change them mid work out or mid season depending on how kids are responding. CC workouts seem a little more static from my experience.

Our boys and girls pole vault record holders were both CC kids. We have a lot of CC kids that cover many events on the track team and don't train with the distance kids at all. You have to be willing to let some kids go and not get all bent out of shape that they are not on your plan to being a better CC runner as a result of their track and field training. We have had kids run the 1600 and HJ. We have had kids that do shot and disc and not run a step on the track also be CC kids in the Fall. CC kids have covered every event I can think of at some point. They aren't just out there for you to train and build for CC next season.

You also have to be prepared for kids that are better than a teammate on the CC course not being as good as a kid on the track. Some kids don't have that second or third gear that it takes to be good on the track. They are no faster at the 3200 on the track than they are at the 3200 mark on the CC course with another mile to go. There are the other kids that have a much faster 1600 time on the track than you would expect from their CC performance. You will be in a place to help build for next years CC team, but you have to coach in the here and now.

I think a huge advantage in coaching track and CC is that you get to work with the middle and back of the pack kids more and bring them along with a more consistent plan. They shouldn't get as lost in the shuffle as they would without a consistent coach.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:51 AM
mathking mathking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
You also have to be prepared for kids that are better than a teammate on the CC course not being as good as a kid on the track. Some kids don't have that second or third gear that it takes to be good on the track. They are no faster at the 3200 on the track than they are at the 3200 mark on the CC course with another mile to go. There are the other kids that have a much faster 1600 time on the track than you would expect from their CC performance. You will be in a place to help build for next years CC team, but you have to coach in the here and now.

I think a huge advantage in coaching track and CC is that you get to work with the middle and back of the pack kids more and bring them along with a more consistent plan. They shouldn't get as lost in the shuffle as they would without a consistent coach.
Right here. We would all do well to remember these bits of wisdom.
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Old 11-02-17, 11:10 AM
Running Man 101 Running Man 101 is offline
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Agree with everything that mathking and pyscho dad said. Sharing of kids into different events (for example, some of mid-distance kids also run intermediate hurdles) gets more tricky in practice and where they spend their time.

You will find the meets themselves to be highly stressful for a time until you get everything sequenced on when to warm up for a race, or what to do when they run several races. Track for me is just more chaotic (I coached distance before taking over the head track coach position...). I've found that you get the more senior kids in events to get everyone together and run things.

Somehow track is at the same time more stressful and more fun because of the diversity of the kids and larger number of events (that can be won). Nothing beats seeing how happy a kid after they win their first event (even if they just win their heat).
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Old 11-03-17, 04:23 PM
PatHelgerman PatHelgerman is offline
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I know the girls are going to scatter a little bit. I have two who are more inclined to the 400/800. That doesn't bother me at all as long as they are participating and working to get better at something! But, I'll probably get to work with some soccer and field hockey girls too.

I am expecting to be focused on the mile/ 2 mile. I think whether I'm needed for the 800 will depend on how much time the hurdle coach has, which will determine how much time the head/sprint coach has to work with the "sprintermediates".

If I did end up with 800's, how do you train a 400/800 runner differently from an 800/mile type of runner?
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Old 11-03-17, 06:12 PM
mathking mathking is offline
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Basically, they need to do some central nervous system training that an 800/1600 runner doesn’t need and not as much VO2 max. Short repeats (stuff in the 10-50 meter range) at full speed with full recovery. (5x30 with 3 min rest, then 5x40 with 4 min rest) Speed takes the longest time to develop so those should be part of their training from the earliest part of the season. Otherwise the training is similar.
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Old 11-03-17, 06:27 PM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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The OATCCC coaches clinic could be a big help too.
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Old 11-03-17, 06:38 PM
ccrunner609 ccrunner609 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatHelgerman View Post
I know the girls are going to scatter a little bit. I have two who are more inclined to the 400/800. That doesn't bother me at all as long as they are participating and working to get better at something! But, I'll probably get to work with some soccer and field hockey girls too.

I am expecting to be focused on the mile/ 2 mile. I think whether I'm needed for the 800 will depend on how much time the hurdle coach has, which will determine how much time the head/sprint coach has to work with the "sprintermediates".

If I did end up with 800's, how do you train a 400/800 runner differently from an 800/mile type of runner?
The 4-8 girl might end practice with a descending speed ladder instead of last set of longer repeats.
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  #11  
Old 11-04-17, 12:22 AM
CoventryTrackXCguy CoventryTrackXCguy is offline
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Is it more advanteageous to have the same person coach both the xc team as well as the distance track team?
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Old 11-04-17, 06:24 AM
madman madman is offline
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I think the potential for problems is greater if athletes are changing coaches/programs, but if the programs have a similar approach, some athletes will benefit from the additional perspective of another coach.

IF the coach knows what they are doing and can remain at or near the top of their game all year, I think athletes will be in the best situation. Otherwise, the kids may benefit from a change.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:39 AM
mathking mathking is offline
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I think consistency of philosophy in training is the important part. If there is a big difference (for example if the coaches have different ideas about training volume) there can be physical problems and kids are likely to end up trusting one coach and not the other. So that is a potential problem averted by one coach. Of course, as madman notes, if that one coach doesn’t know what he or she is doing, that isn’t good.

The different perspectives thing is important. A lot of that can be achieved by all the coaches talking and sharing ideas. In the middle of the 2016 season, our girls were experiencing more race impeding (as opposed to preventing) injuries than normal. It was really frustrating me. The boys head coach suggested a change. I can’t say for certain that it worked, but we did get healthy just in time for the post season. I am the head girls CC coach. In track I coach all of the distance runners, boys and girls. I get advice from the other coaches all the time. Our boys head cc coach will often ask my opinion (and the other coaches) about choices between workouts, race strategies or what to do with a particular kid. So I guess my point is that getting some different perspectives is also beneficial.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:15 AM
SOTT SOTT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathking View Post
Speed takes the longest time to develop so those should be part of their training from the earliest part of the season. Otherwise the training is similar.
I generally agree with this when considering the scope of the season. I would add, however, that aerobic ability can be consistently improved upon for years and might truly take the longest to develop. I think it's a mistake not to take the long term approach in track and forget about a kid's aerobic development, even if they are more inclined for 400-800. That can look different for different athletes but it needs to be considered.

As mentioned, the track clinic is a great resource even just to rub shoulders with other coaches and get ideas.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:38 AM
ccrunner609 ccrunner609 is offline
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400 and 800 "speed" is about endurance. We all have plenty of girls that can run 15 seconds in the 100.......why cant they run 60 seconds in the 400?
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Old 11-04-17, 03:54 PM
mathking mathking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOTT View Post
I generally agree with this when considering the scope of the season. I would add, however, that aerobic ability can be consistently improved upon for years and might truly take the longest to develop. I think it's a mistake not to take the long term approach in track and forget about a kid's aerobic development, even if they are more inclined for 400-800. That can look different for different athletes but it needs to be considered.



As mentioned, the track clinic is a great resource even just to rub shoulders with other coaches and get ideas.


This is absolutely true. Their aerobic development really needs to be a years long process. Maybe a better way to frame this is that it takes longer to effect measurable changes in maximum speed. I know when I ran and then first became a coach the tendency was to look at speed as something that was “topped off” at the end of the season. Most coaches then would have scoffed at 3x10 3x20 3x30 3x40 as not even really a workout. But in fact if you want to improve top speed you need to run at top speed. Which means repeats at short distances with complete recovery.

ccrunner609, the 400 and 800 do require speed endurance. But top speed absolutely plays a role. The 15 second 100 runner is never going to run a 60 second 400 until he or she is faster in the 100.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:34 PM
Running Man 101 Running Man 101 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathking View Post
This is absolutely true. Their aerobic development really needs to be a years long process. Maybe a better way to frame this is that it takes longer to effect measurable changes in maximum speed. I know when I ran and then first became a coach the tendency was to look at speed as something that was “topped off” at the end of the season. Most coaches then would have scoffed at 3x10 3x20 3x30 3x40 as not even really a workout. But in fact if you want to improve top speed you need to run at top speed. Which means repeats at short distances with complete recovery.

ccrunner609, the 400 and 800 do require speed endurance. But top speed absolutely plays a role. The 15 second 100 runner is never going to run a 60 second 400 until he or she is faster in the 100.
Started doing CNS (central nervous system) in the off season with all my kids a couple of years ago (winter for track and early summer for XC, do it twice a week at thesew times and maybe once every two weeks later on). It works. It will make the kids VERY tired if they run all out.

I actually train my 400 kids in different groups; if they really are sprinters they train with that group and if they are fast distance kids they train with them. Seems like my distance kids wind up with to many hamstring injuries any other way. I added band work this past fall in XC, so maybe it will be better.
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