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Every week, I get at least one email from an unhappy parent asking for advice on changing coaches for their child.
Here is my “executive summary” and somewhat over-simplified, but works..
The weekly workouts really boils down to balancing 5 parts of 10 elements in training:
- (A ) speed, speed endurance, AND special endurance (lactate sessions)
- (B ) elastic strength like Plyos, general strength like bench/squats, AND explosive lifts like power cleans
- (C ) REST and recovery runs
- (D ) proper biomechanics
- (E ) proper nutrition
Those really are the 10 elements you need to balance out on a week to week basis. I know I am oversimplifying it, but afterwards, it really does all boil down to the fundamentals, and execution on race day.
I love John Wooden’s philosophy… focus on execution and excellence, and the winning will take care of itself.
I don’t think I need to sell you a DVD on how to accomplish this, but if you insist I will create one :)
How Much is Enough?
This is where coaching is an art AND a science.
I would say for part (A) along with recovery/tempo runs should be 70-80% of the training load. Depends on weather, facilities, physical age of the athlete, training age of the athlete, time of the season, etc.
The running workouts and program really depends on your body, genetics, training background, age, etc. I know for me, I need my lactate sessions as I feel I have the “raw speed”.
In short, the goal is “not to screw up”, so you don’t get injured. If you want the perfect season like Aries Merritt, stay injury free all season and good things will happen.
VOLUME & INTENSITY
So the 2 key things to always remember is VOLUME and INTENSITY and don’t forget recovery!
For part (B), you need to look at the force velocity curve and see where you are weak:
You need to cover all ends of the spectrum. I personally found the Power Cleans helped my start and first 20 meters. Maybe the correlation was psychological?
… and let’s not forget Al Vermeil’s Hierarchy of Athletic Development.
Even for part (C), I was surprised to hear how Sally Pearson did nothing leading up to the Games, just like Roger Bannister taking several days off and doing nothing (and I mean nothing) leading up to his sub 4 minute mile in 1954.
You’ll have to watch for signs of overtraining (i.e. grumpiness, chronic fatigue, etc.) because a tired body does get injured easily. I’ll take an under-trained athlete over an over-trained athlete to the meet any day!
Based on the above 5 points, and keeping an eye on VOLUME and INTENSITY, anyone can PR and SB if healthy.
Should you Change your Coach?
At this point, if your kid’s coach isn’t following the basic principles, and if their training resembles a WWII military boot camp, I think it’s safe to say you need to talk and look at fundamentals.
But let’s start with a civil face to face talk and address the issues?
Just make sure to do what’s in the best interest for your kid!