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Race too much?
Joined: Sep 2006
I guess this question is for the high school and college coaches that post here but it is open to anyone who has an opinion. I have been doing some reading and was looking at college schedules. With many of the distance runners competing in all three seasons, do high school runners in the US have too many races? Seems to me with less "racing" and more training runners would be more fit and actually faster. This is not a complaint, but a question that I just became aware of. Thanks
Joined: Jan 2009
[quote=Rnnrdad]I guess this question is for the high school and college coaches that post here but it is open to anyone who has an opinion. I have been doing some reading and was looking at college schedules. With many of the distance runners competing in all three seasons, do high school runners in the US have too many races? Seems to me with less "racing" and more training runners would be more fit and actually faster. This is not a complaint, but a question that I just became aware of. Thanks [/quote] Good question. Different programs (high school) seem to take different approaches. I suppose a lot of it can depend on the runner. Some kids (especially younger runners) may need more races to gain greater comfort level in "how" to race. Others can probably get by with hardly any racing at all prior to the championship portion of their season. I think it's also important to consider what kind of racing a kid is doing. Are they constantly hammering away at one or two events, or are they running various distances? Also, how does the racing fit into their overall training program? It will be interesting to see what the athletes' opinions are on this.
Joined: Nov 2007
I run for West Stanly High School, and during the indoor season, my coach advised that I just train and focus on building a base for the outdoor season. He feels as if racing indoor will only slow you down during outdoor. He explained that the Africans, who tend to excel in the sport of distance running, set their seasons up in 6 month cycles...a base season and a racing season, twice a year (XC and outdoor). It is a theory of his (and other coaches) that we Americans are slowing ourselves down with our 3-season college running schedules. After college, our best runners just don't have it left in them. Therefore, when it comes time for the Olympics, you don't usually hear an American's name favored to win the 800 meters or up. (Lagat and Hall were both picked to finish first and second in their events, yet neither medaled.) Just sharing what I have been taught with the rest of you guys.
Joined: Apr 2008
It all depends on the athlete. Were I coach we have a lot of our distance kids running and racing all 3 seasons. ( I did it through H.S. and College) Yet, we take indoor track as more of a training base for outdoor. With a few races so the athletes remember what it is like to race. Our kids seem to get out of a "race" mode if they don't race everyonce in awhile. But again it all depends on the athlete.
Joined: Aug 2006
Depends on your strength and the athlete. If you are staying with a balance core routine you should be good. Also change up distanes and have the runner run a differnt race sometime.
Joined: Feb 2009
No one is giving specific examples for this post, so I will: Take one season during the year, say cross in the fall, which in North Carolina runs from about the first of September through the first of November (or December for those who run FL and Nike). That's roughly about 9-10 weeks (or 12-13 for FL & Nike). During that time, many of these high school athletes run anywhere from 12-13 5K races (that's 60-65 kilometers of racing). Sometimes I've seen schools have three meets in 8-9 days time! A good college team (men's) might run 3 meets (8K), their conference (also an 8K), regionals/districts (10K) and nationals (10K - if they make it). That's about 52 kilometers, give or take a few. So the average high school runner who is less physically developed (bones haven't even finished ossifying yet) is RACING MORE then a more mature college athlete. Granted 5K's are shorter distances, but based on most physiology manuals, the 5K is one of the hardest races in the world. It's a pure maxVO2 race, with some anaerobic thrown in (About 85-90% VO2, and 10-15% Anaerobic if I remember correctly - somebody check that). Given that it is a very hard race from a physiological point of view, I personally can't understand why high school kids race so much or 'race' themselves into shape. The analogy I like to use is like building a house, with the race being the turnkey product, when it's ready to be moved into. No foundation (base milage) the house will collapse at some point. But a greater point here is this: Most coaches/athletes (not criticizing here, only observing) don't understand the power of [b]recovery[/b]. The body only gets [u]stronger [/u]when you allow it to [b]recover[/b]. Training is breaking the body down, allowing it to recover (hopefully stronger), repeat, repeat. But it's only in the recovery the gains show up. So many of these athletes/coaches haven't learned the power of down-cycling, or allowing longer rest periods between long racing seasons. It's finish the fall, into indoor, right into outdoor with no real true "REST" weeks at all. An athlete might still run well, but chances are, lack of long recovery periods will eventually show up in injuries, sickness, over-training, etc., not to mention possible psychological burnout. Personally, I am concerned with how much athletes race at the high school level. I think it's way to much. I say this as someone who did it in high school and has seen it from the other side (coach).
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