Middle and long distance coach for all events on the track and roads. 25+ years of coaching. USATF Level 2 certified. Based in Flagstaff, AZ. I have had the good fortune of working with HS individual and team champions; conference and national-level athletes in the NCAA; runners on the Olympic and World Championship stages; and an array of recreational athletes spanning the global running community.
Hill repeats can help increase run speed, but they are not a substitute for pure speed work. Transcript: "How important are hill repeats for increasing run speed? This is an interesting question and I think gets to the core of what is a common adage among running coaches is that hill repeats are speed work in disguise. There's a lot of truth to that, although I also believe that the mechanism and purpose of hill running aren't related directly to pure speed. There's a lot of the same recruitment of muscle fiber and the mechanics and dynamics of fast running can be mimicked on a hill. What you are sacrificing is the pure speed that is possible when you flatten a run out or when you're sprinting maximally. So I think hill sprints definitely have a place. For me it's a lead in to faster workouts that come later, not purely a substitute though for speed."
Find a program and coach that can maximize your potential between the ages of 15 and 18 to run at a high level beyond high school. Take a long-term vision and develop progressively and sensibly over time without trying to find your ceiling too soon. Understand what you're doing at the level you are currently running and keep in mind that you have four or five years of college and then a lifetime of running after college if you choose to do so. Be a lifelong runner and your best performances will emerge during that period. Transcript: "Advice for teenage runners who want to compete at a high level. I think before answering that we probably should distinguish between running at a high level for a high school athlete and then running at a high level in a more global broader context. There are numerous examples of teenage phenoms and sensations that you could say are running at a very high level during those high school years. If that is the end goal, I think you probably want to find a program and a coach that can maximize your potential between the ages of say 15 and 18 years old. To run at a high level beyond high school, whether that be in the college years, post-collegiately, perhaps professionally, the best approach is to take a long-term vision, develop progressively, sensibly over time, and not to try and find where your ceiling is or the end of your curve of progress too soon. That can be really hard to navigate at a young age, but it's always important to understand what you're doing at the level where you're currently running and then what follows. As a high school runner, keep in mind you have four, maybe five years of college and then a lifetime of running after college if that's something that you choose to do. I'm a big believer in becoming lifelong runners and at some point your best performances are also going to emerge during that period."
Understand your why, have fun, and keep going. Running can be rewarding and enjoyable if you stay committed and build habits. Transcript: "Top three tips for beginning runners. The first I would say is to understand your why. By that I mean what was it that led you to decide to take up distance running or what would you like to get out of it, what are your goals, objectives, what has been the impetus or the guiding force that has driven you to become a distance runner. Second is have fun, enjoy the process. Running can be fun, it can be a social exercise, it can be a solo individual escape for that period of time that you're running without phone, without the distractions of friends, family, work, etc. And then the third would be keep going. Running is hard, it's hard to start, it's hard to start back when you've taken time off, but stay committed, build habits, and it does get better."
Tapering for big races involves cutting back on training load in terms of intensity and volume, as well as possibly adding extra intensity to sharpen for events. It is a personal process that evolves over time and requires trial and error to find out what works best for an individual athlete. Transcript: "How do you approach tapering off for big races? The process of tapering to a peak is something that involves both some physical and also mental psychological processes in terms of banking energy both mental and physical to get ready for a big effort a peak race. Peaking and tapering is probably most associated with the marathon distance or ultra marathoning which is not my expertise but you can also taper off training to a moderate degree for shorter races or especially for a championship type race that that might be significantly shorter than a marathon. Part of the process of tapering involves the the fundamental component of cutting back on the training load that can be both in terms of intensity and volume but depending on your event and your event emphasis it may also involve some extra or some added intensity as you sharpen to a peak for a faster or shorter track event. So in general you're going to want to look at training load, scale down over a period of maybe a week, ten days, two weeks and tapering and then peaking is also a very personal individualized process so it is something that evolves over time and learning best practices for a specific athlete."
The most effective way to prepare for a one and a half mile run is to do aerobic runs at a slower pace 3-4 days a week and then to do specific workouts that are slightly faster than your goal pace and some that are longer but slower than the target race pace. Transcript: "Question about the best workout to get faster for a one and a half mile run time. Rather than specifically address the distance of one and a half miles, guess what I would do is package this within sort of the mile, mile and a half, or two mile distances as a six lap track race in this case, and say that the most effective way to prepare is not with any sort of magic bullet workout, but by sort of coming from above and below that distance, and then rehearsing paces that are going to be realistic and also attainable over a period of one and a half miles. Easy examples would be to do a fair amount of running, probably three to four days a week at slower paces that are just aerobic runs, and then for specific workouts to do a blend of some runs or some workouts that are going to be right at or slightly faster than your goal pace, and then some others that are going to be a little bit longer in duration, but are going to be slower than the target race pace in order to make that specific pace more attainable when you actually have your race or time trial."
To avoid getting shin splints when starting to run more often, one should keep their shins mobile and working smoothly by stretching, foam rolling, or calf smashing. In addition, strengthening the muscles of the calf with bent leg and straight leg exercises is also recommended. Transcript: "How do you avoid getting shin splints when starting to run more often? Shin splints is the common name for any sort of affliction that's going to affect the bones of the shin, either the the fibula or the tibia, and shin splints are an overuse injury which is going to occur typically when the amount of load, the amount of run stress that we're accumulating is beyond what the muscles can absorb and then they start to transfer too much of that force over to the bone. There are two things that you can do to help avoid shin splints as you come back into running, maybe begin to run or begin to ramp mileage as part of a running program. One is to keep your shins mobile and working smoothly and the way that you could do that is through some stretching, maybe some foam rolling, massage, or what people would call calf smashing to work out tightness in those in the shins. You know whether it's high or reaching way down even into the Achilles, you really want to keep that tissue mobile and working well. The other thing you can do in in concert with that is to strengthen the muscles of the calf. There are a couple different muscle groups, the soleus and the gastroc, and the soleus is often one that in distance runners is going to provide more problems. So there are two types of exercises, bent leg and straight leg, so you're going to want to look some of those up and integrate those into your routine."