Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

Collapse

Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

    ok, I've read a lot about what it will take for Americans to be as good as the E Africans and I just wanted to say a few things.

    1) A few people mentioned weight as being a hindering factor on US disance running. WRONG. We simply have different body types than most E. Africans but the two types achieve the same purpose. Whereas a typical Kenyan is very fluid and sleek (like a deer), a typical American is a bit more bulky and powerful (like a bear). Both animals are extremely fast but achieve it in different ways. When Webb lost his strength (no doubt to look more like his Kenyan and Morrocan competitors) he lost his competetive advantage.

    I agree that Americas tend to weigh too much and eat poorly, but if you're an elite athlete in America, that rarely holds true.

    2) Bernard Lagat. Olympic Bronze Medalist and one of the best and most consistent 1500 runners in the world. Was good in college, but was beaten by guys like Goucher and even Lunn. Once he graduated he exploded. Reasons why more Americans are not like him? Another exmple is Kimani... a good but not completely domininant collegiate and then boom... 13:12 in Europe. Reasons? I bet if Boaz keeps the hunger he will soon be far ahead our American guys who ran with him (and beat him) in college. Reasons?

    Oh yeah, look back to some World "Junior" Champs of recent years. You'll see guys like Jennings who was 5th at the World Junior Champs in 1998. Look who he was competing with. If you look around, you'll see our juniors and collegiates just don't improve like E. Arican athletes do.

    E. Africans are definitely talented. Per capita, more so than the US. There is no denying that. HOWEVER, out of all the American's runnig right now, there is no reason why we can't match their depth of talent. The real reason we have no one running 12:55 5ks and 3:30 or fast 1500s is because we don't have the proper training and development. I wish I had the answer on how it should be done...

    Micahel

  • #2
    Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

    conto

    you ever seen world'class kenzans racing americans in person up close.... the difference in somatotypes is pretty boggling... drop in ht-wt of world ranked milers over last 30 years is pretty shocking

    Comment


    • #3
      How about the women?

      Does this logic extend to women? Non african women (Szabo et al.) are at par (or better) with their African rivals. Even SFH and Regina are competitive with the rest of the top runners. What are the women doing differently compared to the men? Or is it that African women haven't caught up to thier male counter parts in terms of performance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

        To say that we don't have "proper training and development" is either totally false (how can countries like Kenya or Ethiopia have better?) or the most damning indictment of the American system possible. Just from what I see on TV, the E Africans don't look ANYTHING like the other runners in the race, so I am forced to believe they were just born 'better,' which is my bias to begin with.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

          Conto - Your Bears/Deer analogy is 100% correct - including the fact that bears can't tun long distances like deer can. I hate to use body type as an excuse, but I can't see how a #120 runner can't have an advantage over a #155 runner in longer distances. Lighter frames allow for harder/longer training with less stress on the body (fewer injuries), plus the heart/lungs don't get substancially larger/smaller as we change weight, so I gotta believe (I'm no physiologist) that lighter guys have a better chance for cardiovascular efficiency.

          I'm sure there will always be big distance runners (Cram/Bile etc.) but they will be the exeption. Lighter is better for extended speed, but for sprinting (da Bears) muscle and power play a larger role.

          While in Boulder in the mid 90's I was working out on the track when Steve Kogo (Road racer supreme at the time and super nice gentleman as well) popped on the track and glided through 8x800m in 2:10 and 20x400m in 66 without even grimicing. It wasn't the workout that impressed us - it was how EASY and light on his feet he looked in doing it - Throw 20lbs. on him and he may still do the workout, but he would feel it for days and not be out doing the 16 miler we saw him doing the next morning.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

            There are two reasons for the absence of US distance runners when compared to E. Africans: 1.) As Conto stated we don't have the genetic talent pool. An individual built to run distance is an exception in the US but the norm in E. African nations. The genetic difference is made even more significant when environmental (altitude, less comfortable living conditions and more activity required to exist) and cultural (more interest in the sport and more value placed on mental and emotional "toughness" than here).
            2.) We don't nurture the talent we have on a long-term basis like we should. Since we have fewer genetically blessed distance runners those that we don have should be protected. Not coddled but protected from pitfalls of the competitive athletic system. Once an athlete is identified as having talent they should be advised as to a long-term plan with the primary focus being on peaking in the physical peak years (mid-late 20s).

            Instead we often put these athletes into generic systems that are aimed at earning points for a school in the given year. This often leads to overtraining - resulting in physical injury or psychological burnout.

            We do have the athletes (especially in the middle distances) but we have to identify the talent early (as US soccer is now doing) and keep a guarded eye of this talent with long-term interest in mind.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

              I think its safe to say that the Brits and Americans are similar body type. Given that, in a 4 year span those two countries had 4 people that STILL rank in the top 22 people in the 1500 and 5 people who STILL rank in the top 20 in the mile.

              1500
              Cram- 11th best performer all time
              Maree- 13th
              Coe- 14th
              Ovett- 22nd

              Mile
              Cram- 4TH BEST PERFORMER ALL TIME
              Coe- 9th
              Scott- 11th
              Ovett- 17th
              Maree 19th

              I'm not discounting their talent. Like I said, per capita, they destroy us. BUT, on absolute terms, I think we have just as many talented Americans. No one has answered my Lagat question yet... gets out of college and BOOM. We suck at development... plain and simple.

              M

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                Oh yeah, those examples are from the early 80s. Had they been running today, they would have been even faster... up there with El G and Lagat imho.

                I am also referring to the 1500/mile/ and even 3k... not so much for the 5k/10k (though I still think we can compete because, contrary to opinion, there is an abundance of Ritz'esque body types in his country... its just not being developed correctly)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                  Conto-

                  We are in agreement. We should take the lead of the US soccer program which has done wonders over the past decade to identify and develope talent.

                  Masback should have a serious discussion with Bruce Arena.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                    Cyril,

                    I agree. I've e-mailed Craig a few times and he was cool in the respect that he answered my questions, but he didn't seem very open to suggestions. He more complained about the $1 million budget that USATF had and how hard it was to mantain that. When I suggested ways to improve that, he stopped responding. If that's USATF's budget, though, he needs to be OUT!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                      Conto-

                      Masback should be held largely accountable for the state of US distance running. I know his task was not an easy one but he has not responded to the challenges he has had to confront. He obviously doesn't have a handle on how to resolve the problems currently facing T&F. Things are getting worse.

                      USTAF needs some energy. New ideas and a more dynamic personality. Masback has had his chance its time for him to move over.

                      As we like to say in California - its time for a recall!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                        If anyone wants to nominate me, I'll give up myjob and have 50 mil in USATF's account within 5 years... GUARANTEED.

                        m

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                          >If anyone wants to nominate me, I'll give up
                          >myjob and have 50 mil in USATF's account within 5
                          >years... GUARANTEED.

                          m

                          You've got my vote. Can't do too much worse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                            >There are two reasons for the absence of US
                            >distance runners when compared to E. Africans:
                            >1.) As Conto stated we don't have the genetic
                            >talent pool. An individual built to run distance
                            >is an exception in the US but the norm in E.
                            >African nations. The genetic difference is made
                            >even more significant when environmental
                            >(altitude, less comfortable living conditions and
                            >more activity required to exist) and cultural
                            >(more interest in the sport and more value placed
                            >on mental and emotional "toughness" than
                            >here).
                            2.) We don't nurture the talent we have
                            >on a long-term basis like we should. Since we
                            >have fewer genetically blessed distance runners
                            >those that we don have should be protected. Not
                            >coddled but protected from pitfalls of the
                            >competitive athletic system. Once an athlete is
                            >identified as having talent they should be
                            >advised as to a long-term plan with the primary
                            >focus being on peaking in the physical peak years
                            >(mid-late 20s).

                            Instead we often put these
                            >athletes into generic systems that are aimed at
                            >earning points for a school in the given year.
                            >This often leads to overtraining - resulting in
                            >physical injury or psychological burnout.

                            We
                            >do have the athletes (especially in the middle
                            >distances) but we have to identify the talent
                            >early (as US soccer is now doing) and keep a
                            >guarded eye of this talent with long-term
                            >interest in mind.

                            Good observations. Ht and wt probably aren't that important in the 800/1500 as some think. They are a factor in the longer runs. At least weight, if not height. In terms of natural talent, say, take a look at Ryun. He never reached his potential, but was undoubtedly as naturally talented as anyone running today, and he would look huge next to most Africans. Same for Cram. Cram was a 1:42/3:29/3:46 runner. How many Africans are running that well now? Or as well as Coe, Peter Elliot, etc.? Yeah, there's talent in Europe and the US, but soccer, Playstation, etc. take away a lot of potential stars, not to mention an increasingly lazy/sedentary lifestyle.

                            As a side note, when I look at some of today's best Americans, they seem to be carrying more bodyfat than the best Americans of the 60's, 70's and early 80's. The runners from the past also seem to be more fluid, or move like runners. Today, we see a lot of awkward looking guys representing the US. Maybe that's due to potential stars ending up on soccer fields or emulating Tony Hawk - look at the builds of the best skateboarders at the X-Games, many of them look like middle and long distance runners : ).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Lagat, Americans (Bears) vs Kenyans (Deer)

                              Don't forget Coe, arguably the best of the era, was pretty small. Walker and Cram and some of the others were a body type that worked in that era (and surely today they'd be great) but also the races up to the mile are a blend of power and stamina, so weight isn't as much a factor as it is in longer distances.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X