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  • #16
    Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

    I understand the importance of building a base - it's running 101. I also doagree with Dan that several good 1500 men run cross on the world level - but not that many. However, let's take a big picture view of U.S. middle/long distance running - I haven't had time to research it (I have T&F News from 1989 on, so manybe tonight), but what was the last year NO American Man broke:

    3:35 1500m
    3:54 mile
    7:45 3000m
    8:20 steeple
    13:20 5000m
    27:40 10,000m

    ?? - $1 to the first person to find the year!!

    I'm betting you will have to go back at least 20 years. Our distance development program is broken - period. Maybe it's our early national championships as many have suggested, maybe it's ...?.. - but to simply go on w/o some adjustments will get us more of the same.

    Yes, some miler-types respond well to CC training - but wouldn't training for a 2.5 mile CC race (much harder than a 3.5 mile road race) be equally beneficial, without all the pounding. Remember too that many milers are not "equipped" physically for the training associated with 10k training - it's very different.

    My point - if we want a repeat of this year for the next ten years we can simply go on with the status quo. The above yearly bests don't lie. Adding a 4k to college CC isn't a ground shattering idea.

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    • #17
      Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

      I too believe base is essential. However, the amount of base is what is in question. Do milers need 80-90m/week as is typical preparation for 10k cc during the summer which is more than eight months away from the beginning of the outdoor track season?

      IMO a more sound approach be light miles during the summer/fall including form drills, strength circuits and plyos building to max base during the late winter.

      The shortened cc course would allow an athlete to train with lighter summer fall mileage while having a few "time trial" type cc races in the fall to keep things fun and interesting. This would then flow into the more serious winter base for track.

      As El Supremo mentioned, doing nothing isn't working. Things are getting worse. Our distance runners and cross country teams are world beaters when compared to our middle distance guys (Krum excepted). IMO it is because the system is designed more for the distance guy (cc/5/10) and often forces the middle distance runner into distance runner training.

      Training plans must thought out on an annual and career basis and must be specific to the individual and the event. Short course may help.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

        I haven't had time to research it (I
        >have T&F News from 1989 on, so manybe tonight),
        >but what was the last year NO American Man
        >broke:

        3:35 1500m
        3:54 mile
        7:45 3000m
        8:20
        >steeple
        13:20 5000m
        27:40 10,000m

        ?? - $1 to
        >the first person to find the year!!

        I'm
        >betting you will have to go back at least 20
        >years. >>

        Coincidentally, I know part of the answer, because we researched it when Slattery's 8:22 in Paris became the AL. Last year we didn't have a sub-8:20 steepler was 1990, only 13 years ago.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

          Some people make it seem as if American middle distance athletes aren't running well because they're doing too much cross/mileage now. They're running LESS than they used to. Let'g go back to the days in the '80's when guys like Tim Hacker could win NCAA cross and then come back and run 3:35 while still in college.

          Yes, adding a 4K race to the NCAA cross WOULD be a revolutionary move. It would chance cross fundamentally from being ONE single race, run over a longer distance.

          It would dilute the event and make it much less meaningful. Have you ever watched a 4K cross race? If you think watching a 10K is tough, try watching a race of less than 2.5 miles at the top level.

          It's an all-out sprint from the gun. I was at USATF cross in Portland in both '01 and '02. The 4K races were not especially exciting. Not bad, but at least there was no real team importance attached. If there were, forget about trying to follow that competition.

          Those who want a short course race usually want it because of selfish reasons. i.e, it'd help my program of middle distance athletes, we can't recruit against the big schools, so we can't have long distance and middle distance guys, etc. Sure, it'd add 2 more races to the NCAA Champs, but IMHO, it would make it a much less important event.

          Can you tell that I care very deeply about cross?

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

            >> Have you ever watched a 4K cross race? If you think watching a 10K is tough, try watching a race of less than 2.5 miles at the top level.

            It's an all-out sprint from the gun.>>

            Ahh, in short, just the kind of sporting event that might actually APPEAL to an American audience. What a concept!

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

              Dan - Yes, you apparantly are as passionate about CC as I. I'm not all that interested in how fans would react to a 4k, though. Let's face it, CC fans aren't going to be gained unless nudity and beer are involved - but that's a later topic.

              I'm more interested in creating a system where middle distance runners can thrive in the U.S.. For every Hacker, Kennedy, Sullivan, Robinson, etc. you can name I can throw out another sub 4:10 H.S. miler that crapped out in college trying to bridge the gap in CC. I don't think it's a matter of running more (or fewer) miles - each athlete has their own ideal volume. Frustrating it is, however, that the 2 most promising H.S. athletes in recent memory (Webb/Ritz) both can thank CC for some of their "issues". I don't want this to turn into a Webb/Ritz forum, it's just that as a coach I would rather take a H.S. 4:08 guy and NOT be forced to train him for RACING a 10k - and that is the reality.

              You yourself said the purpose of adding the 4k was to get Morceli/El. G types to join the fray - and they don't. I'm sure $$ is one reason, but if longer CC races really did help them you would see them in a few, yes? While Robinson is training for that all important 10K this fall, I gotta believe other potential Athens 1500m finalists - whatever training they are doing - they are NOT training to race a 10k.

              Thus the collegiant system - run 'em into the ground for 4 years and spit 'em out on the other side - continues. That's fine if we don't care to see our runners succeeding on the international stage - otherwise coaches need options.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                <<Ahh, in short, just the kind of sporting event that might actually APPEAL to an American audience. What a concept!>>

                What American audience? Cross fans who care are already attending the NCAA Champs.

                Look, the NCAA champs draw several thousand spectators. It doesn't need any changing. Adding a meaningless 4K would simply dilute the event.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                  <<For every Hacker, Kennedy, Sullivan, Robinson, etc. you can name I can throw out another sub 4:10 H.S. miler that crapped out in college trying to bridge the gap in CC. I don't think it's a matter of running more (or fewer) miles - each athlete has their own ideal volume. Frustrating it is, however, that the 2 most promising H.S. athletes in recent memory (Webb/Ritz) both can thank CC for some of their "issues". I don't want this to turn into a Webb/Ritz forum, it's just that as a coach I would rather take a H.S. 4:08 guy and NOT be forced to train him for RACING a 10k - and that is the reality. >>

                  You wouldn't race a 4:08 miler in cross? What would you have him do in the fall, flying 60's???

                  What are the best milers in the world doing in the off-season? Sure, they might not be racing cross, but they're putting in the work, and plenty of it.

                  Okay, bring out the list of names of 4:10 milers who burned out because of cross. I'm calling your hand.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                    Dan-

                    It seems there are two camps. You feel that the base training phase for 8/15 guys is the same as base training for the 5/10 guys therefore cross country and training for it would be apporpriate.

                    On the other side, I feel that the events are distinctly different and preparation for them should also be very different.

                    You must admit that the more miles that an athlete trains, the more races he runs, and the more seasons he competes the more likely he is to become injured.

                    Putting aside whether cross training is appropriate for middle distance runners, do you not agree that if the middle distance runner trains for and races cc his liklihood of being injured will increase considerably?

                    Sure there are several who can survive and a few can even thrive with the system as it currently exists, however, looking the past decade very little has gone right for US middle distance runners.

                    Examining the current crop - the past couple years out of highschool - and we can see those who seeminly had supperior potential have all been sidelined due to injury. Of course, we never hear much about the second tier guys (4:10s) who are injured. But Hall, Ritz, Webb, Brennan all have had problems as a result of too much training/racing.

                    Lets be honest with ourselves. Things aren't getting better. The "machoism" of Prefontain doesn't work. Training HARDER doesn't always work... unless it is combined with training SMARTER.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                      >I understand the importance of building a base -
                      >it's running 101. I also doagree with Dan that
                      >several good 1500 men run cross on the world
                      >level - but not that many. However, let's take a
                      >big picture view of U.S. middle/long distance
                      >running - I haven't had time to research it (I
                      >have T&F News from 1989 on, so manybe tonight),
                      >but what was the last year NO American Man
                      >broke:

                      3:35 1500m
                      3:54 mile
                      7:45 3000m
                      8:20
                      >steeple
                      13:20 5000m
                      27:40 10,000m>

                      It's great to try to make a point but you still haven't related how this is because Americans are running XC and the rest of the world is not.

                      There also is no comment on how XC did or didn't befall American runners from a previouis era who were able to run faster than the times you listed.

                      It appears (although it might not be so) that you are picking a set of standards that haven't been broken and concluded that since something or someone has to be 'blamed' for this situation that it has to be Cross Country.

                      I think the board would be more willing to go along if there were some cause and effect posted.

                      jd

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                        Train smarter, yes. But why does training for cross not fall into that category? If coaches are too dumb to not tailor cross training differently for an 8/15 guy, then it's the coach's fault, not the fault of cross. Adding a 4K cross race isn't going to change the fact that the athlete has a dumb coach.

                        Brannen had an injury. It happens. He also has the same coach as Kevin Sullivan, who ra a few decent miles after also racing fantastically over 10K cross.

                        Yes, training can cause injuries. But no, I don't agree that doing all the mileage for cross and doing the races can increase the chance of injury. In fact, I think it would lead to less injuries for a miler than if he were on the track earlier. The strength gained from cross allows one to withstand the rigors of training on the track.

                        Just because training more causes injuries doesn't mean you train less. You have to be smart about it. Just becaue you run high mileage doesn' t mean you're not being smart about your training.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                          Brannen had an injury. It happens.
                          >He also has the same coach as Kevin Sullivan, who
                          >ra a few decent miles after also racing
                          >fantastically over 10K cross.

                          During that same period Webb, Brennan and Sullivan all had injury problems. Could there be a connection? You mentioned dumb coaching.

                          Yes, training
                          >can cause injuries. But no, I don't agree that
                          >doing all the mileage for cross and doing the
                          >races can increase the chance of injury. In fact,
                          >I think it would lead to less injuries for a
                          >miler than if he were on the track earlier.

                          Who said anything about going to the track earlier? I stated above that base work is necessary. But the amount of base and type of base needed to run 8/15 is significantly different than that required to run 5/10. So why train a 8/15 guy to run the 10 cc?

                          The strength gained from cross allows one to
                          >withstand the rigors of training on the
                          >track.

                          Years ago this was my belief as well. However, your use of the term "strength" might be better called "aerobic endurance". The aerobic endurance required of a middle distance guy is not the same as that of a 5/10 guy. Also the biomechanics of a runner racing the 5/10 is significantly different from that of a guy racing the 8 or 15. The shift from EXTESIVE longer-slower cc-type training to the much faster 8/15 work requires a significant transition period. If, however, the athlete maintains the "speed component" to a lesser degree during the off season (base period) the transition will be less traumatic.

                          Just because training more causes
                          >injuries doesn't mean you train less. You have to
                          >be smart about it. Just becaue you run high
                          >mileage doesn' t mean you're not being smart
                          >about your training.

                          So you admit training more causes more injuries. If this is the case, I would say you are not being smart to continue training in a way that will continue to cause injuries. As you said training more causes more injuries so why train more.

                          I also don't believe it is smart to train for one event but race another. When you are training to compete in cross (10k) but your primary focus is 8/15 this is inconsistent and counterproductive.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                            All I can say is go read Lydiard. He had it right.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                              You're right. Training more leads to more injuries.

                              Don't train.

                              Don't put words in my mouth. Aerobic endurance is not the same as "strength."

                              Before you get on the track, you need to have the overall body strength in order to deal with the rigors of the track. In years past, runners used to go through a Lydiard plan, with a high mileage build-up followed by weeks of hill training. The hills strengthened the legs in order to withstand the track. We've gotten away from that, unfortunately. Cross strengthens a runner in a similar way.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Short Course NCAA Cross Country?

                                Snell, among others, 20+ long runs up that New Zealand volcano. Certainly negatively influenced their 800/1500 capability.

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