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How About SHORTER-Course XC?

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  • How About SHORTER-Course XC?

    Consider this an offshoot of the "add a shorter race?" thread. Looking at all the arguments that were advanced there--10K excludes shorter-distance runners, 10K leads to more injuries, 10K isn't conducive to short-distance training, 10K isn't as fan-friendly, etc,. etc.--let me pose this question: would the sport be better served (at the NCAA level) if instead of inserting a second shorter-distance race it went to a shorter distance period?

    Not 4K, of course, but how about 8K, or 7K? That's not going to prepare collegians for the IAAF's 12K version, but last I heard, that wasn't the purpose of collegiate sport anyway. If it got more people invovled from farther down in the spectrum, wouldn't that actually be a good thing? In the spring, most teams don't have more than a couple of guys who run the 10, so why should the whole fall be geared towards it?

    It seems clear to me that part of the Arkansas success in cross comes from avoiding the 10K like the plague unless they have to, and who am I to argue w/ John McDonnell?

    Just a thought.

  • #2
    Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

    Now this is coming from not the greatest expert in the world, but everything I've read about distance running suggests that the longer you run non-stop (without injuring yourself) the better your base for ANY race 1500 and above (maybe even 800). Isn't that a Lyriad (sp?!) tenet? Something about vascular blood pressure maintained as high as you can stand it, as long as you can stand it. Assuming the foregoing, why would you cut racing distances in the fall? I would think 12K would be better than 10K? The focus is on aerobic endurance strength, not anaerobic endurance. Feel free to correct me.

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    • #3
      Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

      gh took the words right out of my mouth (except at the end about Ark). Athletes would do good base training whether the race itself is 12, 10, 8, or even 5k. The problem is that it's so hard to race 8k every other weekend all fall, and then two 10ks back to back (regionals and nationals). I'd like to see fewer races, and none over 8k.

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      • #4
        Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

        Not to nit-pick, but Arkansas runs a 10k at it's own Chile Pepper meet, indicating John Mac doesn't necessarily shy away from the distance.

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        • #5
          Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

          An 8k National Championship would be better than the 10k. My point in starting the other thread was to point out the difficulty coaches face when being forced to run their middle distance guys over 10k. Scholorships limits force the coaches hands. The difference between 8k and 10k over grass is huge - the 10k really plays to the favor of 5k/10k track recruits.

          As a coach, I would much rather train a kid like Magness to run 24 minutes in the fall instead of 31 minutes (remember HS guys are used to 15-16 minutes at the most). Doubling the RACING distance is asking for trouble to an 18 year old. If we want more quality in the 1500m on the U.S. scene, we need to quit forcing the young, talanted milers coming out of High School to run 5 and 6 mile races every week every fall. Many coaches are begining to look for other options (shorter races during the season, skipping weeks, etc.). I'll take an 8k over a 10k, especially since 10k in cross is more difficult than even the longest track race.

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          • #6
            Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

            I have to say that the above does make sense.

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            • #7
              Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

              It seems clear to
              >me that part of the Arkansas success in cross
              >comes from avoiding the 10K like the plague
              >unless they have to, and who am I to argue w/
              >John McDonnell?

              Just a thought.>

              You mean on the track? In cross they usually run an extra 10k early in the season at Chili Pepper.

              I think both the men and women should run the same distance and 8km/5mi is good. It's long enough for the distance runners and short enough for the milers.

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              • #8
                Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                8K is too short of a race for such a large field as the NCAA.

                There has been a move afoot by some (wimpy) NCAA coaches to make the race 8K. They figure it'll allow them to run their 800 guys. If they can't run 10K, they can't run 8K either. The continuing wimpification of collegiate distance running be the result.

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                • #9
                  Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                  "There has been a move afoot by some (wimpy) NCAA coaches to make the race 8K. They figure it'll allow them to run their 800 guys. If they can't run 10K, they can't run 8K either. The continuing wimpification of collegiate distance running be the result."

                  Please - you can't be serious. You can't really believe an 800m runner is going to be a factor over 8k against 5k/10k guys. Hell let's make it a 15k, that'll take out the wimpy milers and steeplers too - actually a 20k is even more macho - just in case someone thinks anything under 10 miles is "whimpy". The "continuing wimpification of collegiate distance running"??? To what are you referring?

                  From the athletes perspective I'm sure the vote would weigh heavily towards an 8k, but their expendable, right?

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                  • #10
                    Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                    I don't think that training for an 8 vs. 10 would make much difference. El Supremo, I wouldn't want to be training a guy like Magness to run 10k cc, 8k cc or even 5k cc. I would like to see a guy like Magness trained to run a mile.

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                    • #11
                      Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                      Could someone enlighten us as to the progression of NCAA championship distances? I know it used to be 4 miles about 35 years ago.

                      As for 8k being too short to spread out the field -- the women don't appear to have such a problem.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                        NCAA CC distance has been 4M (1938-64), 6M ('65-75), 10k thereafter.

                        IC4A has been 6M(and 6+ because they were concerned about having a good course measuring at least 6M, rather than going through needless adjustments to make it exactly 6M) from 1908 through 1934, 5M(and slightly less at times because of course changes at Van Cortlandt Park) since.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                          Van Cortlandt Park calls to mind something that's a worse problem than not running far enough when it comes to bad XC courses, and that's bottlenecks. In '69 NCs at VCP my teammate, Rick Riley, ended up a disappointed 19th. Not a good showing for a guy who had been 2nd in the track 6M that June.

                          His problem was that he was a strong second-half guy and (of course, at least partially his fault for not recognizing the course-layout probem to begin with and adjusting) he found himself in a long line of guys on a skinny path with no easy way to pass. Once he broke free, he estimated he passed 50-75 guys in the last mile.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                            Not only would I applaud a shorter NCAA race (and strongly disagree that an 8k is "too short" for a large field), but I would also reduce the high school standard to 2 miles (or 4k at most if you want to stay with metric). For most high schoolers, two miles is plenty long enough.

                            I believe that too many potential distance runners either shy away from the sport because they're intimidated by the longer distances at an early age or they simply get use to running slow. There's been no shortage of opinions about "what's wrong with US middle distance running" but I would contend that speed is best developed at an early age and strength comes later, thus it would seem that a larger pool of faster talent would be available to move up at the collegiate and/or post-collegiate level.

                            The road racing fad that has middle schoolers running 5k's and 10k's and high schoolers running 10k's and marathons has hurt US distance running, not helped it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How About SHORTER-Course XC?

                              Excuse me Cyril but Magness has already trained well enough to run 10k. Did you know that he worked up to 100mile weeks in his last year of training? That is what gave him the strength to be able to run 4:01.

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