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An Interesting Phenomenon...

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  • An Interesting Phenomenon...

    During my 13 years of competitive distance running I noticed that some runners were "workout kings" i.e. they could do the hard training but seldom, if ever did well in races. And out of 4-5 runners who were doing virtually the same training 1 or 2 of them always out ran the others in races.

    Then I realized this phenomena was not just in distance running, but in all events and even in all competitive sport. My Uncle Hugh Cannon held the WR in the discus briefly in 1943 with a 174-10 toss...and I remember my Dad (Hugh's brother) telling me how Hugh could never throw over 150-155 feet in practise, yet, in a meet, he always threw over 160.

    So, the obvious question: Why is it that some can rise to the occasion in competition and others do not?

  • #2
    GAMERS!

    In distance running many of us train so hard we leave the best miles on the training courses....do we train to train or train to race?

    The gamers understand what its all about. It is about competition. They also have immense confidence in their ability to rise to the occasion.

    While some athletes feel that they need to out-train everyone to out-race everyone, games know better.

    Gamers also have the ability to focus and summon 100% of the ability when needed. And, because they didn't leave it all out in training, they have 100% to give.

    I have coached both types. In the end, most sports are so much about innate natural ability and psychological confidence, that a little focused training with these types of athletes is all that is needed for them to do very well.

    It drives others crazy.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd liken it to the way people respond to tests of any kind. Some have Test Anxiety and do worse than they should, and others have Test Affinity, doing better than previous evaluations would predict. We frequently call the latter group, Slackers, thinking that they have just been lazy and could have done better before if they had only tried. I think just the opposite. I think Good Test Takers simply bring game when game is called for. It's not that they were lazy or sandbagging before, it's just they they rise to the challenge and if the challenge is not there, there is nothing to rise to. Depending on which side you see yourself, you probably disparage the other side. But it's just different strokes for different folks.

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      • #4
        While I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as one who didn't perform well in races, I will say that early on in my racing "career" I was just way too conservative. I got so "up" for the race and made it such a significant event in my mind that I ran fearfully.

        In practice, however, I was noted for my work ethic and encouraging and challenging teammates. No real cost involved in practice. But I sure didn't want to "blow" a race. Once I learned to run risky and leave it all out on the trails or track (with hardly a kick at the end), my strength and my times improved dramatically.

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        • #5
          What i saw was the top level guys on our team running the workout hard but controlled and the 2nd tear guys, me, always trying to improve and prove myself in practice. If i ran the workouts all out i could keep up with our big guns with the thought hey i can do it. I can run with these guys. Im not burning out in the workouts. Boy will i be ready for the race with these insanely great intervals.

          Then the race came and i choked....on the dust of the same guys i was right next to on friday's 18 miler. I was running a race every day and when the real one came i was usually flat.

          Oh well i will work even harder in monday's workout and then i will be able to race with the studs...and so on and so on...and ops:

          On a few occasions i got to the starting line fresh mentally and physically and ran magical break thru races.
          phsstt!

          Comment


          • #6
            Squack, I know what you mean. My grade-10 season was the most difficult in terms of keeping up on the varsity squad in practice and on the race courses in cross country. Our top-5 guys were between 20 and 60 seconds faster than me at 14.30-14.32-14.48-15.02-15.18 at sectional championships. This was the same all season, and nearly red-lined me from the first practice up to the conference meet. It was one thing trying to "prove" that one belonged on that squad, and another trying to "prove" that one should remain on that competitive team week in and week out.

            University was another story, however, as having that grade-10 experience gave me enough desire to succeed than at any other point in time. There, the object from day-1 was to improve in practice and race hard (yet smart). Took lumps the first couple times out, but made up for those insecurities in practice. Our trainer said that we:d never race as hard as we practiced, and he was right. What saved us was have two full days of less intense work between our last hard practice (wednesday) and race-day (saturday).

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            • #7
              Yes, i also finally get it now but its a little late. :cry: We had a 9:14 and 9:18 2 milers and this 9:38 has no bidness trying to kill em in practice. :shock:
              phsstt!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cyril
                I have coached both types. In the end, most sports are so much about innate natural ability and psychological confidence, that a little focused training with these types of athletes is all that is needed for them to do very well.

                It drives others crazy.
                I used different words 33 years ago as a high school senior, but agree with you 100%.

                I put it that once a runner's body becomes an efficient "machine" it was all left to the mind. The actual workout was well less than 10 %, with the mind's belief that"I know I am going to win this race" constituting over 90%.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chetanji
                  Originally posted by Cyril
                  I have coached both types. In the end, most sports are so much about innate natural ability and psychological confidence, that a little focused training with these types of athletes is all that is needed for them to do very well.

                  It drives others crazy.
                  I used different words 33 years ago as a high school senior, but agree with you 100%.

                  I put it that once a runner's body becomes an efficient "machine" it was all left to the mind. The actual workout was well less than 10 %, with the mind's belief that"I know I am going to win this race" constituting over 90%.
                  All the best athletes have a sense of this being the case. Their bodies are efficient machines and their minds let their bodies perform.

                  Of course, the higher the level the more important "proper" training becomes. Not over-training but progressive training. Gradually building on yesterday.

                  Coaches love these athletes as they absorb ever mile and every interval run. The temptation for a coach is to overdo it, which can, very quickly, end in injury.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cyril
                    Coaches love these athletes as they absorb ever mile and every interval run. The temptation for a coach is to overdo it, which can, very quickly, end in injury.
                    I could not help myself once the effort became effortless at times. I could not wait for the race. I see that as a sickness of some type. I would lay out pure Golden miles on the sidewalks of Adelphi Road in Hyattsville Maryland. Or University Blvd for mile after mile and be in Heaven.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In my experience, the guys who insisted on being "Tuesday All Americans" were the same who felt that "if it wasnt for coach X. I coulda been someone". Self-sabotage during the week, blame the coach on raceday.

                      I suspect they're the same ones who only come to athletics message boards to tear down various athletes and coaches.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A good coach wouldn't allow self-sabotage on his watch. If he wants the quarters run in 72 and someone keeps going 66, he needs to put a stop to it. If his guys are racing each other on LSD day, he says no.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cyril
                          Coaches love these athletes as they absorb ever mile and every interval run. The temptation for a coach is to overdo it, which can, very quickly, end in injury.
                          I feel the need to illustrate an example of the heart being open but no head to control it. Or the talented young athlete without a Coach of Experience to take him to the next level.

                          I ran a 2mile in a 3way meet with Malmo's DuVal, my Northwestern and Surratsville HS. We had over 10 runners in the race which was rare. I was very excited and took the first 440 out in 56, the Surratsville coach was calling splits and freaking out as I ran past, the 880 was 2:06 and most of the fellas where still with me.

                          I came through the mile in the mid 4:20's alone and after having lapped almost everyone twice I finished in 9:16 I think. I am utterly ashamed of this race. It is an excellent example of a young man without a coach.
                          I was naive and very immature as well. I did not know where to look for a long time.
                          As my Senior year was winding down I took on a University Coach as mentor and this helped a lot.

                          Looking back I would have liked to have taken everyone through an even 70 pace and know most of the guys would have broken PR's as they were psyched too.
                          But this did not happen, could not happen.
                          How does a Coach manage a runner that can't hold the energy? Or am I alone in this. I don't think so.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bekeselassie
                            A good coach wouldn't allow self-sabotage on his watch. If he wants the quarters run in 72 and someone keeps going 66, he needs to put a stop to it. If his guys are racing each other on LSD day, he says no.
                            Give me a break. Do you think a "good" coach is out on the roads for every "easy" day? If a guy wants to be self-destructive, he'll be self-destructive, no matter the coach (assuming the coach doesn't simply boot him from the team).

                            Coaches are accorded WAY too much influence in the minds of many here. The ultimate choice to improve and compete is on the athlete, not on any second party.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bekeselassie
                              A good coach wouldn't allow self-sabotage on his watch. If he wants the quarters run in 72 and someone keeps going 66, he needs to put a stop to it. If his guys are racing each other on LSD day, he says no.
                              By the time Indoor senior year came I was working out alone on the track. I had someone time me or I carried the stopwatch.
                              I did the best I could, and I blame no one for my problems.
                              I think any one who has a great Coach that motivates ,.....as well as knows how to take each individual higher,..... and (this was important for me) to be a Father when needed is indeed a very rare person.

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