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Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

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  • Cyril
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Epelle-

    Yes, that is using XC as prep. for track instead of a separate highly competitive season unto itself. I think that is the way to go, especially for a middle distance runner. Train very light in summer, have fun with cross without taking it too seriously. Then rest a bit, and get ready for a more intense track season.

    For highly competitive individuals the trick is to keep xc in perspective. It hard for some guys to handle not being in front even though it should be viewed as prep. for track. It also hard for alot of coaches knowing they could have a more competitive xc team if they had some talented kids putting in more summer and fall effort.

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  • EPelle
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    I ran 51 races my senior year in high school - mainly a lot of 1,600m/800m doubles and a 4x4 at the end of every meet through regionals. I tripled twice. I didn t feel burned out by the time state finals rolled around, and PRd in the semis. I did this with an average of 30 mpw.

    There were two schools of thought when I entered my college program: One which had all the guys already up to 65-75 mpw when they arrived for cross, and another which had guys come in from light summer running and ready to train through the fall for January track season. I fell into the second category, and it was the best choice I could have made.

    The cross coach sacrificed points to give me time to develop.

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  • Iowa Master
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    When I was in high school(not in Iowa), we could compete in 4 running events besides the field events. My freshman year only about 10 guys were out for track so I would compete in the LJ,HJ,440,1x4,2x4,4x4. Even though we only had 1-2 meets per week, I was tired and my legs hurt all track season.

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  • jberger
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Of course some athletes get burned out by colleges. You never saw this kind of thing in the Eastern Bloc, where athletes were trained and raced rationally, with the aim being to maximize the athlete's potential. There are more than a few ways to burn out athletes, including not knowing how to coach them properly, and racing them too hard and too often. Mr. Hill's comment "What better training for racing than actually racing? Particularly when you're tired." is absurd.

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  • Cyril
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    To get back to the original question of this thread. The coach isn't as at fault as is the system which the coach is operating under. Within this system it is the coach's responsibility to produce winning teams. This goal entails getting the most out of each athlete during the current season or the four years that they are at the school. There is little or no concern beyond that. This often results in alot of racing, alot of training without long-term goals in mind, putting athletes through "cookie cutter" programs designed for the top 1-2 guys and even occasionally racing athletes ill or sick (to earn points for big meets).

    The program's success is a priority and the athletes short-term success is a means to that end.

    Again, in a coach's defense - they are just doing their job as directed by the AD. Produce winning teams not help an athlete to reach their ultimate potential upon phsical and pscholgoical maturation.

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  • palladium
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    >i believe this burning out and overtraining and overracing is all in ones mind,
    >bill rodgers ran races almost every week at the end of 140-170 miles a week, ed
    >heleybuck ran a 105 half marathon, one week after his 212 marathon at age 43,
    >mike musyocki ran a race almost every weekend. all 3 had long careers heleybuck
    >is still competing as is bill rodgers who now in his 50s said a couple of
    >months ago was his first real injury, he still runs excellent age group times
    >and when he is seen on interviews still seems very enthusiastic about running.
    >we have all heard stories of africans walking and running 6 miles each way
    >since early childhood, example geb said he did that at starting at age 6-7 and
    >he is still running great. so when runners say they are burned out on 80-90 mpw
    >i dont believe it.

    please. don't insult me. it's not in my head. i was one of many partial ride guys at U of M in the sulli, mort, snyder days. when i'm running between 90 and 110 mile weeks, at 5:45 or better, i can say with a level of assurance that when the body breaks down, it has nothing to do with my mind. i'm as tough as they come, and not shy to the workload, running long runs with mort dropping from 5:45 to 5:15 range. so again, i've done the miles, i've done them quick, and i'll have you know there's nothing wrong with my mind. when you hit that wall, you just hit it - it could be in the middle of a long run in your 7th or 8th plus 100 mile week and your legs just stop. there's nothing mental there. the legs just don't have it anymore. maybe if i was world class i wouldn't have that problem. given my limited potential and physiology, it was not mental, and i'm sure it's the same for a lot of college athletes.

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  • EPelle
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Cyril,

    Thanks for the post. I hope others see for themselves the trust, honesty and courage it takes to train to win (or PR) as clearly as you see it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cyril
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Epelle-

    A couple good posts. For the most part I agree, an athlete is, at least in part, responsible for his/her own actions and resulting fate. This is why it is so crucial for an athlete to fully trust the coach and for the coach to fully trust the athlete.

    The athlete must be confident that the coach has their best interest in mind with no other agenda (even a team championship can be seen as counterproductive to individual needs). The athlete must also trust the methods - they must agree in philosophy. To again use AW as an example - he didn't trust the Michigan system and we know the result.

    The coach must also be mature enough to hold a young or tired athlete back at times. Athletes often fear losing fitness or falling behind as a result of missed workouts. This results in attempts to train through sickness and injury. The coach must be strong enough to tell the athlete "no" and the athlete must trust enough to listen.

    Likewise the coach must trust the athlete. If the athlete says they are tired, sick, injured the coach must respect that. This is often tricky as many athletes won't be honest with their coaches or even themselves. They must be trained to listen to their bodies not to simply be tough, suck it up and "train through".

    Regarding the three-a-days. While this may seem extreme it, or course, depends on many factors. The athletes background, age, running style, weight, intensity of runs and distance of runs. One run of 20 miles at 5min./mi is much more demanding than 3 seven mile runs at 7min/mi. The breaks in between runs may actually be making ultimate workload easier than more difficult.

    Leave a comment:


  • magpie
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    >lets put some context into this. sub 14 sub 29 as a
    >freshman is Gabe Jennings territory (take a look at his freshman pr's and
    >you'll see they line up precisely). you're right, there's no way of knowing
    >what he could have done. but in the absence of taking a completely agnostic
    >view on this, we can infer based on what we know about physiological
    >progression of distance athletes et cetera that this kid had yet to hit his
    >potential; that in all likelihood he was a good 8 or 9 years away from his
    >potential.

    Sure, it is possible. It could also be likely that he did not have the internal makeup (mental/psychological) to handle the workload that loomed in those 8 or 9 years.

    Leave a comment:


  • EPelle
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    http://www.emit.no/midnatt/2003/ZM1000T.HTM

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  • EPelle
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    I met two Kenyans - Martin Ojuko and Fred Mogaka Ntabo - last summer in Göteborg, who were in Sweden for 3 months to road race.

    Martin stated to me that he and his training group train 3x every day except Saturday (1x) and Sunday (usually a road race). He invited me to train in Kenya with his running group, and I told him he was crazy. I would die from altitude running - let alone running hard 3x every single day.

    Martin told me one reason Kenyans are successful is that running 3x every day is not challenging for them, and they race only during specific times of the year. What remains is a very long training block to get strength, endurance and toughness.

    He really enjoys running in Europe, because he wins nearly every race, gains a good reputation, and earns a modest living along the way.

    Question: Is their system burning them out? Three-a-days seems like much - especially if done over a period of years. Given the way they train - and the 3-month racing season - I don t think they burn out as a whole.

    Race results from one of his races:
    http://www.emloppet.se/resultat/EMLopare.htm

    Leave a comment:


  • trackhead
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    I think everything written above falls under the old (Lydiard) principal of educating the athelte. If they know why they are doing what they are doing they will be honest and know what they need to come forward with.

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  • EPelle
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    To the coaches' and programs' defense: Some (not all) athletes overtrain on their own, as they take too little rest between competition seasons, and run too many hard miles (not just higher mileage, but AT training, steady states, fartleks) during their off-seasons. Their bodies feel great, they are handling the extra workloads and they push just a little extra, because they don t have any racing on the agenda for a period of time.

    Rest and recovery are so vital to the harmonious development of mind and body. Without rest and proper constrained recovery, athletes face an uphill battle when trying to stay opposite that thin red line, for they cross it more than periodically - they live on its edge an entire season.

    An athlete is responsible for saying, "coach, I have tired legs," or "coach, my body is breaking down". Whatever. If their coach doesn t take them seriously, then it becomes an issue. A coach is responsible for ensuring that the athlete - based on the athlete s capabilities and workload capacity that day - is able to commit to the prescribed workout.

    Together, in a team environment between coach and athlete, the two reach a conscious ideal of perfection (a goal), and develop a harmonious (give-and-take approach) path of reaching that stated goal.

    Ritzenhein ran a bunch (to some) races during high school. Critics will state he ran himself silly. Others will say Ritz trained and worked through most of those extra sessions (dual meets, regionals, state) for a bigger prize: a chance at national titles and a greater chance at running faster times.

    Ritz made a great transition between high school and college, and we all know the results (13.27,77) and an xc championship. Injuries forced him out between those book-ends.

    Read CUs homepage about Ritz s last race, and you will see that Ritz is hungry and determined, but perhaps a little impatient (was beaten by his frosh teammate, running 8.05 for 3k). His coach stated that Ritz hadn t raced since xc, and more will come later, despite Ritz not being happy with the race.

    I don t agree with the notion that college coaches burn out athletes. I will state that some college coaches don t have the right formulas for success, and perhaps overtrain athletes. However, an athlete is responsible for being honest enough to state the s/he is tired, slightly injured, in a psychological rut, whatever. There should not be any fault in an athlete telling a coach the truth, as there should be a door which opens freely from either direction.

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  • Cyril
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Doug-

    "Burnout" can result from various reasons. Too much training before the body is ready for the workload can result in injury which may become chronic. Chronic injury can lead to frustration with the sport - burnout. It can also result from too much or too intense training without sufficient recovery. This can lead to a lack of improvement leading to apathy (burnout). Burnout can also be due to unrealistic expectations. Genetic limitations and unrealistic goals can again lead to disillusionment - burnout.

    You are right. Burnout is in the mind. But the body and mind work very closely together. When one isn't cooperating with the other it can create turmoil for the athlete. Too much training, too much INTENSE training, too much INTENSE racing and not enough recovery can all lead to problems with the mind-body and resultant burnout.

    I've seen it over and over. AW the most recent highly visible soon to be victim - I am hopefully optimistic that Nike prevented this from occuring.

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  • doug b
    replied
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    i believe this burning out and overtraining and overracing is all in ones mind, bill rodgers ran races almost every week at the end of 140-170 miles a week, ed heleybuck ran a 105 half marathon, one week after his 212 marathon at age 43, mike musyocki ran a race almost every weekend. all 3 had long careers heleybuck is still competing as is bill rodgers who now in his 50s said a couple of months ago was his first real injury, he still runs excellent age group times and when he is seen on interviews still seems very enthusiastic about running. we have all heard stories of africans walking and running 6 miles each way since early childhood, example geb said he did that at starting at age 6-7 and he is still running great. so when runners say they are burned out on 80-90 mpw i dont believe it. if a high schooler runs 152/410/900 for the half. 1 and 2 miles, and runs all 3 events against a school whos best runner runs 2 flat for the half and 430 and 10 for the 1 and 2, this is an easy triple, when yobes ondieki became the first man under 27 for the 10k he said he was surprised, because it felt easier then some of his training sessions.

    Leave a comment:

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