an interesting read

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Tinman
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an interesting read

Post by Tinman » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:44 am

Why can't Americans approach the times of Sydnee, Steve, Harbor, Byers and Lacy? How about even these 3:51 milers: Richie Harris, Chuck Aragon and my roommate Tuesday-Saturday for the NYC marathon, John Gregorek, the Brown U. men's xc coach? They all ran faster than anyone in the past 3 years.
How does Jason Lunn get faster?
The same thing I asked Dr. David Martin, who treadmill tested me through the Olympic Committee from 1989-1997. His reply: "Get a year older."
He also said, "realize that you are not a rat on a wheel, that just runs and eats pellets all day. You have a family, wall starring time, Asics commitments, and 10 other things going on in your life."
I thought one of the best things he told me two weeks ago, was asked of him when the U. of Colorado flew him out to speak to the XC teams. Question: How can we battle fatigue. Anyone who read mr. Lear's book knows what a loaded statement this is. His reply: "As runners, there are so many avenues that effect performance. Hydration - the body is 75% made up of water. Sleep. Academics. Love. The problem - as runners, we want predicibility. We want to be able to say, at 330pm on Wednesday, we will have a great workout. The problem is, that so many variable will effect that workout, and we feel like a loser if we do not meet expectations."
I think that, if you run 4:10 in high school, and you are the best in the state, you try to run 4:09. If you are 2nd in the state at 4:12, you try and run 4:10. If someone comes along and runs 4:02, then everyone shoots for a time 2 seconds slower. If we really think 13:25 is fast, then I will train to run 13:23. I can't believe that I can run 13:10. Adam Goucher ran :10 or :11 a few years ago - do you think that eats at him now, knowing he did it once? he knows, if he gets healthy, he can do it again. Mr. Torres knows his coach can coach people to 13:10. He just has to believe.
My coach, Mike Durkin, said that I never truly believed in his training. I would say otherwise, and have facts of success to back it up. What he meant was, that I might run 200's in 28.5 seconds in July, yet be in shape to run 3:33. Why need to run :25's in practice, just to prove I could do it? If I knew it anyway, why not run paces that will teach my body to run at the pace after the 800 metes.
I also think the Foreign athletes helped me become a better athlete when I was in college. Racing against Rono, Nyambui, Maree and Bile, many much older than me, led me to believe that I needed to train better to beat them. Running 13:40's as a sophomore in college at U. Texas, and being smoked by 4-6 Africans, laughing as they ran up front, makes one go home and either change events the next year (I did this too!) and/or train harder. If the NCAA's are won in 3:40 this year, why should I train harder or think I can run 3:35?
Finally, get into races that help you run fast. Peak in July and August. Pay your way over to Europe and race in the B meets in the summer. All of this is true, but how do you support yourself financially to be in this position? I trained from November through January, putting in general mileage. Then, raced indoors, only over 3000's, and tried to break 8:00. S. Coe said that if you could run under 8 one time to me, you knew you did a good job in your winter training. Then, I would train from March through June, putting in the volume intervals. Hard days (M-W-Sat) would consist of 11-13 miles, including a 3-4 mile morning run. But my easy days, I think even my team laughs at now. 30 m's am, and 35-40 m's in the pm. 60-70 mins total for the day, and at 7:00 pace, or on a good day, 6:50 pace. Great way to count Badger miles.
I would not start speed work until June, and sometimes, July. By speed, I have to admit I ran 500's going through the 400 in 53-54 in late May. But July might be 200's running the first 100 in 15 and the last in 12. That was all out for me. I always believed that my coach would peak me at the right time, and that was half the battle.
I met B. Kennedy in Chicago Midway airport the day after the Notre Dame invite. We were talking about age, and how it effected his and my performance. "I was 36 when I made the '96 Olympic team, and I know there were other people in that race who trained hard, less injuries, and were better than me. How come I finished 4th, and went on to run 13:24 in Stockholm at age 36?" I continued by saying to Bob, I think that knowing how to race and where you have to be helped me more than the training others were putting in.
My team now is trying to peak for one race: Regionals. Best the school has ever finished is 5th, both in 1992 and 2001, my first year coaching here. I met one-on-one with 3 of my freshmen today, saying, this is how I was coached, and this is how I judge myself as a coach: After the 11.15 race, will you be able to look me in the eye, and say you felt the best ever in your life today? If so, then I have coached great. Even if your place is great, but you did not feel good, I feel that I have the athlete down. Other coaches are saying, sure, he had the NCAA xc champ at Div. 3 (u. of Chicago), but that was d3 stuff. Can he do it at D1? Steve Scott's teams are ranked #1 and #2, but that is NAIA, not D1.
When training, one has to fully trust in your coach. I thought I did, but knew that Mike meant not the Olympic Trials, when I did fully trust. He meant Olympic games - when he told me to visualize winning the 92 1500m. I could not. I visualized running well, running fast. Going through in 2:50, and hanging on. But not winning. Seb Coe said to me in 1988 - If I can get the 8" between my eyes and the top of my head right, I can beat anyone in the world. THink of that statement. I could say that about my high school, college and USA career - but not European. He could. Does Alan Webb enter the starting line at Pre this past year, and say that? No. He says like I did to himself - how close can I get to Mr. El G. The main reason I ran 3:31.01 in Koblenz in August of 1988, is because I happened to go out with the rabbits, and after hearing the split, thought, feel good, let's keep going. I was the only one who went with Ken and Lewis. My wife was in the stands, and knew the uncharted waters I was going through. Afterwards, not an athlete, she asked: "Why can't you run that way all the time?" To be honest, when you run from the front, and put it all on the line . . what happens when you fail? What happens if I ran 1:51 then 3:42? My confidence would be shot. My season over. I would realize that I could not run that fast, this year. The only way, was to go back and start the training cycle all over again. It was better to hang back, kick like mad, run 3:51 and get 5th, than to go for the win and fail. Yes, the wrong way to race. A nice way to continue to make a living. I spent 6 years raising my two of my three sons (Sebastian and Sammy) at home, and would not have had that opportunity if I had a normal job. But I still think when I coach, that is an area that I would like to race over again, and teach those today about how to push through being average. You may be reading this and say, 3:50 is not average. But it is when Cram or Aouita is running 3:47.
js (Jim Spivey)
Tinman
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Inquire via email:
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Wellpark

Re: an interesting read

Post by Wellpark » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:13 am

A real and honest reflection.

It is great to read about the Olympic Champions and their biographies but there was something just as compelling about Spivey's report.

How hard it is to really go for it if you don't believe in yourself. The compromises one person might make when trying to balance the sport you love with the need to make a career and look after your family.

This sport can chew you up and spit you out if you are an elite athlete. We reward winners but berate those that fail our high standards. It shows the psychological battle that racers face at all levels. We experience the same doubts and fears at local levels also.

I wonder if Coe would have had the same confidence to visualise winning if he was up against Mr El G?

A good read.

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