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In this segment Rose Monday, USATF Olympic Assistant Coach & former World Masters Champion in the 800m & 1500m, goes through some simple yet essential warm up routines. These will not only help you maintain proper flexibility, but also help warm your body up for the run/workout you will be going through.
As a distance runners it’s easy to walk out the door and take off on a long run without properly warming up. Often times young and old runners become injured because they feel a light jog will suffice as a warm up to their workouts. They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s important not to overlook what you already know.
Gain more insight and an additional video clip from, Becoming a Champion: 800/1500M for Girls’ Track & Field. Discover other great Middle Distance DVDs apart of our large Track & Field DVD collection!
We begin with Dwayne Miller, coach of the Norfolk Real Deal Track Club, as he coaches a strong group of 400 meter runners including 2X Olympic Gold Medalist LaShawn Merritt. As the season approaches, long sprinters and middle distances runners become a key to championship teams. Many coaches face a dilemma with their 400 runners in terms of “how hard should I go out” and “how should I pace a 400.” Since we know that the start of a 400 race can be key, we offer a drill and commentary from Coach Miller and LaShawn Merritt regarding the start of the 400 meter race.
Coach Miller breaks his 400 meter race into fifty meter segments. The first fifty meter concentrates on rhythm, tempo and remaining close to the inside of the lane. To do this, Coach Merritt uses the demonstrated stick drill to ensure proper foot placement at the start. The use of the sticks ensures a proper rhythm and speed as the athlete starts the race, and gets out in a fast, but controlled manner. Stressing the drive of the arms, and using a low foot recovery at the start, Coach Miller’s athletes will enter the backstretch ready to execute the rest of his race plan.
Monte Stratton, winner of 24 conference titles at TCU and Texas-Arlington, coaches Olympian Doc Patton, and is an acknowledged master of coaching the sprint relays. Sprint relay practice should be done at the start of practice when the runners are fresh and in the same type of fatigue level that they will be in at the meet. Technique work should be done when the body is fresh. The first and most important part of the relay is determining who your best curve and straightaway runners are, and putting them in the appropriate places on your relays.
Coach Patton states that all his runners are moved as far back in the acceleration zone as possible…”No games regarding who runs long and short.” The heel placed flat on the track in front of the acceleration triangle so that the judge is clear that the runner is legally ahead of the mark. The runner rolls forward and when the “go” mark is reached, the runner accelerates into full speed, preparing to receive the hand-off.
Nat Page of Georgia Tech was not only once a world class high jumper, but is an acknowledged master coach of the hurdle events. Lead leg and Trail leg drills are basic to any hurdler’s skill development. But sometimes seeing the fundamentals done by a master (Terrance Trammell) and explained by a master coach (Nat Page) can serve a valuable point by reminding all coaches and athletes, no matter how experienced, of those little technique cues and important points that can make all the difference in a championship season. Quickness in the lead getting up and down and running off the last hurdle are emphasized.
Be sure the athlete is focused on the proper form and not just going through a routine. On the trail leg drill the trail leg comes high around the hurdle and around in front of the body, to drive for the next hurdle. There should be no wasted action. Use line lines to make sure the body is aligned down the track.
Dwight Phillips, 2004 Olympic Long Jump Gold Medalist and three time World Outdoor Champion, reviews the basics and techniques of the long jump. One of the most daunting challenges for a long jumper is to get into proper take-off position, transitioning from the run to the take-off. Jumpers either tend to “settle” down on the board, driving down; or they tend to come in too high and “crow hop” off the board. The penultimate step (the last step before take-off) is key here. Phillips has some unique ideas in terms of how to deal with this. The most important aspect of the penultimate step is set your body up for a successful jump.
Phillips suggests keeping the shoulders tall, the hips tall and the body centered over your center of gravity. The lowering of the hips is not a conscious move, but the result of a longer step into the penultimate step. Phillips runs flat-footed the entire approach, so that there is no sudden shift of body position or “sinking” of the hips on the ultimate step. Regarding “looking at the board”, Phillips mentions that while many coaches drill athletes not to do this, it is in fact a natural result of the body steering itself down the runway and adjusting. Rather than teaching athletes to do what is unnatural (“Don’t look at the board!”) Phillips suggests that athletes should use their peripheral vision to be aware of where the board is.