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Thread: Kids running track

  1. #1
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    Default Kids running track

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    Hi Ripp,
    I have 3 kids who all run track and cross country. I know you have made your feelings on long distance running very clear, but I am unaware of what you consider to be long distance. The longest race any of them run right now are 2 miles. I bought a sled for them to pull (I wasn't aware of the prowler at the time). Aside from running, are squats and a sled/prowler the best way to prepare them or is there something else we could do? How would you set up training for a 1600m, 2400m, and 3200m? Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
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    I'm not a track coach, sorry.

  3. #3
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    I Ran track and cross country in HS. (I am 45 now).

    Wish I had done some real strength training. I was pretty good. Added strength would have made me really really good.

    I'd imagine NLP twice a week (vs 3)during summer could be a great thing and time to implement.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowpoke0610 View Post
    Hi Ripp,
    I have 3 kids who all run track and cross country. I know you have made your feelings on long distance running very clear, but I am unaware of what you consider to be long distance. The longest race any of them run right now are 2 miles. I bought a sled for them to pull (I wasn't aware of the prowler at the time). Aside from running, are squats and a sled/prowler the best way to prepare them or is there something else we could do? How would you set up training for a 1600m, 2400m, and 3200m? Thanks for your time.
    To me the biggest issue with cross country is running that much with a relatively high frequency makes it hard to do a NLP and recover. NLP is a wonderful thing and it works very well but it works best when you do it as your primary focus. Once you start adapting it and changing things you at best make it less efficient and at worst make it easier to get hurt or stall out. Stalling out or missing reps is frustrating and really takes the fun out of the NLP. It would be infinitely better to me to just run it for 6 months in offseason if necessary to get strong and not have the added complexity of trying to serve two goals at once. A strong person can stay strong easier once itís achieved, even while doing their sport. Six months of primary focus is a small time price to pay for a lifetime of strength. Just my 2 cents.

  5. #5
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    Only thing Bb is that the HS kid isn't going to forego 6 months of running. At least I wouldn't have done that.

    During summer/after track, get them in the weight room, run the NLP 2 days a week. It is NOT ideal, but is better than nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bbinck1 View Post
    To me the biggest issue with cross country is running that much with a relatively high frequency makes it hard to do a NLP and recover. NLP is a wonderful thing and it works very well but it works best when you do it as your primary focus. Once you start adapting it and changing things you at best make it less efficient and at worst make it easier to get hurt or stall out. Stalling out or missing reps is frustrating and really takes the fun out of the NLP. It would be infinitely better to me to just run it for 6 months in offseason if necessary to get strong and not have the added complexity of trying to serve two goals at once. A strong person can stay strong easier once itís achieved, even while doing their sport. Six months of primary focus is a small time price to pay for a lifetime of strength. Just my 2 cents.

  6. #6
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    Thank yall very much for your time. I only think 1 of my kids is old enough to actually start training with weights, she is 15 and the other 2 are 13 and 12.
    Believe it or not, they dont try to run themselves to death.

    The frustating thing to me is the coaching at the school. I cant figure out what they're trying to accomplish. There is no rhyme or reason to it. They jump from 1 mile to 2 miles with endless variations and they arent timing any damn thing until 3 or 4 weeks into practice. How the hell do you know if its working? Every kid on the team other than my daughter has gotten slower from the 7th grade to 10th grade, seems to me like the coaching is not working.

    I told them not to have my kids train with weights at school because there is no supervision in the weight room and their "strength program" is just as random as the running. And this last year they switched to rubber band workouts, whatever the hell that is.

    Thats why i am thinking about putting my daughter on a program of squats and presses for strength with some sled pulls for conditioning about twice or three times a week. It wont be optimal, and she wont grow as much as she could, because as Ripp says constantly, she wont eat near enough.

    Im just trying to help her improve and be competitive. I really appreciate yall's time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpalios View Post
    Only thing Bb is that the HS kid isn't going to forego 6 months of running. At least I wouldn't have done that.

    During summer/after track, get them in the weight room, run the NLP 2 days a week. It is NOT ideal, but is better than nothing.
    I'll second that.

    Old guy in my 50s now, but I think back to my HS track/XC days and remember the year after I spent the summer in the gym doing unfocused gym bro stuff. Times for all races from 200m to 5K dropped significantly after gaining a bit of upper body strength. I bring this up now to my buddies from that era who now have kids in track/XC now and they all pooh-pooh the idea. But being able to channel that upper body strength through arm drive in the final 200m of a tough 5K cannot be explained, only experienced.

  8. #8
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    My recommendation is to pull the kids out of high schools sports altogether. More harm than good there. Find a club track organization, they are quite often better than the government schools.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Anders View Post
    I'll second that.

    Old guy in my 50s now, but I think back to my HS track/XC days and remember the year after I spent the summer in the gym doing unfocused gym bro stuff. Times for all races from 200m to 5K dropped significantly after gaining a bit of upper body strength. I bring this up now to my buddies from that era who now have kids in track/XC now and they all pooh-pooh the idea. But being able to channel that upper body strength through arm drive in the final 200m of a tough 5K cannot be explained, only experienced.
    Low back strength is far more important for sprinting. Think about what happens during the stride.

  9. #9
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    Howdy,

    I ran and coached a little cross-country, now I'm strength-focused, and this is what I would do if I were coaching. But I'm nowhere near the expert that many people here are, so please take this as an option to explore and tailor, not gospel:

    As for the distances, I would train those athletes the same. Unless they're at a very high-level school where athletes are really specialized, chances are they'll run all those distances at points during the track season. The exception I'd make: If you have a kid who feels like the 1600 is almost a sprint, if they run splits in the 800 about the same speed, I might not train them with as much mileage in favor of some intensity.

    If the cross-country season was August-October, I would probably have the runners working on strength and only strength, NLP twice a year, once in late spring, after track, and once in winter, after cross-country. They can mix in a SMALL handful of runs, keep the mileage VERY low, just to scratch the itch. Getting in intense strength training will keep them fit, and they'll stay fit without all that pounding.

    Conditioning would start to be blended in, and strength backed off in the pre-season and early parts of the season. This is the trickiest part because you want to subject them to a recoverable amount of stress, and equating running to strength training is basically impossible, so you'll have to guess and check and tailor differently for your different runners. I would err on the side of having them do too little, and recognize that this is not possible to do exactly the way it is with a linear progression.

    I was going to recommend looking into the Barbell Prescription for some more conservative training programs that you could mix in with running, but...I would encourage you to not try and have it both ways at the same time. Get stronger, then condition. Two different goals, two different directions.

    As a parent of an athlete, I would just pass on:

    Some coaches want the runners to show up in tip top shape, but I don't think a peak is sustainable, even for a high schooler, for a period of 3 months. Help your kids by preparing them to be improving as the season goes and perhaps not wow-ing everyone from day 1. Focus on where they want to be at the end of the season and work your way backwards in planning your training.

    Have lots of good food in the house, and encourage them to eat. Runners are notorious under-eaters (especially girls, sorry, just my experience). If you can, sit down to dinner together. If they know they're stuck at the table for 30 minutes, they might as well eat their fill.

    No scales. I know it might help if they're in a gaining mindset, but a lot of young people have a hard time ignoring that number or reading it for what it really means. If your kids' coach does any weighing or body fat testing, nip that in the bud.

    Put your kids to bed. Undersleeping is a huge factor for young athletes. Everyone's in bed by a certain time.

    Last thing: If what your kids like about running is partially the social aspect, or if they just plain enjoy running, then I'd be extra-conservative with their strength training. While I strongly believe that barbell training on the main lifts will help them athletically, it's almost impossible to push someone through NLP unless they want to do it. Ask anyone here who's tried to talk a spouse into it against their will.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2019
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    starting strength coach development program
    One thing I've noticed is how much stronger my calves, and 'outside of the calf' look, after 3 decades of running.

    While I don't assume my times would be faster bc of that, I can only imagine how the increase in my entire posterior chain will improve things.

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