Coaching Youth Middle Distance Runners: Training

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Coaching Youth
Middle Distance Runners

Among the works written about the subject of training young middle distance runners, Loprinzi et al. (2012) summarize the subject well. From their conclusions:

We suggest that, when feasible, coaches individualize and employ periodization into their runner’s training regimen. Additionally, it may be beneficial to limit the intensity and frequency of training in the off-season and, to assess for overtraining, evaluate the runner's motivation and mood levels, as well as morning heart rate. To reduce the likelihood of injury, coaches should employ a systematic training regimen and runners are encouraged to develop their core strength and wear appropriate running shoes. (p. 35)

Most important among these tenets is the principle of individuality: "Training should be directed and tailored to the individual, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses and how these weaknesses can be addressed as development proceeds" (Kennedy et al., 2005, p. 42). Coaches should also be aware of the different responses to training that younger runners may have compared to more mature athletes. While children are trainable, they may not develop as an adult would in similar training conditions (Bar-Or, 2012; Lemura et al., 1999). Additionally, their bodies do not adjust to warmer temperatures as well as those of adults, and thus may need more time to acclimatize (Armstrong et al., 1996).

Intensity and Volume

[edit | edit source]

A strong debate exists between the proponents of various training philosophies advocating either high-intensity, low-volume or high-volume, low-intensity training programs (Enoksen et al., 2011; Helgerud et al., 2007; Seiler & Tønnessen, 2009). In their review of the literature in this area, Nielsen et al. (2012) found no definite correlation between running-related injuries and the volume, duration, intensity, and frequency of training. That said, more training—either through increased intensity or volume—is not necessarily better. A study from Garcin et al. (2002) found that highly trained athletes' physiological characteristics did not improve after adopting a more difficult interval training regimen, and their rating of perceived exertion (RPE) for equivalent work loads actually increased over that time. Nor is long, slow distance necessarily advisable: "in order to prevent overloading of the metatarsals in adolescent runners, excessive mileage at jogging pace should be avoided" (Fourchet et al., 2012, p. 685). Coaches often strive to achieve a balance between the two approaches (Laursen, 2010), but the primary purpose of this work is to provide practical advice for coaches for the administration of young athletes' training programs, not to advocate specific training philosophies.


[edit | edit source]

Tapering is the process by which an athlete reduces his or her training load for a period of time prior to an important competition in order to improve performance. A taper that reduces volume—but not intensity—is an effective tool for improving race performance (Mujika, 2010; Mujika & Padilla, 2003). In a meta-analysis of the literature regarding the tapering process for athletes, Bosquet et al. (2007) concluded that "a two-week taper during which training volume is exponentially reduced by 41–60% seems to be the most efficient strategy to maximize performance gains" (p. 1364). Even a three-week reduction in training has been shown to have no negative effect on endurance training adaptations (Houmard et al., 1990).


[edit | edit source]

Although almost every coach mandates that his or her athletes perform a warm-up routine prior to practices and competition, few understand the scientific basis for such an activity. Warming up may help to avoid next-day soreness (Law & Herbert, 2007), but the literature regarding warm-ups and stretching does not indicate that they lead to a reduction in injuries (Thacker et al., 2004; van Mechelen et al., 1993). Static stretching, i.e. reaching down to touch the toes, is not an effective warm-up technique. In fact, static stretching prior to a race may actually increase the energy cost of running and thus hurt performance (Wilson et al., 2010). Although performing dynamic stretches, i.e. high knees, may not improve elite runners' race performance (Wunderlich, 2012; Zourdos et al., 2012), they are a much more effective warm-up protocol than static stretching for young athletes (Faigenbaum et al., 2005) and distance runners in general (Leon et al., 2012). Regarding stride-outs, i.e. short runs of increasing speed and intensity, performed as part of a warm-up routine, Ingham et al. (2013) showed that running two 50 m stride-outs followed by a 200 m run at race pace as a warm-up improved 800 m time trial performance more than running six 50 m stride-outs.


[edit | edit source]

Middle distance running is a relatively inexpensive sport; however, there are many misconceptions regarding the few pieces of equipment required to participate. Products can be purchased as needed, but most will have little or no real impact on performance. Athletes may feel that they prefer a product even when it provides no real benefits. In a study comparing conventional socks to the fitted socks often sold at running specialty stores, Purvis and Tunstall (2004) found that the subjects preferred the specialty socks; however, they produced no physiological advantage and the runners still described the conventional sock as comfortable. Ali et al. (2010) found a similar "comfort only" effect with compression socks, made popular by professional athletes like Paula Radcliffe, although Kemmler et al. (2009) did find that they significantly improved running performance. Lower body compression garments may improve some physiological measurements, but have not been shown to improve performance (Dascombe et al., 2011). Manufacturers often advertise clothing made of synthetic material as some kind of aid for sweat evaporation, but there is no evidence to suggest that these garments aid thermoregulation or comfort during exercise (Gavin, 2003). Treadmills should only be used as a last resort for training. In their study, LaCaille, Masters, and Heath (2004) found that

the treadmill setting was rated as least satisfying, while resulting in the highest RPE and slowest performance time. Alternately, the outdoor route resulted in the highest levels of positive engagement, revitalization, tranquillity, and course satisfaction, while also yielding the lowest levels of physical exhaustion and RPE. (p. 461)


[edit | edit source]

Training shoes can significantly alter adolescent runners' biomechanics (Mullen & Toby, 2013), but athletes are often misled by marketing approaches. Running shoes are often sold as a way to either increase comfort or avoid injury, yet there is no valid evidence to justify manufacturers' practice of focusing on pronation control or cushioning (Richards et al., 2009). Enke et al. (2009) found that almost three fourths of the adolescent cross country runners they surveyed claimed that arch type was most important factor when buying running shoes, but only a little more than one half knew their own arch type; this lack of self-knowledge holds true for recreational runners in general (Hohmann et al., 2012). Athletes should wear what feels comfortable for them, not what costs more. Clinghan et al. (2008) found that "low- and medium-cost running shoes in each of the three brands tested provided the same (if not better) cushioning of plantar pressure as high-cost running shoes" (p. 189). One notable exception to this rule may apply if similar styles are available as models for both children and adults. Forrest et al. (2012) found that these versions differed sharply in their composition and kinematic effects, even among the same size. They recommend using the adult version when available.

Although significantly different from true barefoot running (Bonacci et al., 2013), the use of so-called "minimalist" running shoes has attracted attention from some researchers, primarily because runners who prefer such footwear may be more likely to use a forefoot strike pattern—that is, they hit the ground with the ball of the foot first, followed by the heel (Goss & Gross, 2012). Some researchers have associated this pattern with a reduced risk of overuse injury (Daoud et al., 2012), but the use of minimalist footwear has not yet been shown to have a corrective effect on habitual rearfoot strikers (TenBroek et al., 2013), and can pose a risk for bone injury (Ridge et al., 2013). According to a review of the literature by Goble et al. (2013), "current evidence is insufficient to indicate that barefoot runners are faster, perform better, or are any less prone to injury than shod runners who prefer a heel‐striking gait" (p. 53). As suggested by Nigg and Enders (2013), "the important aspects of performance and/or injuries are more related to (a) individual preference and (b) individual running style, independent on whether the athlete runs in shoes or barefoot" (p. 6). In some cases, customized shoe orthoses may improve the comfort levels of athletes with chronic injuries (Hirschmüller et al., 2011).

Supplementary and Alternative Training

[edit | edit source]

Specificity is an important part of a training program: Cross-training programs involving activities such as biking or swimming, for example, are not as effective at improving performance as a specific running program (Foster et al., 1995). Middle distance runners may still benefit from other forms of training, however:

Gender Differences

[edit | edit source]

As with all other aspects of the sport, differences exist between genders on the approach to and the effects of middle distance training. For example, females' kinematic responses to competition footwear, such as racing flats or spikes, differs significantly from males' (Logan et al., 2010). Most notably, younger female runners at are at a higher risk of overuse injury than males (Rauh et al., 2000). In terms of acute injuries, boys are more likely to suffer from pelvic issues, while girls are more likely to sustain ankle injuries (Reid et al., 2012). Stress fractures, one of the most common chronic issues affecting runners, are influenced by different factors for male and female runners:

Multivariate regression identified four independent risk factors for stress fractures in girls: prior fracture, BMI [Body Mass Index] <19, late menarche (age menarche ≥15 years), and previous participation in gymnastics or dance. For boys, prior fracture and increased number of seasons were associated with an increased rate of stress fractures, whereas prior participation in basketball was associated with a decreased risk of stress fractures. (Tenforde et al., 2013, p. 1843)

It is also important to note that contrary to popular belief, "intensive endurance training during childhood and adolescence does not influence size attained and rate of growth in stature and body mass" (Eisenmann & Malina, 2002, p. 168); importantly, this holds true for female runners as well (Baxter-Jones et al., 2002). Some female runners may perceive strength training in a negative light as a physique-changing activity—they want to avoid the "ripped" look—but it is important to note that

implementing a vigorous strength training program in previously untrained (strength) female distance runners may yield positive results in running economy. Upper and lower body strength improvements are evident and expected in a program of this type. Also, this improved strength is not associated with significant changes in body composition. The improvement in running economy would be significant for a competitive distance runner. It could shave vital seconds off her time and it is these seconds that determine a runner's placement in a race. (Johnson et al., 1997, p. 228)


[edit | edit source]
Ali, A., Creasy, R. H., & Edge, J. A. (2010). Physiological effects of wearing graduated compression stockings during running. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 106(6), 1017–1025. doi:10.1007/s00421-010-1447-1. 
Armstrong, L., Epstein, Y., Greenleaf, J., Haymes, E., Hubbard, R., Roberts, W., & Thompson, P. (1996). Heat and cold illnesses during distance running. Medical Science of Sports Exercise, 28, 39–60. 
Bar-Or, O. (2012). Developing the prepubertal athlete: Physiological principles. In J. P. Troupe, A. P. Hollander, D. Strasse et al. (Eds.). Biomechanics and medicine in swimming. 7 (pp. 135–140). 
Baxter-Jones, A., Thompson, A., & Malina, R. (2002). N. Maffulli. Growth and maturation in elite young female athletes. Sports Medicine & Arthroscopy Review, 10(1), 42–49. doi:10.1097/00132585-200210010-00007. 
Bonacci, J., Saunders, P., Hicks, A., Rantalainen, T., Vicenzino, B. T., & Spratford, W. (2013). Running in a minimalist and lightweight shoe is not the same as running barefoot: A biomechanical study. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(6), 387–392. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091837. 
Bosch, A. (2006). Exercise science and coaching: Correcting common misunderstandings about endurance exercise. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 1(1), 77–87. doi:10.1260/174795406776338481. 
Bosquet, L., Montpetit, J., Arvisais, D., & Mujika, I. (2007). Effects of tapering on performance: A meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(8). doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31806010e0. 
Clinghan, R., Arnold, G. P., Drew, T. S., Cochrane, L. A., & Abboud, R. J. (2008). Do you get value for money when you buy an expensive pair of running shoes?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(3), 189–193. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.038844. 
Daoud, A. I., Geissler, G. J., Wang, F., Saretsky, J., Daoud, Y. A., & Lieberman, D. E. (2012). Foot strike and injury rates in endurance runners: A retrospective study. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(7), 1325–1334. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182465115. 
Dascombe, B. J., Hoare, T. K., Sear, J. A., Reaburn, P. R., & Scanlan, A. T. (2011). The effects of wearing undersized lower-body compression garments on endurance running performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology Performance, 6(2), 160–173. 
Eisenmann, J. C., & Malina, R. M. (2002). Growth status and estimated growth rate of young distance runners. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23(3), 168–173. doi:10.1055/s-2002-23174. 
Enke, R. C., Laskowski, E. R., & Thomsen, K. M. (2009). Running shoe selection criteria among adolescent cross-country runners. PM&R, 1(9), 816–819. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2009.07.011. 
Enoksen, Shalfawi, & Tønnessen (2011). The effect of high- vs. low-intensity training on aerobic capacity in well-trained male middle-distance runners. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(3), 812–818. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cc2291. 
Faigenbaum, A. D., Bellucci, M., Bernieri, A., Bakker, B., & Hoorens, K. (2005). Acute effects of different warm-up protocols on fitness performance in children. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 19(2), 376–381. doi:10.1519/R-15344.1. 
Forrest, D., Dufek, J. S., & Mercer, J. A. (2012). Impact characteristics of female children running in adult vs. youth shoes of the same size. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 28(5), 593–598. 
Fredericson, M., & Moore, T. (2005). Muscular balance, core stability, and injury prevention for middle-and long-distance runners. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16(3), 669–689. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2005.03.001. 
Fourchet, F., Kelly, L., Horobeanu, C., Loepelt, H., Taiar, R., & Millet, G. P. (2012). Comparison of plantar pressure distribution in adolescent runners at low vs. high running velocity. Gait & Posture, 35(4), 685–687. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.12.004. 
Foster, C., Hector, L. L., Welsh, R., Schrager, M., Green, M. A., & Snyder, A. C. (1995). Effects of specific versus cross-training on running performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 70(4), 367–372. doi:10.1007/BF00865035. 
Garcin, M., Fleury, M., & Billat, V. (2002). The ratio HLa: RPE as a tool to appreciate overreaching in young high-level middle-distance runners. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23(1), 16–21. doi:10.1055/s-2002-19275. 
Gavin, T. P. (2003). Clothing and thermoregulation during exercise. Sports Medicine, 33(13), 941–947. doi:10.2165/00007256-200333130-00001. 
Goble, C., Wegler, J., & Forest, C. P. (2013). The potential hazards of barefoot running: Proceed with caution. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 26(3), 49–53. doi:10.1097/01720610-201303000-00010. 
Goss, D. L., & Gross, M. T. (2012). Relationships among self-reported shoe type, footstrike pattern, and injury incidence. U. S. Army Medical Department Journal,, 25–30. 
Helgerud, J., Høydal, K., Wang, E., Karlsen, T., Berg, P., Bjerkaas, M., . . . Hjorth, N. (2007). Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve V̇o2max more than moderate training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(4), 665–671. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e3180304570. 
Hirschmüller, A., Baur, H., Müller, S., Helwig, P., Dickhuth, H. H., & Mayer, F. (2011). Clinical effectiveness of customised sport shoe orthoses for overuse injuries in runners: A randomised controlled study. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(12), 959–965. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.055830. 
Hohmann, E., Reaburn, P., & Imhoff, A. (2012). Runner's knowledge of their foot type: Do they really know?. The Foot, 22(3), 205–210. doi:10.1016/j.foot.2012.04.008. 
Houmard, J. A., Costill, D. L., Mitchell, J. B., Park, S. H., Hickner, R. C., & Roemmich, J. N. (1990). Reduced training maintains performance in distance runners. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 11(1), 46–52. doi:10.1055/s-2007-1024761. 
Ingham, S. A., Fudge, B. W., Pringle, J. S., & Jones, A. M. (2013). Improvement of 800-m running performance with prior high-intensity exercise. International Journal of Sports Physiology Performance, 8(1), 77–83. 
Johnson, R. E., Quinn, T. J., Kertzer, R., & Vroman, N. B. (1997). Strength training in female distance runners: Impact on running economy. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 11(4), 224–229. doi:10.1519/00124278-199711000-00004. 
Kemmler, W., von Stengel, S., Köckritz, C., Mayhew, J., Wassermann, A., & Zapf, J. (2009). Effect of compression stockings on running performance in men runners. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(1), 101–105. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818eaef3. 
Kennedy, J. G., Knowles, B., Dolan, M., & Bohne, W. (2005). Foot and ankle injuries in the adolescent runner. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 17(1), 34–42. doi:10.1097/01.mop.0000150921.96790.0b. 
LaCaille, R. A., Masters, K. S., & Heath, E. M. (2004). Effects of cognitive strategy and exercise setting on running performance, perceived exertion, affect, and satisfaction. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5(4), 461–476. doi:10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00039-6. 
Laursen, P. B. (2010). Training for intense exercise performance: High‐intensity or high‐volume training?. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(S2), 1–10. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01184.x. 
Law, R. Y. W., & Herbert, R. D. (2007). Warm-up reduces delayed-onset muscle soreness but cool-down does not: A randomised controlled trial. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 53, 91–95. doi:10.1016/S0004-9514(07)70041-7. 
Lemura, L. M., von Duvillard, S. P., & Carolanas (1999). Can exercise training improve maximal aerobic power V̇o2max in children: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 2(3), 1–17. 
Leon, C., Oh, H. -J., & Rana, S. (2012). A purposeful dynamic stretching routine. Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators, 25(5), 1–44. doi:10.1080/08924562.2012.10592167. 
Logan, S., Hunter, I., Hopkins, J. T., Feland, J. B., & Parcell, A. C. (2010). Ground reaction force differences between running shoes, racing flats, and distance spikes in runners. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 9(1), 147–153. 
Loprinzi, P., Greenwood, T., & Cornwell, R. (2012). M. Buns. Training adolescent distance runners. Track & Cross Country Journal, 1(4), 26–34. 
Malina, R., Ignasiak, Z., Rożek, K., Sławińska, T., Domaradzki, J., Fugiel, J., & Kochan, K. (2011). Growth, maturity and functional characteristics of female athletes 11–15 years of age. Human Movement, 12(1), 31–40. doi:10.2478/v10038-011-0003-0. 
McGuine, T. A., & Keene, J. S. (2006). The effect of a balance training program on the risk of ankle sprains in high school athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 34(7), 1103–1111. doi:10.1177/0363546505284191. 
Mikkola, J., Rusko, H., Nummela, A., Pollari, T., & Häkkinen, K. (2006). Concurrent endurance and explosive type strength training improves neuromusculdar and anaerobic characteristics in young distance runners. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 28(7), 602–611. doi:10.1055/s-2007-964849. 
Mullen, S., & Toby, E. B. (2013). Adolescent runners: The effect of training shoes on running kinematics. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 33(4), 453–457. doi:10.1097/BPO.0b013e31829241dc. 
Mujika, I. (2010). Intense training: The key to optimal performance before and during the taper. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(Supplement issue 2), 24–31. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01189.x. 
Mujika, I., & Padilla, S. (2003). Scientific bases for precompetition tapering strategies. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(7), 1182–1187. doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000074448.73931.11. 
Nielsen, R. Ø., Buist, I., Sørensen, H., Lind, M., & Rasmussen, S. (2012). Training errors and running related injuries: A systematic review. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7(1), 58–75. 
Nigg, B., & Enders, H. (2013). Barefoot running – some critical considerations. Footwear Science, 5(1), 1–7. doi:10.1080/19424280.2013.766649. 
Purvis, A., & Tunstall, H. (2004). Effects of sock type on foot skin temperature and thermal demand during exercise. Ergonomics, 47(15), 1657–1668. doi:10.1080/00140130412331290880. 
Rauh, M., Margherita, A., Rice, S., Koepsell, T., & Rivara, F. (2000). High school cross country running injuries: A longitudinal study. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 10(2), 110–116. doi:10.1097/00042752-200004000-00005. 
Reid, J. P., Nelson, N. G., Roberts, K. J., & McKenzie, L. B. (2012). Track-related injuries in children and adolescents treated in US emergency departments from 1991 through 2008. Physician and Sports Medicine, 40(2), 56–63. doi:10.3810/psm.2012.05.1965. 
Richards, C. E., Magin, P. J., & Callister, R. (2009). Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(3), 159–162. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.046680. 
Ridge, S. T., Johnson, A. W., Mitchell, U. H., Hunter, I., Robinson, E., Rich, B. S., & Brown, S. D. (2013). Foot bone marrow edema after 10-week transition to minimalist running shoes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(7). doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182874769. 
TenBroek, T. M., Rodrigues, P., Frederick, E. C., & Hamill, J. (2013). Effects of unknown footwear midsole thickness on running kinematics within the initial six minutes of running. Footwear Science, 5(1), 1–11. doi:10.1080/19424280.2012.744360. 
Tenforde, A. S., Sayres, L. C., McCurdy, L., Sainani, K. L., & Fredericson, M. (2013). Identifying sex-specific risk factors for stress fractures in adolescent runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(10), 1843–1851. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182963d75. 
Thacker, S. B., Gilchrist, J., Stroup, D. F., Jr., & Kimsey, C. D. (2004). The impact of stretching on sports injury risk: A systematic review of the literature. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 36(3), 371–378. doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000117134.83018.F7. 
Sedano, S., Marín, P. J., Cuadrado, G., & Redondo, J. C. (2013). Concurrent training in elite male runners: The influence of strength versus muscular endurance training on performance outcomes. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(9). doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318280cc26. 
Seiler, S., & Tønnessen, E. (2009). Intervals, thresholds, and long slow distance: The role of intensity and duration in endurance training. Sportscience, 13, 32–53. 
van Mechelen, W., Hlobil, H., Kemper, H. C., Voorn, W. J., & de Jongh, H. R. (1993). Prevention of running injuries by warm-up, cool-down, and stretching exercises. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 21(5), 711–719. doi:10.1177/036354659302100513. 
Wilson, J. M., Hornbuckle, L. M., Kim, J.-S., Ugrinowitsch, C., Lee, S.-R., Zourdos, M. C., . . . Panton, L. B. (2010). Effects of static stretching on energy cost and running endurance performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(9), 2274–2279. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b22ad6. 
Wunderlich, A. (2012). Dynamic warm-up effect on 5-km performance and running economy in collegiate cross-country runners (Unpublished master's thesis). 
Yamamoto, L., Lopez, R., Klau, J., Casa, D., Kraemer, W., & Maresh, C. (2008). The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: A systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(6), 2036–2044. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318185f2f0. 
Zourdos, M. C., Wilson, J. M., Sommer, B. A., Lee, S. R., Park, Y. M., Henning, P. C., . . . Kim, J. S. (2012). Effects of dynamic stretching on energy cost and running endurance performance in trained male runners. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(2), 335. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318225bbae. 

Psychology · Competition