Swimmer trying track

Posted In: What Would You Do?

      • Mike Young
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        Mike Young on #11576

        Athlete: A high school swimmer.

        Scenario: A freshman at your school has just finished his swim season and has decided to run track for the first time. He has been swimming at a very high level for the past 6 years and recently was awarded the MVP of his high school team. As a swimmer he does pretty much everything and has an unbelievable aerobic capacity. He's never run competitively before other than a 5k road race that he entered on a whim with no running training and ran a 17:50. He's also known around school as somewhat of a speed demon having displayed his speed in gym class and "Field Day" competitions. He's never done any running or strength training.

        Things to consider:
        *What event would you put him in?
        *How do you train him?
        *What do you focus on?

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        utfootball4 on #51341

        i think i would perform some field test to see what events i should put him at?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51342

        i think i would perform some field test to see what events i should put him at?

        What field tests would you use?

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Carson Boddicker on #51343

        Based on his high level of aerobic fitness, I'd place him in the mile and later adjust up and down.  Many athletes have come out of the pool and become very successful athletes–to my knowledge Alan Webb, Craig Miller, and Jordan Hassay.  His speed also makes him a prime canidate for success at the 1600/mile distance.  

        As far as training goes, I'd have him lay down a foundation of easy running to adapt to running for around 2-4 weeks before any intensity is added.  Being just a freshman, I may even be more inclined to keep his training a very high percentage of aerobic work complimented with alactic speed stuff.  His higher intensity days would consist of hill reps–short and long, to develop dynamic leg strength as well as gain enough aerobic/anaerobic power to compete well at the race distance.   There is no point in hammering a kid into the ground with 400m reps if he has 3 more seasons to run.  Another thing that I would definatly do is try to enstill a love of the sport in him so that he wants to come out again and keep improving.    

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        QUIKAZHELL on #51344

        Im with UT Football on this on.

        I'd test his  vertical, SLJ, and time him in a 30 not only to get a time but to get an idea of what he looks like when he runs.

        Remember I am a sprint coach and since you gave this athlete to me I am going to have to rule out that he is not a sprinter before giving him up to someone else on my imaginary staff.

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        utfootball4 on #51345

        30m standing=for acceleration…flying 30= top speed.150 standing specific end.. 600m= general end.. slj/5x= starting strength. 5xdou leg hop=elastic strength.

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        Carson Boddicker on #51346

        As far as testing goes, I think that after all the examples of successful middle distance athletes coming from a swimming background, you'd be remiss in not doing a test over a distance longer than 600m. 

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        QUIKAZHELL on #51347

        UT,
        Too many tests in my opinion. This kid is a freshman in high school. After you see the jumps and if his 30 is terrible you can pass him off the the dist. or mid dist coach. Having him run a 150 with no previous track experience may not tell you much. Same with the 600. This athlete has no idea about race distribution.

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        utfootball4 on #51348

        like quik said im a sprint coach i will see can he be a sprinter first if not pass him on to middle distance..

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        utfootball4 on #51349

        those are the test i may use, i wouldnt use all of them..

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        pzale8018 on #51350

        I am very much in agreement with doing some testing to start off with.  I think the most pertinent tests would be a vertical, standing long jump, standing 30 or flying 30, and some measure of aerobic capacity, maybe a mile run or a 12-min test.  The aerobic test is there to get an idea of his VO2max.  After looking at these results, you can then decide what events he would best fit into.

        My guess, based on his swimming background and natural speed, the 800 might be a good fit for him.  I agree with wsgeneral in that I would bring him along somewhat slowly in terms of how much you have him run.  You'd have to be careful about shin splints considering he's not used to weight bearing training.  You may have to be careful to remind him that he doesn't need to put in as much volume as he did swimming.  Normally, a swimmer would put in 6000-7000 yards a day.  this would be way too much to start the kid off at.  Also, you'd have to be careful to foster that desire to excell.  Training for track is a lot different than training for swimming.

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        john-c-s on #51351

        What is the story with his swim stuff, is he carrying on with that?
        How serious is he about track? Is it for a bit of a change and more for fun or is he going seriously looking at doing track in place of swimming?

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        Carson Boddicker on #51352

        The aerobic test is there to get an idea of his VO2max. .

        I think that knowing his VO2max would be okay, but by no means as an indication of performance as running economy or lactate threshold.  I would imagine that leg strength would be a limiting factor in this type of test. 

        Also, 6000-7000 yards a day is by no means too much to start out with in running.  It's a shade over two miles a day, which any healthy person can handle.   

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51353

        I'd probably use a variety of tests over the course of a couple days. While aerobic capacity may be highly developed, fitness is movement specific and I'd want to be sure that I was getting an accurate evaluation of the athlete's talent level. I'd probably use my evaluative test decathlon using the tests for endurance event athletes.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Carson Boddicker on #51354

        I'd probably use my evaluative test decathlon using the tests for endurance event athletes.

        What tests do you use for endurance athletes?  I've seen the tests for jumpers and sprinters, but do you just use longer test distances or what?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51355

        250m, 1000m, 50m bound

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Daniel Andrews on #51356

        I would probably do 3 tests, 1 mile TT, 300m, and VJ.  I would take as many splits as possible in both run tests.  The biggest problem I think is you have to let the kid find out what he's really good at.  If he can run a 4:45 mile, he may be more than capable of beating nearly all my sprinters, but overall ability as a sprinter he may only be just above average, whle a 4:45 mile TT indicates something different altogether like top 5% of his age group.  The other tests just tell me if he is capable of complementing in relays or jumps.

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        Carson Boddicker on #51357

        So if he comes out with that 4:45, how do you train him?

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        Daniel Andrews on #51358

        I start him like a 400/800 runner, with the intention of moving him back.

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        Carson Boddicker on #51359

        Moving him back meaning shortening the distance, or going up to the 2 mile?  I think I see what you are saying here.  What kind of volume and intensity would you use with your freshman?

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        Daniel Andrews on #51360

        I would follow this general pattern of relative intesity on a weekly basis

        Mon  medium (This would be a session off pace work ie 2x3K @ 5K or 3×600 @ mile pace etc.. or a 3-5 mile run)
        Tue  hard (event specific work for upcoming meet)
        wed  med hard  (This would be a session based on pace work that was preceeded by MaxV work, which I would probably preceed by hurdle mobility)
        Thu  med or low  (Pool/Bike/easy 2-3 miler) 
        Fri    off/active rest or race (hard)
        Sat  race (hard) or low
        Sun  off/active rest

        I would probably do medball circuits, MaxV, and Plyos 1 time a week.

        When I speak of moving back, I would tend to think his "speed" would be better served in 800/1600 realm, but only after a couple of training years under his belt before I thought of making him a true threat in both of those.  I can find ways his "speed" and lack of training years would serve him better success without burnout having him master in HS what mid distance events typically are considered 400/800/IH an occasional 1600 and 200 thrown in there.

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