The Great Debate

Posted In: Polls

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        Jay Turner on #16042

        Should sprinters run Cross Country, or are they better served to do sprint specific training in the fall?

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        RunnerMan on #87180

        Voted no, but for high school/beginner 400m sprinters I’d say cross country is about as good as anything else that could be done at that stage during development. Sprint specific training would almost always be better though, simply because of its specificity. However, cross country would be better then doping absolutely nothing. And if sprinters are forced into it at school, I’d recommend altered training, maybe trying to get as much fitness as possible out of high volume extensive tempo and longer reps, hill work, or whatever, but try to avoid as many ‘junk’ miles as possible.

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        Matt Norquist on #87183

        I’m a big fan of CC for early in athlete’s training lives. For following reasons:

        1. Builds strength to train on both later in season and later in careers
        2. Gives track athletes more time working with coaches than just the 3 month track season (for many states, this is extremely important – in that there are rules about when seasons can start, when athletes can get coaching, etc).
        3. Develops mental and physical toughness

        I agree, the junk miles should be avoided. One thing people worry about is that the distance work will inhibit sprinting ability. My belief is that it won’t. If there is never any speed work, then that is a risk, but in the long run, I don’t believe it will inhibit a sprinter’s development.

        Once an athlete is developing (say from age 16-17 on) and you can see real potential in a sprint/jump/multi event, then it is probably time to stop doing CC.

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        Josh Hurlebaus on #87186

        Boys soccer takes place during XC season, so I’d go with soccer over XC in high school.

        In my experience, boys who participate in soccer tend to have stronger front side mechanics. Perhaps due to the emphasis on kicking/hip flexor strength or maybe the greater hip flexibility and ROM? Either way I tend to like what I see in soccer players more then the kids who did XC and then decide to become sprinters.

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        star61 on #87187

        Boys soccer takes place during XC season, so I’d go with soccer over XC in high school.

        In my experience, boys who participate in soccer tend to have stronger front side mechanics. Perhaps due to the emphasis on kicking/hip flexor strength or maybe the greater hip flexibility and ROM? Either way I tend to like what I see in soccer players more then the kids who did XC and then decide to become sprinters.

        We had two girls, both were big time soccer players, that ran track with my daughter. They were not among the four or five fastest in the 100m, and only one was in the top five in the 200m. Both made it to State in the 400m, one running 57.low and the other ran 56.high. Definite benefits from soccer training if you’re a 400m runner. Much, much better than xc. XC should be avoided unless running 800m and higher.

        Would be nice to have the fall semester to focus on strength, general fitness, acceleration and Max V. From what I’ve seen most high school programs do a lot of overdistance and endurance training, so getting a lot of speed work before the season starts would be a big advantage.

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        Josh Hurlebaus on #87188

        Agreed on fall being a time for speed for high school, especially here in the north. If you don’t get speed work in then, and you dont have an indoor track, you won’t be getting it in until april or may!

      • Nick Newman
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        Nick Newman on #87190

        Not sure yuou can call something the great debate…if the answer is so obvious!

        NO!

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        RussZHC on #87191

        As Josh said, I think location has an influence…of course there are principles I want to follow but some that I will “sacrifice” simply because some types/distances of workouts just seem to work better outdoors on a full size track than indoors trying to avoid others and stopping short for walls etc. As example MaxV may perhaps be emphasized later in fall but a 15m to 20m build up, 30m flying and then shutting down works way better outdoors on a 110m straight v. indoors on a 60m infield or banked curve (or at least in the indoor arrangement we have).
        The local cross country season is done near end of October some years and that is way too cold for any sprint type work. We have some days in early September where we should really be indoors already due to temperatures. I like the idea of variation within runs that cross country gives so something quite a bit shorter and controlled but of a similar style, that I could agree with but that really is not cross country anymore.

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        aivala on #87208

        As a jumper / sprinter who was sadly forced to run XC from ages 8 to 17, NO WAY!! It just screwed my progression, was an unnecessary torture, even when I showed I wasn’t build for it at age 8 (finishing dead last of 75 runners in my age group) was still forced to do it. When I even took it seriously as you guys in this thread propose my jumping ability was blown up, reactivity down the toilet. Not to mention the momentaneous mental devastation after being ass-kicked in that fashion. Thank god last year I realized this and “cheated” during races, I just walked those.

        There are other and much better means to achieve the same targets (pain endurance, fitness).

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        Jay Turner on #87227

        Not sure yuou can call something the great debate…if the answer is so obvious!

        NO!

        I kinda had a heated “disagreement” with another coach about this issue. I’m not necessarily against XC if the athlete has nothing else to do during fall. It’s certainly better than doing nothing. However, if the athlete(s) have a coach who is available to them in the fall, I don’t think it’s even an option. . . . no cross country!

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        aivala on #87254

        It’s certainly better than doing nothing.

        I believe the time that takes to counter train the bad habits,invert the physiological changes of XC and get to a decent sprinting shape is bigger than it would take to train someone who played videogames during winter. You would even have an advantage while not doing xc because you don’t need to detrain anything.

        I say make them play basket, handball, volley, ping pong, darts but not XC.

      • Nick Newman
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        Nick Newman on #87256

        Althought you are detraining when doing nothing…i agree with Francisco…i think doing nothing (walking around, up and down stairs sometimes lol, etc) is better for a sprinter than cross country. Cross goes against all that you want to develop for a sprinter…daily living alone, doesn’t exactly go against in the same way…

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        Jay Turner on #87260

        Cross goes against all that you want to develop for a sprinter…

        I agree with this 100%. The only reason I said cross is better than doing nothing is because at least you’re running in some capacity. Now, the argument this coach and I had was that HE SAID it’ll…

        1) …get them in shape to run rounds of a meet

        2) …allow them to be able to handle harder workouts

        3) …allow them to recover from workouts quicker

        Thoughts?

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        RussZHC on #87261

        Jay:
        # 3: LOL, I’ve heard this logic quite a few times and great you can recover faster, too bad your full sprint runs will be slower [there is no point in being able to “go rounds” if you aren’t fast enough to get past round # 1]

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        lift4speed on #87263

        I think no because i went out just last year for XC figuring it would help my 400. And i must say it killed my speed, badly. I come back a week after XC and a friend and i were doing some sprints and he wanted to run them together, so i was just like ok (i was/is the fastest kid in the school) and he ended up beating me. So i wondered what was wrong and not only that but i lost a ton of my strength as well. I did end up regaining that speed though and got way faster during the winter (thanks to a trainer, Alan Barch Jr.) But I would definately not reccomend XC for sprinters. But as some said above, if your doing nothing then it would be good to do it and definately incorporate sprinting into your XC workouts.

        P.S. I am not going out for XC this year… lol

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        johnstrang on #87266

        I voted no, but I also don’t believe they should do sprint specific stuff in the fall. I assume this is referring to high school aged kids and I think constantly running is setting them up for burn out or injury. They are better off playing football or soccer in the fall and then begin the training in the winter.

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        run23fast on #87270

        Although I am not going to do xc, I was wondering if doing 30min runs 2-3x a week while also doing speed/strength work would be detrimental or helpful for a 200/400m runner.

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        johnstrang on #87271

        Although I am not going to do xc, I was wondering if doing 30min runs 2-3x a week while also doing speed/strength work would be detrimental or helpful for a 200/400m runner.

        That would not be bad for you. I think maybe bringing them down to about 20mins and increasing the speed would work out better though.

      • Nick Newman
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        Nick Newman on #87272

        I don’t think it’s all that bad either…

        I am not saying Bobby Kersee’s training is good (i’m not saying anything)…but i know most of his 400m sprinters do 20 min jogs 4+ times a week…

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        Jay Turner on #87278

        I voted no, but I also don’t believe they should do sprint specific stuff in the fall. I assume this is referring to high school aged kids and I think constantly running is setting them up for burn out or injury. They are better off playing football or soccer in the fall and then begin the training in the winter.

        “Sprint Specific Stuff” can encompass alot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be running. It could be lifting, core circuits, endurance circuits, plyos, you name it. In fact, during the fall (which is usually GPP) in most programs you’re not doing a great deal of running anyway. At least not the kind of running you’d do during the season.

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        Jay Turner on #87279

        To show you the thinking of some coaches, I’m going to copy and paste posts from another site’s thread for you to see. I’d just post the link, but you have to be a member to see the posts.

        Where I’m from, this is what the majority (CERTAINLY not all) of the coaches think.

        Read and gimme your thoughts. Warning, this may be a little long, but I want you all too see it.

        Post #1 – We are trying to get a few more cross country runners, the track coach told a few of the sprinters is was not a good idea for sprinters. Keep in mind these are freshman girls who have not really proven that they are quality sprinters. Guess the coach would rather they sat at home eating chips. Any truth to this and other thoughts?

        2 – I have seen huge gains in my sprint crew when they all started running.

        I have had girls 4×1 teams that were all CC runners that have gone 51 flat. I ran a 4×2 the other night with all CC runners and went 1:53. I have had a few girls in the past few years that have ran 12.8 in the 100 and LJ 16 feet that were CC runners.

        Tell your head coach he isnt really smart. Its all about physical development. Distance running for girls allows them to build strong nerve conduction, increase muscle energy stores, maintain a good body weight, improve running economy ect…..

        3 – I would rather have my sprinters playing volleyball then running cross which is nothing but a plyo and explosive sport but if they don’t play volleyball then they need to run cross country because like you said “its better they do that then rather they sat at home eating chips”

        4 – volleyball? THere is nothing about that sport that helps a sprinter develop. A week after volleyball is over a kid loses everything they could of gotten from that sport.

        5 – I completely agree with you. I love volleyball second for us is soccer. CC is not high on my list for our sprinters.

        6 – Cross gets you in great physical shape no matter which way you look at it its a plus. As long as you have a decent Track coach he can easily get a sprinter back to full stride and out of that slower cross country pace. People who say it hurts them are just too lazy to train hard.

        7 – I agree that a good fall program is ideal, but how many sprint coaches are available during the fall? How many sprint coaches actually know what they are doing? If done correctly XC will not hurt a sprinter, they don’t need to do 10 mile runs, but racing a 5k is fine. XC is not the best choice but not a bad one either. This guy called Michael Johnson normally did 5 mile runs and didn’t hurt him. He did that with his speed training so it was done right. I have had sprinters train with XC they just run shorter repeats.

        8 – The honest truth is that most athletes that run sprints are not genetically meant to be sprinters, nor are they gifted to be great distance runners. For those few that are genetically gifted with a preponderance of fast twitch fibers and the nueromuscular system to efficiently use those fibers, endurance training such as cross country running is probably a poor idea. For nearly everyone else, the best fall sport is the one they participate in with all their heart.

        A well designed cross country program is going to have kids training at all speeds all the time, just in different proportions based on the training phase and the athlete’s needs. To make a blanket statement that cross country isn’t a good idea for any high school athlete that runs sprints in the spring is a combination of ignorance and a lack of effort at thinking about the individual.

        Depending on how the programs are run, football, volleyball, soccer, and cross-country can all help high school athletes become better at sprints or can all be a colossal waste of time. The proportion of high school athletes genetically gifted in such a way that endurance training will harm their sprinting ability is very small. You’re better off treating such athletes as the exception to the rule rather than as the norm. This obviously changes at the collegiate level and changes a great deal for athletes in the elite collegiate programs. Unfortunately, much of the literature in this area is written by coaches of elite athletes who ARE genetically gifted sprinters & jumpers.

        Let young high school athletes explore any sport in which they are interested – in fact, we should enthusiastically support them in such endeavors. As they physically, mentally, and emotionally mature through high school and their gifts become more obvious, present them with possible pros and cons of each sport relative to their primary interests – keeping in mind the actual training program of each sport at their school. We should still enthusiastically support whatever decision they make.

        I don’t think coaches of one sport should ever tell a kid what they should or shouldn’t do for a sport during another season…just one man’s opinion.

        9 – IMO, if you are a true sprinter and run CC you are training your legs to fire at a slower pace which could hurt your overall speed. Your slow twitch fibers over take the fast twitch fibers in your muscles.

        I personally would rather see tracksters play soccer instead of CC.

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        Eric Broadbent on #87280

        “Sprint Specific Stuff” can encompass alot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be running. It could be lifting, core circuits, endurance circuits, plyos, you name it. In fact, during the fall (which is usually GPP) in most programs you’re not doing a great deal of running anyway. At least not the kind of running you’d do during the season.[/quote]

        really?…I don’t consider that stuff specific at all…maybe something necessary for a sprinter to do but not specific work.

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        Jay Turner on #87281

        Continued…

        10 – I would be cautious in pointing out the genetic freaks who can pretty much do nearly whatever they want and still be studs. My opinion is that those are the outliers who don’t disprove or prove anything other than the fact that they were just great at everything they did. The majority of the rest of us would have to have more specificity in our diets to succeed.

        It certainly can be done, but for the majority of sprinters it wouldn’t be a good thing because of how it’s configured.

        Edwin Moses would also fit this category-I remember him doing some fall training with a decent distance runner named Henry Rono, but he was also getting in the requisite work in the weight room and never neglected speed when emphasizing endurance. Seb Coe was doing plyos and Olympic lifts before they were en vogue and again worked ALL of the biomotor abilities.

        You can say that my thinking is borne of ignorance and I- with a middle distance running back ground- would heartily disagree. Where ignorance becomes a problem is when people approach sprint training with a distance runner’s bias. The base for speed is SPEED.

        11 – For a 400/800 runner cc can be a great thing IF they run it and not JOG it. I would NOT recommend it for a 100/200 runner. A sprinter does not need running economy or muscle energy stores-those are endurance needs. I’m not sure what type of nerve conduction you are talking about, but I find that I spend 2-3 months rewiring the Central Nervous Systems of sprinters who run cc.

        12.8 and 16′ aren’t very good marks for a high school runner-those kids probably would be much faster and jump much farther if they had a fall training period that did NOT emphasize endurance in the way that cc does. I would say that they got to those marks in spite of cc not because of it.
        Most coaches herd kids into cc because they don’t know what to do with sprinters and jumpers in the fall. I would have them in the weight room, doing plyos, learning correct sprint mechanics, and dramatically improving their core strength.

        Please don’t take this to mean that I’m saying there is no room for endurance in a sprinters repertoire, but they need power endurance more. An “intelligent” fall program for sprinters would emphasize all of the biomotor abilities of strength, speed, coordination, endurance, and flexibility-not just endurance first and then speed which tends to A) get kids hurt and B) under develop the strength/speed qualities that kids really need to sprint and jump.

        A big problem I have observed is partially one of lack of understanding of physiology. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard hs coaches say that kids need to run cc for strength, I would be one disgruntled millionaire! CC helps your endurance which is not the same thing as strength. Strength is what you gain from plyos (elastic/stretch response strength) and weight and core training and is very vital to a sprinter/jumpers success. Too much endurance training will negate that strength to a large measure.

        12 – When a CC program is ran with all the correct training it can help any type of runner. Hill training, lactate threshold, VO2 max, aerobic base, plyos, weightroom…….these are all done in my program all season. Please tell me where that type of program wouldnt benefit anyone?

        I see most track kids only spend about 10-11 weeks doing track stuff. THese kids sit around and hibernate all winter or fall. Gettign them out running anything helps.

        Especially for girls, that higher metabolism helps keep that bad weight off also.

        13 – I have boys and girl sprinters that run CC and sprint…..they all make large gains after their first year of running CC. THe biggest thing they aquire is the ability to work in the winter when the others are being lazy.

        CC runners are tough, if anything track is easy afterr a fall of CC.

        14 – This is a hot topic with me…..I had a 200/400 girl that was told by her brother a year ago that it would make her slower for her track races (ignorance). I have an idea just sit in front of the television everyday after school and eat twinkies in the fall – maybe that will make you better for the spring!

        Not only have I heard from sprinter’s it is bad for them, I heard it from a parent that it would be bad for basketball!

        How can cross country make you anything but better conditioned for EVERY SPORT!

        15 – Most of the “sprinters” cant make the 4×4 at our school because the CC runners fill it out. We go under 4:10 about every year and its usually those kids. But the 400 runners are trained with the 800-1600 runners in this program.

        I also have seen whole 4×2’s go 27’s all the way around that are CC runners and I guarentee they couldnt do that if they didnt have the fall to condition.

        16 – Cross country coaches need to develop their athletes more than just putting in 5 miles a night at an 8 to 10 minute pace; that ain’t cross country, that is wasting an hour a night. Speed work, plyo’s, and weight training need to be incorporated into the season and I don’t mean doing it once or twice and then bailing out of it once meets start popping up.
        The ultimate goal is to build fast runners, I don’t know how that can be accomplished by putting in long-slow miles every night and then yelling at your kids to run faster during the race. The race that you run on Saturday morning is won on Monday-Thursday nights. And the conference championship and district races that you run are won on what you have built upon from June through October, it is ridiculous to think that running mile after mile with no build up of physical strength is going to propel you to a championship level.

        Make the time to do it right! If you don’t have the time to do it right, hand the program over to those who do have the time to do it right, the kids deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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        Jay Turner on #87282

        “Sprint Specific Stuff” can encompass alot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be running. It could be lifting, core circuits, endurance circuits, plyos, you name it. In fact, during the fall (which is usually GPP) in most programs you’re not doing a great deal of running anyway. At least not the kind of running you’d do during the season.

        really?…I don’t consider that stuff specific at all…maybe something necessary for a sprinter to do but not specific work.[/quote]

        In other words, things that the average XC program won’t work on with a sprinter.

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        Jay Turner on #87283

        Continued…

        17 – Being an excellent high school sprinter and an excellent high school distance runner are not mutually exclusive. When I began coaching in Michigan, I had an athlete that was a sprinter who anchored the 4x100m relay and eventually ran 49.# in the 400m. Most would have call this kid a sprinter and recommended him for your fall sprint/jumps training program. If he had chosen this path, he would have missed out on becoming a State Champion in cross-country.

        We are too quick to label kids. You claimed that you “encourage kids who really showed no speed/strength characteristics to run cc”. I hope that was an exaggeration since it clearly takes a great deal of speed to excel in distance running. Think about it – the last lap in the 800, 1500, 5000, & 10000 in the Olympics is usually run in ~51 secs. If you don’t have any speed, you aren’t going to be competive in endurance events.

        Few high school athletes are going to be elite sprinters. I think telling kids who runs sprints, or have some “speed/strength characteristics”, that they shouldn’t run cross-country is poor advice. I think we need to be much more selective than that. The difficulty is where do you draw the line at which you determine cross-country isn’t the best option and how do you weigh that against the simple desire an athlete might have to participate in another sport with their friends.

        The fine line you seem comfortable drawing is based on your own years of experience working with athletes of many different levels. Without that experience and judgement, too many athletes who run sprints are being told that cross-country is “bad” for them when in fact it might be better for them than sprinting in the spring!

        18 – “You pointed to my stance on fall training to be something more appropriate for the elite level and then you point to the need for speed in the distances at the elite levels-how’s that for irony? Which level are we talking about here coach?”

        I think trying to label cross-country training as “bad” for anyone other than elite sprinters is wrong. You seem to imply that a CC program isn’t going to develop speed. However, I think any CC program worth its salt is going to have speed development as a major component, even if it’s not given the same priority as it might receive in a sprint/jump fall program. Many distance runners that have come through my program have had only modest foot speed to begin with – no one would have confused them with a sprinter. By the time they are upperclassmen, they are often among the fastest guys on the team from 200m on up.

        Cross-country isn’t for everyone. If you’ve tried running distances for awhile and you don’t enjoy it, I can’t imagine doing it for a sport. I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell sprinters they should do cross-country over another sport or fall training program. I also don’t think it’s appropriate to tell athletes running sprints that running cross country will be bad for them.

        I absolutely agree with you that “Most of what this hinges on are what does the kid want to [do]” Give them healthy options and let them choose rather than scaring them into the option of our choosing.

        19 – We had a sprinter join the xc team his junior year, sophmore track he had run 11.9s, and 25.#s after xc, he was going 11.3s and 21.5s. The 200m specifically is where he developed the most from the xc training and it definetly showed.

        20 – I have a dozen stories of kids developing into solid sprinters after a year of distance running.

        21 – This isn’t even worth arguing over. Cross Country is good for ANY SPORT. Yes a sprinter may need to work on improving their fast twitch muscles a little bit over the winter to pick up the pace. But I tell you what, I guarantee you see a huge improvement in the Spring. As long as they put a little bit of effort into a recovery mode a sprinter will be better from running cross. Case closed. Close the Thread!

        22 – What I see are many examples of xc being helpful for sprinters, or at least stories of athletes being successful at both. For those who don’t believe this- anyone have an athlete where they saw their times get significantly slower? And if this is the case, please talk about the training that was taking place( if a xc coach takes a State caliber 100m runner and has them run 60 miles a week then don’t be blaming that on xc! Blame it on the coach.). It appears to me that as long as the xc coach is relatively well versed in modern training techniques, that the experience of running both has been benificial in most situations!

        23 – It is ignorance if you think that CROSS COUNTRY will NOT hurt you as a sprinter, basketball player, or any other athlete!

        Like I said before….sit on the couch after school every day in the fall and see how much better that makes you on the track in the spring!

        24 – you have not outlined what a sprinter should do then. I have given what a good CC program can do for a kid with hill training, plyos ect……the gains from overdistance training are permanent physiological changes…..mitichondrial formation, muscle glycogen stores, increased capillary density ect………the changes that you will make in a type of program you sais they should do are temporary and will be gone within weeks if they arent maintained.

        25 – I understand your theory, however, fact is, there are some sprinters out there who can become better sprinters by running XC. Would they be better if such a program as your existed instead of running XC? Probably, maybe, but they’ll never know. Our kids were very successful sprinters, yet not the best distance runners. If you ask them, they’ll give credit to running XC for their success as well as winter training, indoor track participation and good coaching. Believe it or not some not all can find success by running XC. I dont disagree with you, just saying there are exceptions.

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        Eric Broadbent on #87284

        gotcha

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        Jay Turner on #87285

        Continued…

        26 – I just watched a state CC runner up run 12.7, 26.5 and 58.8 last night. Pretty sure most kids cant do this.

        27 – I would say that on the surface of this, there may be some truth. If you are a 10.8 or so scholarship sprinter, it may be more valuable for you to pursue a more sprint oriented workout schedule. At our school, we don’t have an over-abundance of athletes and for the betterment of our team we ask kids to do what is needed to make our team better. Kids often claim to be sprinters at the beginning of the season to avoid work. They often times can’t even break12, but “they are sprinters”. It is a convenient excuse to avoid working up a sweat. I would guess that this thread would be used as a reason that all “sprinters” are forever excused from anything involving actual commitment and or work. At our place, we emphasize the team first. I had a kid the other day who was refusing to run a quarter because “He didn’t like to run. He is a 20′ jumper and “he doesn’t like to run”. I told him he had two choices. He ran. The next day he cut practice. The next day I got his uniform back. It is getting increasingly more difficult to get kids to do anything requiring a little physical effort. Telling generic “sprinters” that CC is bad for them is deadly these days. If we need a miler, we find one.

        28 – puhleeease. In the real world of high school, there are teams out here that if lucky get one “true sprinter” every 10 years. One in a class would be an absolute dream come true. Some schools have to manufacture sprinters from what we have available. These are our 3rd, 4th, 5th and on 400-3200 meter runners and those kids that are just too lazy to do anything over a 200. There are some kids that are just fast and CC would not help them, but in fact would hurt their speed if they trained like a true CC runner. No doubt. However, for the vast majority of kids that come through our program, CC would make them much better. Believe me, we would love to consistently get those fall out of bed fast kids, but we rarely do. We have a few kids that are maybe second tier fast, but we fill out relay teams and even build sprint relay teams with CC and soccer kids. Are they great? No. Do they advance to regionals and sometimes to state? Yes. It’s all we have.

        We make choices and build teams with smoke and mirrors sometimes. On the girls side, I guarantee you that our top 4 400m on up runners beat our “sprinters” in the 4×100 and 4×200 9 years out of 10. We always use at least 1 distance runner on our sprint relays and often times 2 or 3.

        We have had that gifted sprinter come through once in a while and we know how to handle that kid and they do very well. We had a Soph boy this year that is just that type of sprinter. With him as the exception, every single one of our boys and girls would do much better with CC in the fall. Some of them would be a modified CC regiment, but it would not hurt them. We do it all the time.

        This is not college and this is not a big D1 program or some other lucky program that actually gets sprinters. This is for the teams that do not have them and have to figure out a way to build a team in spite of that? This discussion is not really about if CC makes sprinters slower or faster or his helpful or harmful. It is really about, “We don’t have any true sprinters, can I get kids that are marginal better if they ran CC and were at least in shape and able to run workouts at all?”

        29 – Anerobic and aerobic capacity are two different things. Cross country will not directly make any sprinter faster. It can only hurt; I’ve seen a few sprinters try to run cross country in an effort to improve endurance and then have all kinds of shin problems and muscle tightness when they try to sprint again in the spring.

        Running cross country will make a sprinter better at distance running, and may help them potentially train for races 800+, but it won’t help develop explosiveness and anaerobic capacity.

        Ironically enough, “sitting on the couch” is a more effective strategy for a little while, especially for higher level sprinters. The body needs to rest after a tough season, and the late fall and early winter months should be spent doing light cardio and building a base for more intensive training as track season draws closer. Playing another fall sport may be helpful, because these sports won’t demand as much out of the CNS as all-out sprinting does.

        When I say this, of course, I’m referring to real sprinters — not just people who run sprints. There should be a clear difference. From personal experience, I can guarantee that cross country running would hurt me. I tend to have shin problems that flare up when I jog or run as little as 800 meters at some points, but I have no problem sprinting anything under 400.

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        Jay Turner on #87286

        Sorry for it being so long, but I wanted everyone to see the garbage I see on other threads. Thoughts?

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        run23fast on #87289

        [quote author="sprinter23" date="1249634698"]Although I am not going to do xc, I was wondering if doing 30min runs 2-3x a week while also doing speed/strength work would be detrimental or helpful for a 200/400m runner.

        That would not be bad for you. I think maybe bringing them down to about 20mins and increasing the speed would work out better though.[/quote]

        So 20min runs would definitely not make me slower as long as I am doing speed workouts as well? Also they would not hinder my ability to get faster (my main goal) when including speed?

      • Nick Newman
        Participant
        Nick Newman on #87291

        But not everyday….we are mostly talking about recovery runs from hard CNS workouts targeting speed/power development…

        and wow, some of the things are your list are so rediculus…

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        johnstrang on #87297

        [quote author="johnstrang" date="1249634847"][quote author="sprinter23" date="1249634698"]Although I am not going to do xc, I was wondering if doing 30min runs 2-3x a week while also doing speed/strength work would be detrimental or helpful for a 200/400m runner.

        That would not be bad for you. I think maybe bringing them down to about 20mins and increasing the speed would work out better though.[/quote]

        So 20min runs would definitely not make me slower as long as I am doing speed workouts as well? Also they would not hinder my ability to get faster (my main goal) when including speed?[/quote]

        No they won’t make you slower. I would limit them to 2-3x a week and as you get closer to the season begin to phase them out. Fartleks could be a good idea as well on recovery days in place of just a steady jog, maybe start with slow 200m jog nice relaxed 200m stride. You could also do your jogging at a fairly fast pace and then walk a little bit and then jog again. Mix up what you do on your recovery days, straight jogging gets pretty boring quick.

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        Matt Norquist on #87313

        The only good comment was #8.

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        codeman9 on #87327

        I have a female sprinter who reluctantly decided to run XC this Fall. She has tons of friends on the team and that, I think, is one of the reasons she decides to run it each year. Last year, she didn’t perform very well in XC because she injured her foot halfway through the season. This prevented her from training for sprinting in the winter. She wasn’t able to run many of my spring workouts due to her injury. Thankfully, though, her natural, genetic, sprint talent allowed her to run 57.19 in the 400m and get 2nd in state and she understands/believes now that she is a sprinter. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she stays healthy this Fall and does the sprint training that she needs in place of some high mileage workouts the XC coach is going to try to get her to do everyday.

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        RussZHC on #87330

        Commentary on comments:

        # 2: “…running economy…” Perhaps valid but how are you going to observe more than a couple of sections over a whole run? (Are you running with them?)

        # 6: ?

        # 7: ?; where would these sprint coaches be/go?

        # 16: ?

        # 17: wants it all

        # 18: first phrase; exactly my point

        # 19: a reduction of 3.5 seconds in a year in the 200m and CC is to get all credit?

        # 26: useless without a frame of reference (gender, age, “when” relative to what else)

        # 28: agree with last paragraph

        # 29: XC >>> sprint in spring (mean time W?)

        The bulk of this appears to be “either or” proposition with some of the comments implying that there is no indoor season or, by extension, training per se. With another assumption, that we are talking about high schools, is this the norm?
        And if it is, would not the longish “gap” in time negate much of what was trying to be done in CC?
        Of course the method that has the most balance is going to usually work out the best and some of the terms I can not help but believe are different depending on who is using them. “Miles” for a 60/100/200 is not the same at all compared to “miles” for a 800m or 1500m, let alone at times of year when they may be doing cross country. From a discussion stand point, is it necessary for even 800m, 1500m and up to “do” cross country? Or is it just another place to get the school a championship or points? Or to fight boredom, compared to running laps at various rates.

        Somewhere in there was the mention of doing say 5Km but, I am not all that familiar with the length of courses, is that 2 laps, 4 laps of race course? Or about half the total distance of a race? I guess what I am saying is the style of running (a mix of many aspects) I fully support for sprinters just not the total distances in a continuous run.
        Say a nice 800m course with uphills, downhills, (of varying steepness) fast flats, log steps up, few twists and turns sort of like many stadiums have surrounding them or a short length of trail that if needed can be broken down into smaller sections and possibly observed nearly the entire loop. Call it a circuit and add in additional GS stuff and its not all that different.

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