Wednesday, I came home from XC practice (just a recovery run), showered and headed down to Culver City for a Nike Cross Country Coaches Clinic. I found out about this clinic, just before registration closed on Sunday, thanks to Caleb Schroeder. Leah, Caleb and I rode down together.
We arrived and had a nice spread of sandwiches and pasta in the lobby area. The coaches from Eastside High were there and Caleb introduced me. They were jealous that all my runners go to Highland and Quartz Hill… As we were talking, I spotted Alberto Salazar.
He came in the front door and was whisked away behind a door across the room from me. After plenty of time for munching and chatting we headed into a large room for the main event.
They started with some commercial info… literally, they ran their latest commercial. Then they showed us the latest line up of running shoes. Then they announced that it was the 30th birthday of Pegasus (the running shoe – the mythical creature has been ‘around’ a lot longer.) They showed us all the versions that have been made over the years. A few guys were actually wearing some of the older models. They brought out a birthday cake and we sang happy birthday- wierd – a never sang happy birthday to a shoe before.
Finally, Alberto Salazar and Mattew Centrowitz were brought out to some directors chairs.
They did not have a set program to give us, instead the MC asked some questions. So, the clinic was not as informative as the typical LA84 clinic I go to at Mt SAC. Still there were a few nuggets I gleaned from the discussion.
1) First, Alberto mentioned several times the importance of strength training. He said that 20 – 30 years ago the consensus was to avoid heavy weights to avoid the runners getting big. He stated that his current athletes can squat 2 to 3 times their own weight. He said if he were coaching high school again, he would have the “skinny kids” do a little of everything. He did concede that there are some runners, you do have to watch for though as they may try to bulk up to a counter productive level. On a personal level this was an awesome confirmation that I have been doing the right thing.
2) He also mentioned the need to improve the top end speed of the runners. The further a particular speed, whether it is a 5k speed, or a marathon speed, is from your maximum the easier it will be to maintain!
3) The last nugget came out of a question from the floor: “What ONE workout would you prescribe for high school runners.” Alberto hesitated and Matthew jumped in with his advice. Matthew prescribed a hilly fartlek. He explained how it had a great combination of speed and endurance and that it was fun for the high school runner. When he was done Alberto commented, “That is why you had such a bad high school team.” (Matthew was way ahead of all his peers.) Alberto stressed the need to have something measurable. He said that if you want to race a distance, you need to be able to break that distance into intervals that in total are longer than the race and that are run faster than the speed of the race! 6 to 8 times 1000 with 600 recovery was his prescribed workout for high school cross country – 5k.
At the conclusion of the discussion he was whisked away never to be seen again! Sorry Karl, there absolutely no chance to get an autograph.
They did have tables set up and on the way out we were able to each pick up a brand new pair of the latest model Pegasus running shoe!
Famous experts, Free Food, Free footware… NICE!