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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 9:54 pm    Post subject: Wetmore article Reply with quote

An link to an interesting interview with CU coach Mark Wetmore was posted to the t-and-f list this evening:

http://runflorida.com/highschool/Markwetmoreinterview.htm

A few notable quotes:

Quote:
He has created arguably the most dominant distant program with American born talent

Local talent maybe, but Stanford's awful tough to top for purely American born talent.

Quote:
I donít think we are a high mileage program. I would bet that if you could somehow poll the top forty runners crossing the finish line at the NCAA, weíd be below average in training volume. I think its a myth about us that we have all these people at a hundred miles a week up here.


Quote:
RQ: For the track season, the athletes are going to run two weeks deeper into the summer. How is that going to affect their preparation for next cross country season?

Wetmore: I think ultimately the decisions is simple. They still have to rest. They maybe even have to rest more even than they would have in a two week shorter season. So you canít take away the rest. Thatís impractical. And you canít accelerate their full ascension up the full training volume. Thatís dangerous. So the bottom line is, theyíll enter the cross country season two weeks behind where they have in the past and be two weeks less fit when the gun goes off at the NCAAís.

There's a factor being overlooked there. It follows that the athletes would be 2 weeks less removed from their track conditioning, which should be very relevant training to anyone seriously running XC.

Quote:
Iíve never been to Kenya and I donít have any Kenyan friend so I donít know what they do. I know what people speculate what they do, but I suspect that that speculation is ill founded. Whoís really been over there? Whoís been over there for a long period of time? Whoís observed the fourteen year old train for four years and run 13:10 at eighteen. I donít think anybody has. I think thereís an awful lot of mythology involved with what goes on over there. Itíd be a mistake for us to try and duplicate it or respond to it if itís mythology.


And possibly even more interesting were some t-and-f list comments that the interview generated... From an employee of Track & Field News (not Hill), who I believe has a brother working as an agent in Europe:

Quote:
Interesting interview. But notice how Wetmore admits he knows little or nothing about the Kenyans nor the European circuit and yet he claims EPO use is so widespread among top runners that it is the number one reason why Americans have fallen behind the rest of the world. Shame on him.


and the response to it from a former American Record holder in some distance events:

Quote:
No shame on you. You and your employer have been embarrassingly silent on the pervasive corruption in our sport.


I told you the answer to my vague question the other day would tie a lot of threads together... Smile

Dan

late typo edit...


Last edited by Dan on Wed Aug 21, 2002 12:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing about mileage that he made struck me. He said that they weren't a high mileage team, but what I think he neglected to mention is that they almost always run "singles" or once a day. Something I believe I've said before is that I think that running 80-90 miles a week in "singles" would require more of a mileage mentality than say running 100-110 mile a week with doubles or even triples. So in that respect I feel that needs clearifying. But I do like his cannededness (sp) about kenyans and there training. But to answer his question about who knows about there training, Brother Colm. He's the Irish missionary that runs St. Patrcks Boys School and has coached more Olympic medalists in distance running than anyone else on the planet. (That's more about trivia than about the West actually knowing the whole story of Kenyan distance training techniques.)
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Paul
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this was a good interview. I felt Wetmore might have gotten a bit defensive in a couple of places. I think his training has undergone some changes since 1998, especially in the recuperative nature of easy running days.

I'll bet Chris Lear is under the gun to get his next book edited and out to the publisher while the Webb issue is still hot.

Paul
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think he neglected to mention is that they almost always run "singles" or once a day.

He actually did mention that in the interview, but no connection between the two items was made. I do agree with your assesment of the matter.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved what he said about how it's too easy to become a coach here in the US. As I think everyone has pretty much agreed there are far to many coaches out there that don't know enough to do a good job. I am also finding out that at least at the college level often times who you know and not so much what you know that gets you the job. Thumbs Down

I also really liked what he had to say about reading and expanding your knowledge of physiology. I got my degree in that field, and let me tell you it has come in handy. Particularly when it comes to interpreting the physiology portions of Better Training For Distance Runners. Which is what he was refering to when he mentioned David E Martin, it's good info and very indepth but it's no easy read.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it has come in handy. Particularly when it comes to interpreting the physiology portions of Better Training For Distance Runners.

I think you summed up pretty well why I have very little interest in that field. It comes in useful mostly for justifying its own necessity... I have come across incredibly few situations in my short time coaching where a deep understanding of physiology would have helped me any beyond understanding terminology, which is little more than window dressing.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find a good understanding of physiology crutial several purposes. First off I feel it is needed for planning out the pattern and timing of the system specific workouts over a season and a year. The other reason is versatility it gives a coach. It allows you to create workouts that are still system specific while addressing their likes and dislikes as far as workout styles. Also it is crucuial in determining why an athlete's performances have changed or in certain cases not changed to coincide with the training they were doing at the time of the performance as well as leading up to those performances. Without a good understanding of physiology you're basiclly either shooting from the hip and hoping things turnout or you're basing your training off a program you either have done yourself or seen somewhere. In either case if problems arrise without a good understanding of physiology and ow it resopnds to training you'll be working blind to fix the problem.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I feel it is needed for planning out the pattern and timing of the system specific workouts over a season and a year.

I find common sense works just fine for that. Smile

I don't consider myself overly intuitive relative to other coaches, but from all the examples you've given, it sounds like things that click naturally in my mind are considered by others to require a physiological explanation... That seems very strange to me. My impression is that it's more of a fall-back than anything. Coaching is all about guessing and calculating; much easier to do if the guesswork isn't all yours. Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Coaching is all about guessing and calculating


Guessing!!!!!! :surprised: I think not. At least not when it comes to laying out a training plan. It's about organizing the right amount of rest and workouts which should all have a specific purpose. And ordering them so that they fall at the right time to produced the right result. Sure common sense will get you in the ball park, and it does play a major role in laying out a good training plan. But the devil is in the details and that's where knowing how the body will respond and recover from the different types of training come in.

Maybe thats the difference between knowing your phsiology and not. When you know it your planning training, when you don't your guessing.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But everyone responds differently to different training stimulii, and I've seen firsthand that physioligy fails to account for that the vast majority of the time. You can start with planning, but guessing will always play a huge role... If you'd rather, call it trial and erorr. Smile Whatever you call it, refusing to acknowledge the lack of certainty in the "science" behind the sport will certainly limit one's coaching potential.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one thing that I have found regarding coaching and physiology is that there are some many differing variables among individuals ... So to make generalized planned workouts for a group almost becomes an exercize in futility .... EVeryone will react differently based on his / her own physiology !!!

Take recovery intervals for example ... Who recovers at the same rate ??? And recovery rates vary even among similar people over varying distances ... Almost every generalized workout truly needs tweeking for individuals in order to get it right .... Unless somehow you have the ability to bring athletes to some sort of parity ...

Conway
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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Unless somehow you have the ability to bring athletes to some sort of parity ...

Which brings me to another of my favorite quotes... Doing average is what keeps the average down. Smile

Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway wrote:
EVeryone will react differently based on his / her own physiology !!!


A very good point. Which is why it's important to know your physiology so that as a coach you can adjust training in order to improve weaknesses and take full advantage of strengths.

Dan wrote:
Whatever you call it, refusing to acknowledge the lack of certainty in the "science" behind the sport will certainly limit one's coaching potential.


If that limits a person's coaching potential, then what do you call intentionally ignoring a valuable training resource :question: And I call it a valuable traing resource not only because I personally feel that way, but because so many of the top coaches in the field feel the same way. Joe Vigil, Ph. D in either exercise science or phsiology, Wettmore, masters in movement science Peter Coe, just look at his books and you'll see what I mean. And those are just off the top of my head.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If that limits a person's coaching potential, then what do you call intentionally ignoring a valuable training resource

Learning and thinking for one's self...

Here's another chicken and the egg situation for you: Are a lot of coaches (mostly distance coaches it seems, for what that's worth) exercise sports science types because it greatly adds to their understanding of the sport or because that's what they are most likely to choose as a degree while in college and not yet a coach?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wrote:
Learning and thinking for one's self...


And how do you expect to learn if you don't study :question:

I do suppose that you can use your trial and error method. But that will take years and subjects of these trials will be the athletes you coach. Why not go to a book store, buy some books, and then study. Take advantage of other peoples trials and errors, scientific research and use that to improve your learning curve.

I probably should have asked this before I got this deep into the debate but, do you plan on coaching again? And what event area are you planning on coaching? The reason I ask is simple, if you don't plan coaching again then I won't worry about the ramifications of your stuborn refusal to do a little reading. And if you plann on coaching sprinters I won't mind simply because sprinting is more about perfecting technique and working on pure speed. Things that generally are done by refrencing video's and the like. And besides sprinter are born not made Wink (I'm kidding of coarse)
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