Running with the Tigers – Week 8

Working with a range of different coaches who coachdifferent age groups and skill levels have really opened my eyes to the athletic community. From learning from Steve who participates with the athlete and motives them to further improve themselves to Dick Telford who sets out the purpose of the session and lets their athletes’ own motivation push them through it. These two different types of athletic coaching styles are what I had the pleasure in observing and getting involved with for my 8th week with the UC Ginninderra Athletics Club.

This week’s FAST sessions were full of experiences both from a coaching point of view and an athletes point of view. The two sessions for this week were held at the AIS track and the dreaded Governor General’s Hill (GGs). Both teaching the importance of individualising your training routine in order to suit the ever-changing needs of the athletes. As well as this how to further identify any inconsistencies with an athlete’s technique and try to figure out if its due to their own understanding or if it’s because of fatigue. At the end of the day the key message to take is something that I have fully understood the meaning of throughout my time which is that arms drive the legs. The arms are an essential component to running cause as you fatigue your arms carry your legs through the pain to finish. This is especially important when running in a session at GGs. Not only these technical aspects of training and coaching are important though, we as coaches are there to motivate the athlete to push through the pain and to achieve the most they can from the training session. From an athlete’s point of view through these two sessions I learnt the necessity of proper form and technique to help achieve the desired speed that the activity is designed for. As well as this it is crucial for an athlete to not only know what pace to run at for different intensities (E.g. 60%/80%/90%) but on how to maintain that speed for the full distance and how to repeat that speed for the same intensity. This is especially important for 200-400m runners as they are working out times to beat for each 100m leg of their race to achieve the best possible time.

I also observed and learnt from Dick Telford again this week who held his session at the arboretum. This venue was a tough one for the athletes to complete which involved a 5km run and some hill runs for a total of a 45min session. What I learnt from this session was what is the main focus of an endurance runner and that is control. Ok getting a bit technical here but what i learnt was that the least amount of homeostatic change in the body is the difference between 1st and 2nd place within a long-distance race. This being the amount of control that one has of the bodies reaction to chemical effects on the body when facing fatigue, for example, their tolerance to lactic acid. Someone who has a better control of their body and homeostasis is more likely to be first in a race. As well as that knowing when to increase pace and being able to maintain a competitive race pace for majority of the race is crucial for these guys to learn and apply. Dick, through his sessions is preparing the athletes for this and to endure a high intensity pace for a long period of time or distance.

Unfortunately, there was unpleasant weather this Saturday, so Tiger Cubs did not take place, but this gave us time to review our current program and to see if any changes needs to be made and so that we fully understand what is required of us to conduct the On Track program. I am looking forward to seeing all of the Tiger Cubs next Saturday for a fun filled session.

Jordan Green