Athletics News

U.S. Distance Coaches Target Paris Podium

U.S. Distance Coaches Target Paris Podium

New Balance Boston Elite coach Mark Coogan’s charges Elle St. Pierre and Emily Mackay (pictured) medaled at the World Indoor. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AT THE WORLD INDOOR, the U.S. team produced its best showing ever at distances 800 and up; the 7-medal haul for the men and women topped by 1 the tally from the ’16 meet, which in itself was an outlier. Does this mean that American distance runners are experiencing a renaissance and are better positioned to win medals in Paris? Or is it just a blip on the radar screen, a reflection that the undercover meet doesn’t attract top-shelf runners in a year where the focus is on the Olympics?

Two prominent coaches, both of whom guided athletes to medals in Glasgow, feel the indoor medal haul is a sign that the U.S. is trending upward in the distance game.

“We’re getting better,” says Ron Warhurst, who coached Hobbs Kessler to his 1500 bronze. “I think there are more coaches doing more things that we’ve learned from the sciences and different experiences from all the other runners from around the world, and we showed up pretty good in the indoor. We’ll have to see if that carries over to the outdoor.”

Mark Coogan, who coached both Elle St. Pierre and Emily Mackay to medals, agrees that we’re seeing a good trend. “I definitely do.” A major factor in his eyes is the ongoing development of professional training groups. “To be honest, it all probably did start a few years ago, when Alberto [Salazar] started his group and started getting teams together. I think the big part of the success [New Balance Boston Elite] is having is because we have a nice little team where everybody cares about each other a lot. You really care how the other person does and it’s not all about yourself. And a lot of the other groups kind of have that same feeling to me.”

Says Warhurst, “I think we’re getting better at racing people and better at figuring out when to train hard and when not to. In the past, [for American runners] it was like, ‘Oh, you’ve got to peak twice, you’ve got to peak three times,’ and now, this day and age, I don’t think it’s a matter of peaking. It’s a matter of holding your fitness going into the Olympic Trials and then try and go over to Europe and peak and get your max performances over there.

“So many times in the past, the kids run their asses off trying to get ready, guys and gals, for the Olympics, and they’re flat when they get there because their mental…

CLICK HERE to Read the Full Original Article at Track & Field News…