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Locker Room Talk with Mark Coogan

in INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE/TRAINING/USA
Mark Coogan, 2007
2007 RBK Boston Indoor Games Sat, January 27, 2007, Boston, MA Photo by: Lisa Coniglio Victah1111@aol.com 631-741-1865

Mark Coogan represented the United States at the 1995 world championships (at 5000 meters) and the 1996 Olympics (in the marathon). At Dartmouth, notably, he successfully guided the career of Abbey D’Agostino, 7x NCAA champion. He is currently the New Balance Boston Elite Coach. Daniel Wallis caught up with Mark for this insightful chat on college vs professional attitude, developing coaching knowledge, and training in Boston with his outstanding group of athletes.

SOS Locker Room Talk with Mark Coogan

As a college coach, there are so many variables in the life of a student-athlete that are out of a coaches control. However, as a professional, the idea is that you’re more mature, experienced, and live the required lifestyle. With that in mind, what are a couple of key distinctions in your approach to an athletes’ training between college and as a professional?

Mark Coogan with Abbey D’Agostino during his time at Dartmouth (Photo by Doug Austin) dartmouth.edu

One key distinction that I have noticed is that in a lot of college athletes you really have to find ways to make them train harder. There are a lot of distractions on campus. It also seems that at some colleges now it is about the student-athlete experience rather than doing well. At Dartmouth we tried really hard to make sure the student-athletes had a good experience but also set a tone that you are going train hard and win.

With the professionals that I have coached the last few years, I learned that holding the pros back some days is a key to their success. The professional runners want to succeed so badly that they will over do it if they don’t have a good coach watching and communicating with them. Communication is the key between the coach and professional runner.

College athletes have all the logistical things handed to them, especially if they are from big time schools and conferences. I used to tell the athletes that I coached in college that they could do 2 things well. They can run fast and do well academically but it is really hard to do 3 things well. With the collegiate athlete I would try to make practice the best 2 hours of the day with the hope it would become a top priority. The team would become their family away from home.

The professional runners have to be more responsible than the college runner. They have to do a lot of the logistics on their own. They have to make their own appointments with physical therapy, massage, pay rent, cook their own food, drive to practice etc. Real life stuff! On a college team you have all this at your fingertips and it is done for you.

 

You were self-coached and trained in Boulder with some of the greatest athletes in the history of distance running who all had a wealth of knowledge. As a coach, how do you continue to learn and develop your coaching knowledge?

Mark Coogan, 2007, photo by PhotoRun.net

I always ask a lot of questions. In Boulder, I was kind of the ring- leader trying to get people to train together every day. On runs with Steve Jones, Arturo Barrios and Mark Plaatjes you just absorb what they say and do.

I have never been afraid to ask other runners or coaches what they are doing for sessions. Daniel Coyle is the author of a book called the “The Little Book of Talent” and one of his tips is steal without apology. Improving is about absorbing and applying new information and that is what I try to do. I was lucky enough to be around a lot of the best coaches in America over the past 30 years, a list that includes Charles Torpey, Bob Sevene, Ray Tracey, John Gregorek, Jerry Schumacher, Chris Fox and a few others.

I had the opportunity to train with Providence group from the late 80’s and Boulder crowed in the 90’s. There have been so many great runners and coaches who have influenced my coaching philosophy that I feel I have a very good background, while now at New Balance I have a ton of resources that I can utilise.

Your group is based in Boston, a city often hit pretty hard in the winter. Given it’s that time of year, how does your group adapt it’s training when being outside crosses the line from tough to stupid?

I don’t think Boston is as tough a place to train through the winter as people think it is. On a few days you need to be flexible with your training but other than that you can get your work in. An example of that happened last week. I wanted to have some athletes do a 25-minute tempo run but it was snowy and windy. It was impossible to do it. So we improvised and did cruise intervals on the indoor track. At the end of the day I think we accomplished the same thing. I can tell you it is a lot easier to train in Boston than the other places I have lived – like Dartmouth or Madison, Wisconsin in the winter. When you run in bad weather you really do make yourself a little bit more mentally tough. You can look at the cold weather as a stressor and you will adapt. Then when you see terrible weather in a race you know you can handle it. It is the same reason the Patriots practice outside in Foxborough year round no matter the weather.

 

Fancy running a mile?

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized

OK fancy running a mile? Yep that’s 1609 meters or four laps of the track with 9 meters added on to make it the classic running distance known the world over.

Former world class miler and SOS aficionado Matt Yates gives you his lowdown of how to piece together the jigsaw that is a mile.

Matt Yates

WHAT IS THE MILE?

Here we go, and first things first, the mile is a historic distance loved all over the world and the magical barrier of Sub 4 minutes is still revered on the planet. So don’t take it lightly, you are doing a distance that is as recognized as the marathon as feat of human endurance and speed.

So I am not going into the history but it was ???? who ran the first sub 4 mile. Right that’s your first task go Google that and then you will get a feel for the historic importance of the distance and the mile’s place in our hearts. And why we love the distance in the UK and the USA, not to mention everywhere else on the planet.  While you are at it have read of the Wiki on the famous distance and its variations – HERE

History lesson over, so let’s get back to the game plan for the SOAR Mile and you to PB at Battersea Park on Wednesday 20th July.

TIMING AND PACING:

“STOP” before you take your first stride on the quest to a PB.

Ask your self what time do you want to run for the classic distance of a mile? Be real and think about it and what you can achieve.

When you know the TARGET time write it down on a bit of paper and stick it on the wall, so you are reminded of that ambition and goal on a daily basis.

Next, what pace do you need to run at to achieve your best time or target performance?

I always use this site HERE to calculate all times for sessions for the athletes I coach. For all the sessions below you will need to work out the split times that you need to run to achieve success. So you need to do a bit of pre-session admin and planning. When you have the times write them on your hand at the start of the session and go out and do them.

So, the distance you enter on the form is 1609 meters (yep that’s a mile) and then you fill out the time you want and then you add the rep distance (lap split) to get the time you will need to perform in each rep in training. For example want to run a 5 min mile and the session is 15 x 200 its 37.3 per 200 meters rep. OK the office work admin is done.

WARM UP:

Right, I am stickler for doing it right or don’t bother to do it and that means warming up correctly. What really gets to me? Athletes that turn up in the wrong kit, it pisses me off. (note from the editor: you definitely don’t want Matt Yates pissed off with you before the session has even started) Yes that’s right if you want to warm up for a session you need to get a bit hot and sweaty.

So a decent session warm up:

12/14 minute jog at just faster than walking pace to start with picking up slightly at the end.

Then stretch for 15+ minutes. Check out this for exercises – HERE

Get your race flats on and its time 4 x 80 meter strides at 70% 80% 90% 95% effort and walk slowly back as the recovery. Nice article on racing flats – HERE

10 KEY WORKOUTS:

I am listing 10 key sessions here to get that Mile personal best. What you do between the sessions is simple, its easy running of 25 mins to 45 mins max at your comfort recovery pace and not blitzing it like a Kenyan running the London marathon. Its up to you how many runs you do between the sessions and that’s your call. But remember its about getting the sessions done at decent quality level and using the easy runs to refill the body tank.

1 – Monday 27th June
Find a decent park or sports fields for this session.

Warm up as above and then 8 x 70 secs with 60 secs recovery between reps.

You wont know how far you are running but just run free, fast and in control and concentrate as those reps will get hard about number 5 if you are doing it right.

Warm down jog for 10 mins

2 – Thursday 30th June
Track time (if your in London see what tracks are about near you and check opening times – HERE. This is one of my favorite sessions for the miler.

15 x 200m off the rep time before as recovery, so if you run 37.3 secs you get that as the recovery time and you go again. If you think running slow means more recovery that means you cheat yourself out of the target time.

Remember use the site to the working out what times you need to set out to run on the reps (not reminding you again).

3 – Saturday 2nd July
Track work – yes you guessed it WARM UP correctly.

Then its Bends & Straights.

That’s 100m fast 100m jog for 12 laps.

How fast should you run? Well I say as fast as you can cope with but not like your Usain Bolt. More like that 80% stride you in the warm up. Don’t time it, just run it free and enjoy it the sensation of speed.
Your call if you run the bends fast or maybe you want to run the straights fast?

4 – Tuesday 5th July
Track work – nice session this, and time to feel like a real miler.

Session at target mile pace for the 600m & 400m and then getting faster as reps decrease in distance like you are trying to outkick Seb Coe in a “Phoenix from the flames” moment.

A. 600m (2 mins rest), 400m (2 mins rest), 200m (60 secs rest), 100m

Take 5 mins rest/walk/jog and have an SOS then back at it and see if you can beat the first sets times as target.

B. 600m (2 mins rest), 400m (2 mins rest), 200m (60 secs rest), 100m

5 – Thursday 7th July
Park time session same place as you done the session on the 27th June.

Warm up – then its 12 x 50 secs off 70 secs rest – keep those recovery times spot on and keep on the workload output in the reps. Its going to be tough but your know your going places by the end of the workout.

Warm down.

6 – Saturday 9th July
Track workout

Warm up

Reps at race pace (yep do some admin on that site)

A. 4 x 400m off 90 secs recovery

10 mins rec between sets

B. 4 x 400m off 90 secs recovery

Warm down

7 – Tuesday 12th July
Track Workout

Warm up and get in the competitive zone “FOCUS on the task in hand”.

Time trial day – yep your going on the track and you will do 3 laps at race target pace. That’s 1200m on the track and see if you can get someone to time you and shout your times every 200m to keep you target.

Take a rest for 15 minutes jog/walk hydrate.

Then do 5 x 150 at stride pace you do in the warm up and take a 250 walk between the reps.

Warm down

8 – Thursday 14th July
Track Workout – nice quality feel fast session at slightly faster than race pace. Maybe drop your target time down on the sheet by 15% for the target rep times but that’s your call (see disclaimer at end of article). This session will be over before you know it so give it some.

Warm up

1. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m

5 mins recovery walk/jog

2. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m

5 mins recovery walk/jog

3. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m

Saturday 16th July
Track workout – “The need for speed”, Run these free and as fast as you want and try make each one faster than the last but work into it and enjoy running fast like it’s the last 200 of the race.

Warm up

5 x 200m with your target time as the recovery period. So if you aim to run 5 mins for the mile you get 5 mins recovery time between reps but stay warm and stretched.

Warm down

9 – Monday 18th July
Almost at race day now – so nothing hard, its chill time and get into the SOS partner music listings Evermix 

Track Workout

Warm up

And its easy 4 x 120m stride outs with walk back recovery at a comfortable fast pace.

Warm down

10 – Wednesday 20th July
if in UK enter the SOAR MILE & run new personal best for the MILE.  If not then get your friends to cheer you on to a PB at your local track.  Even get a few of them to pace you.

These are hard sessions, so make sure you are fit enough to take them on, and stop straight away if anything stars to hurt. 

 

Matt Yates ran his first sub 4 mile at 20 years old and has a mile PB of 3.52. Matt was the winner of the New York, Madrid, Sydney, Edingburgh and a whole host of mile races round the world and was one of the worlds top 1500m athletes in the 1990s.

He recently started coaching at the age of 46 and in no time has built up a group of highly succesful young British middle distance athletes. Read more about his training group here in Left Spike magazine – HERE

 

SOS tops independent research trial for effective hydration

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized

SOS subjects’ hydration status significantly improved in an independent research trial.

 

A combined independent study, led by Coventry University and Newman University, in the United Kingdom, analyzed the effectiveness of rehydration beverages following an interval training session in highly trained middle-distance runners.

 

SOS was compared against an electrolyte sports drink tablet (Nuun) and a placebo of flavoured water.

 

The results were resoundingly in SOS’s favour.

 

Within 12 hours of drinking SOS, the subjects had recovered their plasma volume and body mass completely.

 

When taking the electrolyte tablet, or flavoured water, neither plasma volume or the body mass of the subjects had recovered to pre work out levels, therefore increasing their risk of dehydration.

 

This study identifies that the subjects who used SOS hydrated faster and more effectively than those subjects who used other drinks.

 

See Fig 1. and 2.

 

What does this mean?

Simply put, taking SOS facilitates hydration and recovery better and faster than water or Nuun tablets.

 

In sports, hydration is critical. According to Gleeson et al., a loss of 2% body weight can lead to a 5% loss in performance over 10km and a 3% loss in performance over 800m / Mile. That could be the difference between a sub-4 minute mile or a 4:06 mile, a loss of 1 minute 45 seconds over 10km for a 35min target 10km, or the difference between winning and finishing out of the medals.

Fig1 Body Mass

Figure 1: Mean (±95% CI) percentage change in body mass. Placebo (PLA):6% chance of an unlikely benefit; SOS: 84% chance of a likely benefit and ESD (Nuun): 6% chance of an unlikely benefit (Hopkins, 2000).

 

Starting the day in a negative dehydration state will diminish recovery and quality of subsequent workouts. Dehydration can lead to headaches, tiredness, fatigue and potentially more serious complications.

 

 

 

Figure 2 Plasma Volume

Figure 2: Mean (± 95% CI) change in plasma volume. SOS: 81% chance of a likely benefit Vs. ESD; SOS: 96% chance of a very likely benefit Vs. Placebo and ESD (Nuun) 63% chance of a possible benefit Vs. PLA (Hopkins, 2000).

 

 

 

With proven scientific results, SOS should be in every runner’s bottle, whether to hydrate between rounds in competition, to use before, during and after a workout, or to help you stay hydrated for what everyday life throws at you.

 

SOS can be purchased from www.ineedsos.com

 

What have you conquered? #sosconquered competition coming soon

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized

What have you conquered?

SOS Rehydrate challenges you think what you want to conquer and then let us know in the upcoming competition!

Stay tuned more details to follow

www.sosrehydrate.com

#sosconquered

 

 

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