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Summer 2009 $5.95

Permit #351 Bolingbrook, IL

PA I D PRST STD U.S. Postage

Photos: Victah, PhotoRun

Volume 16, Number 3


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contents

P h ot o: V ic ta

Publisher’s Note

8

Starting Blocks

14

Track Construction

30

Exit

10

Track Spikes for 2009

16

Coaching the 400-Meter Hurdles

20

Edwin Moses Talks About Life in the Fast Lane

28

Best Shoes for $80 or Less

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Cover: Taylor, Clement and Sanchez at the 2009 addidas Track Classic.


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p u b l i s h e r ’s n ot e

Group Publisher Larry Eder, larry.eder@gmail.com Group Editor Christine Johnson, ctrneditorial@gmail.com Advertising Larry Eder, ssmadvert@gmail.com Writers/Contributors Walt Murphy, Dick Patrick, Mary Helen Sprecher, Gary Winkler Circulation Changes shootingstarmediabiz@gmail.com

Left to right: University of Massachusetts–Boston Chancellor Keith Motley , Edwin Moses and University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson

A

s you get this issue, school will be getting out and many of us will be headed for the U.S. Championships in Eugene, OR, June 24–28 (complete schedule at www.vsathletics.com). If you're in Eugene, make sure you visit the Villard Street Pub each and every night, because just as in 2008 during the Trials, the folks from VS. Athletics, American Track & Field, Villard Street Pub, and our various sponsors will be hosting parties, coaching clinics, etc. Face it, this is just track geek heaven, and if you read American Track & Field, you are a track and field geek, probably also a coach. James Dunaway, our editor, has focused on the 400 meter hurdles in this issue. He has a monumental interview with Edwin Moses, which is our major feature. Our Resource Guide issue, coming in July, will be focused on the sprints. We hope that you enjoy the issue! Edwin Moses was one of our most remarkable athletes in the ’70s and ’80s. After his 12-year career at the top in the 400 hurdles, Moses has spent much time campaigning for a drug-free sport. He recently was given an honorary doctorate from UMass–Boston for his work (see above). A few notes about what you will also find inside: Saucony, for the second year in a row, has sponsored our Summer 2009 XC Training program, 12 weeks of training suggestions, in print and on the web, for the beginning, intermediate and advanced cross country runner. ASICS is sponsoring a 12-week training log, which they have done for several years. We hope that you like these, as well. One final note—you can get your daily fix on our sport at www.runblogrun.com by signing up for a free subscription. Remember also to follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/runblogrun, and make sure that you check our videos and updates at www.american-trackandfield.com and www.coachingathleticsq.com. Have a great summer!

Larry Eder, Publisher

Photographers Lisa Coniglio/PhotoRun, Victah Sailer/PhotoRun Layout/Design Kristen Cerer Editor James Dunaway jodunaway@sbcglobal.net 512-261-8354 Pre-Press/Printer W. D. Hoard & Sons Company, Fort Atkinson, WI Publisher’s Reps Peter Koch-Weser pkwadvmag@yahoo.com ph: 310-836-2642; fax: 310-836-7093 Special Projects Adam Johnson-Eder atflistings@gmail.com, 608-957-2159 Special Thanks To Tim Garant, Alex Larsen Tom Mack, Mary Atwell, Julie Wells In loving memory of Violet Robertson, 1913–2003 www.american-trackandfield.com ph: 608-239-3785; fax: 920-563-7298 shootingstarmediabiz@gmail.com American Track & Field (ISSN 1098-64640) is produced, published and owned by Shooting Star Media, Inc., PO Box 67, Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538-0067, Christine Johnson, President, Larry Eder, Vice President. Copyright 2008 by Shooting Star Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Publisher assumes no liability for matter printed, and assumes no liability or responsibility for content of paid advertising and reserves the right to reject paid advertising. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any form without written permission of the Publisher. American Track & Field is not related to or endorsed by any other entity or corporation with a similar name and is solely owned by Shooting Star Media, Inc. Publisher recommends, as with all fitness and health issues, you consult with your physician before instituting any changes in your fitness program.


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Olympic doping follow-up

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hen Olympic authorities re-tested urine and blood samples from the Beijing Olympic Games, 1500 champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was the highest profile athlete of the three track athletes caught. That’s assuming his B sample comes back positive for CERA, a derivative of endurance-boosting EPO. The B tests for EPO have been problematic over the years — Bernard Lagat and Marion Jones were among those whose B samples came back negative. If the B confirms the A, Ramzi will lose his medal and serve a 2-year suspension. The B sample test is scheduled for June 8, as is an IAAF hearing on the matter if the result is positive. It will be interesting to see how strongly Ramzi might contest a positive. Will he challenge the validity of the CERA test? Could he claim that the samples weren’t stored properly, leading to a positive? He’s probably facing an uphill battle in the court of public opinion. In a letsrun.com poll, more than 60% of voters said Ramzi was a cheater. The native of Morocco has inspired such suspicion ever since he came on the international scene suddenly in 2005, winning the 800 and 1500 at the world championships without a large body of work on the world-class level. In 2004, he reduced his 1500 from 3:39 to 3:30, too dramatic an improvement for many observers. Last year he was virtually absent from the European circuit until showing up in great shape in Beijing. All that is circumstantial. It’s up to the tests now. If the positive is upheld, Asbel Kiprop of Kenya will be the champion, followed by Nick Willis of New Zealand and Mehdi Baala of France.

“This step shows that athletes who cheat can never be comfortable that they will avoid detection and sends a strong message of deterrence,” the IAAF said in a publicity release. The news did not register strongly in the U.S. Ramzi is not well known here, nor were any U.S. athletes upgraded to medals. Still, the re-test should send a strong message to athletes — assuming the B is positive. If it’s not, then the testers have a credibility problem.

Logan names performance chief When Benita Fitzgerald Mosley was working on the Project 30 Task Force last winter, she didn’t realize she was helping write a future job description. The committee, formed by USATF CEO Doug Logan to fulfill his goal of 30 medals at the 2012 London Games compared to 23 in Beijing, recommended the appointment of a general manager for elite sport. On May 21, Logan named Mosley as USATF’s first chief of sports performance — in charge of USATF’s high performance and sports science programs, relays, national team management, athlete development, coaching education and management of meet officials. Logan said he considered 21 candidates before settling on Mosley, 47, the 1984 Olympic 100 hurdle champion, who spent several years with the U.S. Olympic Committee, including directing its training centers from 1977–2000, and spent the last eight years as CEO of the nonprofit Women in Cable Telecommunications. “It’s a unique opportunity to take advantage of all the experience I’ve had professionally — on the track and in the boardroom — and apply it to my passion, track and field,” Mosley said. “We all have a lot of pride in being the #1 track team in the world.

We want to continue that tradition.” Her first duty, she said, would be to conduct a “listening tour” with athletes, coaches and agents. Early priorities will be strengthening the relays process plus targeting technical events such as jumps and throws, areas that were disappointments in Beijing. “No single individual on the administration side will have a bigger impact on the fortunes of Team USA than Benita,” Logan said. “I have no doubt that our high performance programs will be revolutionized under her leadership.”

Mile dream dies hard You can take the marathoner out of the mile, but can you take the mile out of the marathoner? It isn’t always easy. Just ask Ryan Hall, who finished 3rd in April’s Boston Marathon, his fifth attempt at the 26.22-mile distance. Hall is a confirmed marathoner now, with a best of 2:06:17. But it took him a while to give up the sub-four dream after he ran a 1500 in 3:42.70, equivalent to just over 4:00 for the mile, as a senior in high school in 2001. The time remains his PR, even though he often ran the 1500 or mile during his four-year Stanford career before moving to longer distances. “I wanted to be a miler so bad,” Hall said. “That was my big dream growing up. Watching Jim Ryun footage, reading about Steve Scott, watching Sebastian Coe in Born to Run. I was convinced I was a miler. You watch the Prefontaine movie and you’re like ‘No one’s going to tell me I’m not fast enough. I’m going to prove you wrong.’ “My PR in the 1500 is still from my senior year in high school. It took me a while to be like ‘All right, I’m done with this. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m not saying I’m not fast


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Shorter confided wistfully to a reporter, “I’ve always wanted to break four minutes for the mile.”

Future Dukie in the dec

enough. I’m just going to an event I’m more suited for.’ It was really stupid it took me so long. It took years of disappointment at Stanford.” Now that he’s a success at the marathon, Hall still has mile fantasies. His plan was to spend the weeks after Boston recovering and helping with the training of his wife Sara Bei Hall, a 1500/5000 runner. “I’ll be doing some pacing,” he said. “One thing that keeps kicking around in my head is that I’d like to break 4 (in the mile) sometime. I might try to do some quarters and then try to dip under four some time this summer.” Hall, who anticipates running a fall marathon, realizes his current event is evolving, especially after two relatively unknown Kenyans went sub-2:05 in the Rotterdam Marathon. “What I think of as possible is always changing, especially when you see some 2:07 guys rolling out 2:04s,” Hall said. “The world of marathoning is changing and it’s exciting to be part of it. “It’s exciting to think of 2:06 as not that fast any more. I’m thinking 2:05, 2:04, 2:03. You’ve just got to go for it. It’s easier to go for it when others have already done it. That inspires me to come to that level.” As far as his dreams of a sub-four mile are concerned, perhaps Hall can take comfort in the fact that he’s not alone. A year or two after winning the 1972 Olympic marathon, Frank Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET

Curtis Beach obliterated the national high school record in the decathlon in April, scoring 7,909 points, almost 500 points better than the 7,417 scored by Ryan Theriault in 1993. Beach’s marks: 10.99 in the 100, 22-81⁄2 in the long jump, 44-8 in the shot put, 6-91⁄2 in the high jump, 48.16 in the 400, 14.42 in the 110 hurdles, 133-4 in the discus, 14-11⁄4 in the pole vault, 155-9 in the javelin and 4:09.48 in the 1,500. The Albuquerque Academy senior took a shot at 8,000 early in June at the Great Southwest Invitational Although he fell short with7,719 , he also used the senior shot and discus and ran 42-inch hurdles with the other seven events to score 7,466, breaking Craig Brigham’s 1972 senior mark of 7,359 (which was set in the same manner). Later in the same meet he ran relay legs of 1:50 and 46.45. Beach comes from a middle-distance background, beginning cross country at 8. In the pentathlon at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York, he ran 2:30.90 in the concluding 1,000 to finish with 4,127 points, the No.2 score in prep history. “He’s got good speed and great endurance, which is rare,” said decathlon historian Frank Zarnowski. “He’s one of those kids unafraid of events. He just goes out and scorches the 1,500. What he might do is change the nature of the dec because he’s so good in the final event. This guy could really be something.” Beach will attend Duke, which has never been a power in track and isn’t fully funded with only about half of the maximum 12.6 scholarships allowed for men’s teams. Beach made his decision because of academics and new Duke assistant coach Shawn Wilbourn, a former 8,200 decathlete who competed at the 1997 world championships. “I felt coach Shawn Wilbourn was

the best fit for me,” said the 6-0, 166pound Beach, 18, who also had Oregon, California , Texas A&M and Baylor in his final five. “I know he’s very knowledgeable and I see myself having a lot of success there. In the end, it was a clear choice even if on the surface it looks terrible because historically Duke hasn’t had a great track program. They’re definitely on the rise.” One reason why Beach wants a Duke education: “My dream job would be CEO of USA Track & Field. I want to get into marketing and really help the sport.”

A Life in Track Payton Jordan, a competitor and coach in the sport for most of his life, died in February of cancer at 91. Jordan was best known as a coach, winning two NCAA small college titles at Occidental before moving to Stanford, where he coached for 22 years and produced seven Olympians. He coached the 1968 Olympic men’s team, considered by many to be the best team in history. Jordan was a star sprinter and football player at USC but lost his best years to World War II. In his latter years, he again became a star, this time as an age-group sprinter, setting a 100 meter world record of 14.65 at age 80. “I had so much respect for that man,” said ex-UCLA coach Jim Bush. “He was not only one of the greatest coaches our sport has ever know, he was a great human being. I loved everything he stood for, which was fairness and hard work.” Jordan used to have a sign in his office with four questions: Is it safe? Is it popular? Is it politic? Is it right? “The only one that matters to me is the last one,” he said. “If it’s right, I’ll do it. If it’s not, I won’t.” Jordan practiced what he preached. Jim Ward, who ran for Jordan during the 1960s when steroids had not yet been banned, told the San Jose Mercury-News that he finished 7th in the 400 at the NCAA meet and that all the runners ahead of him had used steroids. Ward wanted to use Continued on page 14


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Reviews

Track Spikes for 2009

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rack & field competition is approaching and, depending on your event, there are many choices available this season. The following write-ups describe what we think are the best offerings from each shoe company. This is a sampling of what we have seen, but there are even more choices available—especially in the event-specific shoes, though it may be a bit tough to find a dealer that carries the full lines.

Mizuno Tokyo 5 $95

Nike Zoom Mawler $150

The Tokyo has anchored Mizuno’s sprint line-up for more than a decade. Version 5 has improved the materials and design of the midsoleoutersole-spike plate combination that has served the shoe well, and it continues to provide both the power and traction required for sprint performance. The upper veers from the previous mesh and strapped overlays to a primarily synthetic leather upper, with a mesh-and-foam tongue for comfort. The foot is secured via webbing loops that thread through eyelets and attach via hook-andlook tape to cinch the midfoot effectively. The fit offers the same adjustability with improved security to keep the foot lined up for rapid transfer from the start to the finish line.

The Mawler returns Nike’s sprint focus to power. A new spike plate—fulllength articulated Pebax with a second 3/4-length carbon fiber plate underneath—maximizes flexion. The midsole is a thin layer of Phylon that provides just enough cushioning while maintaining a low profile. The upper is a shroud-covered, stretchy mesh monosock that offers a supportive, skin-tight fit. It’s not easy to get into, but very secure once it’s on. The goldtone plate and sleek, low-profile design make a statement even standing still. NEW Sizes: unisex 4–13,14,15 Weight: 8.3 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 10) Spikes: 7, permanent Upper: mesh, synthetic shroud Innersole: CM-EVA Midsole: full-length CM-EVA Outersole: full-length Pebax spike plate Recommended for: 100–400 meters on synthetic surfaces

UPDATED Sizes: unisex 5–13 Weight: 7.4 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes: 6, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length CM-EVA Outersole: full-length thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: 100–400 meters on synthetic surfaces

Reebok Kuai SmoothFit Sprint $110

Saucony Crescent 2 Sprint $65

The Kuai SmoothFit Sprint combines the spike plate that was introduced last season with the upper construction Reebok calls SmoothFit. The upper is a seamless, welded fabric (a perforated synthetic with a ventilating mesh insert over and behind the toes) with a soft sueded interior. The full-length Pebax spike plate and CM-EVA midsole offer a combination of cushioning, flexibility, and structure to the sprinting foot. The aggressive 8-spike plate provides excellent traction, and the aesthetics are aggressively eye-catching.

The second round of the Crescent Sprint adds some new touches to the successful design of the original. The effective, proven midsole and spike plate with a sharkskin heel are unchanged—a testament to good design. The upper adopts a smooth, synthetic, shroudlike overlay across the toes and over 3/4 of the medial side, and is aimed at reducing drag to gain fractions of a second. The interior is nicely finished with sueded microfiber providing a smooth feel, which is especially important if you wear them without socks. Its ability to manage a variety of track surfaces at a reasonable price makes it well worth checking out.

UPDATED Sizes: unisex 4–12,13,14,15 Weight: 6.7 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 9) Spikes: 8, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length CM-EVA Outersole: full-length Pebax spike plate Recommended for: 100–400 meters on synthetic surfaces

UPDATED Sizes: men’s 7–13,14; women’s 5–12 Weight: 6.7 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes: 7, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length sheet EVA Outersole: TPU heel, thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: 100–400 meters on synthetic surfaces

VS Athletics Youth Alpha Multi $35 VS Athletics footwear provides economical value and performance. The Youth Alpha Multi is suitable for distances, hurdles, jumps, or even sprints, and is available beginning with youth size 13, making it small enough for the younger age-group athletes. The upper is breathable mesh with well-supported synthetic leather overlays. The thermoplastic spike plate and rubber outersole easily handle all track surfaces except asphalt, and are durable enough to see more than one season. CARRY-OVER Sizes: Y13; unisex 1–6 Weight: 4.9 oz. (w/ spikes, size 2.5) Spikes: 7, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length sheet EVA Outersole: rubber heel, thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: 800–3000 meters, jumps, and hurdles on all surfaces except asphalt


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Reviews

ASICS Hyper MD $60

Puma Complete TFX Miler $60

ASICS’ Hyper series is among the most durable multi-surface shoes available. This update features the cushioning and traction that make new athletes competitive and work well for both training and competition. The midfoot has a supportive thermoplastic shank, and the midsole wedge provides the middle distance platform that makes these shoes so versatile. Minor changes to the upper freshen the look without affecting performance, and the price tag maintains the value.

Puma has introduced a new entry-priced series called TFX. Based on a modified version of its all-round plate, the TFX offers sprint, middle distance, and distance models. The TFX Miler is the middle distance offering, which features the 6-spike, 3/4-length spike plate combined with a healthy midsole wedge for support and cushioning. The upper features asymmetrical lacing and fairly minimal overlays to provide a secure fit while keeping the shoe light. The interior has a velour tongue, archband, and heel for comfort. Available in men’s and women’s versions, this is a well-executed, versatile shoe. Combined with its modest price, the value is even better.

UPDATED Sizes: unisex 1–13,14,15 Weight: 7.7 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes: 5, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length sheet EVA Outersole: rubber heel, thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: 400–1500 meters, jumps, and hurdles on all surfaces

NEW Sizes: men 4.5–12,3,14; women 5.5–11,12 Weight: 6.8 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 9) Spikes: 7, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length sheet EVA Outersole: rubber heel, thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: 400–1500 meters, jumps, and hurdles on all surfaces

adidas adiZero Cadence $100

Brooks Z3 $85

The adiZero Cadence is a high-quality, longdistance competition shoe adjusted for the lightning-fast tracks on which championship meets are often held. These tracks are fast because they have minimal cushioning in their layers of synthetic rubber, rendering them more similar to a road surface than you might imagine. The Cadence begins with the profile of a road racing shoe and adapts it to the track. Beginning with an ultralight upper (an adiZero strength), then adding a responsive layer of cushioning, and finishing with a grippy DS outersole with 6 spike wells to ensure traction, the Cadence solves many of the performance shortfalls of other distance spikes. It’s also well-suited to the multiple rounds necessary at large championships held on lessthan-forgiving surfaces.

The Z series has shown gradual and subtle improvement with each update. Round 3 maintains the effectiveness of the midsole and outersole/Pebax spike plate pairing. The upper receives the attention: overlays at the heel, toe, and where the spike plate rolls up laterally are the only synthetic leather used. The midfoot and eyestays benefit from weight-saving HF-welds without sacrificing support. The mesh is a more closely woven microfiber that has a smooth, supportive feel, and the interior offers soft, sueded microfiber to improve comfort.

NEW Sizes: men 6.5–13,14,15; women 5–12 Weight: 5.9 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 9) Spikes: 6, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length CMEVA Outersole: TPU/Polyester Recommended for: 800–10,000 meters on synthetic surfaces

UPDATED Sizes: unisex 5–13,14,15 Weight: 5.9 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 9) Spikes: 5, replaceable Upper: mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole: sheet EVA Midsole: full-length CM-EVA Outersole: TPU heel, Pebax spike plate Recommended for: 800–10,000 meters on synthetic surfaces

New Balance Jav 1010 $95 Over the last five seasons, New Balance’s track & field line has progressed from just a few spikes to a complete line. The quality of its specialty shoes has improved to a high level, thanks to hard work and some development “magic.” The Jav 1010 is representative of the quality of the New Balance specialty shoes—event-specific models designed for the rigors of the field events. The upper is synthetic suede and leather with a padded mesh tongue and a plush interior. The midfoot is secured by a well-placed hook-and-loop strap, while a friction-resistant layer and toecap provide the additional durability required by the javelin throw. The Abzorb midsole provides a measure of cushioning without bottoming out, and the full-length spike plate has good rigidity and traction to allow maximum effort in competition. UPDATED Sizes: unisex 6–13,14,15,16 (D,2E) Weight: 11.6 oz. (w/spikes, men’s 9.5) Spikes: 11, replaceable Upper: mesh tongue, synthetic vamp Innersole: CM-Abzorb Midsole: full-length CM-Abzorb Outersole: full-length thermoplastic spike plate Recommended for: javelin throw on synthetic surfaces

CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2009 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.


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them too. Jordan talked him out of it, he recalls. “He was afraid of all the longterm health aspects of steroids,” Ward said. “I know three or four runners … who are dead now because they used steroids. Coach Jordan helped me stay drug-free. “Payton was very calm and gentle in enforcing rules. He didn’t allow us to lie or fudge. And he didn’t have a racial bone in his body.”

Bolt’s rocky start Usain Bolt may have learned how to get out of the blocks on the track, but his 2009 got off to a rocky start. The Olympic 100 and 200 champ from Jamaica was lucky he wasn’t injured seriously after an accident on a rainy road totaled his BMW in May. The windshield was smashed and the chassis severely damaged, but the only injury to Bolt came from stepping on thorns after he and two female passengers exited the vehicle in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Then there was a Bolt comment that attracted negative attention: “In Jamaica, you learn as a child how to roll a joint. Everyone here has tried it. I did, too — but I was real young then,” Bolt was quoted as saying, adding. “My family and my friends don’t smoke and I don’t hang out any longer with people who smoke.” Bolt has said he wants to become the first track athlete to earn $10 million

a year in endorsements, appearance fees, prize money and bonuses. His agents might want to approach Guinness and Red Bull for sponsorships. That’s what the German magazine Bild reported Bolt was mixing at a disco in Kingston.

Bell Lap • Lolo Jones, the #1 ranked 100 hurdler in the world, suffered a nightmare for a world-class athlete while competing in her hometown of Des Moines, IA at the 100th Drake Relays in April. On a rainy day with temperatures in the 40s, Jones ignored a balky right hamstring in her lead leg to compete. She pulled up after hitting the eighth hurdle with — yes, a hamstring injury. “It’s a slight tear, not an all-out injury, where I’ll be out for months or my season is over,” she said. “Even up to the last minute, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh — am I going to run, am I not going to run?’” she said. “I felt tremendous pain warming up. But then when I went out there, the adrenaline took over. The crowd was cheering my name and I was like, ‘I don’t care, I’m going for it.’” • After a career-best year in 2008, New Zealand ‘s Nick Willis wasn’t as lucky with an early season injury. Willis had hip surgery in April to repair a torn labrum, an operation that could jeopardize his appearance at the World Championships in August in Berlin.

Willis was hoping to be able to start jogging in late May. Willis said if he competes in Berlin, it may be in the 800. Colorado senior Jenny Barringer recorded her fifth collegiate record of the past year with a 15:07.64 in winning the 5000 meters May 2 in Stanford, CA. Barringer, who has run 15:01.70 indoors, was hoping to break 15:00 but fell off the pace early. “I am used to running PRs. Yeah, I’m disappointed,” said Barringer. Five weeks later at Pre, she made up for it with a stunning collegiate 1500 of 3:59:90, just 0.01 behind 2008 No. 1 Gelete Burka of Ethiopia. Stanford freshman Chris Derrick hooked up with Oklahoma State’s German Fernandez in a race-withinthe-race 5000 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitations meet. Derrick, who finished 3rd, set a U.S. junior record of 13:29.98; Fernandez was 4th in 13:31.78. Both broke Galen Rupp’s 2004 mark of 13:37.91. Oregon redshirt freshman Matthew Centrowitz ran a world-leading time in the 1500 of 3:36.92, equivalent to a 3:52.5 mile. Centrowitz is getting close to the family record in the event, 3:36.7, which his father, Matt, a twotime Olympian, recorded in 1976. Chris Bucknam, in his first year at Arkansas after the retirement of legendary coach John McDonnell, signed his biggest blue-chip distance recruit for the Razorbacks with Solomon Haile. The native of Ethiopia who lives in Silver Spring, MD, won the FootLocker cross country title in the fall and took two championships at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in personal bests, the 2-mile (9:02.67) and the 5000 (14:22.88). “He adds great depth in cross country and in the distance events on the track,” Bucknam said. “He has raced against some of the best high school runners in the country and has proven to be successful. Our 2009–10 freshman class is turning into a very well-rounded group of student-athletes and they will bring a lot to our program.”


Shorts $28.00 Men's Poly/mesh (loose)fit: Long Loose Fit, 7" inseam, Mid Short, 5" inseam, Split Short, 2" inseam

Women's Poly/spandex (tight fit)

Performance T-Shirt $28.00

(All uniforms require a minimum order of 12 pieces.)

$100.00

Men's/Women's Warm-Up

10:54 AM

$28.00

Women’s Shimlet

VSAthletics.com

7/10/09

Men’s/Women’s Singlets: $28.00

Phone: 800.676.7463

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track construction

Protecting Your Track from Abuse (without locking the gate) – Part One

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here comes a time when every track coach, meet director or athletic grounds manager looks at the facility and says, “Who’s been running on my track?” Whoever it is, they’ve been doing it while you’re not around. The surface looks like it has been chewed on by skate wheels, bicycle tires, or perhaps even athletes wearing cleats. The bleachers show evidence of a latenight picnic, with fast food wrappers and empty cans scattered around. And someone has been using the field as their personal off-leash dog park. Track and field facilities that are open to the community can be a problem. And while most people using the facility are athletes who simply want a workout, there are far too many who either carelessly or deliberately can inflict real damage on a track and its attendant facilities.

So—what are the best ways to prevent it? Be proactive, say those in the industry. Try to anticipate the problems (and the temptations) that might be lurking. Then do your best to head them off. While no facility without supervision is 100% safe, it is possible to reduce the risk.

On the surface The fact that it’s a running track doesn’t stop kids from coming in with bikes, scooters, skateboards and other equipment, including mopeds and other gas-powered vehicles. If you ask the kids, they might say they’re not hurting anything. The surface of the track, however, would beg to differ. A track surface, while resilient, can be damaged by improper use. Latex, polyurethane and pre-fabricat-

ed rubber tracks, for example, can withstand a lot of pounding, but only by the kind of users they were designed to accommodate—runners. Even asphalt tracks need to be treated accordingly. Every year, track builders are called on to repair damage to brand-new facilities—damage that could have been prevented. One cause, says Norm Porter of Omnova Solutions, Inc. in Chester, SC, is the late-night picnic. Carbonated soft drinks spilled on a track, he notes, can definitely cause damage. Kristoff Eldridge of Cape & Island Tennis & Track agrees. “Some types of tracks are built with certain binders that can be broken down by the acid in soft drinks.” Certain surfaces can withstand abuse better than others. Many things, however, will determine which surface


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is right for a particular installation: site conditions, amount and type of use, local weather and, of course, budgetary considerations. Anyone thinking of having a track resurfaced (or built) should consult with track builders who have experience in their geographical regions, and with projects similar to theirs. A track that’s open to the public will likely get considerable wear on the inside lanes from recreational walkers and joggers. Unfortunately, those inside lanes are also the most used part of the track during competitions and workouts, and therefore should be the least used for recreation.

allowed on the track. They also say the sign should state that the facility is for runners and walkers, and that no inline skates, roller skates, skateboards, bicycles, tricycles or other vehicles,

box while their parents are using the track for exercise. I recommend sand catchers of some type. There are many good ones available. The less expensive sand catchers are very easy to take on

except for properly equipped wheelchairs, are permitted. (As a side note, wheelchair-bound athletes have equipment with soft pneumatic or polyurethane tires that do not chew the track the same way skates, motor scooters or other vehicles will.) If athletes wear spiked shoes, some builders recommend a sign stating that the maximum spike length be no more than ¼", although many prefer a maximum of 3⁄16". (Those who want to know the recommendation for their specific surface should ask their contractor; some contractors also advocate soft spikes, and some want none at all.)

and off and serve notice basically that this is not a play area or sandbox. With maintenance and upkeep, I don’t think the sand is really a problem nor should this small amount of rubber in the sandpit from the synthetic turf field be a problem either. Like everything else, it does require some attention and maintenance.” Some builders have mentioned the possibility of installing locking covers over the top of sand pits— among other things, an excellent way to keep animals such as feral cats from using the sand boxes in ways that athletes don’t appreciate.

Signs of the times Mike Butler of Schwab-Eaton, P.A. in Manhattan, KS, suggests some countermeasures that managers can take. “We like to post signs asking that the walkers and joggers use the outside three lanes,” Butler states, “and to encourage this, the laps per mile are posted for those lanes.” Signs with decent graphics can be placed in the inside lane to discourage walkers, joggers and baby strollers from using lane one, according to Carl Aiken of Aiken Engineering in East Greenbush, NY. “A (few) tasteful standard 48" tall signs on a weighted base could be used. During a meet, the signs are simply moved to the inside a few feet. “There are other devices such as metal gates but they can be expensive.” However, Aiken adds, “Considering that public tax dollars are the source of funds for most track jobs, it’s not out of the question to consider an extra lane outside the track oval for the public. Certainly not on all sites but maybe on those with enough room and with a large public population that uses the facility.” Often, just spelling out the rules can make a big difference (many “civilians” just don’t know what’s expected of them). Some builders recommend putting up signs stating in no uncertain terms that no food or drink is

(To be continued)

Child’s play Something many facility managers complain about is the sad state of jumping pits, according to Sam Fisher, of Fisher Tracks, in Boone, IA.. In this case, it’s not so much an abuse issue as it is simply an oversight. “The sand from the jumping pits oftentimes is out on the turf and the end result over time is a very sloppy looking area,” says Fisher. “The real problem I have found is not the sand getting out of the pit during activities but the sand being taken out of the pit by children who are using it as a sand-

Note: The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) is a nonprofit association helping designers, builders, owners, operators and users understand quality sports facility construction. The ASBA sponsors informative meetings and publishes newsletters, books and technical construction guidelines for athletic facilities including running tracks. Available at no charge is a listing of all publications offered by the Association, as well as the ASBA’s Membership Directory. Info: 866-501-ASBA (2722) or www.sportsbuilders.org.


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Coaching the 400 meter hurdles

Gary Winckler has been called “the best sprint and hurdles coach in the world.” Here are his thoughts on the key elements of the race and how to develop them in young athletes.

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he 400 meter hurdles is one of the most interesting events in track and field. For both male and female athletes, the event presents great challenges in many areas— especially coordination, strength, endurance and psychology. In this article, I’d like to offer some ideas regarding this unique event, and to lay out some areas you as a coach might consider in constructing programs to develop the 400m hurdle athlete. In the United States, most 400m hurdle specialists gain their early exposure to this event via the 300m hurdles event in high school. This a useful progression for development in this

event, because in terms of the growth and development of most young people, I feel it is unfair to impose the 400m hurdle event on them while still in high school. I am sure some will disagree with this assessment; one could argue that not enough is done in terms of providing a better developmental progression to encourage young athletes to stay in hurdling. Certainly, in my opinion, performances in the intermediate hurdles, even at the elite level, are not particularly impressive. When one considers the depth of talent in the flat 400m event and compares results for the 400m hurdles events it would seem that not only should our records be faster, but also that we should have a greater depth of high level performers in these events. Why is this the case? I think it is a result of one or more of the following reasons: • Some of the best 400m runners are not encouraged to enter the event. • Lack of coaches wanting to invest time in the event. • Lack of attention to the development of better hurdling skill. • Coaching the event primarily from a strength perspective and not viewing the event from a technical perspective.

Development of the 400m hurdles athlete To develop athletes for an event we as coaches must understand the event’s requirements. Some of the most important requirements are (1) the ability to run a good 400 meters without hurdles, (2) efficient running technique, (3) good hurdling skills, with either lead leg and (4) good mental focus during the race. 1.Ability to run a good 400m. Early in the process of young athletes learning the 400 hurdles, I believe it is vitally important to teach them good 400m flat racing management skills. We see a lot of very good 400m runners in our country who handle race management quite well. They run good distribution patterns and consistently perform at very high levels. But this is not always what we see in 400m hurdle racing. I see many 400m hurdlers who tend to run the 1st half of their races much too fast, resulting in a poor race distribution pattern. This is due in part to the fact that either there is a lack of experience in 400m running or that the athlete does not view the event as a 400m event. I’m often surprised to discover in talking with athletes and coaches that many do not think of the 400m hurdles event as a 400m event with hurdles. They should.


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2.Efficient running technique. Running efficiency (or technique, if you prefer) is very under-coached at all levels. Many coaches and athletes view the short sprint events as the “technical” events and think that sprinting technique is more important in those events. I would not deny that it is of major importance to short sprinters but in my view it is probably more important the longer one runs on the track. Ultimately, the longer the event, the more steps one must utilize to cover the distance. If one can be more efficient on each step, one has more to gain in the course of a longer running event. In all track events, performances have a higher likelihood of consistent year-to-year improvement via improvement in technique. This shows up quickly in an event like the 400m hurdles where one has 10 barriers to interrupt the 400m run. If the efficiency of the running technique is lacking then the task of clearing the 10 hurdles becomes more taxing and detracts from the performance exponentially. The basis of good hurdling technique is solidly grounded in welldeveloped running technique. With a good command of sprinting the task of teaching good hurdling skills is manifestly easier and merely an extension of good running. 3.Technically good hurdle skills (preferably with both legs). Hurdling can be a very demanding technical skill, even with a basis of good sprint mechanics. This is particularly true in the 400 hurdles, since the athlete has the added demand of having to hurdle in a fatigued state as well as a nonfatigued state. Acquiring the ability to hurdle with either leg at a young age is important. Young athletes who have not fully matured do not know what they will ultimately require of their bodies to be successful hurdlers. Even with elite athletes who have the ability to run 13 steps for the entire race, having the ability to hurdle with the other leg

may prove invaluable in dealing with less than ideal racing conditions presented by strong head winds or other inclement environmental conditions. It is not unusual for an athlete who has undergone a peaking process, is well rested, and is in an important race with high levels of arousal to find that he or she takes one less step than usual to the first hurdle. I once saw a female athlete do this resulting in her taking the first 8 hurdles with her non-preferred leg and go on to win a national championship. Had she not been prepared to deal with the situation it could have been disastrous. 4.Good mental focus for decisionmaking during the race. This last example leads into my final point; the need for good mental focus and decision-making. Athletes in this event need to be able to make decisions regarding step patterns and adjustments necessary to meet changing conditions. This is a primary reason I teach the event as a 400m run with hurdles. We run the 400m and deal with the hurdles as required. By developing this mind-set, the athlete is not overly distracted by pre-set step patterns and his or her ability to either make those patterns or not. OK, so much for philosophizing. How do I approach some of these issues in developing athletes in this most exciting event? My program is pretty basic: 1.Prepare the athlete to be a good 400m runner. 2.Allocate training time toward continually and consistently building a better sprinter. 3.Allocate training time to perfecting the technique of hurdling with both legs. 4.Train athletes to hurdle in a fatigued state. I will not delve into the whole area of 400m training as that is beyond the scope of this paper. I will provide some examples of how I attempt to train the

other three points I have listed. In every training cycle I spend time teaching acceleration mechanics and good sprinting skills. This is addressed at least two to three times in a 7-day cycle. I emphasize good postures and coordination exercises to help the athlete produce effective ground forces resulting in good sprinting. I would highly recommend a book by Ronald Klomp and Frans Bosch entitled Running which does an exemplary job of explaining how we as coaches can help our athletes become better sprinters. Throughout the entire training year, in each 7-day cycle we hurdle on two to three occasions. In the early part of the year I use 4–5 hurdles spaced at a consistent spacing of 19–24m allowing the athlete to take 8–10 steps between the hurdles. This spacing is individualized for the athlete and is consistent so as to allow the athlete to become comfortable with the hurdle spacing and thereby be able to better focus on the task of hurdling. The run is done with the same lead leg for the entire run and then we switch lead legs every other run. I usually demand that more runs are performed with the non-preferred leg to help the athlete gain a greater comfort with that leg. As we progress later in the year I increase the demands of this exercise by varying the spacing of the hurdles. For example, spacing may allow for 8 steps between the first two hurdles, 9 steps between the next two, 8 steps again, then 10 steps. This means the athlete will have to alternate on some hurdles and not on others. The athlete’s charge is to make the transitions as smooth as possible and to not decelerate anywhere during the run. These runs are always done at competitive velocities (as are all hurdle runs). Hurdling at half to three quarter speeds just enforces poor mechanics and has no training value. I want to emphasize again the importance of maintaining hurdle skill work throughout the entire Continued on page 18


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year…even during competition. What happens too often is that athletes who race primarily with one lead leg (i.e., they take 8–9 out of 10 hurdles with one lead in a race) fail to continue to train the non-preferred lead. If we are not using that leg in racing but for 12 hurdles and at the same time are not training that lead leg in practice we soon lose the skill. This could be disastrous, since, as we all know, it only takes one bad hurdle in a race to seal one’s doom. For this reason I will increase the number of hurdle clearances with the non-preferred leg in training during the competition season. Hurdling in a fatigued state can be challenging. I want to have my hurdlers experience this phenomenon in training so they can develop some coping strategies. Again, the velocity of the exercises should be similar to that they will use in the 2nd half of the race. Use touchdown charts as well as touchdown results for your athlete to

help you determine the proper velocity range. The basis of the exercises is again quite simple. I select a portion of the race and ask the athlete to run that portion at race pace and repeat the run with short recovery to simulate the associated fatigue. For example: Run over hurdles 6-7-8-9 using a 25m running start to hurdle 6. Record the time from the touchdown off of hurdle 6 to the touchdown off of hurdle 9. The athlete jogs or briskly walks back to the start again and repeats the run. The same time segment is recorded and compared with the expected race time for that portion of the race. This process continues until the athlete cannot meet the time requirement. This may occur in as little as 2 runs or maybe 4–6 runs. This routine is not for the faint of heart but does accomplish the objective. I hope some of this information will prove useful to those of you who love this event as I do. There are so

many variables that we can address to improve performance levels in this event that the future for 400m hurdling should be brighter than ever.

Gary Winckler recently retired as head women’s track coach of the Unversity of Illinois. 13 of his hurdlers from Illinois and Florida State have competed in the Olympic Games, including Tonja Buford-Bailey, 1996 Olympic Bronze medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, and Perdita Felicien, 2003 world champion in the 100 meter hurdles. Winckler is just as proud of his athletes’ off-the-track accomplishments: since 1985, 97% of his athletes have graduated. He is the author of Coaching Hurdlers: Planning Guide for Success, and coauthor of Sport Specific Speed. In addition, the versatile Winckler, who grew up on a cattle ranch, in eastern Washington, is an expert in the painstaking craft of making custom stock saddles.

Your daily updates on the latest in track & field, cross country, road racing, and marathon running. Sign up at www.runblogrun.com and get your athletics fix at least 350 days a year. (Hey, we need a break once in a while, too!)


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Edwin Moses talks about life in the fast lane

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dwin Moses was the world's dominant 400m intermediate hurdler for more than a decade. As a young physics major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, the long-striding Moses quickly developed a new technique, taking an unprecedented 13 steps between hurdles throughout a race instead of the usual 14 or 15. Totally unknown as an athlete until the spring of 1976, he burst into prominence with a string of victories which ended with an Olympic Gold medal and a world record. A year later, he began an undefeated streak of 107 victories (122 if you include qualifying races) over a period of nearly 10 years, including a second Olympic gold medal in 1984 and World Championships in 1983 and 1987. The last of the four world records he set (47.02 seconds in 1983) endured until 1992, and it is still the second fastest 400 hurdles ever run. Moses was not just an innovator

in his event. He was a seeker for the best way to do things: the best way to train, the best way to race, the best way to win. How many sprinters and hurdlers would go on hour-long crosscountry runs throughout the year? On the track, how many would go into oxygen debt in repeat after repeat with short rest intervals at distances from 1,000 meters down to 200 meters? Many of the training techniques he conceived and polished were devised from lessons he had learned in his math, physics and biology studies, and others from his willingness to try new things and see if they worked. Today Edwin Moses is chair of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an organization funded by major corporations to promote sporting activities for youth worldwide for the purpose of social change. He is also involved with a number of philanthropic activities in the United States and around the world.

Moses spoke with American Track & Field by telephone in early May of 2009. ATF: How did you start out in sports? Were you a hurdler from the beginning? Moses: At Fairview High in Dayton. The first sport I did was gymnastics; I did trampoline and floor exercise. That was my freshman year. And I played freshman football, and I was on the reserve team on the varsity my second year. I quit playing football after that. In track and field, I started out doing long jump, I did the triple jump one year, it was my junior year, and I did quite well at that. And believe it or not, I was a pole vaulter my freshman year; I won the freshman city meet in the pole vault at 9 feet 6 inches with a metal pole, my first year in high school. But one time I caught the lip of the box with my pole, and I whiplashed my back, and that was the

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images Publicity/Getty Images


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last time I pole vaulted. Q: How did you get into the hurdles? A: It must have been my sophomore year, we had a shuttle hurdles relay, and one of the guys got injured, and the coach asked if anyone wanted to try it. He was the long distance and cross country coach, which really benefited me later on, because I learned how to — I wasn’t afraid to — to run 600s and 500s and 300s. So I jumped into that relay team, and I think I struggled that first year because noone taught me how to do hurdles; I kind of learned by doing. And that’s how I got started, by volunteering to be a substitute — and I think the next year and the following year we had one of the best shuttle hurdles teams in the area, in Dayton. Q: But you were doing just the 120 hurdles? A: I was running 180s, too, and the quarter. How I got started on that was that I was on the 880 relay and running 220s and long jumping, and one day the coach said, “Why don’t you jump into the quarter – you’ve got a long stride.” And I ran 56.4 the first time out. That was during my freshman year. After that I was a quarter miler all the time. Q: Did you run any 330 hurdles? Or did they have them in those days? A: We had 180s – and after I got good in the shuttle hurdles, I actually ran the highs and the low hurdles, the 180 low hurdles. And I was pretty good at the low hurdles; I think my best was 21.1 or 21.3. But we had guys in the area who were running 19.8, low 20 – so I was just, a second-tier guy. I could always get from the district meet to the city meet, you know, that kind of thing: one of the fastest in the city, one of the top three or four… Q: But you were pretty much a jack of all trades, and the other guys were specialists? A: Yep, the other guys were specialists. We had a guy, Earl Richardson, he was running in the 47s on dirt. We had all these guys right in our city league, so I always grew up running against very good competition, and the same thing

happened at Morehouse, because we ran against Dr. (Leroy) Walker’s team at North Carolina Central, against people like James Coleman, who ended up being a punter for the Minnesota Vikings—he was a high hurdler who was running like 13.3s, in our conference, and Roberto Ouko, and Julius Sang, and all those guys. So I was always the young guy who had the benefit of running against much better competition — great high school competition and great college competition. That’s how I got better – the old-fashioned way.

A: Academic scholarship. I got rejected at Ohio State. They said, you know, “Come for a year and come out for track, and if you’re good enough, we’ll think about it.”

Q: So, when did you start running the 400 hurdles? A: I think I ran one race in 1975, sophomore year. I remember running it, but I don’t remember anything about it, because I was just running for points in the conference championships. I think I ran about a 56, or something like that. First time out, I had no idea. It was probably about 54 something, I doubt if it was as slow as 56 – 54, maybe even a 53. I have no idea — I’m trying to get someone who’s got the records over at Morehouse from that meet. In my freshman year (1974), I think I ran 48.6 or 48.9 in the open 400, and at the end of my second year I ran 47.5. And in the following year, in ‘76, in the first race of the year, at the Florida Relays, I came out and ran 46.1, in lane 9. So I knew I was on my way. In the hurdles, I came from a 15.1 out of high school to about a 14.3 my freshman year, my second year of college I was down to about 13.8 or 13.9 and during the Olympic year, again at the Florida Relays, I think I ran – I don’t know – 13.7 or something like that. I don’t remember. But between my second and third years, my quarter times dropped 1.4 seconds, my HH dropped considerably, and that’s when I my coach, Lloyd Jackson, put me in the 400 meter hurdles race, also at the Florida Relays, and I ended up running a 50.1. But I was in great shape and knew how to hurdle, so that was the key. Q: How did you come to go to Morehouse?

I was not a standout. I was good, but I wasn’t nationally ranked. But I had the potential. And I discovered it on my own through the school of hard knocks. I just love track and field. It’s like guys have basketball joneses; I was a track jones. Q: How did you develop the 13 steps between hurdles? That was pretty much unheard of in those days, wasn’t it? A: Well, when I ran that race in the Florida Relays, I just started running. The only thing I knew for certain in running that race was that I had to hit the first hurdle correctly. So from then on, virtually the only thing I worked on in terms of steps was from the startling blocks to the first hurdle and being able to come up to the first hurdle leading with my left leg. After that, the 13 steps, that was just a freak of my natural rhythm and my natural stride length. I’m pretty sure I ran 13 steps the entire race; I didn’t count them, but I can’t remember running with the opposite leg at all. It’s something that happened; I knew I was a left leg lead hurdler, and I was running, and the hurdles came Continued on page 22


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up pretty close to where they should have been, and that’s what happened. But I accepted that the shortest distance was by staying close to the inside, and in order to do that I had to be a left-leg hurdler, and everything else just kind of worked out. I think I worked on the first three hurdles only before that first Florida race, and then after the Florida Relays, after I ran 50.1. Coach Jackson and I came up with this mechanism, and Dr. Walker gave me some really good workouts for the final 200. One thing that he told me was that it’s all in the last hundred, it’s not who’s out in front at the 5th or 6th hurdles, it’s what happens from hurdles 7 to 10. So I did my workouts to cover that area. And Dr. Walker was right; I put in the work and everything worked out. So after I ran that 50.1 at the Florida Relays race that first time, I said to myself, “I think I can run under 49.” I knew that, based on conditioning and developing a technique. I was a good high hurdler – I’d already run 13.6 or 7 hand timed – so I knew that if I could approach the hurdle properly, so that I’d get over it without a problem, that I could run under 49. And I ran 49.8 at the Penn Relays, and 48.8 at Tennessee, and went back up to Tennessee for a second meet and ran 48.6, and when I did that I said, “I think I can run under 48.” So I just kept my training program up, and I knew it was all about endurance at that point. Q: I remember in Kingston, in 1977, you beat the 2nd, 3rd and 4th finishers from Montreal in the highs – and I always wondered if you ever thought about running the highs seriously. A: I always wanted to run the highs, but for me, the training was so different. I was so used to running 1000s, 600s, and 500s. And in order to really improve in the highs I would have had to shift a lot of focus away from the 400 hurdles. And when I broke my own world record and ran 47.45 in L.A., in 1977, I was so excited about the idea of running under 47 that I just decided to stay with my event. They also wanted me to run against Juantorena. So I was kind of caught between – what do you want to do, do you want to run the highs and

become a world-class high hurdler, or do you want to go up against the guys in the 800. And coach Jackson said, “Just stick with your event. Don’t change anything. You could get injured doing the high hurdles, and running that 800 will take away your speed, and your technique for the hurdles.” But I trained with the highs. I usually did high hurdles at least two days a week. I was always sharp for the high hurdles, but I just never competed. I think I could have run 13.2 or 13.3 – I know that for sure—but I just never wanted to get my focus away from what I knew was a winning formula. Q: But the high hurdling you did was obviously helpful to you in your regular hurdling… A: Oh, yeah, in my whole career I always concentrated on high hurdles at least one day a week. I was training like Roger Kingdom or anybody else, specifically on high hurdles. Q: Could you give us a rough sketch of your fall training, your winter training, taper training, and in-season training for a year? A: The fall training was mostly distance, up until January or February. And then I did two workouts a day. I had the benefit of living and training with Henry Rono in ’78 and ’79, when we both lived in Laguna Hills. I used to run lots of cross-country with those guys – up to an hour. We would do an hour run at 6 o’clock in the morning, and then I would come back in the afternoon and do a 21⁄2 mile run up and down hills. I had a course that I measured. I took a roller out there and measured the whole thing, so I knew exactly where I was in time and space. I did lots of cross country running; that was how I started the first three months of every year. I also did some training at the beach in soft sand, and then I started running 1000 meters, 800 meter repeats on grass, not really fast, but with 30-second recoveries. And I would do that up until about March – about 6 weeks before Mt. SAC, something like that. And then I’d start on the track. And I’d be in shape: I never condi-

tioned myself on the track. I’d start on the track with 1000s and 600s, and then move to 500s. I conditioned myself through cardiovascular (i.e., anaerobic) training. I was probably in the same kind of shape as Seb Coe. I was doing more cross country, and probably in better condition, than 9 out of 10 of the 800 meter runners of those days. Q: And then when you got onto the track, you started with the 1000s and 800s – and what would be a typical workout in the early to mid season? A: I would run over hurdles – 600 meters, with the final 200 meters over hurdles – the last five hurdles. And two or three of those a day, and then finish up with a 500, or a 500 and a 300. I’d do about five runs a day. Q: How hard were they? A: Probably between 57 and 60 for 400 meters, run in lane one, and then I would stop the watch while I jogged out to the 200 starting line in lane 4, and then start the clock again and measure the time to the touch-down over the fifth hurdle. Q: I’ve heard it said that there’s no point in doing hurdle practice unless you’re doing it pretty near all out. A: Well, the 60-second quarter would simulate the first 200 meters of the race – and I would do those in about 12- to 15-minute intervals. So by the time you got to the third one, the final 200 meters, you pretty much feel like you’re in an Olympic final. So therefore, I knew what it felt like all the time, and I was never afraid to go into the cardiovascular zone (oxygen debt), and to stay in that zone. So running those 200s, at the end of every one of those, I felt like I was in a race — and I would have to execute the hurdling and maintain those 13 strides as though I was in a race. After, in a race, there was never any question about what would happen, because I’d be breaking down at the end of those things, every day in practice. Q: What is the difference between the 110s and the 400s in hurdling at the championship level?


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A: In the 400 hurdles you have to overcome fatigue, and you never know what’s going to happen. You can be in the best condition, and still have a lousy race, because when you get to the 10th hurdle things are not progressing the way you think. In the 110s, you don’t have to consider that. If you can’t go 110, you don’t need to be out on the track anyway. Q: You had a 12-year career at the top. How did you stay motivated during that whole time – to be as good as you could? A: That wasn’t a problem, because I did it every day in practice. I was the only one out there; I managed myself. I was lucky if someone was out there to do the timing. When I was in Irvine, Danny Williams used to help me out a lot. He used to do the timing, and that made it easier for me, because I had a wrist stopwatch on that I had to use to do all my times. So having someone there to do the times kind of freed me up from the timing activity you had to do – you know when hitting a certain line and stopping the watch, and then starting it again. But I had it down — I knew exactly what to do, and I had to motivate myself in practice and go into the cardiovascular zone in almost every one of my runs. So to me, the races were easy. I’d go in fully rested and had an unlimited interval in between (races), and that was nothing to what I was doing in practice. So the whole motivation part wasn’t even a factor from my point of view. I didn’t even think about that. I was doing it every day. Just to motivate yourself when you’re tired and have to wait 12 to 15 minutes til the next run, and there’s no coach out there telling you to get on the line and go, and all you’ve got on is a watch to

check the intervals. I motivated myself. Q: So after the first couple of years, you didn’t have a coach? A: Nope, I didn’t. My last year of college, I went out to California to coach Athletes in Action. I didn’t have NCAA eligibility, but nonetheless that was even more pressure, because I had to get into world-class condition with no coach, no track, no nothing. So the whole process of finding a track, of being out of school with no track, I overcame the motivational part. Looking back at what I had to do to compete at the world-class level, it’s almost incomprehensible. Q: How did you train for speed? A: In a typical speed workout, I would do a 500 or an 800 to warm up (after my regular warm-up). The first run of the day was always warm-up; minimal time constraint, just a good warm-up, not go into oxygen debt or anything. And then I’d get a complete recovery after that—like 15 or 20 minutes— and then I’d start the workout. But that first run of the day was just to warm up. And then once I did that I could do 300s. Sometimes I’d do those not so fast but 8 or 9 in a row with a minute rest in between, in 35 or 34 seconds. And some days I’d do 200s; that was my real speed work. Q: What did you say the times were in the 300s? A: 34, 35. Q: That’s pretty fast… A: That was like a minute, minuteand-a-half intervals. I’d do 6 or 8 of those in a row, and the times would

always decrease. I would never start at 34 or 35 and go up; it would always go down. So you have to keep yourself motivated and focused to be able to do that. And I think that when I was doing those kind of workouts, it wasn’t just about speed—about straight speed and power—but it was really about technique. Because I really focused on technique and being very efficient in my running. Not having to rely on forcing myself the last 100 meters, but really establishing proper running technique and to be able to finish the workout in a proper time without burning yourself out. So I became very interested in the technical aspects of running. Q: How did you learn about that? A: I’m a physicist (laughs). I studied all that stuff. Read a lot of papers. They didn’t have digital video back then. That’s just something that I was blessed with—my studies in science. Not only that but the biology and physiology of it, that played a big part of it. Q: So you figured out that there’s a most efficient way to pick up your feet and put them down? A: Not just feet. Everything—arm placement, foot placement, how long your foot’s on the ground, all the angles and everything, I had that pretty much down. That was my forte. Q: And that came out of a physics textbook, not a track textbook… A: Well, the principles did come out of a book but it took me hours and hours, and years and years of actually running and training to be able to do it. It was biomechanics, and that what I wanted to study at the time. That


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was what I was academically very interested in, so I had all the classes and theoretics behind me, and then I went over to the Georgia Tech library and read a lot of papers from Russia and Germany. And they were writing (about the biomechanics of running), and they had a lot of sequence photographs of athletes running. There were no videos then; so I just learned by doing. And a couple of my classmates were physicists as well, and we’d just sit there and talk about that. Q: Did you ever do plyometrics? A: Yep. I learned that at UC Irvine, working with Danny Williams. That was after college. Q: So your whole career you were looking for new ways to improve… A: Yep. I started with the weights in ‘82 and ‘83. Started doing plyometrics, and really honed my workouts down. But the basic six or seven elements I kept the same all the time. Q: What about physios and physiotherapy, did you get into that? A: Yeah, that was an extension of my training program. I met a gentleman by the name of Ken Yoshino, and he was down there in Irvine, and I used to go to him every day after practice, injures or not, for ice baths, P and F stretching, muscle balancing, massage and any kind of therapy that I needed. I’d be over there in Dr. Yoshino’s office for 2 hours — every day. So, I’d start at 8:30 in the morning, and I wouldn’t get home until 6 o’clock at night. Q: And that was all working out? And recovery. A: And recovery. You know, when I started using ice baths back in 1983, none of the NFL teams, none of the professional sports were using it, and everybody thought I was crazy to sit in ice for 20 minutes. Everybody said, “Oh, I can’t do that, I can barely put my arm in ice, or put on the ice pack.” But I would sit in cold water, and now that’s a common, everyday technique that everyone uses. And I think it has a lot to do with me, because it was well publicized back then, through television, interviews, documentaries and all that.

Q: How did you manage to stay in shape when you were racing in Europe for weeks or months at a time? A: I did 1000s, 600s, during the course of the summer. I would work out after the track meet; if I’d run a fantastic race, I’d be out on the track the next day doing cardiovascular work. The cross country that I did, 3 months of that, and even when I was doing speed work and hurdles work in May and June before the national championship and everything, I would run cross country at least three days a week. Q: And that’s what kept you in shape in July and August – going from Zurich to Lausanne to Rome and so forth? A: Yep. And I wasn’t afraid to do 1000s, and 600s; I would keep myself in shape. And after the race, the quality of my endurance training, on the track just shot up. And I was able to produce training results sort of like what Seb Coe was experiencing. I had seen his workouts for the 800 and the 1500—they were highly publicized—and I was doing the same thing that he was doing. So that kept me in shape. It was very important for me to not just race and forget about conditioning. So even in August, like in ’87 before the World Championships, I spent about 10 days training, and half of those days were over-endurance work. Because I knew I had the speed at that point, it was a matter of maintaining the endurance base—to keep from being injured and to be able to sustain that kind of speed after 3 days of competition. Q: What kind of mental preparation would have been involved in getting ready – for any race and for big ones? Did you do anything special? A: Nothing special. I did everything I did in practice. What I did in practice prepared me for all the races. Races were the easiest part, you know— except for the fact that you could make an error in a race. That was my only concern—the conditioning, technical aspects, anything like that, that was all covered in practice. There was never a problem, so I never had to do anything for a race, except rest up.

Q: So, basically, you went into a race saying, “I’m prepared. I’m ready.” A: Period. Q: “And I like to race and beat guys.” A: That’s right. Q: Did you have a feeling about winning, about beating people? Is that important? Is that the object? A: Absolutely. That’s what I was there for. I was in such great condition that in my mind it wasn’t possible to get beaten, unless I made multiple errors. In that race in Spain, when I lost that race in Spain (the race where Danny Harris ended his 107-race winning streak), I was sick as a dog and ready to pull out, and they begged me for 2 days not to pull out, and I still ran 47.69. In fact, it was one of my faster races for that early in the year, and if you look at the video—it’s on my website—I should’ve won the race anyway, because I came back between the 8th and 10th hurdles and then I clipped the 10th hurdle, and that’s the only reason I lost that race. I had a terrible case of food poisoning; I should not have run, I was ready to pull out, but I ran anyway. Q: Did you have one basic strategy for running a race, or did you take each one as a separate problem? A: I think before every race, between the lane draw and everything, I kind of knew what it would take to win, and sometimes I would pace myself based on that, and sometimes I would just run—run hard, and not even worry about it. Sometimes it’s easy to just run hard and not worry about it. But you know, if you race 20 times a year, you can’t afford to do that. So I was really good at pacing myself and understanding that I couldn’t run hard every time. And I didn’t run hard every time, not as hard as possible. But I had to run hard enough to win by a significant margin. I didn’t like winning by 2 or 3 meters. In most of my races you didn’t see me winning by a margin that small. So if I knew I’d that the other guys had run 48.2 or 48.3, I’d say, “Okay, I’ve got to go out at a pace to run 47.8 right off the bat. And then if things change


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during the race, I can always relax a little bit.” Like in the 1987 World Championships in Rome (Ed.: when Moses beat Danny Harris and Gemany’s Harald Schmidt), where going in you don’t know what it’s going to take, you just say “Bleep it,” and you go for it, and you just hope you’ll feel good at the end of the race. My strategy there was to get out fast, and put a margin on those guys and force them to catch up. I wanted to put pressure on them and force them to run as hard as they could, and hopefully outlast them. That was the worst feeling I ever had after a race.

was actually a right-leg hurdler. Then I switched to the left.

seconds. By the time everybody else was coming out, I was halfway through my warmup.

Q: Because of the intermediates? A: No, I don’t know why. In high school I remember one day going out to the long jump it, and the coach was trying to figure out which was my stronger leg, and the coach saw I kept jumping off my right leg, and the coach said, “That’s your strong leg, and why don’t you learn to hurdle with that leg,” and I switched. Q: Did you ever have to use a right-leg lead in a 400 hurdles race? A: Only if I made a mistake. I don’t think I could have hurdled with a

Q: Did you ever watch other races going on? A: I would concentrate on what I was doing. Typically, they used to have, sometimes a 100 meters first, or an 800, and I would see what I could see, but generally I wasn’t concerned about what anybody else was doing. Q: When you missed a step, or stumbled, or hit a hurdle, how did you get back into your step pattern? A: I’d do it in practice, so I didn’t have to think about it. I never even thought about what would happen in those conditions. It was just automatic. Q: Coming up to a hurdle, did you have kind of a radar that made you know if any adjustment was needed? A: Yep. By the time you’re six or seven steps away from the hurdle, I would already know what needed to happen. Q: That was something you did in practice?

Left to right: University of Massachusetts–Boston Chancellor Keith Motley , Edwin Moses and University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson Q: You didn’t really ever have a problem with steps, did you?

right lead leg in the high hurdles, but the 400 hurdles were no problem.

A: Nope.

Q: What was your warm-up for competition?

Q: It was natural for you to run 13. A: Yep. Actually, probably closer to 121⁄2 if the hurdles had been spaced out. I’d get closer, and closer… Q: Did you count the steps as you ran? A: No. I never counted. Q: Did you learn at some point to alternate lead legs? A: When I started running hurdles I

A: Same thing I did every day in training. I would be at the track 2 hours before the race. And I’d start about 2 hours before and I’d do everything a little more slowly and deliberately, but everything was pretty much the same. I’d just jog a mile and a half, and a mile stretch, and jog up and down the field, and then do my exercises – the exercises everybody does, high knee lifts and so forth, and lots of stretching, and then I’d do two 200 meters, very slow, probably around 30

A: That’s something you learn as a hurdler. Especially in the 400, because you have more time to process information than you do in the highs. You know, it’s part of the subconscious process that goes on. For me, by the time I got within four or five steps of the hurdle it was almost too late to make an adjustment. I would try to make my adjustments between the hurdles, so I could exactly hit 13 steps, because if I was running hard, I would have to regulate my steps. I couldn’t run all out between the hurdles, which was probably a limiting factor. Q: And what about the weather? What were the weather factors that would affect you? A: Well, you know, every track in Europe is different. They have tracks there with 75 meter straightaways, 80 meters, 85, 90, 95—so the first thing I would do is try to figure out the differences in the track, and that’s easy to do, because you measure from the start of the 100 meters to where the curve comes in, and you know the radius of the track. And the second thing I would


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think about would be the wind. I would always go on the back stretch and check the wind, for every race, which no one else would ever do. I would always know, which way the wind was coming from, so I would always know how to adjust—how much it would slow you down or speed you up. It wouldn’t always be a headwind. With a sidewind (on the backstretch), you could be running into a headwind at the start.

the year when all that comes together. But they peak a lot earlier, and they can’t maintain their performance. And almost none of them do any type of cross country running. Not even 2 miles—at no point during the year. I just think that they can’t be consistent. And if you look at all the 400 hurdlers, no one has been consistent for a long period. None of them. Maybe for 2 or 3 years, maybe 4, but none of them longer than that.

Q: How many steps did you take to the first hurdle? 23 steps? 21?

Q: What particular workouts do you think helped you the most?

A: 19.

A: Everything. It all went together. I had to do everything. Q; Did you do stretching before, or after, a workout?

Q: And as you said earlier, the important thing for you was to get to the first hurdle right on it. A: No matter what type of race I was running, I came out of the blocks like it was an Olympic final. That would set up my speed and everything, and after that I could regulate it—whatever I needed to do. Q: So your warmup for competition and your warmup for workouts were pretty much the same. A: Yep, pretty much the same. The only difference was I was either running in training, or running at a meet. Everything else was the same. So I didn’t have to make a whole lot of adjustments. I took as much chance out of the whole scenario as possible. Q: What would you tell a young athlete who was just getting into the 400 meter hurdles? A: I’d always say conditioning, cross country running. Of the hurdlers of today, the coaches are really into 200, 300—they’re into a speed type of set—which is the reason that I think most of these hurdlers are so inconsistent. Because there’s a certain point in

A: Extensive stretching before and after. That’s why I never got injured. Never had any muscle injuries. I had a few strains, things every now and then, and your leg hurts from an injury from years ago for 2 weeks every year, but other than that I didn’t have any injuries—no catastrophic injuries, no muscle pulls, anything like that. I was the Master of Stretching. In fact, what they call Pilates today, it’s like someone came to my workouts and watched everything I did, ands then made a package out of it. All of that stuff that they’re doing today, no one was doing back then. Q: How did the streak come to affect you over the years? A: It didn’t. I think the pressure came from other coaches trying to push their athletes. It didn’t affect me at all. Q: Thank you, Edwin. A: Thank you.

Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET


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reviews

Best Shoes for $80 or Less

T

he 2009 season offers good news if you find yourself looking for running shoes in the economy price range. Even though prices have been escalating industry-wide, there are numerous shoes with very reasonable prices and good performance. We’ve looked for the best new or updated shoes, and there are more in the performance range—nice and light—than we have seen in many seasons. There’s something here for nearly everyone, whether you’re heading out for training, trails, or racing, and they’ll all give you your money’s worth.

adidas adi Kanadia TR $65

ASICS Gel-Phoenix $75

adidas has a long history of success in the trail shoe category, so its new Kanadia TR has plenty of company. Designed to provide traction and performance, the Kanadia’s attractive price might cause it to be dismissed, but that would be a mistake. Though not as durable as the full- featured (and higher-priced) models, it does a surprisingly creditable job of cushioning, and the traction is as good as most of the better trail shoes, thanks to adidas’ Traxion tread design. The midsole is a lowprofile, single-density CM-EVA with a small adiPrene crashpad for good cushioning both on the trail and the roads. The upper is cool airmesh that’s tailored to provide a nice snug fit.

The Gel-Phoenix is a new shoe, but the niche it occupies—Performance Stability—is an ASICS hallmark, here at an economical price. The air mesh upper is roomy in the forefoot with a secure fit in the heel, a family trait thanks to its familiar ASICS last. The SpEVA midsole is durable, cushioned, and offers the good stability for which this configuration is known. The AHAR outersole is an effective blend of traction and durability. The Gel-Phoenix is not the equal of its more expensive sibling, the Gel-DS Trainer, but it does feature a comfortable, stable, resilient ride at a good value.

TRAIL Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14; Women 5–12 Weight: 12.0 oz. (men’s 11); 9.6 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

PERFORMANCE STABILITY Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15,16; Women 6–12 Weight: 11.1 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

END Stumptown 10 oz. $75

Mizuno Wave Nexus 3 $80

END (Environmentally Neutral Design) is a new brand with a new target audience. Aimed at the value-minded runner who expects quality for their cash, the Stumptown delivers. The 10 oz. is the most performance-oriented of three versions of the shoe, and it also features the most shoe for the money. The upper is minimal, with well-placed synthetic overlays, and a pared back design to eliminate unneeded materials and their associated waste. A high-friction toe cap protects on the trail while the lower profile is perfect for nimble trail running. The midsole is single-density EVA topped by an additional layer of EVA in the Strobel board for good cushioning and a responsive ride. A forefoot protection plate adds a little foot armor without hindering flexibility, and the outersole tread provides excellent traction.

The Wave Nexus has undergone a number of subtle changes. The upper is a more open airmesh, with overlays reduced in number and many replaced by HFwelds. The Alpha Polymer midsole has seen a minor adjustment in the molding, and the Wave plate has received minor tweaks through the shank, but the ride and performance haven’t been altered to unfamiliarity. The outersole has a significant chunk of lateral blown rubber which may account for a cushier feel, but the X-10 heel maintains the durability necessary for high mileage. These thoughtful improvements are well-executed, and the value in the Nexus 3 is the tangible result.

PERFORMANCE TRAIL Sizes: Men 7–12,13; Women 5–11 Weight: 10.9 oz. (men’s 11); 8.9 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

STABILIZING CUSHION Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 Weight: 12.4 oz. (men’s 11); 10.0 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation


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Reviews

New Balance 737 $80

Reebok Premier Phoenix $75

New Balance has often produced effective shoes in the economy range. The 737 is the latest, and perhaps the most versatile, of the neutral shoes New Balance has placed in this price range. The upper makes good use of airmesh and minimal overlays to support the foot and let it breathe. The midsole is a fairly generous slab of ACTEVA Lite, which is quite responsive, though the firm Abzorb crashpad and fabric Strobel board make the shoe a little less cushy for longer runs. The midfoot support is good, and the minimal outersole keeps things light without compromising durability or traction.

Best Motion Stabilizing Economy Shoe

PERFORMANCE NEUTRAL Sizes: Men 7–12,13,14,15; Women 5–11,12 Weight: 11.2 oz. (men’s 11); 8.4 oz. (women’s 8) For: low- to medium- high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

The Premier Phoenix is Reebok’s latest quality economy running shoe. The dual-density, injection-molded midsole offers a durable, stable, and responsive ride, aided by the DMX Strobel board beneath the insole. The upper features a PlayDry lining to keep the foot cool and dry, with well-spaced overlays (there’s a little extra on the medial side) for excellent midfoot support. The combination of supportive upper, multiple layers of cushioning, and good stability make it a solid choice for budget-minded runners; it’s our Best Motion Stabilizing Economy shoe. STABILIZING CUSHION Sizes: Men 7–12,13,14; Women 5–12 Weight: 12.5 oz. (men’s 11); 10.1 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

Saucony ProGrid Jazz $80

Venue Sports Vroom $60

Best Neutral Economy Shoe

Venue Sports entered the footwear fray with spikes and throwing shoes, and it now moves onto the roads. The Vroom is a versatile lightweight trainer that can handle a little racing, some speedwork, and the mileage required by efficient young runners looking for a solid shoe. The upper is airmesh supported by synthetic leather and HF-welded overlays in the heel. The midsole is low-profile, single-density EVA with a supportive, ventilated shank. The outersole is grippy, high-traction rubber that’s durable without reducing flexibility. The weight makes them suitable to tempo runs and track work, as well as racing, and the price tag makes them even more attractive.

Saucony has offered good quality running shoes in the economy range; the best of these is the ProGrid Jazz. The Jazz features the traditional Saucony tailoring—wide toebox and snug heel—for runners with mediumhigh to lower-arched feet. The single-density midsole offers good cushioning and the ProGrid layer adds considerably to the comfort. The light weight is attributable to minimized overlays coupled with HFwelds for good support without bulk, and the foam formulation combined with the foam layer in the Strobel board is light without losing its high-mileage cushioning. The successful XT-900 carbon rubber heel and blown rubber forefoot round out the versatility of our Best Neutral Economy shoe. PERFORMANCE NEUTRAL Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 Weight: 11.4 oz. (men’s 11); 9.0 oz. (women’s 8) For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

PERFORMANCE NEUTRAL Sizes: Unisex 4–13 Weight: 9.4 oz. (men’s 11) For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics for faster-paced running

CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for the Running Network LLC. A competitive runner for the past 44 years, he also has coached runners at all levels for almost 30 years. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2009 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of the Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.


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It’s time for a national system for the 4x100

I

n November 1997, Dennis Mitchell, an experienced 4x100 relay runner, spoke to Track & Field News about the frequent U.S. 4x100 problems at the international level, “We…have to develop a system that’s more consistent year after year. Consistent with our coaching staff, our athletes, our ideas about running the relay. “Every year, we get a brand new coaching staff (with) its own style of coaching – and the athletes have to learn how to adapt to it. Practice isn’t the problem we have; it’s just that we need a more consistent system.” AT&F believes the U.S. should adopt a national system for the 4x100. It should be taught in grade school and kids’ meets and made standard for junior high teams, for senior high teams, for college teams—so by the time a sprinter earns a spot on the national team, he or she knows exactly what to expect when passing or receiving the baton. That would probably solve 90% of the problems we’ve had in Olympic and World Championships races. Stan Huntsman described an optimum baton-passing system in an article he once wrote for us: The entire strategy of the 4x100 is built around the baton exchanges. The object is to keep the baton moving toward the finish line at as close to full speed as possible. Each runner carries the baton in the same hand for the entire distance of the leg. The lead-off runner carries the baton in his or her right hand. At the exchange, the baton is handed to the left hand of the outgoing runner. This secondleg runner passes the baton to the right hand of the third runner, who carries it in the right hand and passes it to the left hand of the anchor runner. The first and third runners run on the inside part of their lane. The second and fourth runners run on the outside half of their lane. That makes it easier for the first runner, on the inner half of the lane and with the baton in the right hand, to lay it in the outstretched left hand of the second runner who is accelerating in the outer half of the lane. The second runner arrives running on the outer half of the lane with the baton in the left hand and places it in the outstretched right hand of the third runner, who is positioned on the inside half of the lane. The exchanges are ‘blind’ passes – meaning that the outgoing runner does not see the baton during the exchange. Instead, he or she concentrates on accelerating into the exchange zone.

Each runner in the exchange has certain responsibilities. Duties of the incoming runner: 1. Run all the way through the zone, staying in your lane. 2. Carry the baton holding the near end of the stick, giving the outgoing runner plenty of baton to get hold of. 3. Approximately 15 meters before you reach the zone, give a verbal command to the outgoing runner. Usually a hard-sounding word such as “hand” is shouted. 4. Extend your arm with the baton to the outstretched hand of the outgoing runner, and then simply place (do not slap) the baton in the open hand of the outgoing runner. Stay in your lane until all the other exchanges have been made. Duties of the outgoing runner: 1. Place a marker (usually tape) at a spot on the track that you can easily see. This is called the “acceleration point.” When the incoming runner reaches this point, the outgoing runner stops looking at the incoming runner and starts running. 2. Stand in a crouching position and look over your shoulder, waiting for the incoming runner to reach your acceleration point. To help you see, your rear leg can be slightly open, but the foot of your front leg must be pointed in the exact direction of your intended run. 3. Run as fast as you can in your acceleration. 4. When you hear your teammate say “hand,” extend your hand in an open, palm-up position with your arm straight back (parallel to the ground). 5. When you feel the baton touch your hand, close your fingers around it firmly. Once you have secured the baton, run to the next runner or the finish line. Follow these fundamentals, and practice them constantly, and you’ll be able to execute your 4x100 baton exchanges perfectly every time. You can argue about the details (palm up or palm down, etc.), but a few top coaches could get together and work them out. And that would be the end of our 4x100 disasters at the Olympics and the Worlds. How about it, coaches? How about it, USATF? — James Dunaway


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