Summer 2010 $5.95
Volume 17, Number 2
Permit #351 Bolingbrook, IL
PA I D PRST STD U.S. Postage
Andrew McClanahan, Photorun.NET
Chris Solinsky Breaking AR for 10,000 meters in 26:59.6, May 1, 2010, Palo, Alto, CA
c o n t e n t s & P u b l i s h e r ’s N ot e
6 Starting Blocks
10 Track Construction
he 2010 outdoor season is opening with a bang! It’s early June, and we already have three new U.S. records! On May 1, 2010, Chris Solinsky was to run his first 10,000m on the track—the Kim McDonald 10,000 at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational. Solinsky’s coach gave him this advice, “stay close, and then win the race.” Coach Jerry Schumacher thought Solinsky was in shape to run about 27:20; just before the race, Chris joked that he might break 27 minutes. The focus of the race was on Galen Rupp, who was shooting for Meb Keflezighi’s American record of 27:13.98, set at this same meet in 2001. Two pacemakers led Rupp through 5k in 13:34. By 6k, the rabbits had dropped out, leaving Rupp and four others in the lead pack. One of them was Solinsky, who was battling through some stomach pain. Rupp pushed the pace for the next 3,000 meters. Then, with 900m to go, Solinsky burst into the lead and immediately took control, running 1:56 for the final 800 meters, and winning in a new AR of 26:59.60. Rupp finished fourth in 27:10.74, also breaking the AR. Solinsky became the first non-African to break 27 minutes. On May 30, in Cottbus, Germany, Chaunte Howard-Lowe was entered in the high jump. Short of a warmup, Chaunte started at 1.88m, and cleared all the heights on her first attempt, until she hit 2.03m, which took two tries and tied the AR of 6-7 3/4 of Louise Ritter, set way back in 1988! The bar was moved to 2.04m (6-8 1/4), and on her third attempt Chaunte HowardLowe had her name on the AR high jump record. Less than four days earlier, Lowe had defeated Blanka Vlasic, the world indoor and outdoor champion. Then on June 4, in Oslo, Norway, the Bislett games again delivered some fantastic competitions, especially the 5,000 meters. First lap in 59, 800 meters in 2:03, mile in 4:06, and 2,000 meters in 5:09—this was going to be a fast race! Tucked in the lead pack were Chris Solinsky and Bernard Lagat. The pace continued, with two miles hit in 8:22, and 4,600 meters in 11:59! Lagat swung wide, and with 80 meters to go, Imane Merga, Tariku Bekele, and Lagat were in an all out sprint, with Solinsky right behind. Lagat ended up third in 12.54.12, breaking Dathan Ritzenhein’s less-than-a-year-old AR of 12:56.27. Solinsky, sixth in 12:56.66, again made history, becoming the first non-African to break 27 minutes for 10,000 meters and 13 minutes for 5,000 meters. Solinsky will have another crack at the 5,000 AR at the Nike Pre meet, while Lagat will go in the mile. At American Track & Field, we want to help your coaching resonate with your teams. And if some of them get good enough to be ranked in Track & Field News, all the better! In this issue, you will find a tremendous piece by James Templeton, Bernard Lagat’s manager, on what makes Lagat tick, John Godina on keys to the shot put, plus your guide to summer racing shoes. Saucony has provided a twelve week summer training program, in print and digitally. Have your runners sign up for our daily Saucony XC 2010 training program, at www.twitter.com/americantf. ASICS is providing a 12 week training log and Nike has provided a poster of Chris Solinsky and Allyson Felix. We hope that you enjoy!
30 Exit Larry Eder, Publisher P.S. — Watch for our XC Yearbook in August 2010! And do not forget to follow us at www.american-trackandfield.com, www.twitter.com/americantf and on runblogrun.com!
12 To Throw Farther Bend Your Knees,
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16 ATF Talks with James Templeton
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28 Best Racing Shoes Summer 2010
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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 2010 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.
CAMERA ATHLETICA: SALUTES CHAUNTE HOWARD-LOWE
Chaunte Howard-Love, 2010 Ostrava Track Meet
Jiro Mochizuki, www.photorun.NET
hen Meb Keflezighi broke Mark Nenow’s 15year-old U.S. 10,000 record in 2001, he didn’t expect it to last nine years. When Chris Solinsky ran 26:59.60 on May 2 to break Keflezighi’s record (on the very same Stanford University track) the newly minted ex-recordholder followed up with a congratulatory text message and phone call. “Phenomenal,” Keflezighi said of Solinsky. But Keflezighi doesn’t expect the current record to last long. “Too many good guys,” he said. The descent of the record from Nenow’s 27:20.56 in 1986 to Keflezighi’s 27:13.98 in 2001 to Solinsky’s sub-27 coincides with increasing U.S. depth at the distance. Keflezighi considers there are at least six other U.S. runners—himself, Galen Rupp, Dathan Ritzenhein, Abdi Abdirahman, Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp—who are threats to go sub-27. Not that long ago, sub-28s by Americans were a rarity. Solinsky broke ground on many fronts. The race was his 10,000 debut. “It was just hold on for dear life, and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “It definitely surprised me. I joked around that I could be anywhere from 26:55 to 28:00. Obviously, I felt like saying 26:55 was a joke, but there was a little bit in the back of my head thinking that I could possibly be serious. But obviously everything would have to go perfectly. And it kind of did. “I had nothing to lose. I think that helped, because there were points in the race when it was quick and I’m questioning, ‘This is suicide, running
63s and 64s in the middle of a 10K.’ But in the back of the head, I’m like, ‘I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m just going to go after it. If I blow up, then so be it. But if I stick on it and am able to hang on, it’ll be a pretty darn good result.’” He also was the first non-African to break 27 and the biggest runner at 6 feet 3/4 inch and 161 pounds to do so. “I was definitely bigger than you should probably be as a distance runner,” Solinsky said. “My teammates always make fun of me for being a fatty and stuff, and the first thing they said after the race was, ‘That’s probably a fatty world record.’ I’m used to it. At least in the training group, it’s in jest. It’s okay. To quote my dad, ‘No one ever told a bumblebee he wasn’t scientifically supposed to be able to fly.’ That’s the mentality I’ve had. And it’s almost been a blessing, because it’s allowed me to be durable, being bigger and sturdier.” Solinsky is part of the Nike training group in Portland under coach Jerry Schumacher, who also coached him at Wisconsin, where Solinsky won five NCAA titles. Solinsky always has liked piling on the miles, even back in high school when he was the national cross country champ in 2002 against a field that included Galen Rupp (27:10.74), Tim Nelson (27:31.56) and Bobby Curtis (27:33.38), all of whom were also in Solinsky’s Stanford 10,000. “Last year, I was able to put in 20 to 30-something weeks of over 100 miles,” said Solinsky, who covered the last 800 in an impressive 1:56. “It all just stockpiled. Right now, I’m in the
best shape of my life, but I really hope to keep building on that. I don’t want to rest on my laurels with this 10,000. I want to keep pushing the envelope and keep logging the miles, because what we’re doing now isn't just for this year. It’s for 2011 and 2012. “The biggest thing that’s clicked is being able to run a faster tempo [run] for a longer time. In college, the longest we would do any kind of tempo or rhythm run would be 10 miles, and now we’ve pushed it to 18. I just think pushing the envelope has allowed us to get so much stronger. Moving out here to Portland has made it way easier to be able to log higherquality, consistent mileage in winter, and that has been a huge key for us.” Solinsky’s next objective was to break 13 minutes for the 5,000, which he did on June 4 in Oslo. He finished sixth in 12:56.66, just missing Dathan Ritzenhein’s 5,000 AR of 12:56.27. Of course, also in that race was Bernard Lagat, who did break Ritzenhein’s AR with a 12:54.12 clocking. Now Solinsky has his eyes on an even faster 5,000, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on July 3. He’d like to beat Lagat’s new AR. “We’re going to be in that race,” Solinsky says, “with the same intentions as the Stanford 10,000: just get in there and be competing. I really hope we have a pace that is sub-13.” Lagat is scheduled to run the mile at Pre, but both the fast-improving Rupp and Solinsky’s Oregon Track Club training partner, Matt Tegenkamp, who has run 12:58.56, are entered in the Pre 5,000. Photo: Andrew McClanahan, www.photorun.NET
s ta rt i n g b l o c k s
Felix Makes Changes Allyson Felix has made some major changes for the 2010 season. The sprinter has changed agents from Renaldo Nehemiah of Octagon to her older brother Wes, a former sprinter at Southern California, and switched shoe companies from adidas to Nike. Felix, who has three world titles and two Olympic silver medals at 200, will also be contesting more 400s this year than previously, experimenting in a non-international championship year to decide if she might want to attempt a 200–400 double at the 2011 worlds and/or 2012 Olympics. “The 400 definitely makes your 200 a better race, and I’ve always run the 400 to get strength at the end of my 200-meter race,” Felix said. “I haven’t decided about a double yet. Depending on how this year goes, I’ll make the decision.” Felix could have several meetings against Sanya Richards, the U.S. recordholder and 400 world champ. “I’m sure we’ll be facing each other multiple times, in both the 400 and 200,” Felix said. “I’m looking forward to the rivalry. I think it’ll bring out the best in us.”
A Merritt Suspension In the past two years, LaShawn Merritt has ascended to supremacy in the 400, ending the reign of Jeremy Wariner. Now the career of Merritt, the 2008 Olympic and ’09 world champ, is in jeopardy due to a positive drug test. Though Merritt contends the infractions were inadvertent, he has accepted a provisional suspension and faces a two-year ban for positive tests for banned performanceenhancing drugs including DHEA, a testosterone precursor that is available over the counter but is banned by most sports organizations including the international track federation and International Olympic Committee. Merritt was positive three times in October and December of last year plus January of this year. The result triggered a rebuke from USATF CEO Doug Logan: “For Mr. Merritt to claim inadvertent use of a banned substance due to the ingestion of over-the-counter supplements brings shame to himself and his teammates. Thanks to his selfish actions, he has done damage to our efforts to fight the plague of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.” Merritt has hired an excellent lawyer, Howard Jacobs, who has won notable cases, including some against supplement companies that manufactured contaminated products and had to compensate athletes. In an e-mail to The Washington Post, Jacobs wrote that “the totality of the results make it clear to those with a sufficient scientific knowledge … that it was caused by DHEA
consumption.” However, Merritt has a problem with sporting authorities because of the policy of strict liability—an athlete is responsible for any substances in his or her body no matter what the cause. Merritt has a story about the cause, according to published reports. His excuse is that the positive tests are a result of his taking ExtenZe, a penile enlargement product that is sold over the counter and is a NASCAR sponsor. The product lists DHEA and pregnenolone, a steroid, as ingredients. Merritt issued a statement: “As an athlete, and strong advocate of fair competition; I have worked very hard to push myself to the outer limits of my physical abilities without any performance enhancement drugs. I’ve always prided myself on doing what’s right, and will continue to do so. “To know that I’ve tested positive as a result of product that I used for personal reasons is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around. I hope my sponsors, family, friends and the sport itself will forgive me for making such a foolish, immature and egotistical mistake. Any penalty that I may receive for my action will not overshadow the embarrassment and humiliation that I feel inside. “I am deeply sorry and hope that other athletes who take these types of over-the-counter products will be even more cautious and read the fine print, because if it can happen to me, it could happen to you.” Continued on page 8
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
s ta rt i n g b l o c k s
Credibility for hGH Ban Not that many athletes had to be persuaded, but Australian researchers announced in a May report that human Growth Hormone could help lower a 100 time by 0.4 seconds, enough to turn an also-ran into a champion. In the study out of Sydney’s Garvan Institute that appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine and was funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency, athletes taking a daily injection for eight weeks improved their 100 times by about 4.5%. hGH is naturally produced by the pituitary gland, has been synthesized and is authorized to treat dwarfism. Researchers said its effects can double when combined with testosterone. The growth hormone doses were below those that athletes are reported to use and were taken for a shorter time than usual. “The drug’s effects on performance might be greater than shown in this study, and its side effects might be more serious,” said Ken Ho, Garvan’s head of pituitary research and a co-author of the study. An excess of growth hormone may lead to a syndrome known as acromegaly, or gigantism, that can cause disfigurement of the face, enlargement of the heart and joints, and premature death. Long-term hGH abuse may also cause diabetes. A blood test for hGH was introduced at the 2004 Olympics in Athens but has not been used widely since then. The only positive came in February against an English rugby league player. Experts have said that progress on a urine test for hGH has stalled.
Bell Lap • Patricia Rico, a long-time administrator and advocate for women in the sport, died May 2 at age 76. A competitor in the discus at the 1960 Olympic Trials, Rico played an active role in the sport for more than 50 years, best known as an activist, administrator and president of USA Track & Field from 1996–2000. As president, she inherited and helped USATF weather a financial crisis in which a $3.5 million debt was paid off by 2003. Rico worked tirelessly (and successfully) to increase the number of women’s events in the Olympic program, and she served on several international Team USA staffs. Her passing prompted statements from many administrators and former athletes. USATF president Stephanie Hightower: “Her advocacy for women’s equality, and her unwillingness to accept the status quo, paved the way for athletes and administrators like myself. She was involved in every facet of the sport, and it is hard to imagine USATF without her.” USATF CEO Doug Logan: “Pat was without a doubt one of the pivotal figures in establishing USATF as the sound and strong organization it is today. She was tough as nails, but also warm and kind. She cared so passionately about all the causes she championed, not out of self-interest but out of service to this great sport. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude and are tremendously saddened to lose her.” Rico was the only person to sit on the initial board of directors of the organization from its inception, as The Athletics Congress, in 1979 until the board was restructured in late 2008. She served as an official in many meets in the Metropolitan AAU, TAC and USATF arenas, and worked as an assis-
tant meet director with her late husband Heliodoro Rico at the U.S. indoor championships from 1979–1995. Helio Rico, also a long-time activist in the sport, died in 2006. To journalists, she was also perhaps the most accessible AAU/TAC/USATF official of the past 50 years, a person who said what she meant and meant what she said. • Haile Gebrselassie, 37, who holds the marathon world record at 2:03:59, doesn’t think his record-setting days are over. The two-time Olympic 10,000 champion believes he can run 2:02 for 26.2 miles. “There are good runners around. Imagine, a 2:05 in the Boston Marathon, but I think I am the candidate to break it again. Geb may run 2:02, but not this year. After considering making his fall marathon Berlin, where he has set two world records, or Chicago, another flat, fast course, he announced he will run in New York on November 7. It’s another huge coup for New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg. • It turns out that marathoners Kara Goucher of the United States and Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain have more in common than training with each other in Portland, OR during the winter and early spring. They’re both pregnant, Goucher with her first child, and Radcliffe with her second, and both babies are due on the same day, September 29. How about that!
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
Indoor Track of the Year
2009 Indoor Track of the Year, American Sports Builders Association Central College, Kuyper Fieldhouse Pella, Iowa Specialty Contractor: Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Inc.; Architect/Engineer: Central College; General Contractor: Central College; Suppliers: Mondo USA; Governing body: NCAA
22-year-old college fieldhouse that needs updating? Well, let’s just say a lot has changed since it was built. After all, standards are different, rules have undergone considerable revisions and, naturally, the technology has advanced. Obviously, the update is needed. Now comes the hard part: Can the entire renovation job be done during the college’s four-week winter break? That was the challenge facing Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Inc. of Lindenhurst, Illinois. Central College needed a total overhaul of its Kuyper Fieldhouse, and the Pella, Iowa-based institution had the tightest of deadlines. “We had a timeline of December 15th to January 13th,” writes Brion Rittenberry of Kiefer. “Bearing in mind the Christmas holiday, this was a very aggressive timeline.” The facility and the college that owned it also had a few specific limitations, including financial reservations. “The owner had an existing prefabricated surface,” notes Rittenberry. “Due to budget and time constraints, the owner did not wish to remove the existing surface. This presented several problems. There were significant areas that were loose, and the existing surface had to be properly prepared to assure adhesion of the new surface.” It required considerable ingenuity on Kiefer’s part. Rittenberry recalls, “We had to pull back all loose areas to allow the concrete substrate to dry properly. Large fans were brought in to help facilitate the drying process. Once the concrete substrate had dried, we sandblasted all exposed areas to remove all dried adhesive from the substrate. We reglued all loose areas with a special waterproof epoxy adhesive. Once the loose areas had been repaired, we had to prep the existing surface with riding belt sanders. Once this was accomplished, the entire floor was scrubbed to remove dirt and dust. We then adhered the new pre-fabricated surface to the old, using a special polyurethane adhesive. Lastly, the surface was striped to adhere to the NCAA’s regulations.”
The 54,000-square-foot facility, a steel frame building with cinderblock walls and a forced air ventilation system, now has a 200-meter track that meets governing body standards. The sixlane track has an eight-lane sprint straightaway. There’s one chute and a common finish. The track surface is vulcanized rubber, dark grey in color, with light grey and red accents. There are practice areas for field events, including long jump, triple jump and high jump, as well as shot put. The finished facility has retractable basketball nets (a total of five basketball courts, meaning 10 nets) as well as movable bleachers that can be used during events. Drop-down netting holds balls and other equipment to keep athletes and spectators safe. For all the facility’s advantages, though, Rittenberry is still proudest of meeting the school’s tight turnaround—less than a month from start to finish. “We achieved this deadline,” he notes. “Normally, this timeline is needed just for a new installation. We achieved the timeline doing all the prep work as well.” In addition to school administrators and athletes, someone else is impressed with the facility—the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), which named the Kuyper Fieldhouse its Indoor Track of the Year for 2009. The award was presented at the Association’s recent Technical Meeting, held in Savannah, Georgia. (The ASBA is the national organization for builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. It presents its annual awards to recognize outstanding sports facility construction.) Note: The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) is a nonprofit association helping designers, builders, owners, operators and users understand quality construction of many sports facilities, including track and field. The ASBA sponsors informative meetings and publishes newsletters, books and technical construction guidelines for athletic facilities, including running tracks and sports fields. 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.
Photo: Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Inc. of Lindenhurst, IL
Kuyper Fieldhouse at Central College, located in Pella, Iowa, was 22 years old and in need of updates. The existing prefabricated surface needed a total replacement -- without being removed. The entire scope of work also had to take place over the college's winter break, and be completed in time for students' return to the campus.
The completed project, housed inside a 54,000 square foot steel frame building with cinderblock walls and a forced air ventilation system, now has a 200-meter track that adheres to NCAA standards. The six-lane track as an eight-lane sprint. There is one chute and a common finish. The track surface is vulcanized rubber, dark grey in color, with light grey and red accents. There are practice areas for field events, including long jump, triple jump and high jump, as well as shot put.
Outdoor Track of the Year
The overused expression, “time is running out,” was never more accurate.
When Texas Tech University wanted its running track demolished and rebuilt, it had a specific deadline in mind: the school had to be ready to host the 2009 Big 12 Championships. That meant administrators needed not only a competition-level track facility, but field events to match. New Mexico-based builder Robert Cohen Co., LLC took the design/build job. The scope of work included design and construction of a unique layout whereby the track infield contained four pole vault runways, four long jump/triple jump runways and eight sprint lanes for the 100m and 110m dash and hurdles. In addition, throwing events (two shot puts, two hammer throws, two discus and two javelin areas) were located at a dedicated throwing area at a separate location. "Time constraints were critical to prepare for the Big 12 meet," wrote Robert L. Cohen. "Unusually severe weather impeded our progress. We worked seven days a week for a portion of the project. Extremely flat conditions in Lubbock, where the project was located, made drainage difficult. Grades inside the oval were super-critical to achieve desired drainage." The track was built to NCAA standards with a red vulcanized rubber surface, beige exchange zones and beige sprint lanes. The track had eight lanes on the oval, plus eight sprint lanes. A concrete header curb was built flush with the asphalt, with a raised aluminum curb on lane 1. Existing surface drains were utilized in the project. Absolute attention was paid to the grading of the project. Inclination of the oval in the running direction was 0%, while the lateral inclination was 6%. Long jump and triple jump events, as well as the pole vault area, were constructed to similar grading standards. Hammer, shot put, discus and javelin, which were located at areas removed from the oval, used specific landing areas well, tailored to each event. "Our goal was to bring to life the vision of Texas Tech head track coach Wes Kittley," wrote Cohen. "Wes believes that throws constitute a hazard to runners, particularly during practice, and should be located away from the track oval. In addition, he wanted to showcase his jumpers and sprinters inside the oval for the enjoyment of the spectators. We were asked to furnish construction and design and construction services to make this possible. Although it looks simple, the complex grading requirements of the runways, sprint lanes and 'D' zones conflict, and required critically precise execution to pull it off." Not only was the project completed on May 15, 2009, in time for the Big 12 Championships, but it received its own honor: being named the Outdoor Track of the Year by the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA). The award was presented at the Association's recent Technical Meeting, held in Savannah, Georgia. (ASBA is the national organization for builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. It presents its annual awards to recognize outstanding sports facility construction).
2009 Outdoor Track of the Year, American Sports Builders Association Texas Tech University Track—Lubbock, Texas Architect/Engineer: Graef, Anhalt, Schloemer & Associates, Inc.; Specialty Contractor: Mondo America, Inc.; Suppliers: UCS Equipment, Mondo America, Inc.; SportsEdge; Subcontractors: Lubbock Masonry, West Texas Paving, Amco Electric, Bear Lake Enterprises; Governing body: NCAA
Texas Tech University needed its existing running track (shown above) demolished and rebuilt so that it would be ready for the school to host the 2009 Big 12 Championships. It also needed new field events.
The completed project was comprehensive, complex and creatively laidout, according to builders. The vision for the project belonged to Texas Tech head track coach Wes Kittley, whose opinion it was that that throwing events constituted a hazard to runners, particularly during practice, and should be located away from the track oval. In addition, Kittley wanted to showcase his jumpers and sprinters inside the oval for the enjoyment of the spectators.
Photo: Robert Cohen Co., LLC, Albuquerque, NM
To Throw Farther Bend Your Knees!
n the pantheon of technical changes to a spin shot putter’s or a discus thrower’s form, by far the simplest fix with the largest return has to be the simple act of bending the knees. Almost every athlete who comes to train at the World Throws Center needs this adjustment to his or her technique, and every athlete who corrects the problem inevitably gets a new personal best. Although it’s an easy correction, simply thinking of bending the knees may be an over-simplification. That’s because you have to know how and when to bend those knees. Otherwise, the result can be a disjointed effort that, at best, does nothing to add to the throw and, at worst, interrupts the momentum of the throw and detracts from the throwing distance. The how of bending the knees is a two-parter. Part one is positional, and the body position can quite simply be described as a Front Squat Position. This refers to the position of the back and hips as the knees bend. The athlete should keep the hips from pushing too far back and letting the chest drop too far down. In a front squat the athlete holds a barbell on the front of the shoulders and squats
down—usually to parallel. Because the bar is on the front of the body rather than the back as in the regular squat, the athlete must keep the hips under the bar and the chest up as best as possible to prevent the bar from falling off the shoulders. This is the position we seek when bending the knees in the throw. The second part of how to bend the knees is determining the degree to which the athlete should bend the knees. How deep of a front squat do we need? The cryptic truth is that everyone is different. More particularly, everyone’s strength levels are different. The effort to create a deep knee bend in exchange for power in the throw depends on the ability of the athlete to find the depth and move powerfully from that position to full leg extension. This is why throwers lift weights. To the uninitiated, it would appear the athlete lifts weights to impart power to the implement. In reality, the athlete lifts weights to find deep positions for long powerful movements and to move the body powerfully with the shot put or discus being an incidentally accelerated object. The key is making the body move hard, fast and balanced, and an athlete can’t do this on straight legs—in any sport. The when of bending the knees is pretty simple. The athlete wants the knees bent at their deepest when both feet are on the ground—both in the rear of the circle as the throw begins and when landing in the power position. When the athlete lands in the power position the knee bend will almost never be as deep as it is in the back of the ring, but the athlete
should strive, and usually has to strive, for that starting depth just to get enough knee bend to be effective at the front of the circle. The other thing to note is that the knees are at their deepest in the power position when landing. The athlete should not land with both feet and then sink to find knee bend. Once the left foot lands in the power position is the time to extend the legs hard and throw. Whatever depth the athlete has achieved on the descent to the power position is all he or she will get. Bending the knees post-landing only interrupts the throw and dissipates power. Once an athlete gets comfortable bending the knees and learns to drive hard from this athletic position, a whole world of possibilities opens up. Long leg drive creates power, lengthens the throwing motion and can add to hip–shoulder separation. The knee bend also creates a rising and falling rhythm that can relax the athlete and create a stretch reflex in the leg muscles that increases power output. All in all, it’s hard to find a single technical modification that has more potential for positive outcomes than learning to bend the knees and drive the legs to extension. This is truly a secret of the pros that everyone can master and almost always leads to personal records. John Godina is a three-time World Champion and two-time Olympic medalist in the shot put and the best shot putdiscus combination thrower in history. He founded and operates the John Godina World Throws Center at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, Arizona. www.worldthrowscenter.com, www.athletesperformance.com (480) 449-9000.
You’ll see this a lot—but the knees aren’t bent nearly enough.
Good knee bend. When the athlete extends, the shot will have more power behind it.
BACK OF THE CIRCLE
You’ll see this a lot, too – but you can do better
Now that’s a knee bend! And it will generate maximum power for you.
American Track & Field Talks With Bernard Lagat’s Agent ...
James Templeton James Templeton is the agent/manager for Bernard Lagat and a small group of world-class athletes, many of them Kenyans. Born in Australia and now working out of Tubigen, Germany, Templeton has been Lagat’s agent since 1997, and has developed a close personal relationship with Lagat and his coach James Li. ATF publisher Larry Eder quizzed Templeton after their paths crossed while attending the 2010 London Marathon.
ATF: Why do Kenyan runners excel? Templeton: The huge wave of incredible middle- and long-distance runners emerging from Kenya is not a fluke. These athletes benefit from great physiology: pure lean muscle mass and well-developed heart and lungs. Not everyone from the Rift Valley can run; however, there are seemingly thousands who can! The young people are tough and willing to work hard for an opportunity. In fact, it seems that too many are working too hard too early. The successful ones are generally following good programs with a good balance of work and rest. However, there are too many young athletes running hard three times a day. That is just too much, and certainly not beneficial over the longer term—even if their bodies can withstand it in the short term.
ATF: The recent success of American runners seems to show that focused hard work pays off. Templeton: People have always been working hard. However, I think there is now much thought going into the structure of training, and there is great benefit from the professional groups specifically devoted to elite running. The groups of Alberto Salazar, Jerry Schumacher and Terrence Mahon (plus the smaller group of John Cook) are highly professional, and their training is from all accounts very good and thorough. I think their focus on elite performance and what is required to be world class are very important in their recent success.
ATF: In your opinion, what general precepts should young American runners, 14 to 19, use in training?
Flash! June 4, 2010Bernard Lagat runs 12:54.12 for new American Record, at Oslo/Bislett!
Templeton: The long-term development of aerobic capacity is very important, and young athletes can begin that process. You don’t just jump into high mileage at the age of 19 at college. I think the foundations take years to develop. I think more effort should be put into running relaxed and fast over varying distances, keeping under control and improving year by year. Young people must enjoy their sport if they are to be motivated and willing to train over a long period. I think it’s a mistake to train the young too intensely. While the greatest immediate benefit in young athletes comes from more intense intervals, over the longer term this is unsustainable, and I think, counter-productive. Movement is very important, crucial even. You see very few ragged elite runners, very few who overstride, etc. It’s important to run efficiently, and this can be worked on during the teen years.
ATF: What would you advise American coaches about long-term development of U.S. distance runners? Templeton: I would advise them to reduce the intensity of intervals and the number of interval sessions, to increase the aerobic content and to work on form. The concentra-
Photo: Jiro Mochizuki, www.photorun.NET
interview tion should be always on running fast and relaxed. Never straining. While still good work, it should remain enjoyable and enticing and perhaps good fun to be working with a group. If it becomes too much of a chore, young runners become burnt out and you will lose them.
ATF: You manage Bernard Lagat. How did he get involved in sport? Templeton: Bernard (or Kip as we call him) came from a family of runners. His father was a 6-mile runner and his older sister, Mary, was in particular an inspiration. As a young athlete she ran in the Brisbane Commonwealth Games of 1982 (when Kip was eight) and then had some success later as a roadrunner. She was an inspiration to him and offered a tremendous amount of encouragement. Interestingly, Kip was a good young runner, however, not an immediate champion. He laughs at how Daniel Komen used to beat him in school races. However, he persevered over the years, and that has been such an important factor. He was a 1500 meter finalist at the 1996 Kenyan Olympic Trials, and then he benefited greatly from going to Washington State University in August that year. That, of course, is where he started his great relationship with coach Li. After a year and a bit to settle in, he ran 3:34 in Europe in 1998 and then 3:30 the following year. He has incredible will-to-win, tremendous ambition, and is not afraid of setting goals and going after them.
ATF: What was his training like then? Templeton: In the early days in the village it was fairly rudimentary you would say, basically getting up early in the morning to run. When studies permitted, a second run or some sort of basic intervals.
ATF: How did his training change when he went to Washington State? Templeton: Well, it obviously became far more structured. Coach Li instilled in him the importance of good planning and good, consistent work. From the earliest days, Li was insistent that Kip had a long and great career ahead of him. His body has proven very durable (that two to three weeks of Achilles soreness before Beijing is the only real injury I can think of in the 13 years I have known him). It’s all about good work over good periods; not too much intensity of track work but a lot of good hard running and tempo work in the hills.
ATF: Tell us about Osaka. Templeton: Osaka was an incredible thrill, of course; from a personal perspective, I think the highlight of my management career since I started in 1997. Kip had some stomach issues during May and June in particular, and he had two poor races early in July in Paris and Gateshead. He was of course concerned; however, it came together so nicely for him over the last month or so. The 10 days before he left for Osaka he looked fantastic; the last session before he left his summer base in
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
Tubingen, Germany, he did four sets of 400 (at 1500 pace); float 200 in 30 seconds then a fast yet relaxed 200. He did 55–56 seconds then 25 and it was all so ridiculously comfortable! It was how he looked; he could have run seconds faster. Going to Osaka I knew he would be tough to beat in the 1500; I wasn’t sure how much the oppressive conditions would take out of him by the time of the fifth race (the 5000 final). However, I’ve always thought he’s very tough to beat in championship 5000s.
ATF: Tell us about Beijing. Templeton: Beijing was bitterly disappointing for Kip, and for us all. Honestly, he was in the shape of his life that year. Everything had gone perfectly (he won, I think, his first nine races of the year and won them all quite comfortably) until he hobbled back from a steady training run in Tubingen seven to eight days after the Trials. He only missed three to four days training in total; but for nearly three weeks it was a constant battle of treatment. In reality during that time he was “going for a run” rather than really training. We tried to make the most of it; however, he lost a bit of rhythm and balance. It was desperately disappointing for Kip to miss the 1500 final. He pulled himself together and looked fantastic in the 5000 heats the night after the 1500 (which made me wonder had the rhythm come back and what might he have achieved the night before?) but the day before the 5000 final he got a “throat thing” (by the end of the Olympic fortnight there are many bugs going through the village) and was far less than 100% healthy for the final. Bekele ran a great race and Kip … would give it everything he had but with three laps to go he was running on empty.
ATF: What about Berlin? Templeton: It’s hard to be disappointed with two medals; however, Berlin was, in the end, just a little frustrating. He didn’t have a great run in the 1500 semi; didn’t have his customary rhythm/turnover. And I think [he] was just a fraction lacking in confidence for the final, which cost him on the backstraight when he hesitated with 250 to go. He was feeling great all race (you could tell the first 100 that his turnover was back) but hesitated and before he knew it was boxed and out of the running. He flew home (with a great sidestep in the straight) to get third, but he knew immediately that he could have won that day. But that’s how it goes, of course. The 5000 was a great achievement really given the deep cut in his ankle in the heats. It required four stitches and was very painful. But Kip is nothing if not tough and we all know how close he came to beating Bekele in the final. You can never complain about two medals, but just can’t help feeling “what if ” might have been!
Lagat and his coach James Li
ATF: Is Bernard focusing on the 5000 now?
ATF: Tell us about Bernard and his coach.
Templeton: Most likely he will plan to run only 5000 in Daegu 2011 and London 2012. That doesn’t mean he won’t run 1500s any more (as some have interpreted); however, he and Li have slightly restructured training more in favor of the longer work. Coming back from Doha and the World Indoors, well, I’m not often surprised by Kip, but let me say I was very, very impressed with his shape! I should just say he looks very good. This will be an interesting year; it’s nice to have a year without a major championship as the focus and Kip has made no secret that it would be great to get the U.S. records at 3000 and 5000. He was so impressed with Dathan’s great run (the 5000 AR) in Zurich. Really, he was thrilled for Dathan, but it has given him a challenge and he would like to have a go at running very fast. Possibly 12:52 or even 12:50. Of course, there aren’t many races you can attempt this and they need to go according to plan with the weather and pacing, etc. Also, there is Bob Kennedy’s long-standing 3000 record of 7:30.84. It’s interesting that Kennedy came eighth in that race! Incredible. I don’t think Kip will be coming eighth in a 3000 and still getting the record. It’s a good run but I’m sure it’s within his capabilities also. Those fast runs would be good this year. People are perhaps thinking of Kip as mainly a fast finisher these days. That’s not really the case. He’s run as fast as he’s needed to run to win in recent years. And without Hicham and Haile (and even Bekele) chasing fast times with good pacing there have been less opportunities for the fast times. With Kip, it’s all been about the competition and the wins. OK, this year we’re also thinking more of times because of these records … and that will be fun.
Templeton: Bernard has been very fortuitous to have landed with coach Li all those years ago. It’s nearly 15 years now they’ve been working together, and of course, they know each other so well. Kip has the utmost confidence in James Li and that is so important, so crucial for an athlete–coach relationship. Li is a clever man and totally committed to his coaching and to Kip. And to expand the point, Kip and I are close, of course, and so are Li and I. I think it works very well. And not to be understated or underestimated is the influence of Gladys, Kip’s wife. She’s been great for Kip. I think the four of us work together very well. I think that Kip has a pretty good support network, and that is very good for an athlete.
ATF: The 5000m indoor AR was a great race for Bernard. How did he feel about it? Templeton: He felt good. He knew he had a good chance to get the U.S. record and it was something he wanted to do. It was a good race. He led, I think, nine of the laps and then [it was] good that Galen put in that good burst with a kilometer to go. He and coach Li felt he could have run 13:05 or something like that if he needed to. I saw Paul Koech run 13:02.95 in Düsseldorf the week before; I can’t see him getting away from Kip nor outsprinting him so I think he might have done something like that in that race. Certainly in Doha you get the feeling his shape is pretty special.
ATF: How did you get involved in sport? Templeton: I’ve always been involved in sport; played most sports growing up; was a battling 800m runner (attempting unsuccessfully to run under 1:50) and am still a keen golfer and cricketer in Australia. I still run to keep fit. Actually, Continued on page 27. Photo: Jiro Mochizuki, www.photorun.NET
Photo: Jiro Mochizuki, www.photorun.NET
Merga, Lagat and Bekele, 2010 Oslo Diamond League Continued from page 18.
my two personal running highlights the last 10 years were (1) a hard hour run with Seb Coe and Ian Stewart in Vienna at Euro Indoors in 2002 (I had broken my big toe playing cricket a month or so before so was a bit short on fitness, but the pace was quite high and I went “to the wall” rather than drop back and face the derision of Ian!) and (2) with Kip in Brussels 2001—the morning he ran 3:26 with
Photo: Victah, www.photorun.NET
Hicham. We ran together for 30 minutes; he was just clipping along looking so incredibly relaxed. I told him I hadn’t seen him look so good all year. He gave a wry smile and said he felt great and was going to have a real go at Hicham in the 1500 that night. He did, but his 3:26.34 came up just a fraction short!
Best Racing Shoes Summer 2010
ur annual review of new and newly updated racers looks at eight models that trade training shoe protection for speed. As a general guideline, we’ve noted the recommended distance range for the various shoes to assist you in making your racing shoe choices. We define efficient strikers as runners who are very light on their feet and generally land on their forefoot. Heavy strikers land heavily on the heel and/or carry a few extra pounds of body weight. Because biomechanics and racing distances differ, it may be necessary for you to purchase more than one racer. Just make sure that whatever shoes you choose accommodate your foot shape, footstrike, and foot motion.
ASICS Gel Hyperspeed 4
Brooks Green Silence
The fourth round of the Hyperspeed maintains the focus of the original: value, protection, and performance. The shoe gives specific care to its most essential components and improves where it can on previous versions. Unchanged BEST SHOE are the generous SpEVA midsole and the Magic Sole outersole, which is well-ventilated and has Racing rice husks added to the forefoot rubber comSU MMER 2010 pound to improve traction in wet conditions. The fit is that of a great racer—a snug heel and roomier forefoot—thanks to a more closely woven mesh and more effective stabilizing overlays, a synthetic suede support under the ASICS stripes on the lateral side, and a closed mesh panel on the medial side. The fit, flexibility, and overall cushioning are its claims to fame, while the attractive price provides extra value. It should come as no surprise that the Hyperspeed earned our Best Racing Shoe award.
The Green Silence is Brooks’ first new racing shoe in a decade. The shoe demonstrates that performance and sustainability are compatible; many of the components are made from recycled plastics and the shoe is built with water-based adhesives and uses soybased inks. The new midsole geometry provides flexibility and cushioning, with just enough outersole for traction and durability. The upper is open mesh with a nicely cushioned tongue that opens only on the lateral side in order to provide extra medial support. The shoes have a unique appearance, as the contrasting red and yellow colors are transposed, so the shoes aren’t identical, and the midsole of the right is red, while the left is yellow. The curved shape favors the higher-arched feet, however the roomy forefoot may allow enough wiggle room for lower-arched feet to find an acceptable fit.
Sizes: men 4–13,14 (unisex) Weight: 7.3 oz. (men’s 11) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, wide forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range: efficient runners - up to a marathon; heavy strikers - up to 20K or a bit beyond
Sizes: men 4–12,13,14 (unisex) Weight: 8.0 oz. (men’s 11) Shape: semi-curved to curved Fit: snug heel, wide forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range: efficient runners - up to a marathon; heavy strikers - up to 20K or just beyond
Karhu Racer Fulcrum-Ride
The Racer Fulcrum-Ride is the first of the current crop of Karhu Fulcrum shoe designs dedicated to top-end performance. The upper is a very open air mesh, closefitting for support and with a saddle of closed mesh cinching the midfoot. The midsole is low profile, with the fulcrum adjusted to the lowered geometry. The outersole is a matrix of tiny polyurethane Ts layered over a spongy, cushioned foam. Larger Ts in the medial heel and lateral forefoot assist in the transition as the fulcrum rocks the foot forward for toeoff. The ride is responsive, with a nicely cushioned feeling—in part from the polyurethane innersole—and with very good flexibility in the forefoot. Its range makes the Fulcrum-Ride a good choice for tempo runs and speedwork, as its durability and weight exceed that of many of the racing shoes.
The swiftest member of the K-Swiss running family features the same serious focus as the rest of the line. It also features a few triathloninspired touches: laces with linksausage-like texture to stay tied, drainage through the shank, and perforations at the toe and heel for air flow (which K-Swiss calls its “FlowCool System”). The upper is open mesh with HF-welded midfoot overlays. The midsole is very low profile with a Superfoam crash pad and Strobel board for cushioning. There’s a small medial post for stability, which is especially useful in a racer since fatigue usually results in reduced biomechanical efficiency (you know, your form breaks down as you near the end of a race). Overall, the K-Ruuz is an excellent racer for the speedy, but it’s so lightweight that it’s better suited to shorter races.
Sizes: men 8–14; women 6–11 Weight: 8.2 oz. (men’s 11); 6.1 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, wide forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation Range: efficient runners - up to a marathon; heavy strikers - up to 25K or just beyond
Sizes: men 8–12,13,14; women 5.5–10,11 Weight: 6.0 oz. (men’s 11); 4.6 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, close-fitting forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation Range: efficient runners - up to 35K or beyond; heavy strikers - up to 15K
Nike Zoom Streak XC 2
The Zoom XC may be the most versatile of the competition shoes that bear the Swoosh. A hybrid of sorts, it draws from a number of models. The upper is very open mesh with a midfoot band of synthetic suede to shore up the fit (you may have seen it in Nike’s steeplechase model). The midsole is a new foam formulation called Cushlon LT, a lightweight version of the resilient foam in the Bowerman line. The outersole is a mini-waffle pattern, a tip of the hat to its use for cross country, as well as on the track and the roads. The low profile, great fit, and light feel are enhanced by the bargain price; in fact, it could be called the bargain champion of this review. The Zoom Streak XC 2 is well placed in the versatility department, working almost equally well on the track, roads, and cross country. Sizes: men 4–13,14,15 (unisex) Weight: 6.0 oz. (men’s 11) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, close forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range: efficient runners - up to 25K; heavy strikers - up to 15K or just beyond
Scott’s entry into the U.S. market affords racers more quality footwear choices. The T2C is one of two Scott shoes specifically developed for triathlon racing. The T2C is the more traditional of the two, with laces and a typical mesh upper, in this case with sublimated graphics and welded overlays that offer good support and comfort, even when worn barefoot. Vents around the midsole perimeter and a mesh Strobel board and perforated innersole allow drainage, as well as a measure of cooling—important for both triathlons and road racing. The geometry of the shoe revolves around a slightly convex bottom (“Ergologic Ride”), which allows the foot to roll through the transition smoothly, regardless of footstrike. The generous slab of EVA and rubbery inserts at heel and toe are responsive and protective, giving the T2C a lengthier range for competition—even better than most other shoes of the same weight. The outersole features high-traction synthetic rubber backed with fabric, common but effective for road racing shoes. Sizes: men 7–13,14; women 5–12 Weight: 7.0 oz. (men’s 11); 5.2 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, roomy forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range: efficient runners - up to a marathon; heavy strikers - up to 25K or beyond
Saucony Fastwitch 4
Round four of the Fastwitch is welldefined: it’s a light, stable, versatile racing shoe. The upper features even more of the open airmesh of version 3, carrying it onto the tongue which has a plush, sueded lining. The overlays have been pared back and repositioned with no noticeable change in weight. The lightweight midsole formulation remains unchanged, along with the flexible segmented forefoot that’s ventilated for breathability. The midfoot is well supported by an effectively-placed shank and moderate medial second density—also unchanged from version 3. The good news is that the Fastwitch continues to deliver speedy performance for a variety of runners and uses. Sizes: men 7–13,14; women 5–12 Weight: 7.2 oz. (men’s 11); 5.4 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semi-curved Fit: snug heel, roomy forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation Range: efficient runners - up to a marathon; heavy strikers - up to 20K or just beyond
Zoot Ultra Speed
Zoot has established its place in the triathlon market and has fans on the running side, as well. The Ultra Speed is a new shoe that complements the Ultra Race, the Zoot long distance racing shoe. The triathlon features include lining throughout for barefoot use, lace-free for quick entry, and vents for drainage and the additional benefit of cooling. The upper is TekSheen, a two-way stretch compression fabric which provides an excellent fit as long as you have a curved foot, since the monosock construction is difficult to fit on low- arched and/or high-volume feet. The shank is carbon fiber and offers good torsional rigidity and rolls well to toe-off. The midsole is a low-profile Z Bound/EVA blend that nicely combines resiliency and cushioning, and effectively splits the fine line between speed and protection. Sizes: men 8–12,13,14; women 6–11 Weight: 6.9 oz. (men’s 11); 6.5 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semi-curved to curved Fit: snug heel, close-fitting forefoot For: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range: efficient runners - up to 35K or beyond; heavy strikers - up to 15K, possibly beyond
CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. Copyright © 2010 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.
HAS USATF DECLARED WAR ON U.S. COACHES?
IRST was the appointment of a USATF “Director of Coaching.” Who knew we needed one? THEN came the gutting of the Coaches Education program—a program created and run entirely by coaches without any help from USATF for most of its 25 years—a program which educated more than 20,000 American high school and college coaches—a program which visibly raised the level of U.S track and field coaching, and U.S.performances—in short, the most successful initiative in USATF’s history. Earlier this year, most of the distinguished coaches who led Coaching Ed for the past decade suddenly resigned because of changes which were being made in Indianapolis. Said USATF, “We’ll get new coach-instructors who will be just as good.” We’re still waiting to be told who they are. NOW comes USATF’s Coaches Registry, which more than one well-known coach has called, “Blackmail.” That’s not our word, but it was spoken by coaches known and respected in our sport. Blackmail, because if you don’t sign up, you can’t get a coach accreditation for USATF Championships. Which means you can’t get into the practice and warmup areas to work with your athletes in the important days and hours before they compete.No matter how good a coach you are. One well-know coach, a former Olympic medalist and world champion, said, “I don’t like it at all, but I signed up because my athletes need me and expect me to be there.” There several other equally repellent “privileges” not available to non-registered coaches, but the issue of greatest concern is the coach accreditation for the Championships. Sam Seemes, who leads the U.S. Track and Cross-Country Coaches of America, reports that most of the comments he has received about Coaches Registry were unfavorable. The day after USATF announced the program, Seemes and USTCCCA president Curtis Frye send a message to members which included the following: “USTFCCCA Members should know that the USTFCCCA neither supports the Coaches Registry program, nor did we develop the program. We are disappointed that USATF implied in their press release that the USTFCCCA was supportive of the Coaches Registry program they have established. Furthermore, we disagree with the statement that the USATF Coaches Registry ‘will identify and acknowledge the coaches who represent the profession’s highest standards.’ “ USATF CEO Doug Logan said, “No group is more important to the development of our athletes than coaches.” He certainly has a strange way of showing it. One wonders why USTCCA wasn’t informed of Coaches Registry before it was announced, and why USTCCA wasn’t asked to participate in developing a program specifically involving its membership? Just as bad was USATF’s timing. Here is a new program, affecting the professional lives and status of more than 30,000 coaches, and you announce it at the most important time of the year, when coaches at every level are deeply involved in championship-level competition., and you give them five weeks. That may be legal, but it is certainly not fair to the coaches. In politics, that’s called an ultimatum. And it is usually followed by a war. — James Dunaway