Blog: IAAF Oceania Level 3 Coaching Course

IAAF Level 3 Distance Coaching Course – Gold Coast 2014

 

I have been very fortunate over the past few months to have travelled to Distance running heaven in Eugene, Oregon for the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships (http://frontrunnersports.com.au/iaaf-world-junior-coaching-conference/) as well as visiting Biomechanics central in Calgary, Canada for the international Running and Biomechanics Symposium with Front Runner Physiotherapist Marc See (http://frontrunnersports.com.au/calgary-international-running-symposium/). A year of focusing on professional development and up skilling concluded with a recent trip to the Gold Coast to partake in the level 3 middle and long distance specific coaching course run by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). Already holding a level 3 distance qualification with Athletics Australia, the course was a great opportunity to test my current coaching skills and knowledge relative to other coaches in the Oceania region as well as consolidate and improve on my services in the area of performance coaching.

 

The course was quite intensive, running for 14 out of 15 days and combining both theory and practical elements. As I have mentioned before, coaching is very much considered a balance of Art vs. Science where the coach must take their knowledge and mold it appropriately to each individual to ensure their athletic potential is maximized. Our two course lecturers, Gregor Gojrzewski (long time coach of prominent Australian Runners Liam Adams and Johnny Rayner) from Melbourne and Lindsay Watson (coach of dual Olympian Youcef Abdi) from Sydney, typified this with a slightly different approach to their own methods of training as acquired from their large bank of experience coaching runners of all levels. I tended to relate to Gregor’s style a touch more given my theoretical and scientific background, however the practical lessons and tips I picked up from Lindsay will be invaluable going forward to help all runners enjoy their running whilst achieving their goals (coming soon to a Front Runner training session near you… Pringles!).

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As I have done with my previous trips, please see below for a general feel and some specific points of what I took away from the course:

 

  • Tracking and monitoring your recovery in periods of high load towards your target event is very important helping you determine what stress you are dealing with week to week and how this may affect your recovery from training. Look at tracking stress scores for areas of relationships work, training, financial and a general other to see if there are any large discrepancies that may affect to following weeks training.
  • If you have a talented young athlete, make sure the bird stays in the nest until it’s ready to fly. Take it out too early (event specialization <16y) and they will fly… but not for very long
  • The point of your training periodization that correlates with the highest risk of injury is when your training volume starts to slightly decrease whilst your training intensity begins to rise. This is a very important facet of training in order to peak for your target race, however be aware that this time should be monitored carefully and extra recovery process’ may need to be implemented.
  • EVERY aspect of running performance is trainable (aerobic endurance, anaerobic capacity, flexibility, strength, coordination, speed, rhythm/economy, lactate utilization). So if you feel that one or more of these may be a performance limiting factor, ask a qualified coach or movement professional to assist and develop these into individual strengths.
  • Don’t bring the cannon just to kill a mosquito. Ensure you know what training intensity is required in order to achieve the physiological aim of the training session and execute it. E.g. if you want to develop aerobic capacity via threshold running (e.g. 5km or 10km goal pace), stay on this pace to get the aerobic development without tapping into too much anaerobic contribution that will just result in more fatigue accumulation for the same aerobic development. However, if you are running your 800m goal pace in training, go for it… just limit the volume.
  • Ask yourself the “what” questions first… What are my goals, what training type am I working today, what is the aim of this training block? Once you have the what, work on the why and how.

Running Regards,

Ben Green

 

B.Sc (Hons) Exercise & Health

Level 3 IAAF Distance Coach

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