05.Jul.12 Marathon talk goes the distance
It was a marathon session in every way as 18 endurance coaches from the Essex Athletics Network and neighbouring areas attended a coach education workshop on “Improving Marathon Performance for Club Runners” held at Chelmsford on Friday led by all-time great Paul Evans and experienced coach and Area Coach Mentor David Chalfen.
In fact such was the thirst for knowledge from those coaches attending that the Friday evening workshop ran well over the scheduled two hours maximum, and Paul Evans would have been well into his warm down after his epic 1996 Chicago Marathon winning two hours eight minutes 52 second effort before the session ended, had the two events been taking place at the same time.
The workshop certainly lived up to its billing as providing the opportunity for endurance coaches to come together to discuss different approaches & share their experiences, within a participative workshop format. After brief introductions from Paul and David, the attendees were set to work in three groups to consider a case study of a 42 year old male with three years structured running and PBs of three hours eight minutes and 38 minutes for 10k aiming to break three hours in his next race in 16 weeks. The groups were tasked with identifying what information to seek from the runner before preparing a training plan and go on to draft a four-week training cycle that would suit him between six to ten weeks pre-marathon.
After around 45 minutes of animated debate the groups fed back their conclusions, which triggered further discussions and helpful follow-on advice from the workshop leaders which covered issues such as quality running -v- structure of training -v- mileage, how to optimise taper, physical preparation/ strength & conditioning; and incorporation of aerobic cross training. Paul outlined a cycle for the four weeks leading up to a marathon and left the group with his 12 week training programmes leading up to his April 1996 London Marathon (2:10:40) and October 1996 Chicago PB.
The duo’s relaxed interactive approach was well-received and worked well in getting the key points across attracting feedback such as “Learned lots I can take back in terms of structuring training plus good setting” “Great idea to work together in little groups and learn from others”, “Having input from a class athlete as well as a coach really helped quantify the theory”.
Network Activator Tony Benton commented “Thanks to Paul and David for an excellent evening. It’s great that so many coaches are signing up to our programme of workshops and the healthy attendance and positive feedback confirms that we’re meeting coaches’ needs. Planning for our Autumn and Winter workshop programme is already underway.”
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