Youth Endurance Resource

2022 Youth Endurance resource fan

England Athletics is pleased to share with you the Youth Endurance Resource, written by Dr Matt Long on behalf of England Athletics, with support from Spencer Duval (National Endurance Lead) and Scott Grace (National Technical Lead for Youth and Resource Development).

Dr Matt Long has served as both an England Team Manager and England Team Coach. He is Head of Athletics at Nottingham Trent University and also coaches at Birmingham University AC. Having tutored for England Athletics in coach education for more than a decade, he is the author of over 300 published coaching articles.

This resource is aimed at coaches, athletes, clubs, parents  and others wanting to know more about how to support young endurance athletes. It has been supported by some of top coaches past and present, including England Athletics staff Spencer Duval, Martin Rush (Head of Athlete Development), the Endurance Regional Coach Leads (RCLs), Tom Craggs (Road Running Manager and Marathon Lead) and Charlotte Fisher (previously Road Running Manager). The resource also contains the work of the late great Dave Sunderland and former Youth Endurance National Coach Mentor Jenny Harris.

During the development stages, England Athletics have had received very positive feedback from several athletes referenced within the resource, including Jenny Meadows, Jack Green, Oliver Dustin and Richard Whitehead.”

The resource is divided into eight parts for ease of reading.

  • Part 1: From Participation to Performance – the Young Athlete’s Entry into Endurance Running – looks at the key principle of late specialisation in the context of long-term athlete development.
  • Part 2: The Wellbeing of the Youth Endurance Athlete – encourages us all to see the young athlete as a whole person and explores issues around mental wellbeing in the context of underfuelling and overtraining.
  • Part 3: The Physiology of Youth Endurance Running – takes a look at energy systems and how they should be trained during adolescence, and what is appropriate Strength & Conditioning (S&C) work for the young endurance athlete to undertake.
  • Part 4: moves on to consider endurance running as skill acquisition, going on signpost appropriate drills for the young athlete.
  • Part 5: Strength & Conditioning -delves deeper in what sports science can offer in terms an understanding of how the running economy and efficiency of young athletes can be improved through a variety of modes of training, without risking injury.
  • Part 6: Road Running – recognises the growing trend for young athletes to want to work off track and offers guidance in this specific context, including both positive and negative case studies from former and, in some cases, current athletes from whom the young athlete of today can learn.
  • Part 7: Case Studies – offers an insight into the careers of past and present athletes, not so much in terms of what they achieved but, more importantly, how they approached their long-term athlete development.
  • Part 8: whilst cautioning against a prescriptive approach to generic schedule-based coaching of young endurance athletes, this section offers sample schedules which are a starting point to be individualised according to need.

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The resource is also available via Athletics Hub in the Coaching Resources section.