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Coaching - A Case study approach

  • 19-03-2020 7:29pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭


    Bit of a novel idea but as many people will be going into a long term planning mode now and with people needing their running fix I thought this could be a good thread.

    The premise is simple I will present a case study each evening of a hypothetical athlete and it is up to you to design a training approach. There is no right and wrong to this it's just to get people thinking and just try and explain logic behind why you would do as such. Aim is to get people critically thinking about training in the hopes that it will allow them to tailor plans better to there own needs when they deal with their own race schedule later in the year.

    If it gains legs will hopefully try to do daily and present a wide variety of scenario's.

    Case Study A

    - 40 year old female
    - Running 2 years looking to do 1st marathon in 5 months time
    - Current PBs - 5k 23.59, 10k 57.10, HM 2.04.37
    - Currently Trains - 3 times a week (2 pace runs and one long run)

    Considerations
    - Office Worker
    - Previous Runners Knee injury during 1st marathon training block (year 1 of running) causing her to abandon marathon 6 weeks out from race


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,386 ✭✭✭career move


    Thanks KSU. This is a great idea for a thread.

    Case study A

    Points to note:

    - Older athlete possibly with family and work commitments

    - Not running a long time. Base fitness may need improving

    - Race times indicate poor endurance as the longer the distance the more the times drop off

    - Training 3 days a week at the moment suggests lots of potential for improvement

    - Injury sustained the previous year (runners knee) requires management and dedicated S&C. Also being an office worker requires more focus on S&C.

    - First marathon so being able to start and finish is more important than aiming for a time

    The plan

    - 20 weeks divided into 5 blocks of 4 weeks with 3 weeks building and 1 step back week

    - The athlete's history indicates endurance as a weakness so I think only 1pace run every 2nd week is needed.

    - Plan will have 4 running days and 1 day dedicated to S&C. 2 days easy, 1 day pace or easy with strides, 1 long run

    - Gradual build up of mileage in both the mid week easy runs and the long run with the long run peaking at 20 miles.

    - Only 1 x 20 mile in the plan because of the injury risk.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    KSU wrote:
    - 40 year old female - Running 2 years looking to do 1st marathon in 5 months time - Current PBs - 5k 23.59, 10k 57.10, HM 2.04.37 - Currently Trains - 3 times a week (2 pace runs and one long run)

    KSU wrote:
    Considerations - Office Worker - Previous Runners Knee injury during 1st marathon training block (year 1 of running) causing her to abandon marathon 6 weeks out from race

    Excellent thread. I'm going to be a nerd and ask questions but feel free to put me back in my box if the objective is to use only the info given.

    What is her current weekly mileage?
    Presumably the target is to just finish the marathon ie no time target?
    Can she train more or is three days her limit?
    Is the office work sedentary or moving around? Presume sedentary or else you wouldn't have noted it.
    What mileage/days a week was she running when she got injured?

    I'm over thinking this right. Haha


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Excellent thread. I'm going to be a nerd and ask questions but feel free to put me back in my box if the objective is to use only the info given.

    What is her current weekly mileage?
    Presumably the target is to just finish the marathon ie no time target?
    Can she train more or is three days her limit?
    Is the office work sedentary or moving around? Presume sedentary or else you wouldn't have noted it.
    What mileage/days a week was she running when she got injured?

    I'm over thinking this right. Haha

    In the words of John Marcus, gotta hive the people what they want

    Currently weekly mileage - 15-20 (2x4 mile and long run)

    Target wants to break 4 hrs

    Can train 4-5 days a week tops with family commitments

    Office work is a desk job so 8 hrs at computer minis lunch break

    Was following Hal Higdon one and got injured roughly 6 weeks out (got progressively worse for 2 weeks before pulling plug completely)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,291 ✭✭✭ariana`


    Following this with interest especially as the first case study sounds a bit like someone I might know.................................. 🙈


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    ariana` wrote: »
    Following this with interest especially as the first case study sounds a bit like someone I might know.................................. 🙈

    Purposely avoiding using real life examples for this but hopefully enough variety to get people relating


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    ariana` wrote:
    Following this with interest especially as the first case study sounds a bit like someone I might know.................................. 🙈

    Not allowed to sit back. Let's put ourselves out there. Who cares if we're miles off the mark..... Post your plan for this person!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,291 ✭✭✭ariana`


    Not allowed to sit back. Let's put ourselves out there. Who cares if we're miles off the mark..... Post your plan for this person!!

    How detailed are we supposed to go?

    Running: lots of easy miles to build the Aerobic base. 4 runs per week, 2 easy conversational pace, 1 tempo/threshold type session, 1 long run building to 3hrs in week 17/18 before a taper. If a 5th day can be managed then I'd probably suggest she cross train - swimming, aqua jogging, elliptical, bike etc.

    Supplementary work: 1-2 Pilates classes weekly in an attempt to off set that desk job - lunch break classes would be ideal. I'd suggest a small amount of s&c on all/most other days, a lot can be done in 10-15 mins.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    Jaysus Luke - maybe give a scenario every 3 days - I think this 1 could 'run' a bit.


    I'll rob Kates template and most of her words :) :

    Case study A

    Points to note:

    - Older athlete possibly with family and work commitments

    - Not running a long time. Base fitness may need improving

    - Race times indicate poor endurance as the longer the distance the more the times drop off

    - Training 3 days a week at the moment suggests lots of potential for improvement

    - Injury sustained the previous year (runners knee) requires management and dedicated S&C. Also being an office worker requires more focus on S&C.

    - First marathon so being able to start and finish is more important than aiming for a time
    ** Made it to 6 weeks to go before knee issue surfaced.

    The plan

    * A longish plan (16-18 weeks) - with 1st 7-8 weeks given over to Base training (easy runs - increase mileage per week - strides - intro Tempo on week 4)

    * Break plan into a 14 day cycle from week 8-9
    * focus on mileage and not too tough long runs.
    * Alternate sessions - MP sessions with faster than MP runs on alternate weeks.
    * Strides every week
    * S&C introduced at base and continues through the plan.
    * Build from 4 rest days to 3 to 2 to 1 ( 1 for 1-2 weeks only)
    * Improvements to come mainly from mileage - as CM says - potential for improvement is huge.


    Apart from this - tell her to follow the Novices plan on Boards.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46


    I'd put the runners knee down to the fact that there were 2 pace runs and a long run only in a beginner runner. Base needs building at very easy paces. Between now and the start of the 'plan' I would concentrate totally on base.

    Her 5k time indicates a decent ability on so little training so I wouldn't be nailed down to a plan and would adapt depending on how she responded to training. For a first marathon and considering the injury I would be unlikely to suggest anything faster than MP apart from some strides and hill sprints if there was no indication of fatigue. I would guess that racing a HM 8 weeks into her first marathon plan probably brought about the beginnings of the injury. The plan then follows with an 18 and 20 mile run in the next 3 weeks which were too soon after a raced half for a newbie runner.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    KSU wrote:
    - 40 year old female - Running 2 years looking to do 1st marathon in 5 months time - Current PBs - 5k 23.59, 10k 57.10, HM 2.04.37 - Currently Trains - 3 times a week (2 pace runs and one long run)

    KSU wrote:
    Considerations - Office Worker - Previous Runners Knee injury during 1st marathon training block (year 1 of running) causing her to abandon marathon 6 weeks out from race

    Hopefully Case Study B is a 10k runner.

    Speed doesn't seem to be an issue but times falling off indicates endurance is an issue so more easy, slow miles needed.

    Wouldn't overcomplicate it.

    8 weeks of base building, plenty of easy miles, building up mileage and days running per week to 5, possibly 4 if the athlete was unable to get some yoga or pilates in one of those days. Pilates/yoga to counter the inevitable hip flexor/posture issues from the desk job.

    Foam rolling at least once a week.

    In the base phase a staple of 80% of the week easy running. One session which is an introduction to a mix of threshold/tempo/steady efforts progressing over the 8 weeks. The other session a buildup of the long run.

    Beyond the 8 week base phase the long run would be kept vanilla but would build in mileage. The other weekly session would build up the length of threshold/tempo over the training period.

    I'm useless at marathon planning so that's my best guess. Bring on a 10k runner!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,412 ✭✭✭Lazare


    Fantastic idea for a thread, a great way to get people thinking seriously about the reasons behind methodology.

    I've a lot to learn myself, but based on my experience this would be my approach.

    As pointed out by others, the race times point to a lack of endurance. The good 5k time relative to the longer distances coupled with the knee injury tell me the athlete spends too much time at high effort, which also explains poor endurance.

    I would have the athlete switch away from pace as a guide and begin training by heart rate exclusively, with a chest monitor. I would have her tested to determine her HR at anaerobic threshold.

    I would then build her training around that number.

    We'll say her HR at AnT is 145.

    Our immediate target is to safely get up to 40mpw within the next three months.

    This week she should stick to her routine of 3x runs but use the week to get used to running by HR, with nothing but the HR displayed on the watch.

    2x 5 mile runs and 1x 6m, all ran at <130bpm.

    A gradual increase in mileage over 12 weeks, running 4 days but ideally 5 per week with a light progression long run and a sprinkling of strides. HR rarely to go above 140 during this period, and never above 145 (apart from strides). Majority of running will be <130 bpm.

    With 8 weeks to go we need to be consistently running 35-40 mpw. We would then introduce LT workouts and midweek light progressions. Weekend long runs ran at the higher end of aerobic, 130-135bpm. We would practise fuelling etc on these runs.

    With 4 weeks to go we would run a 14 mile target tester, 4 mile warm up and 10 miles at 138 - 140bpm. This will tell us whether our sub 4 target is realistic.


    Zero 'marathon pace' running, but plenty of marathon effort, and other than some build up races and a sprinkling of strides and hills, effort is never anaerobic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Some great answers folks and definitely some common threads in terms of the thoughts behind the training with a heavy emphasis on building that aerobic base and working to resolved any injury issues.

    My own person take on this;

    Background

    The three pieces of key information for me here are revolving around the injury. Runners knee is usually a catch all term of injuries which tend to stem from quad/hip flexor related issues.

    Females tend to be more susceptible to these sort of injuries due to wider q angle (biomechanical aspect of the hip in relation to knee positioning) this is a biological difference which must be considered in training men vs woman.

    Office workers also tend to get this more due to the seated position leaving hip flexors short for prolonged periods as well as the glutes being in a inhibited state.

    With all this in mind plus the fact that our case study broke down in around the time they were up to some of their longest runs of the plan leads me believing that runs were run too fast and biomechanical fatigue during long runs was a primary factor in not making the start line

    Training Considerations

    - Aerobic Endurance needs to be priority
    - Mileage should not increase until athlete has developed bio mechanically to be able to handle additional volume
    - Form work should trump Speedwork

    Application
    - Continue 3 days a week running for the 1st two months with the view to build to 5

    - 1 Quality day consists of Drills, easy run, Strides full recovery working on form

    - Long run capped at 1 hr 40 with surges every 5 min for the last 20 min (approx 15-20 sec) building to the last 40 min. This is a way of biomechanically resetting so that form not compromised due to fatigue in the latter stages

    - 2 Supplementary days.
    1 Day would include Circuit work as a way of boosting aerobic fitness without along form issues due to fatigue. This would be along the lines of some HIIT training style work and treated as a second quality day.
    Second day would be mobility and flexibility work to increase functional range of motion


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Gave the last one a little longer as I wanted to let it play out a bit and stay out of it as given I am setting the scenario's it is probably a little loaded (If anyone has scenario's they wanna pass on feel free and I will work with them but avoid using real life if possible wanna try stay hypothetical for a few reasons)

    Scenario B
    - 34 year old Male Ex GAA player
    - Current PBs - 10k 44.30, HM 1.40.02, 3.24.33
    - Running since retired from County Panel at 28

    -Marathon running progression 4.01>3.37>Injured>Injured>3.24>Injured>Injured

    -Runs approx 50 miles per week in marathon training

    - A number of recurring muscle tears (mostly calf and Hamstring)

    Looking to break 3 hours whenever Corona fecks right off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,386 ✭✭✭career move


    Case study B

    This is not so straightforward!

    - Ex gaa player suggests good base fitness

    - 28 seems young to retire from gaa. I'm wondering was it because he had injuries

    - His marathon pb is a lot better than the HM and 10k pbs but this could be because he hasn't raced a lot other than the 3 marathons

    - Injuries are a significant problem with him and I wonder is there some underlying weakness causing both the calf and the hamstring tears e.g weak glutes

    The plan

    - I would get to the bottom of what's causing the injuries and find the best rehab and prevention firstly. It wasn't mentioned if he was currently injured but I think this is likely something that will need constant attention so we need to focus heavily on strength and conditioning in the plan

    - I don't think he can expect to achieve sub 3 in one training cycle so this is a long term approach maybe 2-3 years down the line

    - It's hard to say you need to run x number of miles and do such and such a session every week because I think you can only plan short term and then you have to see how he's coping with the training load


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46


    Good one but ex GAA opens up a whole world of possibilities... Based on my young lads club I'll guess our man is old school. Shuttle runs, sprints and endless laps of the pitch until people collapse in a heap!!

    Because of the number of short sharp bursts in football the hammers are prone to injury in lots of players. I would prescribe some strengthening exercises for them. As the hamstrings and calfs work together to support the knee he should do some calf strengthening to the benefit of the lower body.

    His marathon time indicates good endurance brought about by years of GAA. I'm guessing he knows he is 'fit' and jumps into a fairly aggressive 50 mile per week plan based on this. However he is ambitious to reduce his times significantly to knock chunks off his PB in the marathon...a diesel trying to fuel inject too quickly.

    The beginnings of my plan would be the calf and hamstring strengthening, a gradual build of miles, a steady introduction of speed and then speed endurance. I'd advise he forget his goal of 3 hours and just run the race his training allows him. I'm getting repetitive here but after that it would be see how he reacts and adjust accordingly...


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,418 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    I’m wondering did he take a short cut during that 3:24 marathon. :pac: His HM suggests closer to 3:34.

    But maybe his HM is an old PB as he has gotten injured during four of last five marathon cycles and probably didn’t get a HM in.

    Is it really possible to propose solutions on this info amount of info alone? Sounds like the 50 mile marathon weeks are too much for him so possibly completely overdoing things in terms of hard/easy.

    More info required I think!


  • Registered Users Posts: 154 ✭✭SuspectZero


    This one is a tricky one because I think it requires a lot assumptions. With someone as highly injury prone as him, I'd look at the actual running been a distant second fiddle to injury prevention. It's almost a back to scratch and very long term approach imo. For the hamstrings and calves especially with tears, they are overloaded and have probably become excessevily strong over the years further enforcing the imbalance. To address that, I'd look to strengthen the glutes and work on increasing dorsiflexion in the ankles. This on the assumption that pelvic tilt isn't the driving force where focus would be more on stretching the psoas and surrounding hip flexors while strengthening the glutes.

    Ex county GAA player would suggest years of explosive type training so despite his PB's showing otherwise, his strength is probably his speed(how much so is a unknown though). But I would look at decreasing running on hills and any interval type sessions would be broken up into sets and shorter repeat length with longer recovery to lower strain on hamstrings and calves.

    Would decrease mileage until the injury and imbalances have been addressed and slowly look to build back up again as progress is shown(either in correction posture or ROM in the ankles) as more mileage and overloading of the calves and hamstrings will only further strengthen them will only slow the rate of correction.

    This might not go down well and may have a short term loss of fitness and make the goal of sub-3 more distant but would highly increase the chances of it happening at all. 6 years of running and still been 24 minutes away mean it's a very unlikely short term goal imo unless the problems are addressed right away. Finding a way to run consisently will pay huge dividends rather than rushing into a single marathon cycle trying to train like someone aiming for a sub-3 so I'd scratch that goal even at the risk of getting sacked:pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos


    KSU wrote: »

    Scenario B
    - 34 year old Male Ex GAA player
    - Current PBs - 10k 44.30, HM 1.40.02, 3.24.33
    - Running since retired from County Panel at 28

    -Marathon running progression 4.01>3.37>Injured>Injured>3.24>Injured>Injured

    -Runs approx 50 miles per week in marathon training

    - A number of recurring muscle tears (mostly calf and Hamstring)

    Looking to break 3 hours whenever Corona fecks right off.

    County Footballer eh. Regardless of when retired, 4:01 is a pretty slow debut marathon. What was the mileage for that one? 3:37 more like it so what changed next? Was it a calf tear or hamstring for the next one? What grade of tear? Why? Changing foot strike? Overuse or sudden tear? What cycle was the 50m per week?

    Too many questions to even suggest a plan. Whatever the plan, 3hrs is absolutely realistic but at what cost? Or what risk?

    4 DNFs out of 7 starts and recurring muscle tears... why bother? :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Good to see people seem to be getting what was alluded time and probing a little further from what was purposefully vague initially

    The GAA background coupled with the injuries was aimed at highlighting overly aggressive mentality and approach to training as people have pointed out background of a lot of high intensity short work and mentality tended to transfer over to running approach.

    Rapid improvement was simply down to first marathon run off GAA fitness with second marathon coming from more mileage. But plateau due to injuries being because training approach hasn’t adjusted


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,418 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    So these are real cases, then? Which one is AMK? :p


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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,418 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    KSU wrote: »
    Good to see people seem to be getting what was alluded time and probing a little further from what was purposefully vague initially

    The GAA background coupled with the injuries was aimed at highlighting overly aggressive mentality and approach to training as people have pointed out background of a lot of high intensity short work and mentality tended to transfer over to running approach.

    Rapid improvement was simply down to first marathon run off GAA fitness with second marathon coming from more mileage. But plateau due to injuries being because training approach hasn’t adjusted

    I was going to say 3:37 down to 3:24 next marathon after a couple of injured cycles isn't a total plateau but I suppose for a runner in late 20s-early 30s it is. Especially if he went through halfway in the low 90s.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    KSU wrote: »
    Good to see people seem to be getting what was alluded time and probing a little further from what was purposefully vague initially

    The GAA background coupled with the injuries was aimed at highlighting overly aggressive mentality and approach to training as people have pointed out background of a lot of high intensity short work and mentality tended to transfer over to running approach.

    Rapid improvement was simply down to first marathon run off GAA fitness with second marathon coming from more mileage. But plateau due to injuries being because training approach hasn’t adjusted

    My initial thoughts to the type of injury he gets was his training was too quick and aggressive - probably the competitive nature of the beast plays a big role here.

    Easing off the pace on easy days, having good periodisation in a plan, progressive sessions over a period of time.
    A solid base phase required.

    Dont think he's have the patience for it. He's also probably from Meath.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD


    Can't beat gah training running the shıte out of you :rolleyes: I think it's bred into ex GAA lads of balls out or nothing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,418 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    Can't beat gah training running the shıte out of you :rolleyes: I think it's bred into ex GAA lads of balls out or nothing.

    Can they not adjust for different sports though? Seems intuitive to me that marathon training shouldn’t be balls out. And anyway is there not a significant element of endurance in team field sports?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer


    Murph_D wrote: »
    Can they not adjust for different sports though? Seems intuitive to me that marathon training shouldn’t be balls out. And anyway is there not a significant element of endurance in team field sports?

    Sure, but if the default mindset is to go hard then it's really difficult to adapt to that. Deep down the brain might know to slow down but the message might not be getting through.

    Also, team sports endurance is more like middle distance running rather than long distance. In other, simplified, words: go hard, often.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    Can't beat gah training running the shıte out of you :rolleyes: I think it's bred into ex GAA lads of balls out or nothing.

    True, my first 2-3, years in running was balls out and try beat your previous training runs, also the period I was injured most.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Murph_D wrote: »
    Can they not adjust for different sports though? Seems intuitive to me that marathon training shouldn’t be balls out. And anyway is there not a significant element of endurance in team field sports?
    Sure, but if the default mindset is to go hard then it's really difficult to adapt to that. Deep down the brain might know to slow down but the message might not be getting through.

    Also, team sports endurance is more like middle distance running rather than long distance. In other, simplified, words: go hard, often.
    OOnegative wrote: »
    True, my first 2-3, years in running was balls out and try beat your previous training runs, also the period I was injured most.

    Pretty much sums things up.

    This may be a bit of a generalisation admittedly but in the past when dealing with Team sports athletes in particular GAA and Soccer there has been a 110% mentality in approaching training for running. Many stave off short term injury due to muscle development particularly in stability aspect of the trunk. Alot of this can be attributed to lateral movement in field sports which is normally missing in marathon runners.

    In this scenario athlete managed first marathon on very little running due to general fitness. This is why a big jump was made early on but stagnated due to injury as a result of recurring overuse injuries due to under recovery. Marathon and Half marathon times were to suggest alot of mono paced hard runs basically running fairly flat out the whole time which again contributes to the injuries.

    Training Considerations

    - Used to high intensity work and more comfortable here
    - Volume needs to increase to match goal
    - Mentality shift needed

    Application
    - Pace prescription. Firm training paces dictated and as an extra security prescribe paces 5-10 sec slower than planned
    - No high intensity or sustained efforts due to background
    - Progression runs to replace tempo's and teach pace management and effort control
    - Cruise intervals to counter act aggressive nature by using recovery to modulate effort
    - Slow easy runs down
    - regular rehab work

    If anyone has idea's for scenarios send on and I can come up with a background.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Case Study C
    - 52 year old female
    - Running 7 years on and off running specifically marathons
    - Current PBs - 10k 48.51 HM 1.44.52 Marathon 3.48.27
    - Looking to improve 10k time
    - Following club sessions the last 4 years - Tuesday 8x400, Thursday 5x1k Sunday Hard long run(approx 30-40 mpw)

    Considerations
    - Low in confidence
    - Racing been going backwards the last 18 months despite sessions improving.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    Finally, a 10ker......ill be back.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,202 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil


    My 2 cents would be to look at:

    Her thoughts on recovery
    Perhaps needing to make a mental switch from doing marathons to focusing on 10k. Put past distance endeavours to the back of her mind.
    If she's doing those sessions every week, whether one could be moved to Saturday, or simply going to the club and keeping one of the Tues/Thurs easy for a bit.
    Is Sunday easy?
    If she's consistent in the sessions, but neglecting easy days then limited progress in recent months is hardly surprising.
    On/off running in her history points to possible winging things somewhat, if I understood right.
    Anything on the agenda when she's not on her feet


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