`A grade 3 coach wrote a letter to AW last week bemoaning the fact that there were only 65 (I think) under 20 and under 17 males entered in the Junior indoor championships over 1500/800 metres on the same weekend as the national cross when there were 1400 or so entrants in the same classes.
Well to me that is a cause for celebration because that is where the future of the sport is going to come from, not from poncing around a 200 metre track. (my opinion only of course)`
The future of the sport is mass participation at long distance events AND elite (youth) at shorter track events.
They can feed off each other. Remember Paula Radcliffe was inspired by her dad being a fun runner. And many runners are inspired by the sight of elite success. Whilst recognising they are unlikely to match them it does raise awareness.
Oon the subject of the Grade 3 coaches and the coaching mafiosa types. Yes some of them are sad gits and many UKA coaching courses are fixated by youth/track/elite competition. But does not remove some validity to their concerns over declining `elite` paticipation.
I have just read a book by a guy called Parker who was an early advocate of Hr training. Before the Hadd articles came out.
He also suggested that the vast majority of runs were at 70% but you could do say 1 or 2 sessions per week at around threshold pace (85% is what he quoted). Whilst this is not a gut busting run it does provide some physical and mental variation.
He applied this approach with experienced runners who wanted to improve, not total beginners. And the guinea pigs had good results.
His view on an excess of too much hard running was not just that it was inferior in terms of cardiac benefits. Equally, it burnt up large amounts of glycogen (rather than fat plus glycogen). This lead to growing tiredness and a tendancy to lose quality in the hard runs. Therefore the easy approach is not an end in itself, it is a way of getting the best out of the less frequent hard sessions.
Good point about basic speed. So many of the really top marathon runners (Steve Jones, Paula, Paul Tergat, Haile G) stepped up from top class 10000m running. It is often said that the main difference between 10k training and marathon training is to increase the length of the long run. All the other building blocks are in place.
I still come back to people losing lottery (and UKA) funding - so what.
Steve Jones was in the RAF, Kelly was in the army, Brendan was a chemistry teacher, Peter Elliot was a carpenter, Ron Hill an industrial chemist, Seb was running world class times in his early 20s having just done his degree. The current American sprinters have to make it to the top during their college days ....
This is not just harping back to good old days, there is a genuine question as to whether lottery funding works for all sports.
My attitude is also swayed by the recent discovery that my road running club will see its UKA subscription treble ! Do we want to subsidise the UKA - establishment.