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  • Writer's pictureMickey Ferri

Event Summary: XC & Track Clinic on Endurance, Mobility & Coordination (USATF at Del Norte)

Friday, July 19, 2019. The third in our series of four USATF San Diego Clinics at Del Norte High School was an awesome learning experience and lots of fun for all who attended!

This clinic was primarily for cross country (XC) & Track distance runners. 13 athletes attended overall, including 4 outstanding youth runners (age 10-13), 6 high schoolers, and 3 adult distance runners!

Friday's clinic went from 9:30am to 1:00pm, and we covered three big topics:

  1. Endurance - the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort

  2. Mobility - the ability to move or be moved freely and easily

  3. Coordination - the ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently

Each athlete received assessments in all three dimensions and given scores which helped to identify their strengths and improvement areas. Then the athletes received guidance from coaches on how to improve their own performance in distance running based on the assessments.


Part 1: Warmup (9:30-10am)

First, Jonathan Pierce (IG @piercefjonathan) led the dynamic warmup. It was a true honor to have Jonathan Pierce in our presence at this clinic. Jonathan is the founder of Kinetik Performance Co and one of the world's most respected and accomplished manual therapists for distance runners in the world. He is also an accomplished runner - former professional middle distance runner who graduated from Stanford University (3:45 in the 1500m and 9:45 in the steeple chase).

Part 2: Endurance Assessment (10-10:30am)

Each athlete performed an endurance test, which was supervised and recorded by all the coaches. The athletes ran a threshold / interval workout of 1000m x 3-4 reps.

In the endurance test, we are looking for:

  1. Low overall time

  2. Consistent pacing of all 3-4 reps

  3. Fast recovery of HR after each rep

Part 3: Mobility and Coordination Assessments & Exercises

Third, from 10:30-11:30, Jonathan Pierce and the coaches conducted a mobility and coordination assessment, each consisting of 4 exercises.

The athletes were scored on a 1-5 scale for each exercise, and for some of the exercises they received separate scores for each leg.

These exercises are excellent indicators for:

  1. Injury risk and specific vulnerabilities

  2. Running efficiency and specifically where energy is being wasted

Once each athlete was able to see his or her scores for the different exercises, it was very informative to help target vulnerabilities and weaknesses, which will help to (1) reduce injury risk and (2) improve running efficiency.

Part 4: Lunch and VDOT Presentation

We all met up at the lunch tables and the classroom for a group lunch.

During lunch, we reviewed the endurance assessments to identify VDOT estimates for each athlete, based on today's endurance test and also in-part on their prior performances.

Meriah Earle, one of the most accomplished active long-distance runners in San Diego (1:15 half-marathon), gave an excellent talk on the VDOT training system, which is used by many distance runners and coaches to improve.

Sean Pangelinan, owner of The Fit Lab and one of the most knowledgeable endurance coaches in San Diego, added in a few thoughts on energy systems within our bodies, and gave a preview of next week's discussion!

We discussed cross country, distance running, endurance training, track & field, and had an informative Q&A with the coaches.😀👩‍🎓👨🏻‍🏫👩‍🏫

The takeaway messages from Friday's clinic revolved around the important of staying disciplined, happy, healthy, and productive over a long period time! The athletes who attended have lofty and ambitious goals, and they will have bright and promising futures ahead of them if they stay on track.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Thank you parents for your help and involvement!🙏

It is my hope from Friday’s clinic that everyone:

  1. Learned something new

  2. Made a new friend, &

  3. Had a lot of fun!

We are hosting 1 more clinic in July. The July clinics are geared toward advanced high school track & field athletes. NCAA, adult, and youth athletes are welcome too! More info at the event page: USATF SD Summer 2019 Clinics at Del Norte High School.

I’m honored to have served as your event organizer (and unofficial event photographer)😂

~Mickey Ferri (IG @runningeconomist)


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