RUNNING >> The EPS Specialized Junior Run Programme

The EPS Specialized Junior Run Programme

The EPS Specialized Junior Run Programme

Running is the basis of so many sports it would be impossible to list them all. It is also part of the conditioning process for many athletes participating in sports that involve no running at all, ie, swimming, road cycling, mountain bike riding, cross country skiing, golf and many more. In fact even chess players run or jog to improve their fitness levels.

Note: While the topic addressed is running it is significant to triathlon, cycling and swimming. Triathlon is obvious but running is used to enhance cycling (see Greg LeMond and Chris Boardman) and swimming (see Janette Evans) programs as well.

Running in sport therefore falls into a number of categories. They are:
  1. General fitness and “sedentary type’ sports, ie, golf, chess, etc, that require modest levels of general aerobic fitness, perhaps in combination with weight lose.
  2. Active sports that do not involve running but which running has been shown to benefit, ie, swimming, cycling, etc, that require higher levels of aerobic fitness.
  3. Active sports involving running, eg, soccer, hockey, tennis, squash, etc, requiring high levels of general aerobic fitness, relatively high aerobic threshold capabilities and high levels of explosive, short duration speed.
  4. Multi sports involving running, ie, triathlon, duathlon, pentathlon, decathlon, heptathlon, XTerra and other extreme sports, requiring very high aerobic and anaerobic capabilities as well as as much speed as possible.
  5. Running in all its forms, eg, sprinting, middle distance and long distance, requires an optimum mix of endurance, stamina and speed according to the event however in middle and long distance running extremely high levels of endurance, stamina and speed are needed if the athletes ambition is to reach world class.

When we are approached by a parent to assist their child with running, the first thing we need to know is the age of the child and which type of running assistance is required. In all cases some time will have to be spent on both breathing and running technique. This will vary for a small amount of time in the case of Type 1 to a significant amount in the case of Type 4 and 5.

Failure to focus on breathing technique will have the greatest impact on long continuous running – regardless of whether that running is just for general fitness as in Type 1 or for middle and long distance running as in Types 4 and 5. Failure to focus on technique will expose those people with less than perfect technique to the possibility of injury – and the more the person is required to run as part of their sport or activity the greater the potential for injury.

With all this in mind EPS will apply the following priorities.
  1. The programme will start with slow jogging and breathing techniques will be introduced.
  2. Once the athletes muscles, tendons and ligaments have been conditioned by 2 to 3 weeks of easy jogging some basic technique will be introduced. During this stage the athlete should have the ability to adjust their breathing to any stride pattern requested, ie, 2 stride to 10 stride. (see notes)
  3. As the volume of running increases more advanced technique work will be added and some short rhythm runs, ie, 80-90% of maximum speed, over 50m to 100m will be introduced to check technique. Breathing technique will continue to be emphasized strongly.
  4. With the volume of running continuing to increase* the rhythm runs will change to tempo runs, ie, 90-95% of their maximum speed, over 60m to 120m. Running technique will now be moving from the learning phase to the practice phase. Breathing technique will continue to be emphasized strongly.
    *Every event has an optimal volume after which no more increase is needed.

At this point the volume of running will only continue to increase for a few Type 3’s, the multi sport athletes and the middle and long distance runners. Breathing will continue to be emphasized. Speed work will now move to full sprints over 10m to 30m and to sprint intervals over 60m to 100m, ie, 60m of 20m sprint, 20m float, 20m sprint. Technique practice will continue as there will still be a long way to go before the movements have become part of the athlete’s unconscious motor pattern.

Once at this point an individual programme will be developed to suit the athlete’s requirements in their chosen sport or activity.

For more information parents are strongly encouraged to visit, open the <Library> and select <Run> and read:

1. Basic Movements in Running
2. Ground Contact in Running
3. Run Techniques: Getting the Most from Your Training
4. The Benson ‘Beginning Running’ Method
5. The Long Run
6. Run Speed and Drills
7. Junior Athletes – Plan to Perform as Senior Athletes

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