Why don't high school runners run faster?

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Bret Jense » Tue, 22 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
> This of course begs the question you indeed ask: "Why are they slower?"
> I wish I knew, but I believe the answer is a combination of the
> following:  (I'm mostly serious here.)

> * The end of the cold war

        Uh... what?

Quote:
> * The death of Steve Prefontaine
> * Video games and VCRs

        O.K.

Quote:
> * Kip Keino and Abebe Bikila
> * The New York marathon
> * Running magazines

        Why?

        I'll add:

* Introduction of soccer, softball
* More kids taking jobs
* No P.E. in middle school
* Decreased membership (as much as I dislike what they do with kids) in
        track clubs
* Changing academic expectations

        Let me clarify this one.  My high school coach told me that when
he and many of the top-10 list runners at our school were attending
Sprague, students took P.E. all four years.  He and the other guys on the
team would gerrymander their schedules so they all had it the same
period in the morning, and the P.E. teachers were O.K. with them checking
in, then going on a run.  That wouldn't be possible now.

        HOWEVER... there are some notable exceptions to this pattern.  
Meade High School in Spokane still turns out track teams which could do
quite well against any team from the 70s.  As recently as 1993 Brad
Hauser, of Kingwood, Texas (now at Stanford University) posted what I
believe is the fastest 3200 in the U.S. by a 15-year old (9:08) and by a
sophomore (9:01.7).

        I'll also remind you that Brian Abshire (made '88 Olympic team in
steeple, 8:16 if I'm not mistaken) had a HS 3200 PR of about 9:24, and
Steve Scott's best mile of his high school years was 4:16.  I don't think
it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if the heavy
training is postponed until college.

                                                                - Bret Jensen

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Lee Nicho » Tue, 22 Apr 1997 04:00:00

I've definitely noticed a falling off of times here in Texas; in fact, it
seems to have started the year after I graduated.

I ran 4:27/9:52 and was only ranked 6th among Class 3A (medium-sized
schools) distance runners my senior year (1986).  The very next year, I
could have easily won state -- the winning time was 4:31.  This year, I
think only a couple of runners have cracked 4:30 in 3A.

In overall competition, I don't think Texas has since had anybody as good
as Tim Gargiulo (1985) and Ruben Reina (1986), both of whom went on to run
the 5,000 at the Olympic trials last year. They both cracked 9:00 in high
school.

Lee Nichols
Austin, Texas

--

eschew obfuscation

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by psychod.. » Wed, 23 Apr 1997 04:00:00

maturity.

not the physical but mental
it takes longer for kids to grow up even if they try to grow up faster
than others (parents) may want them to.? i know from my own experience
that if i wer as mature in high school as i am now i would have learned
a lot more from my coach and would have lived up more to my potential.

psycho dave

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Jamie Brinkoete » Wed, 23 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> I've definitely noticed a falling off of times here in Texas; in fact, it
> seems to have started the year after I graduated.

> I ran 4:27/9:52 and was only ranked 6th among Class 3A (medium-sized
> schools) distance runners my senior year (1986).  The very next year, I
> could have easily won state -- the winning time was 4:31.  This year, I
> think only a couple of runners have cracked 4:30 in 3A.

> In overall competition, I don't think Texas has since had anybody as good
> as Tim Gargiulo (1985) and Ruben Reina (1986), both of whom went on to run
> the 5,000 at the Olympic trials last year. They both cracked 9:00 in high
> school.

> Lee Nichols
> Austin, Texas

> --

> eschew obfuscationLee,

I don't know about what kind of coaching you had in your 3A school.  It
seems to me that very few 3As have anybody who knows squat about track.
 Our "track" coaches are off-season from football and have been for the
last several years.  I only know of a few schools that have real track
coaches, and their athletes traditionally do very well.  On the boy's
side, Tatum (in our region) had a couple of back-to-back state
championship years I think, mostly with sprinters.  The Daingerfield
girls (also in our region) have always been great.  I don't know what
has happened with the distance runners though.  I haven't seen anything
below 4:30 in 3A for the last four years.
Jamie Brinkoeter
White Oak, Texas
 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by pkfre.. » Wed, 23 Apr 1997 04:00:00

: > This of course begs the question you indeed ask: "Why are they slower?"
: > I wish I knew, but I believe the answer is a combination of the
: > following:  (I'm mostly serious here.)
: >
: > * The end of the cold war

:       Uh... what?

The American government and media sold the American public on the idea
that our way of life was at stake if we did not stop the communist
attempt to take over the world.  Athletics (i.e. track and field) is the
cornerstone of the Olympics, which became a place to show that "our
system is better than your system".  Thus, in the 60s and 70s and even
into the 80's, the public placed a high value on doing well and
defeating the Soviets.  US-Soviet dual meets would literally draw
100,000 spectators.  As late as the mid 70's, one of my high school
teammates ran in a US-USSR track meet that filled the Astrodome.

As the USSR declined, so did the perceived threat of their domination,
and so did the need to defeat them in all ways.  I've yet to meet anyone
who is concerned about the Kenyans trying to foist their way of life on
us, and believing that their winning Boston every year is the first
step.

: > * The New York marathon
: > * Running magazines

:       Why?

A couple of decades ago, running was much the same as the major sports
(e.g. baseball) are today.  There was a "major leagues" (college and
national class runners), but once you hit a certain age you stopped
participating and became a spectator.  In high school there was more of
a focus on trying to make it to the big leagues, and it carried a
certain amount of prestige.

With the advent of the popularization of running, winning or making it
big became much less of an issue.  The focus of the sport switched to
participating, or just finishing.  Phrases like "Run for fun" and
"everyone is a winner" became more popular.  While in the grand scheme
of things this may be a Good Thing, it makes it harder to get a lot kids
to bust their butts in workouts.

The running magazines are typically filled with tripe and with a focus
on second order effects.  _Running Times_ recently had an article that
was an exception.  There was no commentary, just a set of questions
asked of about 6 or 7 elite runners.  The results were very interesting.
They didn't watch what they ate, they didn't stretch, they didn't use
heart rate monitors, they didn't do a lot of fluffy types of things that
the running rags typically promote.  There *was* something that they all
did: run a lot of miles, and run hard workouts, usually 3 a week.

:       I'll add:

: * Introduction of soccer, softball
: * More kids taking jobs
: * No P.E. in middle school
: * Decreased membership (as much as I dislike what they do with kids) in
:       track clubs
: * Changing academic expectations

:       Let me clarify this one.  My high school coach told me that when
: he and many of the top-10 list runners at our school were attending
: Sprague, students took P.E. all four years.  He and the other guys on the
: team would gerrymander their schedules so they all had it the same
: period in the morning, and the P.E. teachers were O.K. with them checking
: in, then going on a run.  That wouldn't be possible now.

Agreed, the atmosphere is very different now for organized sports.  I
don't knwo how young your coach is, but from 8th grade to 12th grade
when I attended high school, I believe P.E. was mandatory, and all the
athletes had P.E. as their last period of the day so that they could
continue workouts after school.  I had assumed this was still the
working model.

:       HOWEVER... there are some notable exceptions to this pattern.<snip>

There will always be the top kids who are motivated to do their best and
who will excel.  The discrepencies between the fastest runners today and
20 years ago are not as great as the differences between the "near
elites" and the rest.  I was a pretty decent high school runner: 4:35 in
the mile and 9:42 in the two mile.  My senior year, I was our number
five miler and our number four two miler.  We had a very good team, but
not an exceptional one.  The depth is what was different then.

:       I'll also remind you that Brian Abshire (made '88 Olympic team in
: steeple, 8:16 if I'm not mistaken) had a HS 3200 PR of about 9:24, and
: Steve Scott's best mile of his high school years was 4:16.  I don't think
: it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if the heavy
: training is postponed until college.

Scott concentrated on the 880 in high school and didn't really move up
until he hit college.  I believe he was a contender for the California
state 880 championship.  And 4:16 is nothing to sneeze at for a high
schooler.  I'd bet that if your data is correct, Abshire would still
have been a state meet level qualifier.

I agree that the rate of improvement varies both during and after high
school, and achieving superstardom at an early age is no guarantee of
later success.  But in Scott's day, there were a whole lot more 4:16
milers from which someone like him could emerge.  The intensity and the
level of competition was much higher, and a 4:16 miler knew he would
have to work his ***off to be successful later on.

-pfrench

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by McQuee » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00

        I think you're looking at this wrong.  Of course states ge through high
and low points, but if you look at times, without regard to borders, I
think you will see that times are as good if not better than when you ran.

        I run in California, where times certainly have not fallen off.  We have
steadily decreasing times in both distance and sprint races.  Our State
Championship is amazingly fast (we only have one, not one for every
division.  The runners from the poorest small school are expected to run
against runners from the richest huge school).  It has become faster than
when you ran.  Your 9:52 wouldn't have gotten you from our section meet to
the State Championship, and your 4:27 wouldn't have gotten you out of some
southern Ca league meets.
        I'm sure Texas times will start dropping again, it's just a low point in
the cycle.



Quote:
> I've definitely noticed a falling off of times here in Texas; in fact, it
> seems to have started the year after I graduated.

> I ran 4:27/9:52 and was only ranked 6th among Class 3A (medium-sized
> schools) distance runners my senior year (1986).  The very next year, I
> could have easily won state -- the winning time was 4:31.  This year, I
> think only a couple of runners have cracked 4:30 in 3A.

> In overall competition, I don't think Texas has since had anybody as good
> as Tim Gargiulo (1985) and Ruben Reina (1986), both of whom went on to
run
> the 5,000 at the Olympic trials last year. They both cracked 9:00 in high
> school.

> Lee Nichols
> Austin, Texas

> --

> eschew obfuscation

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Joe Lanzalot » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
Nichols) writes:

>I've definitely noticed a falling off of times here in Texas; in fact, it
>seems to have started the year after I graduated.

>I ran 4:27/9:52 and was only ranked 6th among Class 3A (medium-sized
>schools) distance runners my senior year (1986).  The very next year, I
>could have easily won state -- the winning time was 4:31.  This year, I
>think only a couple of runners have cracked 4:30 in 3A.

>In overall competition, I don't think Texas has since had anybody as good
>as Tim Gargiulo (1985) and Ruben Reina (1986), both of whom went on to run
>the 5,000 at the Olympic trials last year. They both cracked 9:00 in high
>school.

>Lee Nichols
>Austin, Texas

>--

>eschew obfuscation

True, but isn't it also true that sprint times (400 and under) remain
among the fastest in the country and comparable to any prior period?

Joe

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Jim McNamar » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00

I agree that times have slowed over the years.  To give you an example, in
1983 (my junior year in HS), the NY metro area had Mike Stahr (Carmel HS;
4:05 mile), John Carlotti (Bernardsville, NJ HS; ~4:07 mile), Ed Kehoe (JFK
HS and teamate; 4:11 Mile) John Trautmann was a budding frosh from the area
who had big time potential and a few others were running below 4:20.  I
read the papers now and am amazed at the times and how they compare to back
when.  Maybe it's cyclical, but I would like to see a track revival in this
country.  I doubt we'll see the competition like Stahr vs. Carlotti in the
Melrose games again, but it would be nice.
 Lee Nichols wrote in article ...

Quote:

>I've definitely noticed a falling off of times here in Texas; in fact, it
>seems to have started the year after I graduated.

>I ran 4:27/9:52 and was only ranked 6th among Class 3A (medium-sized
>schools) distance runners my senior year (1986).  The very next year, I
>could have easily won state -- the winning time was 4:31.  This year, I
>think only a couple of runners have cracked 4:30 in 3A.

>In overall competition, I don't think Texas has since had anybody as good
>as Tim Gargiulo (1985) and Ruben Reina (1986), both of whom went on to
run
>the 5,000 at the Olympic trials last year. They both cracked 9:00 in high
>school.

>Lee Nichols
>Austin, Texas

>--

>eschew obfuscation

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Lee Nicho » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> Lee,
> I don't know about what kind of coaching you had in your 3A school.  It
> seems to me that very few 3As have anybody who knows squat about track.
>  Our "track" coaches are off-season from football and have been for the
> last several years.  I only know of a few schools that have real track
> coaches, and their athletes traditionally do very well.
> Jamie Brinkoeter
> White Oak, Texas

I suffered the football-coach-on-the-offseason problem for many years;
thankfully, I got a real track coach my senior year and got the school
record that I had sought for so long (and knocked 14 seconds off my pr).
Actually, he was hired to our school because he was a great defensive
coordinator, but he took track very seriously. (His name is Jimmy
Simmonds, by the way, if anybody out there knows him; I think he lives in
Giddings or New Braunfels now.)  He was a pleasure to work with.  Not
surprisingly, we won district with him.

Lee Nichols
Austin, Texas (graduate of Rockdale, Texas)

--
Listen to "Fais Do-Do," Cajun and zydeco music every Tuesday, 10-11am, on KOOP (91.7FM) in Austin, Texas

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by D. Huf » Sun, 27 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

>I don't think it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if
>the heavy training is postponed until college.

Perhaps not such a bad thing (fewer injuries) and quite possibly
beneficial (long term health) but --- come on --- do the Kenyans
postpone THEIR heavy training?

Doug Huff
Cedar Falls, Iowa

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Bret Jense » Mon, 28 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
> >I don't think it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if
> >the heavy training is postponed until college.

> Perhaps not such a bad thing (fewer injuries) and quite possibly
> beneficial (long term health) but --- come on --- do the Kenyans
> postpone THEIR heavy training?

        No, they don't, not in general.  But let me ask you, do you think Gerry
Lindgren is happy with his career?  Or Jim Ryun?  How about the kids who
the track club in my very own home town has chewed up and spat out?  We
don't know how many Kenyan kids don't make it for every Daniel Komen or
Ishmael Kirui or Lazarus... not even going to try and spell his
surname from memory... who makes it big.  I don't have any way of knowing
if Kenyan kids come down with chondromalacia, tendinitis, ITB friction,
etc. (do you?)  On one hand I doubt it's as prevalent, since there are
fewer hard surfaces to run on, but soft surfaces can only protect you so
much.
        Perhaps there's a mental side at work.  People are starting to
use words like psychosematic in reference to a few of my injured friends,
and soon they'll say the same about me, I guess.  Maybe the Kenyans just
don't believe in injury.  But neither did I until I got hurt.

        Although some ***aged Kenyans can run with the elites, I still
don't think that's any reason to copy them.  For 99% of all high school
runners trying to train that hard will result in injury and/or
sub-optimal performances.  I would rather see a program conservative
enough to gaurantee that a 14-year old in the U.S. will have a good
chance of running his or her best times at age 22.  We had two kids in my
HS league run 8:46 and 8:45 for 3000 meters as freshmen.  Both were
conspicuously sidelined with shin splints, various knee problems, and a
total lack of enthusiasm for running by their senior years.

                                                                - Bret Jensen

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Sam Calla » Mon, 28 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 20:50:19 -0500

> Newsgroups: rec.running
> Subject: Re: Why don't high school runners run faster?


> >I don't think it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if
> >the heavy training is postponed until college.

> Perhaps not such a bad thing (fewer injuries) and quite possibly
> beneficial (long term health) but --- come on --- do the Kenyans
> postpone THEIR heavy training?

> Doug Huff
> Cedar Falls, Iowa

No but how long do they last?  Where are the "old" Kenyans?
 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by Trione » Tue, 29 Apr 1997 04:00:00

I think that the real issue here is not how fast HS runners are running
now, but how do top junior runners rank at the world level and then how do
these idividuals mature and develop as they reach the senior ranks. There
will be a natural cycle sometimes the talent is deep and the times fast
other times fields will be thinner and times nor so fast. I think that is
interesting to note that 20 years ago the US had some of the top junior
distance runners in the world in the likes of Eric Hulst, Thom Hunt, Rudy
Chapa and Alberto Salazar. In fact, I recall that Hulst and Hunt won the
Junior IAAF X-Country Championships in their time. How well have American
Juniors done recently in this prestigious race?

Steve Fleck

 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by John B. Ree » Sat, 03 May 1997 04:00:00

I trained with Rudy Chapa his senior in high school.  We were coached by
the same coach, Dan Candiano.  What I remember was how hard we all
trained back then.  We ran twice a day.  An easy run in the park in the
morning (maybe 3-4 miles at 6-7 minute pace, which was easy for us to
do).  We'd then run again after school.  It was not unheard of to go out
for a 10 miler once a week (Wednesday, if I remember correctly).  We'd
get together informally on weekends and run together as well.  We'd
never think of missing a day.  We'd rack up hundreds of miles a season
and never really stopped,  even in the summer.  The last three years of
high school, the longest break I took from running was a week or two
when I severely sprained an ankle my senior year.

During Rudy Chapa's senior year, he was trying to qualify for the
Olympic trials (in the 10K).  Candiano was giving us workouts that would
meet the needed goal of preparing Rudy for this.  Of course, I thought
this training was normal as I knew no other routine.  We'd run 10 or 12
by 440 with 220 breaks between.  For Rudy, at least, these were run in
the neighborhood of 65 and under.  We'd all keep under 70.  This yielded
3 sub 9:00 (2 miles) runners for Candiano and a bunch more under 9:20 (I
being among them, no doubt pulled along by trying to hang with the likes
of these guys).

What are kids doing these days?  I have a feeling we trained a lot
harder than high school runners do these days.  Of course, this is
probably my age as well, the "We used to train in hip deep snow"
syndrome!  :-)  :-)

I look back and am glad I had to chance to run with him.  He's a great
guy (although it's been years since I've seen him).  For an interesting
article on Rudy Chapa, and his two sub 9:00 teammates, Carey Pinkowski
and Tim Keough see:

http://www.calunet.com/archives/times/970420/pinkowski-chapafeat..var...


Quote:
> I think that the real issue here is not how fast HS runners are running
> now, but how do top junior runners rank at the world level and then how do
> these idividuals mature and develop as they reach the senior ranks. There
> will be a natural cycle sometimes the talent is deep and the times fast
> other times fields will be thinner and times nor so fast. I think that is
> interesting to note that 20 years ago the US had some of the top junior
> distance runners in the world in the likes of Eric Hulst, Thom Hunt, Rudy
> Chapa and Alberto Salazar. In fact, I recall that Hulst and Hunt won the
> Junior IAAF X-Country Championships in their time. How well have American
> Juniors done recently in this prestigious race?

> Steve Fleck


From: John B. Rees

http://www.best.com/~jrees/
 
 
 

Why don't high school runners run faster?

Post by D. Huf » Sun, 04 May 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> > >I don't think it's such a bad thing (and quite possibly beneficial) if
> > >the heavy training is postponed until college.


> > Perhaps not such a bad thing (fewer injuries) and quite possibly
> > beneficial (long term health) but --- come on --- do the Kenyans
> > postpone THEIR heavy training?



  > No but how long do they last?  Where are the "old" Kenyans?

I don't know how long they last and I can only speculate about where the
old Kenyans are. Those are interesting questions but they don't address
the original question, "Why don't high school runners run faster?"

My point was that one reason why some high school runners in the 60s ran
so much faster than high school runners today is that they trained more
like the Kenyans: very hard.

As several people in this group have pointed out, hard training is not
necessarily a "good" thing for most young runners. They tend to burn out
easily, suffer injuries, and get turned off from the sport.

Today's milder, more sensible approach to running will probably keep kids
running longer, healthier and happier. It's wonderful that some young
people --- like the 25-year-old daughter of a friend of mine --- feel
proud of their 6-hour marathon times.  They're healthy, injury-free, and
they feel good about themselves.  Who can argue that this is not a good
thing?

But --- and this is my point --- double workouts, fast intervals three
times a week, and long runs close to race pace can produce amazing results
for those _few_ who are mentally and physically designed to endure this
kind of training.

Back in the 60s --- when they didn't know any better --- a lot of high
school kids were doing some insanely intense workouts, and some of those
crazy kids ended up running pretty fast...

Doug Huff
Cedar Falls, Iowa