May 26, 2021
EvelChat #14 "US High School Endurance Running": A Chat with John O' Malley
Play • 1 hr 51 min

John O’Malley began coaching cross country & track at Carl Sandburg High School in 2003. His cross country teams have qualified for the Illinois State Meet every year since 2003 - including State champs in 2015 and runner-ups in 2014. He is the only U.S. high school coach with two different Foot Locker national cross country champions - Dylan Jacobs in 2017 and Lukas Verzbicas in 2009 & 2010. His 4 x 800 meter relay teams have been All-State every year since 2012 - including first place finishes in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2017. His 2016 team holds the 4 x 800 Illinois State meet record with a time of 7:37.36.

In this EvelChat John & Derek discuss many issues around the topic of endurance training for high school athletes, including:

  • Objectives and views of coaching at various levels of coaching in the United States
  • Priorities in high school coaching
  • Proper developmental protocols vs. optimal training for success in high school
  • Metabolic vs mechanical / speed approaches in endurance training
  • Volume as a base metric for high school endurance coaches
  • Demands & stresses on the US high school athlete
  • Beginning a grade 9 endurance athlete
  • Polar approaches to training in endurance training
  • Using extended endurance runs
  • Being “fast” vs. being “fit”
  • Balancing being competitive against providing appropriate programming
  • Long term impact of “The Grindfest” vs. prioritizing rest
  • The realities of preparing US distance runners for collegiate competitive demands
  • Culture vs. instruction in the US educational system
  • The realities of child preparation post-COVID
  • The problems with classic stage loaded / metabolic-only approaches in endurance training
  • John’s approach to 800m training
  • 800m training in US high schools
  • Organizing extended runs in training 
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