800mt Training for Combined Eventers

CE 2As a combined events coach you are well aware that most, if not all athletes do not relish running an 800 or a 1500mts at the conclusion of a hard competition that runs over 2 days…

How do you train for it? They are not endurance athletes…

I was speaking very recently with Phil Banning [top UK endurance coach]. I asked him to look at a few sessions I include in my endurance training for combined event athletes. He refined and amended my sessions and came up with these two sessions that might be included into the overall training programme.

NOTE: These sessions are geared towards female combined eventers who run 800ms in between 2.25 and 2.40secs…

Session 1:

3 x [2 x200] @ 38secs with 100mts JOG and a 7 minute recovery between sets…

As the weeks progress you can ask them to jog the 100mts a little faster and decrease the recovery time accordingly.

Session 2:


The 400mts is run in 78secs; the 300mts in 57secs and the 200mts run just below 37secs..

If you have athletes who are faster you can amend the times accordingly.

For example: If a girls is running an 800mts in 2.30 to 2.33 then her target times become 75..53…33 and so on….

As the weeks move on you can play with the times and recoveries so that you obey the principle of training known as progression…

Speak with you soon,


Hill Runs

NewsletterI’ve always included hill runs in my training programmes.

No equipment is needed plus you don’t have to go far from your front door to find a decent hill. I ask my training group to complete 10 runs to 70mts [approx.] once a week. Emphasis is on high knee driving and ‘big arms’..

A slow walk back recovery is enough recovery between reps.

This is a very short video clip of one of my training group doing her hill session close to her home…

Below is a link to a previous blog I published a while ago…[worth a revisit]


Speak with you all soon,


Observation, Analysis and Feedback [Part 2]


This is a topic I’ve discussed with you all before. But it has raised it’s head again during our indoor season in the UK. My group are in the u15/17 and 20 age group so are not that experienced yet in competition procedure and I have had a few problems during the past 4 weeks – especially how to manage yourself during the competition when you are not jumping.

A top competition can last well over an hour. If there are 12 jumpers, then the initial 3 rounds contain 36 jumps – that can take up to 40-45 minutes [depending on the expertise of the officials!]. The top 8 receive another 3 jumps – this an extra 24 jumps which again can take up to 40 minutes.

Throughout this time-period the jumper has to concentrate fully. He/she must be aware of who is jumping what distances. They have to know what is expected of them with regard qualification to the final 3 rounds and the targets that need to achieved during the last 3 rounds.

Weather plays a big part in this ‘between round activity’. If the weather is too cold then maintaining body heat is crucial. The coach/jumper needs to have prepared an active interval time routine between rounds. Remember, the jumper is jumping approximately once every 10 minutes – not a long time but if the weather in inclement it is long enough for the body to react adversely – whether it’s too cold or too hot.

Then we have a well-prepared plan of action for all types of weather. Continue reading

Observation, analysis and feedback

What does the coach see?Observation, analysis and feedback are what all coaches do instinctively when watching athletics. It is essentially the ‘bread and butter’ of coaching.

The more experienced a coach you become, the more you can see. Considering you have such a short timespan to observe a dynamic skill ie: a long jump, a shot putt – then experience will help the coaching cause. The ‘coaching eye’ is something you develop over the years. It does help if you have a total understanding of your event[s] and have many points of technical and bio-mechanical reference.

The trend now is to film, then take the time to look at that film and then offer relevant and constructive feedback.

But in the heat of battle you simply haven’t the time to film and analyse what you’ve filmed and then give advice between rounds of a hotly contested long, high or triple jump.

You have to be completely analytical and depend on what you saw in that instant, then feedback ‘positively and succinctly’ to the athlete.

What do you say between rounds? Are you a help or a hindrance? I’ve observed many coaches talking a ‘load of rubbish’ between rounds All some of them want to do to is to impress the other coaches around them and confuse the athlete with too much feedback…!!

What follows is Part 1 of a personal study of optimal behaviour for jumpers between rounds….

Continue reading

The early stages of skilled learning

JumpHi all,

Happy New Year to you all…

A new year – another indoor season starts – a stepping stone to the 2016 outdoor competitive season. August seems a long way off at this moment, but, as you all know time flies by…..

Very recently I offered some advice to a fellow coach who wanted some help in coaching the younger long jumper. The jumpers in question were aged 12-13 years, and both with decent distances to date.

For those who understand the concepts of skilled development in the early stages of development will have heard of the 3 stages of learning…

The cognitive phase, the associative stage and the autonomous stage. The early phases are the cognitive phase where the skills are introduced, talked about coupled with correct demonstration. This is quickly followed by the associative phase [the practice phase]…

Most athletes remain in the associative phase for large periods of their competitive life. Always practising, always drilling and always training. They are looking for that ‘breakthrough’ that might take them into the autonomous phase where the skill is so finely learned that repetition is guaranteed in major competitions without undue thought and stress.

This was my reply to that coach… Continue reading

It’s that time of year….!

NewsletterLast evening we had our last ‘coach contact’ training session before the Christmas period. As all coaches know, the UK shuts down’ but athletes [especially my training group] have to keep training – except Christmas Day!…….Venues that never close down are hills, beaches, parkland and of course the driveway and rooms in the house. You need to be proactive and creative over the Christmas period….

I gave all the group a training programme to follow for the next 10 days and expect them to train when they can. It is a difficult time of the year, but they must be mindful of the long term goals and objectives. A week after the Christmas period there are a series of very important competitions and championships so training must not be allowed to slip…

I would like to thank all the people who have supported my website and continue to come back and visit. Thanks for your interest and support.

I shall be back after Christmas with new articles, training tips and ideas….

I wish you and all your families a very Happy Christmas and New Year,

Happy New Year


Complex Training [2]

Coaching Junior AthletesThis is a short video showing my training group performing TWO complex pairings. They have only been working on combining resistance exercises with complementary plyometric exercises for two weeks. It’s not perfect yet…!!

But in a very short time they will improve and I can then refine and amend the exercises and play around with loadings and reps…

In time, the medicine ball will be replaced with a barbell and weights but not until they understand the concepts and rationale behind combining TWO different strength regimes.

For more information on Complex Training click on the following links….


Speak with you soon,



Complex Training

Complex Manual Cover PageI’ve written extensively about the virtues of including complex training in the training programme. It’s something I’ve been including in my programmes for many years.

Simply, it’s a combination of resistance exercises and plyometric exercises…

Let me place it into a working, practical example.

Our training group has just completed their first 6 week block of training and are now entering their next 6 week block to take them up to the end of the year. Every Monday we have been doing plyometric work working on 6 exercises with a total of approximately 175 low to medium contacts…

They were:-

  • 4 x dynamic vertical rebounds over 10 SAQ hurdles
  • 10 x step down to dynamic vertical rebound to freeze
  • 10 x step down to rebound to 2nd platform
  • 10 x jump up to platform. …step down to freeze
  • 10 x step down to rebound over two hurdles

NOTE: There were subtle variations in ‘sets and reps’ as the weeks progressed but this was the general structure.

On a Thursday we used medicine balls as our resistance [4kg – 10kg]. We had a 10 exercise routine where we did a combination of lunges, step-ups, overhead squats, paused jump squat, lateral side jumps, double and single legged bounding over 20mts using a plyo strip and more, with the medicine ball as the resistance. The medicine ball inclusion is a pre-cursor to using bars and weights [but not yet]. Some of the group are not that experienced yet.

So, in order to free up some of Monday’s training unit to include more technical and skill development we are now going to re-structure Thursdays session to include a combination of plyometric and resistance exercises. We started last evening [Nov 12th] and worked together to develop a 6 exercise combination of one resistance exercise + a plyometric exercise. Next week we shall include these 6 complex pairings into the programme….

I shall film the results and post it on the website as soon as possible…

Speak with you soon,



Stride to Hang….

CH2Very recently I had a query from a fellow coach asking how would you transition from a stride to hang….

A STRIDE JUMP is a very simple flight movement pattern to learn. The jumper takes off and holds a wide split position in the air for as long as possible. On the descent to the sand the jumper dynamically brings the extended take-off leg to the front to join the free-leg which is being held up with the thigh parallel to the sand. From this position the jumper is able to land effectively….

I call this the SPLIT – PULL….[with the split position held strongly with good body tension throughout].


The Stride Jump

A Stride Jump Take-Off


To transition from this initial wide split is quite simple – but not easy. It does need a lot of coaching. After the free thigh has driven to the parallel, it has to remain in this position until the vertical impulse has reached it’s apex and gravity begins to take a part. The jumper then drops the thigh and allows his non-take-off leg to drop under and slightly behind the hips thus creating a long thin shape in the air. This long shape with the arms and legs as far from the centre of mass as is possible creates a moment of inertia. This has the effect of slowing down unwanted rotation. The longer and thinner this shape at the flight apex is the better.


Attaining that long, thin shape at the apex


This does take time and the timing of the ‘thigh drop down’ is crucial as is the timing of the arms. You could use a 10cm flat, take-off platform to give some extra flight time in order to practice the movement pattern. I get youngsters to land in the sand in a low squat. It’s not a landing drill but a shaping drill [see photo above]…

What you are now coaching is a STRIDE – HANG which I favour. It ensures that the take-off is dynamic, and the jumper has placed himself into a wide split position at take-off thus maximising vertical lift. From then on the timing of attaining that long thin shape is crucial but once timed correctly becomes very effective…

Speak with you soon,


Interview with Willie Banks [3]

WILLIE BANKS 2This is the 3rd and last of a series of questions I asked Willie Banks – former USA Triple Jumper [if you scroll down you’ll find parts 1 and 2]


Q8: What were your strengths within the phases of the whole jump – including the runway?

Anyone who has studied the triple jump and reviewed my jumps will tell you that the best part of my jump was the “jump phase”. I used to agree until I started coaching high school kids. I realized that I was able to get an enormous jump phase (close to 6 meters) because of my takeoff. So, for me the best part of my jump is the takeoff. Continue reading