A rant you won’t possibly read

This comment was left under a post about the state of American distance running at the old Refuge, something that will continue to happen what with the popularity of human comment spam. It would be unreadable even without the all caps.

I NEED TO GET IN ON THIS ISSUE SINCE I SHARE THE SAME CONCERNS. THE USA
HAS THE LARGEST GENE POOL & THIS CLEARLY SHOWS IN SPRINTING EVENTS,
EVEN THOUGH THE REST OF THE WORLD IS CATCHING UP. WE SHOULD STILL WIN
HALF OF THOSE AVAILABLE MEDALS. AMERICAN DISTANCE RUNNING TIMES HAVE
COME BUT AS POINTED OUT ABOVE IT IS TRUE–AS LONG AS COACHES KEEP
RECRUITING FOREIGN ATHLETES, CHANCES ARE MOST OF THOSE WILL RETURN TO
COMPETE FOR THEIR HOME COUNTRY. THEREFORE THAT FAULT CLEARLY LIES WITH
THE GLORY-SEEKING AMERICAN COACHES. NEXT, OUR CULTURAL SPORTS MEDIA
WILL STILL FAVOR OUR 4 TEAM SPORTS. ITS ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT. AFTER THAT
FACTOR I SEE A PROBLEM WITH ACCESSIBILITY TO THE SPORT BY TODAY’S YOUTH
BASICALLY BECAUSE RUNNING HAS BECOME AN EXPENSIVE SPORT TO OUTFIT &
PARENTS JUST DON’T HAVE THE MINDSET TO BUY THEIR KID SEVERAL PAIRS OF
SHOES & RUNNING APPAREL. THERE IS NO REASON FOR A RUNNING SHOE TO COST
$200 & THAT IS WHERE NIKE IS HEADED SO THAT IS A GREED PROBLEM. THE
MORE THEY APPROACH $200, THE LESS YOUTH ARE GOING TO SHOW UP IN THE
FUTURE. NIKE COULD DO AMERICAN TRACK & FIELD A GREAT FAVOR BY MAKING
SHOES FINANCIALLY ACCESSIBLE GIVEN THAT THEY ARE ALL MADE IN CHINA FOR
PEANUTS. THE NEXT OBSTACLE I SEE IS ALWAYS THE TIMING OF OLYMPIC
TRIALS. THE USATF WILL NEVER WAKE UP. THE TRIALS ARE TOO CLOSE TO THE
OLYMPICS. THEY, THE GURUS OF THE SPORT, CAN’T SEEM TO PEAK THESE
DISTANCE RUNNERS CORRECTLY AS MOST OF THEM ARE SPENT JUST GETTING IN.
HOW ABOUT WE MAKE THE TRIALS 3 MONTHS OUT. NEXT THING IS ADDRESSING THE
YOUTH LEVEL. OK WE KNOW ABOUT HERSHEY. BUT WHAT ABOUT LITTLE LEAGURE
XC/T&F MEETS? I MEAN WE HAVE YOUTH BASEBALL, FOOTBALL, SOCCER. YMCAs
HAVE THEIR SWIM CLUBS, BUT YOUTH TOWN RUNNING IS RELATIVELY UNCOMMON
EXCEPT IN SAY A FEW PLACES. NEXT LET ME ADDRESS THE BURNOUT FACTOR. IT
SEEMS THAT AMERICANS OVERRACE ON THE ROADS & IN EUROPE BECAUSE OF ALL
THESE MONEY-DRAWING GRAND PRIX CIRCUITS. THE LURE IS FOR MONEY & THAT
DOES NOT NECESSARILY TRANSLATE INTO OLYMPIC GOLD. FROM THERE WE HAVE
OVERTRAINING FROM TOO MANY MILES & TOO MUCH SPEEDWORK. THAT LEADS TO
BURNOUT OR VERY FRUSTRATING INJURIES. SHOULD THE GOAL NOT BE TO HAVE AN
ATHLETE ADAPT A LIFELONG ROUTINE OF FITNESS. THERE IS NOTHING FUN ABOUT
LOOKING TO RUN 70 MILES A WEEK IN A NEW ENGLAND SUMMER. WHEN YOUR LEGS
ARE TIRED, IT BECOMES VERY TAXING & MENTALLY TRYING TO FINISH THOSE 10.
MOST KIDS TODAY JUST DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF DESIRE. BACK IN MY HIGH
SCHOOL DAYS, I WAS THE EXCEPTION TO THE THAT RULE, BUT NOW YOU COULD
NOT PAY ME TO LOOK FORWARD TO 10 EVERY DAY. IT’S NOT ONLY PHYSICALLY
DRAINING, IT IS MONOTONOUS, & IT IS NOT FUN WHEN YOUR LEGS FEEL LIKE
CEMENT. BUT IS EASIER TO GEAR ONESELF UP FOR SAY A 10K RUN. INCIDENTLY,
EVEN THOUGH SHOEWEAR HAS GOTTEN IMMENSELY BETTER, TOO MANY MILES
INEVITABLY LEAD TO INJURY & THERE IS NOTHING MORE FRUSTRATING THAN
WAITING FOR TISSUE TO HEAL BECAUSE YOU LOSE SOME OF YOUR HARD-EARNED
FITNESS. MUCH IS NOW BEING SAID ABOUT EMPHASIS ON MORE QUALITY RUNS-GET
THE ATHLETE TO RUN LESS MILEAGE WITH MORE EFFORT. AS LONG AS ONE CAN
TRACK DISTANCE RUN, RECOVERY INTERVAL, PACE, & # OF REPS CAREFULLY THIS
MAY HAVE TO BE THE APPROACH. BUT STILL LOTS OF SPEEDWORK LEADS TO
CHOPPED UP ACHILLES & STALENESS. AND TOO, TO BE REALLY COMFORTABLE AT
SPEEDWORK, YOU REALLY MUST HAVE FAST-TWITCH FIBER TO RUN THE REPS. I
WAS A 5:20 MILER & MY TRACK TRAINING CENERED ON DIVIDING THE RACE UP
INTO QUARTERS TO BE RUN AROUND 80 SEC OR SO. NORMALLY WHEN I HAD MY
SPEEDWORK BASE SET, I WOULD TOUCH OFF THE MILE IN 79 SEC. WHAT IS
MEANINGFUL ABOUT THAT IS MY BEST ALL-OUT QUARTER WAS AT BEST A 68. THAT
SHOWS YOU I AM NOT TOO FAR OFF MY ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD. NOW COMPARE THAT
WITH A MILER WHO HAS A GOOD AMOUNT OF FAST-TWITCH FIBER, EVEN SAY A
QUARTER MILER MOVING UP. IF A HIGH SCHOOL GIRL CAN RUN A 59 SEC.
QUARTER, THEN RACING 20 SEC. OVER THAT MUST FEEL PRETTY DARN
COMFORTABLE. THAT SETS UP HER 5:20 AS A MODERATE EFFORT WALK IN THE
PARK. OF COURSE IF WE COULD GET HER THEN TO TRAIN FOR SAY 72 SEC/400,
WE COULD SET HER UP FOR 4:48. I THINK PART OF THE EFFORT TO AT LEAST
MAKE US MORE COMPETITIVE–I.E. GET ATHLETES INTO THE FINAL–HAS TO BE A
MODIFICATION OF SOMETHING. SEEMS TO ME COLLEGIATE XC/T&F HAS BECOME TOO
PROFESSIONAL. ITS NO LONGER ABOUT FUN. ITS A FULLTIME JOB. EVEN I, A
FORMER STATE CHAMPION WOULD NOT MAKE TRAVELING SQUAD. COLLEGIATE TRACK
HAS BECOME MORE ABOUT WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS THAN DEVELOPING SKILL
LEVELS. MOST OF THESE COLLEGIATE COACHES I DON’T THINK COULD EVER BE
SUITED TO THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL OR YOUTH LEVEL. THEY HAVE MADE TRACK
INTO AN ALL-WORK, NO FUN ROUTINE. FINAL REMARK. XC WAS MY FAVORITE
SPECIALTY & THE ONE I WAS MOST GOOD AT. BUT WHEN I COACHED I COULD
NEVER RECOMMEND ANY OF MY DISTANCE RUNNERS CONSIDER XC IN COLLEGE. WHY?
ITS THE RACING DISTANCES DUMMY? A 10K XC RACE HAS NO PLACE THERE. DON’T
FORGET THESE ARE STILL YOUNG ADULTS. DON’T FORGET THEY HAVE A FULL
COURSE LOAD & SUCH TAXING WORKOUTS TO MAKE THAT 10K SEEM POSSIBLE
COMPETES FOR THE TIME ALLOCATED TO SLEEP & REST. A 10K MAKES A GOOD
ROAD RACE BUT XC REALLY SHOULD JUST BE A NON-BORING REASONABLE
“DISTANCE RACE” HOPEFULLY OVER SOME SOFT SURFACES OR IN A PARK. A 10K
RACE IS NOT GOING TO ATTRACT THE PUBLIC, NOR IS IT GOING TO ENERGIZE
KIDS. A 10K TAKES EXORBITANT PREPARATION & THE USTFA SHOULD KNOW THAT.
CONSIDER THAT TO RUN A COMPETITIVE 5K RACE ON THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL AT
A RESPECTABLE TIME & TO BE REASONABLY COMFORTABLE, ONE HAS TO TRAIN 3X
THAT DISTANCE. NOW PUT THE 10K UP FRONT & GUESS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING
AT. WHEN YOU TOTAL UP THAT MILEAGE, THEN IT SHOULD BE NO WONDER THAT
THE COLLEGE GRADUATE WILL NOT WANT TO LOOK AT A RUNNING SHOE AT AGE 30.

KIM LIBERA

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  1. #1 by Kilian Hekhuis on June 11, 2009 - 4:46 am

    Heh, I actually managed to read all of it, although I’m European and know squat about running (getting tired looking at it), I think these are the main points:

    1) USA long distance runners are not winning because USA coaches are greedy and only contract foreign runners (who then go off to run for their home country)
    2) the sports media favour team sports (it’s all about entertainment!)
    3) long distance running is too expensive a sport, since Nike sells their China-made shoes for $200
    4) the olympic trials are too close to the olympics
    5) there are too little youth running clubs
    6) money lures runners into burning out fast, or injuries (caused by overtraining instead of training for life-long fitness), and training is monotonous as well
    7) although running shoes have become much better [I guess these Chinese know how to make their shoes!], running too many miles causes injuries and that sucks
    8) [some blabbering about track times I do not understand]
    9) college running has become too professional, taking out all the fun, making the US lose competitiveness
    10) 10K races are *bad* (5K ftw!)
    11) at age 30, college graduates don’t like looking at running shoes

    Although it’s a bit incoherent at times, and the caps are annoying, it’s really not the worst rant I’ve ever read. The author at least seems to care about the subject :).

  2. #2 by Jim Fiore on June 11, 2009 - 7:56 am

    Wait a minute, the cost of running shoes is prohibitive factor? I take it this person has not looked at the cost of getting into pretty much any other sport. Running has got to be the cheapest sport out there.

    • #3 by Kilian Hekhuis on June 11, 2009 - 8:36 am

      Yeah, I never said she was coherent. Especially since at the start, she states that the US sprinters *are* successful. As if they don’t need shoes…

      • #4 by kemibe on June 11, 2009 - 12:46 pm

        I actually wouldn’t say it was incoherent. It was just so ruinously presented and structured that anyone would be discouraged from reading it (unless challenged!). Were this broken up into paragraphs and the caps stripped away, it would have read fine. For the most part.

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