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We’re very excited that Dr. Jeff Messer has agreed to be our featured coach for August, Season 1. Coach Messer is one of the most accomplished coaches in the country (his Desert Vista girls team is currently ranked number three in the country in the pre-season cross country rankings). He combines his in-depth knowledge of exercise physiology to inform his training plan, yet he’s a very personable coach who cares deeply about his athletes, as illustrated in one of his sayings, “Boys have to run fast to be happy; girls have to be happy to run fast.” Coach Messer coaches in an extremely difficult environment for cross country in Phoenix, AZ, where they practice at 5 am.
A telling statistic is that in his previous coaching position at Xavier College Preparatory School, twelve female athletes average 5:13 for the 1,600m on the same night at the Mt. Sac Relays in California.
This will be a great month of learning for all of us. Here is Coach Messer’s bio.
From 2006-2012, Dr. Messer served as co-head coach for cross-country and assistant coach (distance) for track-&-field at Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix, Arizona. The Xavier College Preparatory cross-country program has earned six consecutive (2007-2012) Arizona high school girls’ state cross-country championships. During the three-year period from 2010-2012, the Xavier College Preparatory cross-country program concluded the associated cross-country seasons ranked 22nd, 8th, and 21st in the United States. During the 2012 Arizona high school track-&-field season, Xavier College Preparatory had twelve (12) student-athletes averaged 5:13 for the 1,600-meter distance.
In February, 2013, Dr. Messer began to serve as head coach for girls’ cross-country and assistant coach (girls’ distance) for track-&-field at Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, Arizona. The Desert Vista High School cross-country program earned the 2013 Arizona high school girls’ state cross-country championship. In late-May 2014, the Desert Vista High School girl’s distance program was ranked by MileSplit US as one of only two programs in the United States with “top ten” groups in each of the 800-m, 1,600-m, and 3,200-m events.
Coach Kedge has shared with us one of his key workouts, a workout that he uses in the track season for his 3,200m runners.
Objective: For kids to “see” what goal 2 mile pace is. I use this workout during the mid-season period of training to develop speed, a sense of pace, and confidence for 3200 meter runners.
Pace set up: Athletic tape and think markers are used to place goal pace marking on the track in lane 1. See calculation table below.
- The workout is usually scheduled in the meat of the season as kids are progressing from mid- competitive season into early peak season. Estimated time period is about 4 – 6 weeks from the State Track Meet.
- Workout is usually done on a Monday or Tuesday of an invitational week (Saturday meet)
- 10 minute warm-up run
- Dynamic flexibility
- Sprint drills (grass or track)
- 2 x 50 m accelerations
10 x :90 seconds for distance track repeats at goal 3200 meter pace with :90 seconds walk back to 400 meter start line. See calculation table below.
- Note: I usually let kids get carried away with the workout and run it on the harder edge of effort instead of completely controlling the pace – I let them “go for it” if they feel good.
- 10 minute jog cool down
- Static stretch
Workout can be modified the following ways:
- to fit a 1600 meter goal pace workout by doing 5 – 6 x 90 seconds at 1600 meter pace by taking 2:30 recovery instead of 1:30 recovery. Our middle school team traditionally does this with marker that range between 7:00 / 1600 m pace down to 5:00 / 1600 m pace.
- to fit a faster or slower runner by simply extending the pace chart – calculation process listed above.
- to fit a 5K or 5K cross-country workout by moving to grass surface, using a wheel or GPS watch to mark distances, and adjusting to 12 x 90 second repeats. Time markers can then reflect 5K XC goal times. Time markers can be posted with cones.