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Paul Vandersteen – Neuqua Valley (IL)
Paul Vandersteen is the boys head cross country coach and boys track distance coach at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois. Coach Vandersteen’s teams have placed in the top ten in the Illinois State Meet the last eleven years, placing in the top 4 all but two of those years. His teams have won the State title three times, with his 2007 team winning the Nike Team National Championship. His 2016 team placed 5th at NXN. The Wildcats have competed in five Nike Cross Nationals meets. He coached current Nike runner, Chris Derrick, who was part of the 2007 team that won the national title. Coach Vandersteen recently started coaching track and field, with his
3200m relay winning the State title in 2016. Coach Vandersteen has recently been inducted into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coach’s Hall of Fame.
Active warm up that includes leg swings, lunges, butt kicks, high knees, etc.
2 mile easy run followed by a couple strides
Spivey Workout: 30-35 minutes, alternating 100, 200, 300, 400, or 600 m reps of their choice with full recovery between.
I call this the Spivey Workout. After once talking to Olympian Jim Spivey about how he prepared for his best 1500 m on the track, he talked about doing faster running of his choice of distance while also ‘feeling fresh’ and ‘in tune with his body’. Therefore, I decided I wanted the athletes to ‘own the workout’ to replicate this as much as possible. I put guys in small groups (no more than four) of equal speed ability. I tell my athletes they must jog for recovery of at least 3 minutes if they choose to do a 400 or 600. Other distances require at least 2 minutes of recovery. I require them to do at least one 400 and one 600 during the workout, otherwise, they get to choose the distances and sequences they run. The pace is limited to one second per 400 m faster than mile race pace, no faster. It is important that guys are not matched by their best 3200 m time, for this criteria might include a runner that is more slow twitch and he will be forced to run too fast to keep up with stronger, faster runners. It is best to form the groups based on their best 800 or mile.
I do this workout fairly frequently in the track season, for it allows everyone from 3200 m runners to 800 m runners to do the same type of workout to match their needs. We will also do this during the cross country season as a rep workout. In the fall, I ask they do this on the grass, while using their watches to monitor distances and times. The goal of the workout is to provide some mechanical/neuromuscular work without a lot of anaerobic stress. It is a workout that can be followed by another moderate quality workout the next day that puts emphasis on the aerobic system. The third day following this sequence is definitely a recovery day.
2 mile cool down followed by some plyometric exercises such as burpees, lunges, frog hops, step-ups, etc.