Thanks for taking the time for the detailed response.
I've got a question about your 20/21yo 800 runner.
I note he hasn't been pushed when young, and is only now starting tempo runs. There is a lot of merit and common sense in bringing along young athletes slowly.
However then you look at Kitum and Amos, 18-19yos who won Olympic medals in the 800 last year. They are presumably training like fully fledged grown-ups, or close to it. Even Mary Cain would be doing a whole lot more than other girls who have just turned 17, and close to what a lot of adults do.
So is there anything wrong with pushing along 18/19yos hard? Why bring them along slowly to peak at 23-28, when they could be winning Olympic medals at 18? We'll see if Amos and Kitum improve (that's assuming Kitum and the other Kenyan who ran 1.44 at World Youths 2 years ago really were under 18).
This is by no means a criticism of how you are approaching this athlete's development. However, I wonder what you have to say about the other school of thought. If you have a talented 15yo, then why not gradually bring in more mileage, tempo runs and other hallmarks of senior training over say an 18-24 month period, so by the time they are 17-18 they are at 85-90% of where an adult should be (training wise)?
To partly answer my own question, there would have to be an element of tailoring, that some things work better for some than others. For example, I might not know that you've tried some of this before and he's broken down, so you've been forced into a softly softly approach.
I also have a question about your last line, about an 800 specialist having to be good at both 400 and 1500. Obviously there are different types of 800 runners, 8/15 types, 4/8 types, and 8 specialists. Do you think Rudisha could go 3.35?
And I know this sounds silly, but:
- if you want to run a fast 400, you have to be able to run a good 200
- if you want to run a good 200, you have to be able to run a good 100
- if you want to run a fast 100, you need to work on speed development etc
And on the other side:
- if you want to run a fast 1500, you have to be able to run a good 2 mile and 5km
- if you want to run a good 2 mile and 5km, then you need 90 min runs, tempos and mileage and a strong 10km
So where do you draw the line? You can't train someone like both Bolt and Farah.
Sorry to pick your brain, but I'm trying to toy with these philosophical issues myself, with a talented kid who looks like he'll end up an 800 specialist (and more a speed one). "He's falling behind the other kids who are doing more mileage". "He's getting pushed too hard". "He needs to focus on his speed for now". "He needs to improve his vo2max". "He should be playing other sports". "He shouldn't be playing other sports and should be specialising in running now".
You can't listen to what everyone says and have to work it out for yourself. I'm still learning, but one thing I did learn last year that when his 400 is good, it makes a difference to how relaxed he can run a fast first lap.