The byline from Track & Field News: Oregon distance redshirt Galen Rupp intends to travel to Orlando this spring to work on power and accelereation under the tutelage of USATF High Performance coach Brooks Johnson. Former Stanford head Johnson, the ’84 Olympic women’s coach, has long touted optimizing biomechanical efficiency as a cornerstone of training for any event. Rupp’s coach, Alberto Salazar, told the Portland Oregonian that Johnson’s plan will focus on devleoping Rupp’s hamstrings and gluteal muscels, leading, they hope to increased speed and power at the end of a fast 10,000. Rupp placed 11th in the World Championships 10k last year.
Here is a wonderful example of how advocates of more miles (like Salazar) come to a point that speed is the real secret to success in running. Run fast to race fast. Even he has realized (at least in this one case) that adding more and more miles is not going to get Rupp’s leg muscles to fire faster and generate more output. His VO2max may be through the roof… but it won’t win him a medal.
Runners get their power from the back of their legs – gluteals, hamstrings and calves. If these muscle groups are not developed through power and speed work of various kinds – on a very regular basis – you end up with muscles that can go forever but not faster. In most cases, and most definitely in elite races, the fastest runner towards the end of the race will win. And most distance runners neglect these muscle groups through steady state and long slow distance running.