First let me introduce myself, my name is Michael Montgomery and I am the founder and CEO of PORTCoach.com. PORTCoach is a training optimization software for runners, specifically track and field athletes. Before we dive into why PORTCoach is so cool let me tell you about the problems that seem to exist at all levels of track and field especially high school and below and that also include youth track clubs. The problem is most track coaches are too generic in their training model. Now, as with any team sport the training methodology has to be able to support multiple athletes so I understand that a completely customized training regimen for one particular athlete is unrealistic. What I am referring to is the structure of the training program and the training times assigned to each athlete. If track is an “individual” sport athletes running track should be trained accordingly. Again I am not saying athletes should be trained as individuals completely while in a group because I understand that is unrealistic in a team environment what I am referring to is that athletes should be given times that are specific to them at the very least. Never should the sole determining factor of an athlete’s group be based on age and/or gender. If a coach is at practice saying “I want all my 16 year old girls to line up and this is your time you need to run”, I would recommend you run, run as fast and as far away from that coach as you can because my guess is that training is doing absolutely nothing for you. Truthfully, that training may actually be hurting you. Hurting me? Yes, hurting you! Look at it like this, if you have two runners training for the 200m dash and one runner runs the 200 in 23 seconds and the other runs the 200 in 25 seconds if the coach groups these two runners together for a Speed Endurance training session, one of two things are going to happen. Either the runner running 23 seconds will get training times that are too slow to have the desired effect or the 25 seconds runner will get times that are too fast. Getting times too slow usually just makes for lack luster results on race day and dulls the runner’s senses but getting times too fast throws all a runner’s energy systems out of whack because a runner usually ends up doubling up on the same type of workout on back-to-back days. Think about it like this, if Monday’s are Speed days and Tuesday are Speed Endurance days then because the times will be too fast on Tuesday the expected Speed Endurance day will actually be another Speed day and two Speed days back-to-back is way too taxing on the athletes central nervous system.
The second problem is that humans are creatures of habit and coaches are no exception. For most people including myself coaching is a part-time gig at best. I would argue most do it for the sheer joy of watching athletes grow. Since coaches are not focused on coaching full-time, workouts often become stale and repetitive. Coaches fall into the habit of using the same workout on Mondays with very little variation. Obviously, that is not the intention of coaches, the reality is most coaches scour the internet and books finding workouts that they have every intention on incorporating into their training regimen but guess what happens? Life happens, and all of a sudden that workout that you scribbled in a notebook or saved as a favorite in your browser finds it’s final resting place in exactly where you left it never to be viewed again. Although, coaches may not notice but the repetitive training does have an impact on runners. Athletes who become bored hit a mental plateau effect. Athletes begin to do the proverbial “mail it in” practice or “just going through the motions” practice which becomes extremely ineffective and dulls the runners senses. The bigger problem is because coaches fall into the same habit they also often use stale training times that don’t progress with the athlete. If an athlete is training at a 23 second 200 in March then at the beginning of April that athlete should not be training at 23 second 200 or something is really wrong. My guess is the coach hasn’t accurately tracked the progression of the athlete in consequently is using stale training times.
Now, I have mentioned two maybe 3 issues depending on how you view it with the current state of track and field training specifically at the high school and below levels. The good news is there is a solution to the madness and that solution is PORTCoach.com. That’s right PORTCoach was designed specially with track and field coaches in mind. See, I am the founder of PORTCoach but I am also the head coach of a track club so the development of PORTCoach was to scratch my own itch when developing runners. I soon learned through talking to other coaches that others were experiencing my same issues and that is why I made PORTCoach user-friendly enough for public use. If interested to find out more about how PORTCoach can help you please go to PORTCoach.com and register for the product or at the very least sign up for the demo and newsletter.