Medellin's thoughts/beliefs on coaching Ryan Bousquet to a 4:06.97
When asked, "What do
you feel is the reason for your big improvement this year (from
4:16.98 to 4:06.97) in less than 50 words," Ryan could not answer
the question. He said that the best way for him to answer the
question was to use singular words but he felt people would not
get the complete picture (and I agreed).
He used the words:
dedication, determination, trust, coaching, hard work, attitude,
goals, commitment, training, and support, to describe his improvement.
What he did this year was not easy nor by accident. The plan was
set more than two years ago and the process was brought to a slow
perfection this year. It called for long distance runs of 12 to
14 miles each Saturday for the entire year, running on soft surfaces
mostly dirt in the Chino Hills National Park area, ice baths on
a regular basis after each hard session and easy running dispersed
Ryan was convinced
that the plan set for him would get him to his ultimate goal of
being a high school All American in the mile and to run one of
the fastest miles in county history. He achieved both and finished
second place at the Footlocker National Championships in Raleigh,
North Carolina in June 2000.
Pre-Season Circuit Training and Triangles
In the early Pre-Season
we used circuit training and Fitness Triangles for strength and
fitness. The circuits consisted of 6 stations: push-ups, crunches,
leg lifts, lunges, dips and a running station (usually 880 yds.).
The athletes would start by doing 25 push-ups then jog to the
next station, to do 20 crunches then jog to the next station and
do 15 leg lifts. Lunges were done 10 on each leg, then quickly
the athletes jogged to the bleachers to do 8 to 10 dips just before
starting an 880 at 5k race pace. This circuit was repeated 4 to
6 times for a complete workout. The main idea was to keep the
heart rate up and the recovery at a minimum. No walking was allowed
and the quality of the exercise was stressed. A warm-up of 3 to
4 miles was always done before starting on the first circuit.
Our warm-up consisted
of running to a local park approximately 2.5 miles away. Once
at the park we had a soft grassy surface to workout on. An isosceles
triangle with the sides made up of the softball field foul lines
was used. We sprinted from the right field foul line to deep center
field then did 20 crunches. As soon as we finished, the athletes
sprinted to the left field foul line to do 10 one-legged squats
(on each leg). After the squats were finished, the athletes then
sprinted back to the right field foul line to do 20 push-ups.
This circuit was repeated several times and a warm-down of 2.5
miles was also included to complete the workout. Proper form and
building muscular strength were the ultimate goals of the workout.
One of the most fundamental
parts of Ryan's program was a distance run from 80 to 90 minutes
in length. These runs were set at a pace of 6:20 to 6:40 per mile,
a pace that would be very manageable for a runner of Ryan's stature.
These runs were one of two kinds depending on the type of effort
and recovery needed. One of the runs would be a flat, soft surfaced,
continuous run along the Santa Ana River trail. Each mile was
marked, noted and/or corrected. Ryan ran with teammates and myself
on all the distance runs to maintain a reasonable pace. This run
was done in the preseason and mid-season, as well as after the
days following meets, rain or shine!
The other long distance
run was much more difficult; it consisted of a trail run in the
hills. The first 45 minutes were flat and steadily uphill to a
Ranger Station in the nearby hills. After getting a quick drink
of water, the group would then proceed back to the starting area
but not before climbing a mile long hill. The hill consisted of
several switchbacks and rises to a point on top of a hill called
"Skully Ridge". Running times were kept on the ascent and recorded
for future reference, and as expected each week became faster
as the season progressed.
Most of the other runs
that Ryan ran were 60 minutes in length; this was a standard distance
for him on recovery days and maintenance days. It is my belief
that runners must be able to run a reasonable distance (depending
on the experience and caliber of the athlete) on their recovery
days and be able to recover and maintain their weekly mileage
at the same time. This practice of running 60 minutes has been
a staple in Ryan's running regimen for the last 2 years.
Warm-ups were long;
most were about 3 to 4 miles in length. They were done on a very
soft surface such as dirt or grass. As Ryan progressed through
the warm-up he increased his pace so that he was running at or
around 6 to 6:30 minutes per mile at the end of the warm-up. Stretching
and 6 x 100-meter strides with spiked shoes followed, to complete
his warm-up process before all track workouts.
On the track, the focus
was on longer types of intervals of various lengths. In most of
the early season we concentrated on 1320 yard repeats; a session
could consist of 3 or 4 x 1320 and 1 x 440. At the end of each
session, we would also try to add a fast and short interval to
work on Ryan's ability to kick while tired. Listed below are some
of the workouts that Ryan completed. It also should be noted that
Ryan participated in dual meets and major invitationals throughout