It’s More Than Just Running

Simple training during practice won’t suffice for the intense event. There are multiple factors included in the performance of an athlete. 

“I have not systematically derived confidence limits for a comparison of the variability in the different types of event, but it is reasonably clear from the confidence limits for each type that athletes in longer running events are more variable their performance than those in the shorter events, that athletes in the throwing events are about twice as variable, and that athletes in the high jump and triple jump are somewhere in between” (Peltola 2005). 

The event of course will have variations especially with distance runners. There are so many training techniques and running events for distance runners that there is bound to be high variability. Along with that, gender can even be a factor with running and throwing events.

Looking specifically at steeplechase, a runner needs endurance, muscular strength, coordination, and mental strength. Little variation in any of these topics will set each runner apart from the rest of the field, whether that be positive or negative.

Heart to Heart

With Steeplechase only beginning for athletes in their collegiate year, competition is fierce and intense. It isn’t an event that athletes do for fun but based on talent, training, and mental strength. 

Steeplechaser, Emma Coburn made an astounding wave across the media; even to society outside of running, for her World Athletics Championships London win in 2017. She was the athlete with the famous image with her former boyfriend, now husband post race. 

“One of the reasons Coburn is such a great racer is that she shows up with a plan and probably uses visualization to actualize it. And visualization is a powerful tool to motivate, excite, and prepare ourselves to respond to adversity. I advise my athletes to make sure they practice visualization of all of their senses (seeing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and hearing) to create both ideal and difficult scenarios and learn how to overcome them ahead of time, thus paving the way for success” (Frerichs 2017). \

Steeplechasing involves so much mental strength to visualize the race, push through the barriers, believe in your endurance, and racing competitors at the end when its the last fifty meter foot race. 

Simple Dynamics

All events in track need proper training. Distance runners mainly need endurance training, while sprinters focus more on power and form. The same is for steeplechasers. 

Steeplers need endurance for the two mile race, as well as enough stamina to jump barriers, and even attack the water pit. A steeplechaser cannot rely solely on endurance. Barrier dynamics and jumping are what shaves the seconds off race times and gains a distance on competition in the race. 

“The Fartlek method comes closest to the physiological, metabolic and technical characteristics needed for preparation for hurdles, by changing the protocol models that are normally used. By programming in the field, we can analyze a high level of experience that can be a practical and real reference for coaches, athletes, and scientists”

Now what exactly is “The Fartlek Method”?

Fartlek training consists of a ‘speed game’, as 15 repetitions of 1 min of slow work followed by 1 min of fast work, for a total of 30 min of work. During the Fartlek training, she tried to maintain a heart rate near that of her anaerobic threshold, as evaluated by the Mader test. Other possible training included interval training (10 repetitions of 200, 300 and 400 m) and the long run (10-15 km distance)” (Gabrielli, Fulle, Fanò-Illic, Pietrangelo 2015). 

This method is the most used with coaches and even physical therapists if they are wanting athletes to focus their training on glutes and hamstrings with those being the largest muscles in the body.  

Included is an informational video to show what Fartlek Training would look like for an athlete and give more information.

What is Steeplechase?

Steeplechase is a 3000 meter running event that can only be done in college and beyond. This event has multiple unique qualities that make it stand out from other running events on the track. The most important fact about steeple is that it is only offered starting at the college level and beyond. 

First it involves a technique that resembles hurdling, yet with thicker and wider “barriers”; four dry ones to be exact and one with a different height difference that leads to a water pit. 

Image by: German Federation

The image above shows a breakdown of the water pit that athletes must jump seven times of their seven and a half lap race. You can see that each gender has a different height difference for this barrier, as well as the others on the track. 

All of the barriers cannot be touched by an athletes arms or hands, or they are disqualified from the competition. The water barrier is the only one that athletes use to push off of while attempting to clear the water pit and land as far out of the water as possible to continue their race. The further the athlete lands, the less wet they get, and the easier it is to shift back to their running pace and form.

Welcome to My Blog!

As an introduction, I just wanted to tell you all a little about myself and the purpose of this blog site.

A little about me: Im currently a junior of Morningside College, enrolled in an Advertising and Branding class; hence this blog. Along with being a student, I am also part of the track and cross country team. With this information, you can conclude I am primarily a distance runner.

Being a student athlete is key for this blog because I want to try and educate incoming freshmen of what a particular event in track is. Steeplechase will be the topic of the blogs with information ranging from what the event is, how to run it, advice from famous athletes, and what you can do outside of running to benefit yourself in the 3000 meter event.

I am so excited to give you all insights of one of the most interesting events held on the track! I hope I can entice incoming student athletes to try out for this event.