The Little Things . . . a Going the Distance newsletter Later Mid-March 2017 || issue #52 Share on Facebook Conditioning explained: plyometrics C


The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Later Mid-March 2017 || issue #52
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XC and All-Sports conditioning explained: plyometrics

by Fred Doyle

[After coaching xc and track at Swampscott HS, Fred was with Nike for 25 years. He currently directs the GTD xc program in the Merrimack Valley and coaches at Tewksbury HS.]

Plyometrics are quick, powerful movements designed to increase muscular power and help develop the ability to change gears and improve the athletes finishing kick.

Many coaches feel that these help to groove your stride and provide more pop (power) when you push off. Many of these exercises are done with a cocked (flexed) foot, and trains the foot to explode more during the take/push off phase of the gait cycle.

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These can be used as a warm-up before races or hard workouts, since they get the muscles stimulated and the circulatory system flowing. They also aid in the development of core strength. Coach John Cook always referred to this development when he said his athletes really pop in their workouts or races.

Exercises such as bounding, hopping, jumping, planks with movement incorporated into them, and dynamic lunges are all excellent plyometric exercises to improve power and the ability to lift during the critical point in a race. Incorporating hurdles, mini hurdles, ropes and plyometric boxes also provides variety and different stimuli to strengthen gluteus muscles, hips, lower back and leg muscles for optimal performance.

Performing plyometric exercises 2-3 times each week is optimal. Our goal is to have the athletes perform 10-12 exercises/session and vary the exercises for each workout.

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XC and All-Sports conditioning explained: mini-bands

by Fred Doyle

Mini Bands are 2" wide elastic bands that can stretch to about twice their length. The MB helps with injury prevention by developing and increasing mobility, flexibility, and strengthening the smaller muscle groups and connectors. They also help with balance, coordination, and stability. By increasing the rotational balance and agility, the runners develop more fluid movements and are less susceptible to injury.

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Exercises are done with the bands placed around the feet, ankles or slightly above the knees. All of these are done targeting specific muscle groups or areas needing additional strength or flexibility. Distance runners in particular need to stay ahead of imbalances in the hip flexors due to the repetitive motion of running. All runners should have their own Mini Band to use for injury prevention. They are great for travelers, and for your easy training days.

Recommended to use at least 3-4 days, but for higher mileage and injury prone runners more frequent usage would be better.

To learn how hurdle mobility and medicine balls work with sports conditioning, follow this link.

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XC - Summer Conditioning

Registration is open for GTD's 2 cross-country conditioning programs.

North Shore registration
North Shore details

Merrimack Valley registration
Merrimack Valley details

Onsite sessions for both programs begin on Monday, July 10 and continue on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings until Friday, August 18.

The Comprehensive program ($195) includes two weeks of off-site prep conditioning, plus a written guideline for all 56 days of the program. The Onsite-only program ($170) includes the 18 onsite sessions.

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All-Sports - Speed & Conditioning

Registration is open for GTD's 2 all-sports speed & conditioning programs.

North Shore registration
North Shore details

Merrimack Valley registration
Merrimack Valley details

The programs provide conditioning for athletes who participate in soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, basketball football, baseball, ice hockey, softball, track, wrestling, volleyball, dance, skiing, and cheering.

The North Shore program in Peabody begins on Monday, July 10 and continues on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings until August 11.

The Merrimack Valley program in Andover begins on Monday, June 12 and continues on Monday evenings until August 14.


Personal Coaching with Coach Braz

Registration for the Spring Seasonal Coaching Program (program 1) with Fernando Braz is now available. The program begins on April 17 and continues for 15 weeks to the end of July.

Registration Form

The program is designed for runners who have a specific racing goal, or a series of races to prepare for, or want to build or maintain their running fitness. Runners receive a written, 15-week outline that is targeted to their level and goal. The outline includes a weekly track session that may be done at a site convenient to the runner, or with Coach Braz on Tuesday evenings at the Beverly High School track.

Runners may register at any time for Coach Braz's one-on-one coaching program (program 2).

What's the difference between Seasonal Coaching (program 1) and One-on-One Coaching (program 2)?
Program 1 provides a training outline for the spring, fall, or winter season.
Program 2 provides one-on-one coaching from Coach Braz on a daily and weekly basis.
For more information, go to Program Options and FAQs.


Previous Issues of The Little Things

Please go to this link for previous issues of The Little Things.


Going the Distance is a coaching service for runners at all levels.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Going the Distance program,
tell them about us, and forward The Little Things to them.
Visit our website -- Going the Distance
Head Coach -- Fernando Braz
Assistant Coach -- Annie Starrett
Webmaster and Director -- Dave Smith
For more information, contact Dave at