Latest News Regarding John Smith

After speaking to some very close sources to JS. It has been revealed that many senior athletes have left JS. Maurice Green is no longer with him. He is training himself, which may result in a poor season. John Steff split late last year. The reason for these athletes leaving, was that they lost confidence in JS. Coaches like athletes do need breaks.

It’s a high financial drain and if you arn’t getting the results you can’t wait around forever.

What would it cost to train with or under John Smith?

Lost confidence in John Smith…oi vey. Everyone’s a know it all these days. I’ll be shocked if any of these guys with no coach or father coaches do jack this year. Awesome timing too…

any other notbale departures? is leonard scott still there? i’m sure tyrone edgar is. who else is left??

Maurice might struggle this year. You can’t coach yourself. But John Steff will improve on 44.6.

All talking to be done on a track with feet.

most tracks are measured in metres, these days… :stuck_out_tongue:

Why you say you can’t coach yourself? There was an article here recently about Calvin Smith who coached himself pretty successfully. Not trying to start an argument, just interested to hear why you feel that’s the case.

Edwin did an ok job too …

So Maurice Greene has left John Smith, big deal. No loss, he was finished over 2 years ago.

Maurice was a superstar, one of the best ever, but the evolution of the sport has passed him by and at 33 (34 in July), he hasn’t a hope in hell of matching Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and co this year. If he continues his career he will be merely making up the numbers. And that is sad, because he deserves to finish on a high and be remembered as a champion.

Who else has left HSI? Or is this a case of a couple leave and HOPE that the old squad won’t be the same without them?

John Smith is a smart operator, to him one door closes and another will open.

I tend to concur about the hype on Steffenson. Better he shows us the sub 44.6 rather than talk it up. He is yet to run a PB post HSI so it’s better to keep it low key until it happens.

Because I know how hard the HSI guys train. And you just can’t do those workouts by yourself. Unless your a machine.

Not much hype about Steff. Just hard work, harder than anyone in this country.

Well except for the hype from yourself.

And hardest worker is one thing, smartest can be even better.

Steffensen is a very fine 400m runner. To run sub 44.6 is not really a huge advance given he has previously run 44.7, so that should be well within his capacity if he has recovered from last year’s injury and his preparation this year is not interrupted by new problems - on or off the track. Best wishes to him all round.

But running a string of 150s or 300s or 600s is all well and good, the stuff of decent 800m runners to be sure.

What Osaka showed is that, unlike at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games where a single 44 performance would suffice for a medal, on the Olympic stage it will take at least three 44 runs in succession. That requires much more than extensive/intensive tempo running in a man’s training program.

Osaka was Steff’s finest meet because he opened with 44.8 but was tested next day and produced 44.9 when at least 44.6 was required to earn the right for another race.

Had his back/hamstring problem not apparently prevented him developing more speed and speed-endurance during his European campaign, we may well have seen Steff make that final. It would have been great to see him in there.

High-level aerobic threshhold capacity is certainly a major requirement, but the 400 is above all a power-endurance race and when that is understood it informs the kind of training which may best yield competitive results on the Olympic stage.

Best wishes to JS. The “Games” tournaments seem to bring the best out in him and hopefully Beijing will be a triumph of his character and his coaching philosophy.


What would you describe as (1) a fairly typical “high-level aerobic threshhold capacity” workout AND (2) a fairly typical “power-endurance” workout? Also what relative contribution do you think these requirements make to 400m performance?

For example are you saying that for a 400m runner with a very good maximum velocity level (20m Fly time) but poor “endurance” it would usually be more a lack of relative strength/power endurance in the core running muscles that makes them appear to fatigue faster rather than a highly developed CV/aerobic system?

I think he trains harder and smarter. Before & after the Sydney Track classic I have noticed many 400m/400m hurdlers at the track. To my surprise, they are constantly are in spikes, training at high intensities. It isn’t surprising that most of them will end up in the casualty ward. Currently most of JS workouts are in flats. Only spiking up for the later reps.

Time will tell how things unfolds.

Speedman, I’ve got my kids at home playing all manner of electronic games and TVs in a background din… can’t concentrate on your question right now.

I would just say maybe take a look at the lactic threshold thread for some descriptive sessions.

aerobic threshold would include sessions such as what my adult group did, such as 6x200 off sub-2min jog recoveries; 9x300 off 100m jog rec (I broke that into 3x3x300 to raise quality of the reps a bit more); and 12x150.

So for instance, here is a high level threshold for the woman Olympic 400 finalist:
17.62 (2min 30sec), 17.60 (2min 30sec), 17.31, (10min b/sets) - 17.04 (3min), 16.86 (5min), 17.14.

(So, she struggled with speed and needed more recovery time, which I provided when we pushed things along at the upper end). It’s threshold work but still with a high level of aerobics involved IMO.)

On Sept 2, 1988 she ran a solo set of 5x200 off 1min 40sec average recoveries:

24.37, 25.58, 25.58 (same), 26.18, 26.43.

The target for her was always 26sec reps, but she did well after messing up the opener with low 24:)

On 1 Aug 88 my top guy ran this set in Cologne.

6x200 with 200m jog recoveries (av 1min 40sec):
22.18, 23.4, 23.64, 23.01, 22.96, 23.03.

My diary note was that he “was holding back, concentrating on good posture”.

On May 11, 1988 in the rain (synthetic track), he ran 3x4x150 which was one of our stock GPP aerobic threshold sets. On this occasion there was an average 1min 45sec between reps and 7min between the sets.

17.5, 17.55, 17.55, 17.4
16.98, 16.73, 16.42, 16.98
16.02, 16.14, 16.26, 16.92

So from the above set, especially, you see see the interplay between endurance, rhythm and a touch of speed. The recoveries between Sets ensure that the speed (and form) does not degrade to the point of being irrelevant to his racing needs.

On 8-12-91 he did this 3x300 session (on synthetic; jog 100m between reps; jog a lap b/tw sets). This is toward the end of the GPP phase, so he was in good shape already:

42.0, 42.66, 41.91
43.17, 42.68, 43.34
42.12, 43.70, 42.40

This was fairly typical of the quality achieved during the second half of GPP. But by no means was this his best. I remember one smartarse training partner trying to impose himself on my guy, so he dropped in a tempo 37 on the 9th 300. The other guy never returned and was shortly out of the sport. He had a poor attitude to companion training, so I guess he ran out of people to workout with.

Here is the top woman on 6-April-89 (her target was to get all reps sub-50-seconds):

43.9, 48.3, 52
46.2, 49.5, 49.9
47.5, 51.8, 48.7

But those good sessions won’t really help the athlete get up to speed in the first 300m of a 400m race to reach an Olympic final (so we are talking about a high level race).

For me, a power endurance session would typically be a long hill sprint, preferably as long as the race lasts and up an angle of 8-degrees or a bit steeper. So that might be a 360m-long hill, then jog slowly down, turn and sprint to the top again. So that would be 3x2xhill.

But later in the season you can play with the variables, eg 1xLong Hill, jog back to halfway (or all the way) and then ? (maybe 2 or 4 or 6 reps) x 1/2-Hill or 1/4-Hill. We did the occasional session like that up to three weeks before the Olympics.

Those times seem out of this world. Never seen anyone run those times from jog recovery. Do you know of any other elite guy to post those times?

Probably Lee Evans. We borrowed the session from him, having read of it in a fantastic interview by Alastair Aitken conducted with Evans in the Athletics Arena magazine wrap-up issue from the 1968 Olympics. Evans said the runs between the reps got so that they were almost as fast as the reps themselves. I think he was joking, but we took that session onboard because our great respect for Evans and his achievements.

I have a mint condition issue still today:

Evans talks about doing a lot of over-distance training and progressive weights during the winter.
“I ran plenty of 600 yards indoors and 800 metres indoors and outdoors. The one-lap dash runner needs a lot of strength, and you can nly get this by doing weight training during the winter and lots of over-distance running on the track” - Evans is quoted as saying to Aitken, a lovely fellow whom I first met in London in 1983/4.

“In the few months before the Olympic Games my week’s training would work out something like this:
Monday - 3x550 yards in about 67.0 seconds passing by the quarter mile mark in around 52.0 seconds.
Tuesday - 6 x 220 yards in about 23.0 seconds with a 220 yards jog between each one. I always jog the intervals between items but in Mexico or at other altitude training I walked, only because the recovery rate is so slow at high altitude.
Wednesday - 4 x 330 yards at a good pace, usually about 36.0 seconds, but I don’t always manage to get them timed.
Thursday - Usually about 6 x 150 yards for speed with a long recovery jog.
Friday - Usually if I have a race on Saturday I rest, if not then I go for a long easy jog.”

He says in this interview that he had run 45.2 for 400 metres while attending Salinas City College, which I deduce was during 1966.

“I took the national title and was unbeaten in all my races; The next year I went to San Jose State University and made the acquaintance of my old friend Tommie Smith,” he adds.

“(In the Olympic Final) I was in lane six with Freeman and James in the two inside lanes … I ran the first bend very hard, relaxed and lengthened my stride down the back straight then ran hard into the next bend and kicked for a good finish down the home straight”.

[The more things change, the more they remain the same. Evans’ race strategy is how most still run the 400 to this day]

He won the 68 Olympic final in a WR 43.8 and backed up with a 43.5 split in the winning 4x4 relay (2:56.1, but what a team: Vince Matthews, Ron Freeman, Larry James and Lee Evans - all legends).

Evans weighed just 70kg and stood 181cm (5ft 11 -1/2in) tall.