Stride Frequency Question

I understand in the 100-200 and even the 400 that your goal is going really really fast and hence the balance between stride length and frequency pretty much equates to whatever moves you the fastest. I.E. your not focusing on an efficient short stride like a marathoner.

However, my coach has been stretching the efficiency rule.
He wants me to run the 800 with a short quick stride with almost no knee drive, and to completely truncate the “step-over” part of the stride phase. When i tried to explain that this would be a disaster for me, (I’m 6’1’’ tall) he wouldn’t listen. He claimed that all great 8 runners have quick steps. He seems transfixed on the idea that stride frequency is the key to speed and not a proper balance between both stride length and stride frequency. I tried to explain using the principals that I learned from CF (stepping over the knee, hip hight, toeing up, relaxation, etc) that with a full range of stride motion I would get a more efficient stride and equate to faster times. He thinks that I should practically drag my feet inches above the ground in order to achieve a faster stride! Like that would help. He says all these things under the all inclusive failure proof claim that, “Just do what feels good.” And I do. And it pisses him off.

Is he right on some of his points? Should I have a shorter more efficient stride for the 800? Or is it just a sub maximal effort sprint that I should apply a lot of the same mechanics to?


P.S. does anyone have any clips of Sebastian Coe? Or Bernard Legat running? They have pretty good 800 times :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think you need to focus on stepping over the opposite knee or toeing up, but at the same time I don’t think you need to cut your recovery off and drag your leg. Recovery mechanics are a reaction to what you are doing on the ground. In the 800m it is not going to be as high (over the knee) as in the sprints because you are not working with the same amount of force.
The 800m is a extended sprint not a marathon. None of the top 800m guys drag they feet, and it would be just as hard to find a top 1500m guy that does that.

Perhaps your coach has based his philosophy on the chinese women middle distance runners who seem to adopt a ‘shuffling’ style. However if one looks at 99% of the great 800m runners, Kipketer, coe, cruz, juantorena,Quirot etc they all have smooth flowing relaxed styles. And thats the key…relaxation…energy conservation. This is on top of high top speed, repeatable 400m speed and a high VO2 Max. Trying to adopt a choppy stride (and any other unnatural stride) is wasteful, stressful and just plain daft. With the appropriate strength, speed, lactic, flexibility, relaxation and endurance training, the body will find its own most efficient stride.

the 800m shouldn’t be a technical issue at all unless you can’t run.everbody can run smoothly at 60% and i don’t see any reason why you have to adjust mechanics while doing the 800m.just think about keeping smooth/relaxed and tactics.your coach is totally wrong,its the balance between SL/SF that will make you a more effecient dragging your feet it will effect your frequency and lenght thus leading to fatique and slower times.striking the ground and repelling off it takes energy and we all have certain energy capacities which can be expended further with effecient running!

Totally agree X-man…however 800m is certainly not run at 60%! More like 90%

anaerobic i know,just trying to set an example.smoothness

Yup, that’s exactly what I tried telling him… maybe I should go work with the sprint camp… or the distance camp… (both camps produced better 800 runners that the mid distance camp he ran last year)

Eh, whatever. I’ll do what feels right and run in his camp anyway. 1:57 800m frosh/soph record here I come:P

IMHO 800m is the hardest track event to train for.
Requirements:- Endurance of a 1500m runner, immense lactic acid tolerance, 11sec 100m speed, hard repeatable 400m speed,high levels of strength and muscular endurance, a tough psychological attitude, physical and mental ablilty to tolerate training the entire range of energy systems.

Train like a demon, eat well, sleep well, don’t give up, but be intelligent and don’t overtrain!!

All the best in your efforts Palmtag.