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KEEPING TRACK - Bring Back the Mile

Written by Rod O'Donnell on 23 January 2018.

“Bring Back the Mile – America’s Distance,” is the name of an organization dedicated to doing exactly what its name infers. The opening words of the mission are: “Return the mile to prominence on the American and worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the mile to create a movement.” The virtues of using imperial measurements in our sport have been pointed out in previous “Keeping Track” articles.


We're Not Perfect

Written by Richard Ferguson, Ph.D. on 18 January 2018.

As much as the media would like us to believe, we’re not perfect, nor should we expect to be. However, every day we are bombarded with images and stories about perfect looks, perfect homes, perfect performances and yes, even perfect runner. From these constant reminders of need to be perfect we internalize that we are just sub-par if we’re not perfect. Fashion magazines send the message that females must have the perfect body to be considered attractive and males must be muscular with washboard abs. Parents stress to their children that they must get all “A’s” so they can get into the most prestigious college or university.  Coaches are constantly seeking the perfect play or perfect routine. The message is loud and clear: you must be perfect. But is this idea of perfection really healthy, both mentally and physically?

                  Many people have internalized the idea that they need to strive for perfection and the striving for perfection is certainly a factor in being successful in work and sports. However, it’s one thing to strive for perfection, but it’s another storey if you feel as though must always achieve perfection. Humans are not perfect and no one will be perfect all the time. It’s simply irrational to think in perfectionistic terms. You may think the perfectionist would make the ideal runner, but often it just doesn’t pan out that way. Yes, the perfectionist trains very hard, sets high goals and has unparalleled dedication to running. Sure, all these traits can lead to running success, but ironically they can all destroy a runner if they are taken too far.

                  With the expectations of perfection a runner will train harder and longer, both of which are fantastic, but there will come a point of greatly diminishing returns. Overtraining can set in and chronic fatigue, both mental and physical, leads to lower levels of performance and a reduced capacity to train. How does the perfectionist respond to the fatigue and poor performance? He or she reverts to what gave them success in the first place, that being train more and train harder. Rest is not an option because rest means you are not working toward getting better, and for the perfectionist, that can lead to a high level guilt.

                  The running perfectionist will tend to blame themselves personally for every poor workout, every poor race and every sluggish recovery run. At some point the running perfectionist begins to tie their self-image and self-worth to their running. As result, poor performance equates to the perfectionist being a poor person, at least in their mind. Because their self-concept is so closely tied to running they begin to have high levels of fear of failure.

                  Even when the running perfectionist does run well, they don’t really enjoy it. Nothing is ever good enough and there doesn’t seem to be any level of satisfaction. The perfectionist must do even better. The pressure of perfectionism robs the runner of enjoyment from running and makes them feel miserable no matter how their running is going.

                  Perfectionism is an insidious psychological phenomenon which is often seen in numerous aspects of everyday life. Again, society often rewards it, but it can also destroy a person. So just how can a runner avoid getting caught in the detrimental vortex of perfectionistic thinking? While much perfectionism develops during childhood and may be the result of parenting behavior, perfectionism can develop even in adulthood, so some suggestions may be warranted even for the most experienced runners. First, it’s always a concern when self-worth is totally defined by running. We are all disappointed when we don’t run as well as we had hoped, and it is frustrating to put in many hours of training and have a poor race performance. However, a bad race doesn’t make a bad person. All humans are valued individuals. Remind yourself that there are many people that care deeply about you no matter how fast you run. Also, think about all the other positive aspects of life besides running, like being a good parent, civic leader and friend to others. Is too much of your sense of self tied to your running?

                  When you have success, even if it’s a good training run, be sure to enjoy it. Never feel guilty that you “should have done better”. When you go out and work hard and give it your absolute best shot, then savours the experience. Look back on your training and you may see that true enjoyment comes in the form of preparing for a big race, not just running well in the race itself. Work on truly enjoying the process of what you are looking to accomplish and not just the product, because process does indeed lead to product. There is a lot to said for “enjoying the journey”.

                  If you do have perfectionistic tendencies then the word rest may be a dirty word in your vocabulary. Without proper mental and physical rest even the most talented runner will suffer from chronic fatigue and compromised performance. For any motivated runner the real struggle may be having the discipline to rest, not the discipline to train. Examine your attitude about rest. Has your training mileage become more important than your racing performance? Do you feel deep guilt if you miss a run? If you do have these thoughts, work on developing a mindset that blends the dedication of hard training with the discipline of proper rest. By doing so you may see your race performance improve and your day to day energy levels increase.

                  When you notice that you’re getting a bit too perfectionistic about things, talk to some one about it. No, this doesn’t mean seeing a mental health professional. It may be as simple as verbalizing your thinking to a coach, friend or spouse. Not only should you verbalize when you struggle with being too much of a perfectionist, but you should also verbalize your successes. When you run well don’t be afraid to be a little big headed and talk it up. This doesn’t mean you need to be a braggart, but work on enjoying the positives of a good performance and sharing the positives with others. Doing so can actually help raise your enjoyment as well. Genuinely enjoy and the all the great moments running brings to your life. It really is OK to feel good about what you do

                  Even though you may believe perfectionistic thinking is a must for success, it can be counter productive because it breeds overtraining, frustration and decreased enjoyment. While it may take some honest self evaluation, easing up on the perfectionism may just allow you to run faster, feel better and enjoy your running even more.


Read more of Dr. Ferguson articles on www.runohio.com          

Growing as a Runner - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1432-growing-as-a-runner

It’s the Process - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1408-its-the-process

Are You Someone’s Inspiration? - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1373-are-you-someones-inspiration

On Being a RUNNER - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1329-on-being-a-runner

Bouncing Back- http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1307-bouncing-back

More Positive Approach to Running -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1279-a-more-positive-approach-to-running  

 Pre-Race Sleep - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1250-pre-race-sleep

The Overtraining Conundrum - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1180-the-overtraining-conundrum

Getting the MOST Out of Training - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1133-getting-the-most-out-of-training

Winning is Personal -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1113-winning-is-personal

Affirm Your Greatness!!! - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1086-affirm-your-greatness

 What is Tired? - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1062-what-is-tired   

 The Reason We Run - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1027-the-reason-we-run

 Some New Recruits - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/956-some-new-recruits?   

 Are You a RUNNER? -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/928-are-you-a-runner

 A Different View -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/892-a-different-view

 The Components of Peak Performance - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/871--the-components-of-peak-performance

 Running and Sleep -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/845-running-and-sleep

 Don’t Panic! -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/824-dont-panic#:

 The Mental Maximization of Training - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/773-the-mental-maximization-of-training

 With the Help of a Friend -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/723-with-the-help-of-a-friend

 Beating the Winter Blues- http://runohio.com/index.php/features/718-beating-the-winter-blues

 Go For It - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/702-go-for-it

 Beating Burnout - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/658-beating-burnout

 A New Outlook - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/611-a-new-outlook

 Expect the Unexpected - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/560-expect-the-unexpected

 Pain or Discomfort ? - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/529-pain-or-discomfort

 Keep Your Eye on the Prize - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/512-keep-your-eye-on-the-prize

Running Free - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/507-running-free

 Running and Role Models - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/196-running-and-role-



Are You Training Your Gut?

Written by Nancy Clark, MS, RD CSSD on 16 January 2018.

Runners tend to do a good job of training their muscles, heart and lungs. But some of them (particularly marathoners and ultra-runners) commonly fail to train their gut. As one marathoner reported, "I was so afraid of getting diarrhea during long training runs that I did not eat or drink anything beforehand. I really struggled after 14 miles..." A high school athlete admitted, "I'm so afraid I'll throw up if I run with food in my stomach." He ate only a light lunch at 11:00 and then practiced on fumes at 3:30. No wonder he had a disappointing season.


Fremont Elite Runners’ Club

on 13 January 2018.

The Fremont Elite Runners’ Club was started in 1978 by a group of avid runners of Fremont, Ohio to support and encourage one another as well as other local athletes in their journey for health and wellness. Each year FERC hosts numerous road races of varying distances and assists others with running events in Northwest, Ohio. This tradition has been passed on to the current club members who enjoy group runs, races, social events, and online support through the FERC Facebook page and website.


2017 RUNOHIO Grand Prix Winners and Interviews

on 05 January 2018.

The 2017 RUNOHIO Grand Prix was a series of races cho- sen by runners and the staff of RUNOHIO to be part of a state- wide grand prix. Criteria used in determining the RUNOHIO Grand Prix races were: 1) Run- ners ranking from RUNOHIO, 2) Race Organization, 3) Quality of the race eld, 4) Size of the race, 5) Geographical location, 6) Date of the race, 7) Distance of the race. RUNOHIO also tired to have only one race on a given weekend and not pick holiday races. Up to seven races for individual scoring.


2018 OATCCC Track & Field Clinic

on 21 December 2017.

The Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches annual track and field clinic will be held at the Columbus' Hilton Easton from January 25-27. - The pre-registration deadline is January 10, 2018 to be eligible for banquet tickets.


Youngstown Road Runners Club

on 30 November 2017.

The Youngstown Road Runners Club was founded in the spring of 1975 and held weekly races at a cost of 50 cents per runner.  The club soon joined up with Road Runners Clubs of America.  Membership was $5 per individual and approximately 1100 joined.


Growing as a Runner

Written by Dr. Richard Ferguson Ph.D. on 29 November 2017.

Much has been written recently in popular psychology on what has been termed growth mindset. Having a growth mindset really means you feel that with time, persistence and hard work, you can achieve your goals. With a growth mindset you don’t believe there is some type of limit on how you can perform. Even if failure or setbacks occur, with a growth mindset you understand that such things are a part of the normal process of reaching your goals and achieving success. The road to success is not usually a smooth one and a growth mindset allows you to learn from your mistakes and failures and continue to work and improve your running. In stark contrast is a fixed mindset where you view your running ability as limited and poor performances as a way of confirming your limited ability. A fixed mindset simply doesn’t allow you to progress and improve as a runner.


The Athletes Kitchen - Chocolate and Your Sports Diet

Written by Nancy Clark, MS, RDN, CSSD on 27 November 2017.

The Chocolate Season is here and I can already feel the tension rising. “Between Halloween and New Year’s Eve, I feel surrounded by chocolate. It’s everywhere!!!” reported a self-proclaimed chocoholic. “I try so hard to not eat it, but I inevitably succumb, and I inevitably gain weight. Thank goodness for January First!!!” If you share the same love-hate relationship with chocolate, keep reading. And be thankful this so-called “bad food” offers benefits.



Written by Rod O'Donnell on 27 November 2017.

The 2017 cross-country season is behind us, and distance runners are preparing for the upcoming track season. If one point could be made to summarize the two sports, it would be that times are getting much faster. There are a variety of reasons for this.

In the fall, many courses are much faster with the challenge of hills now a thing of the past. For example, Scioto Downs, site of the state championship meet from 1985 until 2011, has been replaced by the much less-challenging site at National Trail Raceway. Course accuracy, surfaces, conditions, number of turns, and how sectors are run also affect the times; however, regardless of venue, more athletes are running faster.

It is even more evident in the spring, where facility conditions are uniform. This fact is clear when averaging the top eight times for the 1600 from 2010-2017 in the Boys’ Division I State Championship. The improvement is significant: 2010-4:16; 2011-4:14; 2012-4:17; 2013- 4:11; 2014- 4:12; 2015-4:14; 2016- 4:12; 2017-4:10.

Times in the 3200 also show significant improvement: 2010-9:19; 2011-9:27; 2012-9:13; 2013-9:10; 2014-9:09; 2015-9:11; 2016-9:04; 2017-9:11. In the latter event, factors to be considered are the number of runners doubling and the weather conditions, but the trend of the two events is similar.

So, what ARE the factors that are causing the improvement? There are many, but two stand out as major contributors:

1)    The availability of indoor facilities that provide athletes with a place to practice and compete throughout the winter. In Ohio, there are 20 indoor tracks. This availability has led to more interest and support for the outstanding state championship that is sponsored by the OATCCC. The 2018 meet will be held at SPIRE on March 3.

2)    The amount and quality of training information that is available to coaches. Among the many contributors, five men stand out as having been instrumental in passing along valuable knowledge:


**Jack Daniels – Daniels’ Running Formula

**Steve Magnes – The Science of Running

**Greg McMillan – McMillanRunning.com

**Frank Horwell – Serpentine Running Club and founder of the British        Milers’ Club

**Joe Vigil – Run to the Top


There are many other outstanding individuals who have played a role in the improvement of distance running, but many coaches have studied, combined, and applied ideas from these men.


In conclusion, there are many factors that are affecting the improvement of times, but, undoubtedly, the knowledge that coaches have obtained, along with the availability of training facilities, are very important contributors to the exciting trend of high school athletes running faster.


Yours in track,

Rod O’Donnell


Read more of Coach O'Donnell's articles on  www.runohio.com

Keeping Track -  CROSS COUNTRY - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1405-keeping-track-cross-country

Keeping Track - Number 7 - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1377-keeping-track

Attending a Running Camp - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1330-keeping-track

Can we do anything else to alienate sports fans -   http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1310-keeping-track

Keeping Track - National Governing Body for High School Sports (NFHS)  -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1281-keeping-track- 

 Keeping Track - Cross Country -  


Keeping Track - Frank Shorter - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1219-keeping-track-frank-shorter

KEEPING TRACK, Two Iconic Coaches- http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1181-keeping-track-two-iconic-coaches

KEEPING TRACK -  Caldwell Story -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1114-keeping-track

KEEPING TRACK - Furman Elite Training Group -


Keeping Track - 2 Divisions for 120 Lacrosse teams? http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1064-keeping-track

Boy's Division II and Division III -http://runohio.com/index.php/features/1029-keeping-track

Boy's Division I - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/999-keeping-track?utm_source=News+from+RUNOHIO+-+August+2015&;utm_campaign=july+2015+news&utm_medium=email

 KEEPING TRACK - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/926-keeping-track

KEEPING TRACK - Football and Track Athletes -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/893-keeping-track-football-and-track-athletes

 The Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross-Country Championships - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/872-keeping-track

Cross Country - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/839-keeping-track

 Track Faces Challenges that could have adverse effects thus causing severe damage -  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/823-keeping-track

Marketing Track & Field - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/774-keeping-track

Student Athlete’s Questions - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/750-keeping-track-student-athletes-questions

The Need to Speak Up - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/714-keeping-track-

A new book by John McDonnell - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/701-keeping-track

KEEPING TRACK - From September-October 2013 print RUNOHIO - http://runohio.com/index.php/features/659-keeping-track-from-september-october-print-runohio

Random Thoughts - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/536-keeping-track

Another Division I institution has dropped its men’s track program - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/498-keeping-track

 Ohio University Athletic Department's Worst Decision - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/497-keeping-track-ohio-university-athletic-departments-worst-decision

Life Lessons from Cross Country - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/140-life-lessons-from-cross-country

Ten Pledges for Cross Country Coaches - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/108-ten-pledges-for-cross-country-coaches

London Olympics - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news/419-keeping-track

 Improving as a Coach – http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/322-keeping-track-1

You Only Go Around Once - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/3-keeping-track

Dear Jesse Owens – http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news/215-keeping-track

West Virginia State Cross Country Championship –  http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/472-keeping-track

SPIRE Institute - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/features/160-keeping-track

Why is the OHSAA Treating Cross Country Different than All of the Other Sponsored Sports?  http://runohio.com/index.php/features/838-why-is-the-ohsaa-treating-cross-country-different-than-all-of-the-other-sponsored-sports



The 2017 cross-country season is behind us, and distance runners are preparing for the upcoming track season. If one point could be made to summarize the two sports, it would be that times are getting much faster. There are a variety of reasons for this.


Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championships

on 26 November 2017.

With nearly perfect November cross country weather the 89th Boys and 40th Girls Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championships greeted 584 boys from 176 schools and 576 girls from 167 schools.  Nearly 13,000 fans enjoyed the weather, the six races and perhaps the country’s best High School State Cross Country Championships.

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