run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Legendary Coach Dr. Joe Vigil

Last night, I had an awesome opportunity to listen to famous running coach, Dr. Joe Vigil. It was sort of a last minute thing...I received an email about it on Monday and quickly RSVP'd that I'd be there. So glad I jumped when I did because the room only held about 30-40 people and it was packed. Half the attendees were running coaches (both collegiate and high school levels) and the rest of the crowd consisted of members of the Memphis Runners Club. The best part about the whole thing is that he's here in Memphis to design a world class cross country course for Shelby Farms Park. Holla!

First let me say that Dr. Vigil is a very accomplished running coach. In his 50+ years of coaching:
*He coached at Adams State University in Alamosa, Co for 28 years.
*While at Adams State his teams won 18 national championships and his runners earned an astonishing 350 All-American honors.
*On 17 different occasions Coach Vigil served as U.S. international coach, including several Olympic teams.
*Coach Vigil has been inducted to 5 different Hall of Fames.
*He helps coach Team USA and Deena Drossin-Kastor. Coach Vigil is most known for helping Deana win the Bronze medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
*He was named as National Coach of the Year on 14 different occasions.

He aint playin, yall.
The other big thing about Coach Vigil is that he is a scientist. I won't get into all of the mathematical and scientific details because I don't want it to be over your heads. (Because I TOTALLY understand all of it. You believe that, right?) He combines systems of training, sport science and motivation towards having his athletes achieve at the highest levels. Throughout all his years of coaching, Vigil has used the information provided by human performance data to develop specific training stimuli for each athlete. He's got a formula which will calculate the times runners are capable of reaching on specific distances. (And he's been eerily accurate) This is based on VO2 max.
Here are the main things I took away from his lecture:
*Basically its all about building your Max VO2 uptake. Wikipedia can explain this better than I can: the maximum capacity of an individuals body to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual.
*Most distance runners have an iron deficiency and that especially goes for women.
*Gotta make sure that your HR is between 150 and 180 when doing workouts. (Side note here about heart rates...Deena Kastor's resting heart rate is 25!!!)
*Run more miles (his athletes run about 140 per week...but it is their job!)
*Do more speed workouts. It's the only way to improve.
*Kenyans are fast and getting faster. Americans are slow and getting slower. He showed us charts for a 2:20 marathon time-from the 1970s til today. More Kenyans can run this time for a marathon every passing year, yet fewer and fewer Americans are able to achieve this. The year that the most Americans were able to achieve this time was sometime in the 80's.
All in all it was a really cool experience to have this opportunity. I loved hearing all the stories about the famous athletes he coaches...most definitely inspirational! Mostly I've been reflecting on the theory that more miles are better. I think I'm in a good spot right now with the mileage I'm doing. I'm steadily building my mileage and getting stronger after injuries and I know that its the way I need to train for the St. Jude Marathon. But after that, I have a feeling that I'm going to try and bump that mileage up.


Danielle in Iowa said...

I think Deena Kastor must be dead with that HR. Seriously - I wouldn't be allowed to donate plasma with that HR!

lawmonkey13 said...

Way cool!

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MattMan said...

Hello , blogger .
Currently I am reading Born to Run,you may want to read it...if you already haven't, and I cam across the name Dr. Joel Vigil. After a while I knew why the name sounded so familiar - because of vigilance (a term used most commonly in science). It is so comforting to hear people speak of marathons or distance running, with such zest and zeal. My current marathon # holds at seven , three half marathons , a number of 4- person relays (my 13 y.o. niece participated for three years ... that is why i say "person' instead of 'man') and seven 10Ks. Columbus was the marathon that my contributors helped me raise money for Team n Training and my goals are to run all the marathons in Ohio, then continue with the 50 state club. Running has been good to me, thus I want to be good to running by spreading the word!