Thanks to the Physical Preparation workshop organized by DAN recently, a respectable number of distance running coaches turned up to try out some of Mr Thickpenny’s exercise routines, and I could see it was a revelation to many, and now the question is; are you putting any of it into practice, or do you think it only applies to sprinters, jumpers and throwers?

Why not try this simple test. At the end of a road race or a long run, bend down as if to tie your shoe lace and see if you are bending the knees or your back. If it is the latter, then you need to do some of the exercises recommended, and more, as he just did not go far enough in the time available.

A quote from an article about steeplechasing in the AW dated 29th Nov 2012. ‘ strength and plyometrics training have been receiving increased attention as a means to improve endurance performance…..economy improves when plyometrics or explosive weight training is included in the training programme.’ A study in Finland showed that runners performing short sprints of 20-100m for 5-10 tees, jumping exercises and lower bodyweight training with low loads and fast reps found that their 5km times improved when compared to those doing only endurance training.

WHERE TO START. You do not necessarily need medicine balls or exercise bands, and if you jump in with doing things to excess you run the risk of injury, therefore incorporating any dramatic change of diet in the programme would benefit from starting off with only five minutes, increasing this by 1 minute per week until you reach 15-20 minutes, then watch for the development of performance and enthusiasm.

Starting exercises. POGO JUMPS. Simply Jumping up and down on the spot, taking off from the flat of the foot and NOT from the toes will benefit the calf muscles and stimulate bone density. This also applies with the HACKA JUMPS and includes the quadriceps. Take up the Hacka squat position as performed by Mouri’s/The All Backs, then hop around in a circle or for a distance of 20-30m with the knees bent at an angle of 900 throughout

SQUATS. Feet flat, arms out in front to focus the eyes on as this helps maintain a straight back. Progress this to squatting and touching the ground outside the feet. The next step is from here into a squat jump, doing several in quick succession until finally you can do a ROCKET JUMP from the previous position but leaping with arms going high above the head.

THE ADDUCTORS. Of the inner thigh are the only muscles in the legs that continuously work throughout the running cycle, often weakening and allowing the knees to turn inwards when running. TRAMLINES help to stretch/shorten them by doing lateral jumps to try and touch down on the outside of the lines forming the lane of the track. This means a continuously changing sideways jump of 1.3m. Similarly, doing the TREADMILL exercise with the knees coming to the outside of the elbows will work the adductors.

THE LUNGTHE LUNGE has so many variables, starting with the Static lunge, where the athlete takes the lung position, then raises and lowers the body, keeping the back straight and the rear leg coming close to the ground. Develop this into the Step Lunge, where you step forwards into the lunge and power back to the start position as fast as possible. The Lung Jump is from the static lunge position and jumping up and down on the spot, changing the lead leg after 5 or 10 jumps until finally you can do the Alternate Lunge Jump, changing legs in mid air. THE SINGLE LEG SQUAT can be done for pure strength, holding the down position or developed plyometrically into a single leg squat jump. THE SINGLE LEG SQUAT will activate the CNS during the balance, put a lot of loading on the quads and partly on the hamstrings (depending how low you can get). Once this is mastered it can be developed into a single leg squat jump. Now all you have to do is incorporate the fast running, for which the following ideas might help.


A variety of exercises have been organized by DAN and a few more are in the pipeline and will be forwarded to you as the dates are confirmed, which is why I need to update my email coaching contact list. There are also some held regionally, usually at Bath University and it is worth checking the England Athletics website every two weeks or so


These are also advertised on the EA website, and what may be of no use to somebody living in Penzance they may well be useful to Tamar Trotters or Erme Valley. REMEMBER, the free modules for upgrading finish in May 2013 and newly qualified coaches should register with the Cornwall Sports Partnership to obtain discount on approved courses. This should be done asap to avoid disappointment.


After a slow start on Crantock beach the Academy is gathering pace with 23 athletes enrolled, for which only two hardy sprinters turned up in torrential rain at Carn Brea recently, but a further 15 were there for the alternative date the following weekend when the weather was more conducive to throwing. The next confirmed date will be 29th December 10am at Par track when Larrie Garnham will be giving an insight into the different types of training and why they are necessary. Other dates for Jan, Feb and March are awaiting confirmation but look like they will be at Carn Brea in Jan and Feb and Par in March, coordinating on some occasions with visiting coaches for some events.