Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ocean City Coach Bill Moreland

Coach Bill Moreland, Ocean City, NJ

Coach Moreland with Ocean City team and Yoga Instructor Teri O'Connor of NJ Beach Yoga

Great coaches are rare in any sport. Because running is both an art and a science, a great running coach may be even harder to find. Win loss records are only the first and most ephemeral consideration.
The best coaches are not simply taskmasters, but they do have some common traits—
  • First, they must be experts on running physiology, yet must also be willing to learn more.
  • They must inspire and be good motivators for runners of varying abilities. They must be good listeners, and effective communicators.
  • They must be disciplined but flexible.
  • Finally, they must set a good example and display the commitment and discipline essential for a runner to reach their goals and potential.
    A coach who has all of these traits and one more-- humility-- is Bill Moreland the track and cross country coach of Ocean City, New Jersey High School. Moreland lives in Ocean City with his wife Debbie. They have been married for 35 years. Bill and Debbie have 3 children (all runners of course!) daughters Colsey (who graduated from and ran for TCNJ), Allie (a senior, running for the Naval Academy) and Bill (who will attend Rowan to study Mechanical Engineering and may run track in the spring).
    The first thing that strikes you about Coach Moreland is his ability to inspire all of his runners from senior Brett Johnson the fastest (4:08) high school miler in the country, fifth fastest in New Jersey history, to the novices with no running experience that join the Ocean City team each year and quickly become hooked on the sport. Coach Moreland makes running fun. He is also an outstanding runner who leads by example. We recently caught up with Coach Moreland for his thoughts on a variety of subjects including his personal running streak:
How long have you been running?
I’ve been running seriously for 34 years, I ran sporadically before that.

How did you start your running career?
I started running to get back into shape. I had put on a few pounds after getting married (went from 150 to 160 pounds).

Where did you go to high school, college?
I went to Abington High School in Abington PA, Elizabethtown College in PA and grad school at the University of Delaware.

What is your favorite race?
Probably the Fenton Carey Half Marathon in Ocean City.

What is your favorite place to run?
The beach at dawn or a run through the woods.

How long is your running streak—when did it start and how far do you usually run?
It’s over 26 years. I started on January 15, 1982. I average just over 9 miles per day.

Where have you run the most during your streak?
Before we moved back to Ocean City (four years ago) the trails in Upper Township, now on the beach in Ocean City.

Were there any close calls for the streak?
Yes, the closest was when my oldest daughter Colsey was born. I ran about 11 pm.
Some minor injuries have limited the distance to only 2 miles which is the shortest I’ve run.

How many years have you been a teacher?
I’ve taught mathematics for 38 years. The last 18 years I’ve taught AP Calculus and Honors Precalculus.

How long have you been coaching? (boys/girls):
I’ve been coaching for 38 years. For the first 9 years of teaching I coached basketball and the last 29 years cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

What are some of your coaching accomplishments?
10 Cape Atlantic League Championships in Cross-Country, 2 South Jersey Group III Championships in Cross Country. 1 South Jersey Group III Championships in track and a Girls Distance Medley Relay national championship team.

Who are some of the best runners you’ve coached?
Brett Johnson, John Fennekohl (both were South Jersey runners of the year).
Matt Cowhey, John Richardson (won Penn Relays mile and the only NJ male to win 1600 meters and 800 meters at New Jersey Meet of Champions).
Erik Geisinger, Eugene Watts, Rich Vinnacombe, Dan Lowden (1st male to make all Cape Atlantic conference 4 years), Bruce and Jeff Welch, Brian McDonald.
Brittany Sedberry, Rene Tomlin, Allie Moreland, Erin Walsh (these 4 girls won national championship).

What is your running philosophy:
Run but don’t strain.

What is your coaching philosophy?
I have always felt my teams were healthier if we under trained rather than over trained.
Our seniors get to about 50 miles a week coming into their senior year. Four healthy years in high school will be more productive for them when they reach the next level.

Can you tell us about your race directing, some of the races you put on?
We put on fun runs every Thursday night in the summer in Ocean City. This is the 30th year and there are 5k cross country and 1600m and 3200m track races each week. (Note, the races are free). Also the Firefighters Memorial 5k in Sea Isle City (this will be the 35th year) and the Longport Bridge 5k which is a fund raiser for the Cross Country and Track programs. (Bill Moreland also put on the popular Hot Foot half marathon and 5k races in Upper Township for years).

What are your recommendations for avoiding injury?
Too much fast running leads to break downs. Change surfaces when you can and alternate your running shoes. 08 Shelby

What are some of your other hobbies/interests?
My mustangs (cars). I just got an 08 Shelby.

It has been said the most valuable gift you can give is your time. Coach Bill Moreland has generously given his time and talents back to running. The sport is better for his efforts. All who have ran for and with him, or in one of his races are extremely grateful for his generosity.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Owen Anderson, The Educated Runner

Owen Anderson, Phd.
It's been 16 years since Owen Anderson was named best running journalist by the Road Runners Club of America. During that interval Anderson has traveled to Kenya (5 times in all) to study Kenyan runners, has published 3 books with a fourth in progress and has contributed to a number of publications including Running Research News, Runners World, Running Times and National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Anderson has developed a peerless reputation for discovering the latest scientific research in exercise and physiology, processing it, and writing about it with enough humor and concrete examples to make the findings both useful and enjoyable to interested runners and coaches. In addition, Anderson is a good enough runner to experience first hand what he is writing about. For example, in an article "In the Halls of the Mountain Kings" published in April 1993, Anderson lived and trained with the Kenyan national cross country team in their national camp at St. Marks College near Embu Kenya to research his article. The result was a remarkable article that made the reader feel like they too were resident in the camp during the lung burning sessions. Andersons latest project is a new website dedicated to giving runners "an advanced degree in training, sports nutrition and injury prevention" called "The Educated Runner": In addition, Anderson is is also currently coaching other runners and working on a fourth book for Human Kinetics Publishing entitled "The Science of Running". Anderson believes the 700-page, 45-chapter volume will serve as the ultimate reference for runners who are "interested in upgrading their training and performances."

We recently talked to Owen for his thoughts on two of the most popular topics of discussion for cross-country runners-- hills and developing a kick.

Owen, you've always been a big proponent of hill training, can you tell us why?
Hill training is great because it is the most-specific form of running-specific strength training. You're working against gravity with your own body weight as resistance, and you are actually running, making the gains in strength very specific to running. The neuromuscular patterns are not exactly the same as those which prevail during flat-ground running, but they are closer than those associated with most traditional strength-training movements. In addition, hill training raises oxygen-consumption rate and elevates blood lactate significantly during the uphill surges, effects which should lead to higher VO2max and faster lactate-threshold running speed. Hill training has also been connected with enhanced running economy. Combined, the upgrades in economy and VO2max should lead to an upswing in VO2max, one of the best single predictors of running performance.

What do you think is the best way for a runner to improve his or her kick?
Anderson: To improve kicking power, the most-basic thing a runner can do is to improve his/her fitness. I'm not trying to be a wise guy: If your lactate threshold, vVO2max, running economy, and fatigue-resistance have been upgraded properly via high-quality training, you will be able to sustain quality paces for longer periods of time - and you will have more reserve when you want to "turn on the jets" at the end of a race. You can specifically train to kick, too, by carrying out longer, fatiguing, high-quality intervals (600s, 800s, maybe even 1000s) which then have a blistering 200 tacked on at the end. Fundamentally, of course, you improve your kick by upgrading your maximal running speed (your average pace over, say, 100-300 meters, during a maximal effort). This is something that most endurance runners simply don't do. When their race times get faster, it is because they can sustain paces with which they are already familiar over a longer period of time, not because they have raised the "top end" running speed to the sky. To augment max speed, it is necessary to carry out lots of very intense running, to follow a program of running-specific strength training which progresses into explosive strength training with lots of high-speed drills which mimic the mechanics of running, and also to carry out downhill sprinting (which shortens the deceleration phase of contact and gets runners into the acceleration phase of stance more quickly; this elevates stride rate without hurting stride length, a key way to raise max speed).

Written by Jack Heath

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Erin Donohues Blog from Beijing

Erin Donohue
Erin Donohue writes from Beijing in a Courier Post Blog
*** Update from Erin on her race***
I have an update on my race: the first round on August 19th was CANCELLED, due to lack of entries. Actually, there are 36 girls entered, enough for 3 rounds, but the local organizing committee decided to cut it out anyway. So now, my first race will be August 21st at 7pm China time, 7am EST. There will be 3 heats of 12 runners and the top 4 in each heat and the next 2 fastest times will advance to the final on August 23rd.

Since leaving Haddonfield, I’ve been busy traveling and settling into the Olympic Village. I arrived in Beijing on the 7th and checked into one of the US Team’s apartments. We’re a big team, so we take up several of the apartment buildings in the Village. I’m staying with five other girls from the track team, including one of my training partners, Shannon Rowbury and my former UNC teammate, Alice Schmidt.

Athletes from all countries live, eat and train in the Village. It’s got a dining hall (featuring a McDonald’s), workout facilities, shopping areas, lounges, and other meeting areas. It’s surreal to see all of these athletes from countries around the world in this place. For instance, I saw Yao Ming, who is fairly easy to spot, casually grabbing a drink in the dining hall.

The day after I arrived, I marched in the Opening Ceremonies. This was a memorable experience, filled with great excitement and lots of sweat. The US Team wore Ralph Lauren Polo suits, which looked sharp, but were a little heavy for the Beijing heat and humidity. Aside from the perfuse sweating, the Opening Ceremonies were amazing. Walking into a stadium of 90,000+ people and watching the torch lighting is something I’ll never forget.

The day after the ceremonies, I left the Olympic Village and flew with some other members of the track team to a training camp in Dalian. Dalian is port city on the Yellow Sea, and the US Track and Field team is staying at a golf course resort hotel north of town. Security around the hotel is tight, and we’re the only group actually allowed in the hotel area. Police block major roads and escort us anytime we leave the hotel. I feel very VIP, but I also feel a little embarrassed that we may be inconveniencing this city of 6 million people every time we need to go somewhere. I know I’d be mad if police shut down Route 70 or 295 because some runners needed to get to a track.

Partially due to this security, the Dalian training camp is much quieter than Beijing, and I’m finding it easier to relax and focus on training here. Since the first round of the women’s 1500m is still over a week away, I can get in a few more quality workouts. Today, I did a tempo run and some drills, and tomorrow, I’ll do a harder interval session on the track. I’m feeling good, and I’ve completely adjusted to the time difference. I’ll let you know how things go here in Dalian and back in Beijing.

Click here to access Erin's Blog Page from the Courier Post:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Favorite Workouts

Olympian Browning Ross was my coach in high school and then again for some of my post-collegiate running years. Like most runners with a great coach, I felt like I had a real edge when I went to the starting line with Browning in my Coach Browning Rosscorner. In fact, I did my best running during this period. A good coach, like Ross, can provide a real psychological boost, helping you to maximize your ability-- possibly even giving you an edge over another runner with the same ability.

If you are not presently working with a coach, but are looking to improve your performance, the next best thing may be a great workout you haven't thought of that can still help you take your running to the next level.
In the words of Coach Ross: "I'd like to find something new in training. Something the others haven't got… The same elixir, perhaps, which all the athletes of the world are seeking. When training clicks it is a joy."
We contacted some great runners and coaches for their favorite workouts.

First, two sample workouts from my days running for Coach Ross:

~Browning Ross workout for March:

Every a.m. do an easy 3 or 4 miles.
Monday: Easy 4 miles 8 x 165 yards (straight aways) about 24 seconds. 50 yd jog interval
Tuesday: 3 x 660 at 1:42 6 miles steady 6:30 to 7 minute pace 4 x 110 at 7/8
Wednesday: Same as Monday Olympian Browning Ross running for Villanova
Thursday: Long steady run 15 miles at pace that feels comfortable, accelerate last mile.
Friday: same as Monday and Wednesday
Saturday: same as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Sunday: Race or 8-10 miles at 6:30 to 7 minute pace

~Browning Ross workout for May:
Monday: 4 x 3 laps at 3:32 with 400 jog interval; 5-6 miles at 7:00 pace 6X110 strides at 7/8 effort.
3 mile jog in grass or woods. 6 x 220 jog interval
Wednesday: 2x 220 at 30 seconds with 220 jog interval; 3 x 660 (1:40) 4 x110 (15 seconds); 4 miles easy
same as Tuesday
Friday: 5 miles at 7:00 pace
Saturday: Competition-3 miles afterwards if possible
Sunday: 10-15 miles easy
3 days a week 3-4 miles before breakfast at 7:00 pace.
Note: Monday's workout following competition on Saturday same as Tuesday's.

Here are the favorite workouts of some great runners and coaches:

Johnny Kelley, Olympian, Boston Marathon Winner
Johnny Kelley (Former Olympic roommate of Ross in 1948 and 58-time finisher of the Boston marathon who passed away in 2004 at age 97): "My favorite workout -- on a track, run repeat miles twice a week. What can you lose??!"

Coach Benson
Coach Roy Benson, noted Heart-Rate training expert: "I favor big volume workouts at anaerobic threshold. I like 4-5 miles of intervals at slower than current 5K pace. It's slower than the usual speedwork at 90-95 percent of max and keeps kids fresher and from peaking too soon."

Tim Noakes, Author, Physician, and author of The Lore of Running:"Distance runners spend far too much time doing low Tim Noakesintensity training and not enough high-quality peaking-type training."

Ron Hill, Olympic marathoner, and holder of the world's longest running streak since 1964: " My favorite workout is to run hard and count Ron Hilldouble strides, i.e., each time your right foot hits the ground. Start with 10 double strides, jog for 10. Push for 15 double strides jog 15 etc., until you get to 55. After 55 I come back down to 10. Then I run easily for ½ mile and then repeat. Fifty-five is usually the maximum. The beauty of this workout is that the sprints come in all types of terrain and that teaches you how to accelerate."

Alberto Salazar, Former Olympic marathon world record holder and presently a coach:"Here is my favorite workout: 4 x ¾ in 3:05 to 3:08, 3 x mile in 4:15 to 4:25. Or a fartlek run of 1mile in 4:30 Greg Meyer, Alberto Salazar, Bill Rodgers  Lep Kulinski Jr Photoand 4 miles at 5:05 pace, 1 mile in 4:30, 4 miles at 5:05 pace. The 3 fast miles were run on the track, the 4-mile segments on a wood chip trail 1-mile long. I'd go straight into 5:05 pace after finishing a 4:30 mile. Times can be adjusted; but it makes a good marathon workout too."

Bill Rodgers, Boston, New York marathon winner and Olympian: Bill Rodgers, Leo Kulinski Jr  Photo
"I like running 6 x800 + 6 x 400 repeats mixed together with my 4th repetition my hardest effort. It simulates a mid-race surge. I also used to do that on some of my 20-mile training runs, up the pace for a minute -- or a mile -- than ease back. I also believe light weight lifting for the upper body helps, along with stretching and massage. Train well, but rest well. Learn when to cut back your effort-training and racing throughout the year."

Bill Squires Former coach of the Greater Boston Track Club (Rodgers, Benoit, Meyer et al.): "First workout: A ladder at 10K race pace Coach Bill Squires Photo by Leo Kulinski Jrconsisting of the following (about 2 ½ miles): A 330 with 1:30 minute rest, 660 with a 2:20 rest, 1000 with a 3 minute rest; 330 with a 1:30 rest, 660 with a 2:20 rest, 2 x 1200 with a 5 minute rest. Or this second workout: Do a 10-mile run; every 10 minutes do a 2 minute pick up; at 30 minutes do a 5 minute pick up; at 60 minutes 3 minute pick up."

Of course these workouts will need to be adjusted to fit your present fitness, experience, and goals. But hopefully they can give you a fresh perspective on your running-just like a coach.

Written by Jack Heath, This article formerly appeared in Runners Gazette Magazine:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Home Town Haddonfield gives Erin Donohue Great Sendoff for Olympics

Olympian Erin Donohue runs a lap with fans on hometown Haddonfield NJ track  Jose F Moreno, Courier Post Photo
Olympian Erin Donohue

Erin Donohue's hometown of Haddonfield New Jersey gave the Sign in front of Haddonfield High25 year old South Jersey Olympian a powerful sendoff less than a week before she leaves for Beijing for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The festivities included a parade through Haddonfield for Erin with a parade route mobbed with enthusiastic Haddonfield residents.

Erin, her family and coaches rode in the parade and were proceeded with bands, a color guard and local running club South Jersey AC holding a Erin addresses crowd Jose F Moreno Courier Post photogigantic American flag. At Erin's alma mater Haddonfield High School the festivities were capped with a proclamation designating July 31, 2008 as Erin Donohue day and a chance for the hundreds of children present to run with an Olympian for a lap on Haddonfield's track. Erin will run her preliminary 1500 meter race on August 19 (August 18 in the USA between 9 and 11:30 est). After her outstanding scholastic running career at Haddonfield High School, Erin ran at North Carolina where she was an All-American and then for Nike where she is coached by John Cook (who also coaches Shalene Flanagan and Shannon Rowbury).
Like South Jersey's last Olympic Distance runner Browning Ross (Woodbury, 1952) Erin has become a world class distance runner while doing much of her training in her hometown (Haddonfield) thus Parade through Haddonfield for Erin Donohue Daycontinuing to inspire runners of all ages in South Jersey. Good luck Erin!

Click below for a video of Erin and the parade from CBS
Among Erin's accomplishments:

  • 2008 US Olympian 1500 meters (runner up in US trials)
  • Fastest American miler 2007 (4:27)
  • 4 time NCAA All American at North Carolina
  • World Championship 1500 meter Semi-Finalist 2007
  • PR 2:01.12 in 800 meters, 4:05.55 in 1500 meters and 4:27 in mile
  • 15 NJSIAA State Championships in 800, 1600, 3200 and javelin (state record)
  • NJ Meet of Champions winner in 1,600m, 3200m and runner up in javelin by 3 inches. Named NJ
  • High School athlete of the year.
  • 2 Time National Scholastic Mile Champion 1999, 2001Erin rode a firetruck in parade in her honor

Erin addresses crowd at Haddonfield High, her alma mater

Children gather to run a lap with Olympian Erin Donohue Local running club South Jersey AC carries American Flag

Friday, August 1, 2008

Donohue's Olympic berth stirring excitement among N.J. runners

Erin Donohue
Erin Donohue at Haddonfield High

Donohue's Olympic berth stirring excitement among N.J. runners
· By Vera Stek, Courier News
New Jersey runners will have one of their own to cheer for when the 2008 Olympics track & field competition gets under way next month in Beijing, China.

Erin Donohue, 25, a former Haddonfield Memorial High School standout, will be running the 1500-meter event on Aug. 19 after winning a spot on Team USA when she finished second at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.
Athletes in South Jersey who have been following her career for years and run with her in South Jersey Athletic Club events are cheering already.
"This is the first Olympics in about 20 years I am looking forward to watching because Erin is in it," said Jack Heath, head coach at Gloucester Catholic High School.
"She's a winner just by qualifying — it is extremely difficult. No South Jersey distance runner has qualified for the Olympics since Browning Ross in 1952," said Heath, who was coached by Ross in his own athletic career.
"I ran with Ed (Donohue, Erin's father) at Rowan (when it was Glassboro State) and I stayed friends with Ed and ran with him after college so I saw Erin grow up. I have an article about her that appeared in the local paper when she was about 6 that mentioned a fun run she ran in.
"I can remember Erin asking Ed if she could run a half mile with him and then a mile. She loved to run.
"I remember reading about some of our recent Olympic marathoners who were glad just to be a part of the Olympics and glad just to finish. Erin won't be intimidated in the Olympics and will give 100 percent no matter the conditions."
The coach maintains a blog with information on Erin, other renowned runners and many aspects of running and coaching. See
Harry Berkowitz, a Piscataway runner who grew up in South Jersey and maintains close ties there as a member of the Pinelands Striders and South Jersey Athletic Club, has been following Erin's career for 10 years.
"Erin made the final of the 1500 in last year's World Championships in Japan. That was a surprise to most of us who have followed Erin since she started running in high school.
"I would never have picked her to become a world-class 1500-meter runner. I think it would be a great accomplishment if she made the 1500 final in the Olympics.
"For a 1500-meter runner, she is a big, strong woman. She should be able to handle the rough running that takes place in the Olympics. She had been a good high school basketball player and javelin thrower. So she is a good all-around athlete.
"She's running in one of the events that interests me, and she is from South Jersey. That may never happen again in my lifetime. I am rooting for her. In general I root for all U.S. athletes, especially those from New Jersey," Berkowitz said.
Haddonfield is sending Donohue off to the Olympics with a parade on July 31 and a chance for her friends, former competitors and others to run around the track at her former high school with her.