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   Hello Everyone,                                                                                                                                                 November 26, 2015

In this Issue:


  1. CIS Race Distance Controversy
  2. The Case for High-Intensity Training for Older Runners
  3. Upcoming Local Events - December 5 Santa Shuffle
  4. Running Room Update -
  5. Track North News -




CIS Race Distance Controversy

from Dick Moss Laurentian XC/Track

Hey Vees & Supporters,

In case you weren't aware, there's a controversy going on within the CIS XC community.

For background, a CIS coach firmly believes that men and women at the CIS level should race the same distance. Sounds good on the surface, but there are many shades of grey here, including the fact that the women in the OUA, according to a 2014 poll that we conducted, don't want to increase their race distance and don't care about what the men do. There are many other issues involved. You can read my article below to see what they are.

The coach driving this issue lost his motion at the CIS meeting to make the race distances equal for men and women (it was a flawed motion that proposed 8km distances for both, but in fact would have had women racing 10k next year). However, he tied his motion to a statement about women's equality that has everybody up in arms because we turned it down...even though we had to reject the motion or have our women race 10k next year (by the way, two of the coaches who voted against the motion are women).

The coach has refused to accept this decision. Instead, he has hammered away on the message boards, contacted the mainstream media and stated publicly that his goal is to "shame" the coaches publicly to the point that our athletic directors and school presidents overrule our decision this year.

The issue has gone to a different level and "alleged coaches quotes" from an anonymous source at our CIS meeting are now being reported in the online edition of Canadian Runner magazine (terribly poor journalism).

Here's the article:

Here's a previous article:

This issue is also being driven by a message board thread, and Twitter comments calling us sexist pigs, dinosaurs, etc.

Aside from speaking out at the meeting, I've stayed out of this (I don't have the time for it), but I've now been named and incomplete/incorrect information is being published about my position on this. So, I've had enough. I've just sent the following response to the Canadian Running Magazine online editor. It states much of my position. Many of the coaches who voted against the motion share some of these opinions.

To Sinead Mulhern, ( web editor at Canadian Running)

I see that "alleged" coaches' quotes from the recent CIS cross-country meeting have been published in your web edition. These comments, from an “anonymous source,” are not complete and do not convey my complete position, nor, might I add, the complete position of most of the coaches involved.

So, here’s my position on the women’s race distance issue. Much of this was discussed in the CIS meeting, although your confidential source did not report it all. I trust you will post this in the name of fairness.

First of all, I don’t believe there’s a coach in the CIS who is sexist. Personally I’ve worked with female athletes for 30 years and know they’re every bit as tough and capable as male runners (in many cases, more so). And of course, I know that female runners can race 10k or longer. I don’t know a single CIS coach who feels differently.

The question isn’t “can” they: it’s should they, do they want to, do they care what the guys do, and what will be the effects on the league if they do.

In this discussion, there are divergent opinions about what “equality” truly means, what the optimal distance is for women’s participation and development, and what effects a change will have on the teams in the CIS. I’ll explain further.

I believe that equality for women runners doesn’t necessarily mean being identical to the men. I believe it means having the right to be different if that’s what’s best. In our case, it may not be ideal for CIS women to race the 10k just because the men do it. For example, there are different opinions about whether the 10km is an optimal distance for male runners, especially those coming out of high school.

Female Athlete Input - The OUA Poll
The OUA coaches have already discussed the race distance issue and in 2014 conducted a poll of our female athletes. In response to the poll, 152 athletes replied for an 80% response rate, which is a significant sample size. The results indicated the following:
1. Female runners in the OUA don’t care what distance the guys are doing and don’t feel their race distance has to be the same as the men’s.
2. The optimal race distance is 6km: 68% felt the distance should be 6km or shorter, 29% wanted the 8km distance and only 12% wanted to race 10km.
3. 21% of the respondents would drop out of cross-country if the race distance were increased to 8k or 10k.
4. Over 70% of our cross-country runners also race indoor track.

I should mention that I conducted an informal survey with my own athletes and alumni (and repeated it with my athletes at the CIS championships). The results were similar. Quite telling was a runner who personally preferred the 10km but voted for the 6km because she felt it was better for the league.

While this poll was not conducted CIS-wide, it does indicate the feelings of the athletes within our conference and I feel obligated to represent their opinion. These women are not beginners. They are confident, intelligent, experienced athletes, some of whom have five years of collegiate running under their belt. Who better to listen to when deciding on race distances?

I strongly believe that the female athletes who will live with our decisions deserve to have their voices heard. And I find it ironic that those coaches who’ve taken our women runners’ opinions into consideration are being labelled “sexist pigs” for doing so.

A trigger for this push for identical race distances is that the IAAF XC championships will now feature10k race distances for both men and women. However, I don’t believe that IAAF distances should be our focus when designing women’s CIS running. In fact, very few of our athletes will immediately participate on one of those teams (only one competed in the World Senior championships last year). While there are many exceptions, our World XC athletes tend to be post-collegians with extensive experience. For example, the Canadian women’s team’s finishers from last year were 34, 29, 27, 26 and 23 years of age. Plus, that race takes place only once every two years. Should our entire system be devoted to producing athletes for this competition?

Actually, our athletes tend to have a greater presence at the FISU XC championships (World University Championships). The distance run at that competition is 6km, not 10km.

However, I don’t think FISU should be our primary focus either. I believe we should design a system that allows for maximum participation among university women while still allowing our elite runners to develop. I believe the 6km or 8km distances do that.You also have to remember, that the CIS XC season is only two months long and CIS runners needing to race 10km for a World Championship in March have ample time adapt their training to accommodate.

Athlete Development
Most of the athletes in the CIS begin running at the age of 17-18 and graduate by the time they are 22 years of age. That makes them Junior or Espoir athletes, not true Seniors.

There are different philosophies about developing athletes through the Junior/Espoir years. Some believe that a steady diet of 10km-based training is optimal for both middle distance and distance runners. Some believe that it’s better to maintain faster running speeds while young, and move to 10k-based training later. Both are valid but neither system is best for every runner!! My personal preference, with the type of athlete with whom I typically work, is the former. Other coaches might have a different athlete population and prefer the opposite.

However, these are matters of coaching philosophy, not human rights issues.

I believe that an increase to 10km would reduce our XC numbers and would make it difficult for some teams to field a full squad. Why? Certainly, the OUA poll indicated that it would happen. But also, because the jump from high school distances to 10k is large and some runners will have to sit out a year while increasing their mileage levels; a high percentage of our XC runners are track athletes; and it’s just not as much fun to be on the course for 35+ minutes with a strung-out field. These aren’t philosophical questions about equity, they are reality. The reality is that there won’t be a huge infusion of 10k type runners if we switch to a 10k race distance. The 10k type runners are already on our squads. What will happen is that our faster-twitch runners will drop out. While the OUA poll might be a slight exaggeration, it indicates that as many as 21% will quit XC if the race distance was increased. Some teams can’t afford that.

In contrast, the 6km or 8km should maintain current participation. At this point, cross-country in the CIS is thriving. Why mess with it?

Our Mandate
We have to remember that 95% of our CIS athletes will not make an IAAF national team (that’s a guess - it might be even lower). For most of our runners, university competition is the pinnacle of their career. After their eligibility is completed, they will go on to graduate school, careers, and paying off their student debt. Many will keep running, but not at a highly competitive level. I believe our responsibility is to provide the majority of our athletes with a good experience while still allowing the elites to develop. I believe the 6km or 8km distances do that for both populations.

Personal Opinion & My Vote
I believe either the 6km or 8km can do a good job of developing athletes for higher levels of competition. The 10k can do the same, but the side-effect of moving to the 10k will be a reduction in participation and the possibility that some schools will be unable to field a full team.

As I mentioned in the meeting, I don’t mind the 8km, but I would currently vote for the 6km because that’s the distance that’s preferred by the majority of my own female athletes and those in the OUA. I believe female athletes should have a say in determining their own system - to me, that’s a better signal of equality than simply copying what the men do.

For the motion in questions, voting for the 8km was not actually possible. I voted “against” the motion because it would have automatically forced our women to run 10k next year. Also, because I believe that our female athletes shouldn’t be tied to the men’s distance if they feel that distance isn’t optimal.

I also believe that the point about “what distances would we choose if we were starting from scratch,” should be amended to “what distances would women choose if they were starting from scratch…regardless of the men’s distances.” It might very well be 6km.

Dick Moss, Head Coach, Laurentian XC/Track

P.S. Many of the views expressed in Lauren Fleshman’s blog article on this subject align with my own: http://bit.ly/1PTUysE

I'm writing this to keep you informed, not to solicit comments, but if you'd like to weigh in on the issue, feel free.

Dick Moss pedigest@cyberbeach.net





   The Case for High-Intensity Training for Older Runners
By Joe Friel, Published Mar. 6, 2015, Updated Mar. 6, 2015

Forwarded by TimUuksulainen

Adapted from Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life with permission of VeloPress. Preview Joe Friel’s book at www.velopress.com/books/fast-after-50/.

Research tells us that the performance decline we typically experience with aging has a lot to do with how active we are while growing older. For example, a paper released in 2000 examined the combined effects of age and activity level over time. The researchers reviewed 242 studies comparing aging and VO2max involving 13,828 male subjects. Each of the subjects was assigned to one of three groups based on how active they were: sedentary, moderately active exerciser, or endurance-trained runner.

Aerobic capacity was highest in the runners and lowest in the sedentary group. No surprises there. The aerobic capacity changes per decade of life were: sedentary, 8.7 percent; active, 7.3 percent; runners, 6.8 percent. What this means is if at age 30 a man had a VO2max of 60 and then for the next 30 years didn’t exercise and lived a “normal” (sedentary) life, he could expect his aerobic capacity at age 60 to be around 46. If he was moderately active, it would be about 48. And if he trained as an endurance runner, it would be in the neighborhood of 49. Those are not significant numeric changes. But for normal folks who generally see VO2max declines of 10 percent and greater for a 10-year period, these numbers are really high.

But regardless of the actual size of the change, here’s the main message: The study further reported that the subjects who were endurance-trained runners significantly decreased their volume (miles run per week) and training intensity as they got older. That’s a common practice with aging athletes. So maybe it’s not simply working out that maintains aerobic capacity and therefore, in part, race performances; instead, it is how much training you do and how intensely you do it.

In 1987, Dr. Michael Pollock and his colleagues at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reported a watershed finding in the understanding of performance and age. Dr. Pollack reported an astonishing finding that lent further credibility to the idea that very strenuous exercise was an aerobic capacity preserver. Well-trained, competitive endurance runners with an average initial age of 52 were able to totally maintain VO2max values over a 10-year period.

In the full group of 24 athletes, VO2max went into a tailspin, with an average 9 percent decline during the 10 years of the study. However, Pollock discovered that 11 of the 24 had continued to train vigorously and were still competitive a decade after the initial testing. When he categorized the results, he found that the more active athletes had absolutely maintained their average VO2max at a steady 53 ml/kg/min (10 years earlier it had been 54) despite being now in their early 60s. The less active subjects had seen their VO2max values plummet by 12 percent. In Pollock’s paper, “more active” meant that athletes continued to do high-intensity workouts while maintaining their volume.

Just like Pollock’s study, other research on aging in experienced endurance athletes generally supports the notion that in order to reduce the decline in aerobic capacity with advancing age, training must be intense.

That typically means training anaerobically—at or above the lactate threshold. For experienced endurance athletes, an exercise regimen based solely on long, slow distance (LSD) will do little to improve or even maintain your aerobic fitness status over the years.

If high-intensity training is something you haven’t done for a long time or have never done, you must consider several things: the type of hard workouts, the frequency of hard workouts, your short-term recovery from hard workouts, and your nutrition relative to hard workouts. Let’s look at high-intensity training designed with one critical goal: aerobic capacity.

Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2015/03/training/case-high-intensity-training-older-runners_124145#kUx4L5KSPTpukaTf.99



Upcoming Local Events

December 5, 2015

Santa Shuffle

New Location at College Boreal (Course Map Here)






Run Club Update




Store News

I would also like to take this time to say the Santa Shuffle is coming up on Saturday December 5th at College Boreal at 10am. Don't miss the event. It's going to be awesome.

Also if you have not heard yet about the Resolution run it is going to be run from the Running Room on December 31st at 5pm so stay tuned for up dates on the courses and such.

Your Sudbury Team,

Eric, Ania, Catherine, Veronica, Frank, Bernadette


Join us for FREE Practice Club

We have FREE run club Wednesday nights at 6pm and Sunday mornings at 8:30am.




Track North News - by Dick Moss





Dick Moss, Head Coach
Laurentian XC/Track Team
c/o Coach Moss <pedigest@cyberbeach.net>
Web: http://laurentianxctrack.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/laurentianxctrack/


For information call me.
Vincent Perdue
341 Fourth Ave, Sudbury On. P3B-3R9
vt perdue@cyberbeach.net

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