Three former guests on the podcast discuss a variety of topics, starting with a definition of the term “speed” and how that term fits into the training of distance runners. Specifically, Jeff Boelé and John O’Malley discuss acceleration and why it may or may not be useful for distance runners.
The conversation then moves on to a discussion of terminology across a spectrum of intensities, including threshold and vVo2max running. Later in the podcast John and Jeff Boelé address a question Joan Hunter submitted regarding sub-max velocity work and their answers are fantastic.
This podcast is in many ways an extension of the conversations these three men and Jay Johnson have been engaging in via a text thread for the past year.
While technical at times, the majority of the information in this podcast will be useful for coaches with two years of experience, coaches with 20 years of experience and everyone in between.
Below is the 20-minute video of Jeff Boelé’s neural session practice, the video that John O’Malley says is a must-watch.
If you’d like some transcribed excerpts of this podcast please join my email list via the sidebar to your right.
Finally, John, Dr. Messer and Jay all spoke at the 2020 Boulder Running Clinics and at the end of the podcast Jay shares a coupon code that will give you $10 off those videos. Visit BoulderRunningClinics.com to purchase the videos.
A Brooks “Top 25 Most Inspiring Coaches” award winner, Coach O’Malley has an unprecedented coaching resume. He has had the unique ability to coach the “average” runner in addition to being able to take elite runners to the highest levels in Illinois and United States history. His cross country teams at Sandburg H.S. have qualified for state 14 years in a row, which accounts for every year he’s been coaching. His teams have placed in the top 10 in state eight separate occasions out, including three top four finishes, a runner up in 2014 and a state championship in 2015. Without their #2 runner, his team placed 4th at NXN in 2015 after qualifying and placing 16th in 2014. In additional to coaching two NXN teams, he has coached two individual qualifiers.
He coached two-time Illinois state champion, 8:29 2-miler, 3:59 miler, only double Footlocker and Nike National Champion, Lukas Verzbicas. Last year Dylan Jacobs won Footlocker Midwest Regional, making Coach O’Malley the only coach to have coached two Footlocker Midwest Regional champions. Jacobs would go on to be a double All-American at NXN and Footlocker as a junior. At Detweiller Park, the Illinois state cross country course since 1972, two of O’Malley’s runners have broken 14:00, a feat only achieved by a total of six runners in Illinois history. His ability to create a culture in which all his athletes are fully engaged and determined is perhaps best exemplified by David Gleisner who as a healthy senior did not manage to make the team’s top seven and run at state or nationals, but would run 9:16 for 3200 that spring.
On the track, O’Malley has coached five runners who have run 4:10 or better for 1600 and 15 runners 1:57 or better in the 800. His 4 x 800 relays have been most dominant. Having run 7:46 or better for the last six consecutive seasons, they placed in the top five in state seven times, including two state champion relays and setting the Illinois State Record of 7:37.3. In all, he’s had ten different foursomes run under 7:48. Additionally, Sean Torpy set the all time Illinois State Record in the 800 of 1:47.9. His 4 x mile relay won the 2016 New Balance Indoor National title. Sean Torpy would go on to become the Illinois state champion in the 1600, Chris Torpy the Illinois state 800 meter champion, and his team won three of the four distance events at the state meet in 2016, a feat only achieved two other times in state history. Last spring, after graduating three of his four state champions from 2016, his 4 x 800 came back to place 2nd in state in 7:46 and Dylan Jacobs ran 4:07 for 1600. O’Malley has coached three Gatorade Athletes of the Year: Lukas Verzbicas, Sean Torpy and Dylan Jacobs.
The Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Coach of the Year, NFHS Coach of the Year, United States Track and Cross Country Federation Coach of the Year, Coach O’Malley’s coaching resume is perhaps only surpassed by his teaching accolades, which includes the Northwestern University Distinguished Secondary Teacher Award, the Stanford University Excellence in Teaching Award, the Illinois Education Association Leadership in Action Award and the Western Illinois University Inspiring teach award.
Dr. Jeff Messer
Dr. Jeffrey I. Messer serves as department chair and faculty in exercise physiology for the Exercise Science Department at Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona.
Dr. Messer has published research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, The American Journal of Physiology and The Journal of Applied Physiology. Most recently, Dr. Messer and co-authors published a 2016 paper entitled “A Simple Hydraulic Analog Model of Oxidative Phosphorylation.”
Dr. Messer applies his passion for teaching and scholarly inquiry through his strong involvement in coaching both interscholastic endurance athletes and, periodically, pre-secondary and post-collegiate endurance athletes.
Dr. Messer has been recognized by the United States Track-&-Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association as the 2016 National Girls High School Cross-Country Coach-of-the-Year.
From 2006 – 2012, Dr. Messer served as co-head coach for cross-country and assistant coach (distance) for track-&-field at Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix, Arizona. The Xavier College Preparatory cross-country program earned six consecutive (2007 – 2012) Arizona high school girl’s state cross-country championships. During the three-year period from 2010 – 2012, the Xavier College Preparatory cross-country program concluded the associated cross-country seasons ranked 22nd, 8th, and 21st in the United States. During the 2012 Arizona high school track-&-field season, Xavier College Preparatory had twelve (12) student-athletes average 5:13 for the 1,600-meter distance.
In February 2013, Dr. Messer began to serve as head coach for girl’s cross-country and assistant coach (girls’ distance) for track-&-field at Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, Arizona. The Desert Vista High School girls’ cross-country program earned the 2013, 2014, and 2016 Arizona high school girls’ state cross-country championship. In late-May 2014, the Desert Vista High School girls’ distance program was ranked by MileSplit US as one of only two girls’ high school track-&-field programs in the United States with “top ten” groups in each of the 800-m, 1,600-m, and 3,200-m events. In December 2014, the Desert Vista High School girls’ cross-country program finished fifth (5th) at the Nike National High School Cross-Country Championship and thus concluded the 2014 high school cross-country season as the fifth (5th) ranked high school cross-country team in the United States. More recently, the Desert Vista High School girls’ cross-country program finished sixth (6th) at the 2016 Nike National High School Cross-Country Championship.
Subsequent to the 2016 high school cross-country season, Dr. Messer retired from his head coaching endeavors in order to expand his community college leadership pursuits.
Most recently, Dr. Messer returned and transitioned to the Desert Vista boys’ distance program as a volunteer assistant for the 2017 cross-country season. The Desert Vista High School boys’ cross-country program earned its first opportunity to compete at and ultimately finished eighth (8th) at the 2017 Nike National High School Cross-Country Championship. During the 2018 and 2019 Arizona high school cross-country seasons, Dr. Messer served as a volunteer assistant for the Desert Vista High School girls’ and boys’ cross-country programs.
Additionally, Dr. Messer serves as the coach for professional runner Jessica Tonn. Miss Tonn recently finished as national runner-up at the October 2019 USA Track-&-Field 5-K Championships and hopes to compete at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Track-&-Field Trials.
Jeff has a unique background as a coach. In his near 20-year career, he has worked with middle school, high school, collegiate, professional, and masters athletes. With a background as an endurance athlete, Jeff got his start coaching distance athletes at Greenville College in Greenville, IL in the summer of 2000. Upon moving to Boulder, CO in 2005, Jeff’s coaching exploits started to diversify. He started working with a small group of post-collegiate athletes and eventually began helping at Lyons middle/senior high school (Lyons, CO) a few years later. It was at Lyons that Jeff’s coaching acumen was refined. Brought on to coach the high jump, Jeff took the challenge of becoming a great jumps coach seriously, and that meant taking a deep dive into the speed/power world. Eventually, Jeff handled programming for the cross country team and all event groups (sprint, jump, throw, distance) for the track and field team. He had direct oversight of the jumps and distance events.
In 2015, Jeff met renowned coach Dan Pfaff at the ALTIS training enclave in Phoenix, AZ. Through this mentorship, Jeff was inspired to pursue a massage therapist license. Becoming a licensed therapist in 2017 was one more skill set Jeff added to his coaching toolbox. The combination of sports therapy, speed/power and endurance training have equip Jeff well for his current role of working with professional and semi-profession distance athletes in Boulder, CO.
Jeff has a proven track record of fostering a culture where athletes of all ages and abilities are able to develop and see continued progress in their athletic pursuits. Jeff holds USATF Level I and II (endurance) certifications and a jumps event specialist certification from the USTFCCCA. Additionally he is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Colorado
Jeff works with or has worked with a number of notable athletes and teams.
Paul Roberts – 2 x Nike Cross National qualifier, 5th place Footlocker Cross Country (2015), IAAF World Cross Country qualifier (2015)
Katie Mackey – Multiple time US national champion, IAAF Indoor World Championship and Diamond League participant
Lyons high school – 16 team state championships (cross country/track) and numerous individual state champions since 2010