David Davis-Jones

Up your Haemoglobin – Run with Dave’s Group

David Davis-Jones is the only Athletics Australia Level 5 Middle Distance Coach in Tasmania.

Dave training GroupDave (center with cap) and some of his athletes that he Coaches.

There is an article featuring David in the September 2016 Athletics Australia Coaches Newsletter on page 34-40 – read now.

His mission is to improve the quality of middle distance running in the state. He welcomes any athlete of whatever ability or club to to train with his group.

Many years ago, when Dave left Tasmania and joined the Glenhuntly Athletics Club, he has fond memories of running around Caulfield Racecourse with the likes of Ron Clarke, Trevor Vincent, Tony Cooke and Derek Clayton.

This group training improved his running immensely, and he would like to replicate something like this here in Hobart.  He currently has a group of men and women who garnered 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 bronze medal at the recent Tasmanian State Athletic Championships.

A former international athlete himself, Dave has coached Olympians from many nations, starting way back in 1982 when he coached Pat Scammell at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.  Recently, one his athletes, Paula Gonzales won the Spanish Marathon Trial, and will now compete in the Rio Olympics for Spain.

Dave has coached Australian, Kenyan, Tanzanian, and U.S. athletes at Olympic Games and is a former AIS and VIS affiliated coach.

Want to improve? Turn up and run.
Any more information, or training advice, feel free to contact Dave on: 0434 015 857 or Email: davisjones@optusnet.com.au

Athletics Australia Coaching Profile


Below are some articles from David Davis-Jones.
A few things to think about
Fartlek Training
Illness Indicators – 5 Stress Indicators
Men and women of the Birubi Group
Suggestions on diet and nutrition for Athletes
Training and Periodization Terminology explained


A few things to think about

Stretch when you sometimes feel a bit tight,
Ice if you feel inflammation or swelling,
Eat well – sometimes you don’t feel like pigging out, but balance it out,
Bring Cookies or Jelly Beans or Boiled Sweets to training. The sooner you get something into your system after running, the quicker you will recover,
Try and get adequate rest, sleep helps you recover,
Keep hydrated, another help for recovery.
Running is bloody tough, but keep ecstatically happy with what you do.
As athletes we have good days and some bad days – get used to it.
If it overwhelms you, then perhaps that balance is out, or you need to change.
And if on the off chance I haven’t picked it up – TELL ME.

Write on the mirror in your Bathroom (with a non permanent marker) using Red – because Red is a Power Colour.

You are looking at the person responsible for your RUNNING !

David Davis-Jones

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Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is generally not practiced (carried out) in the way it was intended.
Fartlek has been misinterpreted, so that you get something like “Mona Fartlek” and other variations – which is structured, and so is NOT Fartlek at all.
Some years ago now; back in my University days, as luck would have it a couple of my mates and I travelled to Valadalen in Northern Sweden after competing in a track meet in Vasteras.
Just why we decided to take this trip into the wilds of Sweden escapes me now, but I am certainly glad we did.
Valadalen was the home of Gosta Olander, and he must have been in his late seventies when I met him. He was still very fit and alert and keen to talk about many things although I can remember finding it difficult to understand him at times because of the language barrier.
Olander is credited with the idea of “Fartlek” (speed play), a type of unstructured, unregimented form of interval training involving a blending of continuous tempo running with varying efforts of speed, stamina, and recovery.
Gosta was concerned that in the late 1930’s, training was becoming too regimented in time and distance, and most training was being done on the cinder tracks.
He decided to utilise what nature had provided in Sweden – kilometres of lovely soft pine forests to run through, with lakes and mountains to inspire the athletes.
Other Swedish coaches like Ernie Hjertberg and Gosta Holmer (sometimes people even refer to this training method as “Holmer Fartlek”) took up Olander’s ideas and together they are generally known as the Father’s of Fartlek.
Gosta had a word for it – “Lopargladje” which translates roughly to joy of running.
This aspect of running has been lost by many athletes, and it is partly for this reason that I try and have everyone running at different locations, over different surfaces and at different paces.
After being to the wilds of Valadalen, I can fully realise what an uplifting experience it must have been for the likes of Gundar Hagg and Henry Kalarne to go there and run, and be inspired by that little man Gosta Olander.
Little wonder that in the early 1940’s Gundar Hagg and Arne Andersson brought the mile World Record down to 4m1.3secs, and the 1’500m to 3m 43secs !
It is a pity that the Svenska Idrottsforbundet disqualified the pair for taking excessive expense money, otherwise I think that probably Gundar or Arne would have been the first to run a sub four minute mile.
There is good reason to say this, as some of their races pace wise, were extremely erratic – stuff like quarters in 56.7, 62.7 (1.59.4) 62.0 (3.01.4) 59.9 for a 4.01.3 mile!
A Fartlek session involves various severities of oxygen debt. You shout do long bursts, short sprints, even jogging, whatever you like, but it is unstructured running.
it is “speed play” so you run how you feel, and do not go out to run say 5 x 300 with some walking or jogging in between!
Fartlek to my mind, is best done over an undulating (rather than flat) surface. The Domain, or Risdon Brook Da are two terrific venues – flat parts, undulations and hills.
Everyone should incorporate a Fartlek session in their training every couple of weeks.
I suggest that after you warm up for 6 – 8 minutes, you only do the Fartlek for 20 minutes initially until you get used to it, as it is quite a tough session if done properly. Finish with a cool down recovery jog.
I will just emphasise once more – you make the session up as you go along. You do NOT go out with any fixed ideas of what you are going to run, save that you mix the distances and efforts up.
I apologise for a bit of a history lesson, but then again, it adds to your knowledge of the “who, how, and why”.

David Davis-Jones

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Illness Indicators – 5 Stress Indicators

There was an Austrian guy named Hans Selye who formulated his personal ideas on stress.
He named it General Adaptation Syndrome.
He put forward the theory that there were, or are three stages.
• Alarm
• Adaptation
• Exhaustion
The alarm reaction is when you get ready to fight or take flight.
Adaptation or change is what we do by running to change the body. The results of training, if done properly improves an athlete’s stress tolerance.
I know you guys are all sensible, but for your edification here is some information for you.
For young athletes, it takes some time to adapt, especially if they have already been stressed. Young athletes endocrine system also breaks down very quickly. This is why high intense training and competition for young athletes is NOT recommended.
Little A’s is a point in question for me – it is not the system but how it is used that concerns me.
If you overdo training, there may come a stage of just plain exhaustion – which brings me to the Illness Indicators as devised by exercise physiologist Dick Brown.
He first working with the Marine Corp and then later in charge of the Nike Athletics Program, better known as Athletics West.
This was an Elite Program, conditioning and advising US athletes who had a shot at the Olympic Team.
I worked at the Exercise Physiology Unit with Dick in Eugene back in the ‘90’s, so of course this is how I know about the indicators.
Dick worked through these indicators specifically because sending athletes off to get batteries of tests done took time and money, and often were inconclusive.

The 5 Indicators are:
• Pulse – taken in the morning. Swing your legs out of bed and take your pulse. If your pulse is up by 6 beats, this could indicate possible illness.
• A.M. Weight – before eating, but after going to the toilet – weigh yourself. If your weight drops by 3 or 4 kilos, this is an indicator of possible illness.
• Hours slept – If there is an 8 – 10% reduction in normal hours of sleep, this could be an indicator of possible illness.
• Fluid intake – If you suddenly feel the need to drink more fluids than normal, this is a possible indicator of trouble down the track if you are not careful.
• Emotional upset – If you are upset by (an argument with someone…bad news etc) this could be enough extra stress to tip you over the edge – so be careful !

O.K. you may think that this looks a bit simplistic …………… BUT
The above indicators have been tried and tested – ignore them at your peril !

David Davis-Jones (Athletics Australia Senior Coach Level 5, Middle Distance)

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Men and women of the Birubi Group

“Men and women of the Birubi Group… I invite you to become students of your events.
Running, one might say, is basically an absurd pastime upon which to be exhausting ourselves.
But if you can find meaning in the kind of running you have to do to stay in this Group, chances are you can find meaning in another absurd pastime: Life.”

Not one of my quotes, but from Oregon track legend – Bill Bowerman

David Davis-Jones

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Speed is important for all types of running. Kenyan, Ethiopian and Moroccan athletes carry out drills and sprints on a weekly basis…and they have proven their ability to produce winning sprint finishes in International competition.
If it’s good enough for them – I think it’s good enough for you guys.
It might just give you that little bit of an advantage over your competition.
The benefit of plyometric exercises is to improve “lower limb stiffness” (i.e. leg recoil and energy return of the leg tendons so that the athlete is more economical as well as powerful. Better economy is important for all athletes – well middle and distance, because if you are able to improve the efficiency of each of your foot strikes, think of how this can impact on performance over all distances.)
You should do the Plyometrics on an EASY DAY.
Do a warm up, and then do whatever exercises, drills you feel are pertinent to you.
A warning. None of you so far as I am aware have done any of this stuff before, so just go easy. Don’t overdo it, or you will be stiff for a few days afterwards.
How often should you do Plyometrics? I think just twice a week on your easy days.
Start with a walk back recovery, but gradually get into jogging back. This will gradually hardwire your new muscle fibre recruitment into your better running form – a neuropathway development.
Doing Plyometrics in bare feet is beneficial, but if you want to try, please check out the grass for anything that might stick into your feet before you start.
I guess my preference is to wear Racing Flats rather than thick sole “plonkers”, so your foot can flex as it is supposed to do.
Make sure you do a Warm Down after the exercises.
The following DRILLS serve as a guide only as the variety of the Plyometric exercises….. as well as the length of distance and repetitions outlined in each (vary accordingly to your own experience, strength, age and fitness).

1. High Knee Skip Drill – try to bring your knee close to your chest in a skip like fashion – 2 x 50m – jog back.
2. Fast Knees – Up Drill – concentrate on higher knee lift as well as leg turnover rather than your SPEED across the ground – 2 x 25m – jog back.
3. Power Skips – skip forward forcefully, aiming for height, a high knee and a straight back leg. Use your arms, and be sure to direct most of the movement UP, rather than FORWARD – 2 x 50m – jog back.
4. Lunge Walks – stand tall with your hand on your hips and your bum tucked in. Take a wide lunge step, maintaining a tight core and hold for a second. Keep your hips facing forward, twist at the waist to the right and then to the left, then step forward. Alternate legs continuously – 2 x 50m – jog back.
5. Vertical Jumps – quick jumps for HEIGHT – spend as little time on the ground as possible – 3 x 10 – 20 jumps. Jog 50m between reps.
6. Bounding – exaggerated running style – higher knee lift with greater back leg extension for push off – 2 x 50m – jog back.
7. Ankle hops – preferable to do these on a soft surface, unless you feel confident.
Don’t try to go for any distance a first, just build into them over the coming weeks.
Try and focus on power through the ankle.
Sometimes athletes put cones down to use as reference points to hop through. – 3 x 25m – jog back.
8. High Knee Marches – standing tall, lift your right knee towards your chest as you go up on the toe of your left foot. Use your hands to pull your knee in a few extra degrees, being careful to keep the knee in line with your shoulder, release the knee and step forward. Alternate legs continuously – 3 x 50m – jog back.
9. Straight Leg Shuffle – keep your core tight and your legs straight, scissoring them forward in a quick shuffle. Aim for strong feet and quick ground contact – 3 x 50m – jog back.
10. Frog Jumps – Starting in a crouch position (on your feet) with hands in front between your knees, leap forward whilst driving hands up above you, then landing back down in the crouch position before repeating in quick succession – 3 x 25m – jog back.
Don’t do Plyometrics if you are recovering from muscle soreness and remember to gradually adapt them into your training program.

David Davis-Jones/sept15

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Suggestions on diet and nutrition for Athletes

Sugar for energy, peanuts for protein – that’s what the ads tell us.
“A Mars a day helps you work rest and play” – but does it?

What really produces results in middle distance running?
First, I should start by saying what doesn’t produce results. From asking and observing, over the years I’ve found that a lot of athletes eat too much of the following.
Sugar and carbohydrate foods like white bread, biscuits and pasta, and massive servings of protein.
The end result from a survey I did was that 60% of the athletes were suffering from exhaustion, poor recovery and general ill health.
Tentatively, I suggested a diet with LESS refined carbohydrates and LESS protein, and more balanced vitamins and minerals.
Invariably, performance and general health improved. Sometimes weight dropped, sometimes weight increased but all the athletes felt better on the new regime.
Protein is made up of building blocks called “amino acids”. We require 22 of these little devils to reassemble into body protein. Depending on the way we assemble these building blocks we end up with a liver cell, a muscle cell or even hair tissue.
8 of these amino acids are essential to obtain in our diet, the others we can synthesize.
Some foods like eggs, cheese, meat and fish supply all 8. Other foods like beans, nuts, grains, legumes and vegetables contain less than 8 and are therefore incomplete protein.
By combining one food deficient in two amino acids, with other foods high in those two amino acids we make a complete protein.
Broad beans and rice combined are nearly as complete protein as eggs.
And before someone takes this literally, I am NOT suggesting that you gobble down a bowl of rice and broad beans, it is just an example!
Rather than me get typist cramp, perhaps the best thing for you to do is avail yourselves of one or two of the very excellent A.I.S. (Australian Institute of Sport) Cook Books.
From memory, I think there have been three or four publications released since 1999.
I have two books.
“Survival for the Fittest.” and “Survival around the World”.
You can purchase them from any good book shop – Dymocks, Readings, Borders, and they won’t break the bank, cost around $25 per book.
You get all sorts of interesting stuff, from the winning diet, to eating on the run, and lots of cool easy to make recipes from soups and salads to bakes and grills.
You can also source information from the web by typing in Australian Institute of Sport and follow the prompts.
All of the information is designed to make you a better athlete and WILL have you performing better!
And please remember that extremely important 2 HOUR WINDOW after you have been training or competing, and get some food into your system.
The sooner you do it, the quicker and better will be your recovery.
And regarding the “window” – there is evidence to suggest that you don’t just gobble down some museli bars in one go. It is suggested that you eat small quantities of food every 15 – 20 minutes or so in the two hours – to promote maximum glycogen storage.

So, some goodies you could put in your Training bag to facilitate recovery immediately after training.
• Fresh Fruit or Dried Fruit
• Museli/Cereal Bars
• Rice Cakes and Bread Sticks
• Chocolate Chip Cookies or Brownies
• Low Fat Crisps or Popcorn
• Fruit Gums/Boiled Sweets/Jelly Beans
• Scones/Fruit Cake
Don’t forget to hydrate (sensibly) – with water or perhaps the occasional Sports Drink.
Enduro is the best one. Once again, you can read up about it via the web. They even have a Lab here in Melbourne you can contact.
Craig Mottram, and our own Hunter Benita drink the stuff, so I guess it must be good, BUT they probably get it for free!

Just remember the old saying “You are what you eat”.
Former World Mile and 1500M Record Holder Steve Cram came from the North of England, and ate a lot of fish and chips and “jam butties”. Well it worked for him, but it wouldn’t work for most people!
The Kenyans eat a lot of “ugali” stodgy maise flour – but I’m not suggesting you try eating that either!
A good balanced diet is best, and with our Australian food bowl so plentiful, none of us have any excuses to eat badly!

David Davis-Jones
April ‘16

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Training and Periodization Terminology explained – Binijam Hagos Esquire
As it pertains to Middle Distance Running

Three terms – macrocyle, mesocycle and microcycle describe various phases of a training period. The macrocycle is a development period of considerable length directed toward achievement of a peak of maximal performance fitness. For many athletes, particularly for track – oriented middle distance runners like me, this may require nearly a year.
As an example, an athlete may begin training in the Autum, and aim ultimately for the best performance at the Australian Championships in late Summer. For other athletes, such a long period may not be required.
For example, top level marathon runners, who remain injury free with excellent general fitness can work well with a cycle that repeats every four of five months. There are 10 to 12 weeks of intense preparation, a few weeks of tapering, then the race, and a month of mental and physical recovery. This is why the world’s most consistent marathoners typically compete no more than two or three times a year.

Training macrocycles are compartmentalized into several smaller developmental periods.
A mesocycle is a period of anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, typically with a specific developmental objective different from the mesocycle preceding and following it. One mesocycle may emphasize development of an endurance base; like mine in the Winter. Another though could be a period of fine tuning for racing. Each mesocycle consists of at least one microcycle – a period of no more than two weeks during which a meaningful and focused block of training can be completed. This could be fine tuning for a major race with time trials.
Attached is a graph showing a hypothetical training period using these cycles.
Some time trials and training races may be included along the way, typically at the end of a microcycle or mesocycle, to permit my Coach to assess developing fitness.
After goal identification has permitted the outline of an overall training macrocycle, the next task or step is to delineate the objectives and goals for each mesocycle and microcycle. A wide variety of variations should be planned. It probably goes without saying, but running and conditioning obviously form the backbone of the training plan, with other aspects included as well, such as a stretching program (don by me in front of the TV !), maybe recuperative modules like massage, and periodic health and fitness evaluations.
We have terms to describe the specific description of each day’s training session. They relate closely I think to the questions that every runner asks their Coach when meeting up for a training session. As this information is being based around a runner, I’ll use the running portion of training as an example.
“How far am I going to run?” This is volume. (the answer might be “Ten runs of 200m on the track.”)
“When are we going to do these again?” This is frequency (“Once more this microcycle, six days from now.”)
“How fast must I run them?” That’s intensity, or duration (“Start at 33s/200m, eventually quickening to 30s/200m.”)
“How much recovery (rest) can I have between each run?” That’s density. (“One and a half minutes in jogging back to the 200m mark on the track.”)
Jogging for most runners is described as very slow running – 7 to 8 min/mi for talented young adult men (4.21 to 4.58 min/km) and 8 to 9 min/mi for talented young adult women (4.58 to 5.36 min/km.) For runners not so talented, as well as for older runners, these paces would be slower. Jogging is more energy costly than walking.
I will now define more formally these descriptors of training load. Training volume is simply the quantity of training done during a given period of time – work done per microcycle, total push ups done on a given day, total weights lifted in a gym session, total distance run in a day of repeat 200m runs, and so on. It is a specific quantity that can be expressed in any of several time frames. Training frequency refers to the number of sessions completed during a particular time period, or to the recurrence of a given training session during such a period, be it macrocycle, mesocycle or microcycle.
Some microcycles, for example, will have a training frequency of two sessions each day. On the other hand, repeated 1000m runs may be assigned a frequency of once every two weeks.
Some exercises may be done nearly every day, such as sit ups, running tall or aerobic conditioning.
Other exercises like weight may be done only once or perhaps twice a week.
Training intensity identifies the quality of the completed effort, and is related inversely to volume. So, as training intensity rises, the volume given decreases. A medium intensity, high volume run for a good female distance runner might be 10 mi at 6.15 min/mi pace, or (3.53 min/km).
However five repeated mile runs at 5.00 min/mi pace (3.06 min/km) for that athlete would represent a far more intense training stimulus, but with reduced volume.
Training density defines the rest pause between workouts. The shorter the rest pause, the greater the stimulus density. Two 300m runs on the track, each done in 44s with a 2 min rest between, are a stimulus of greater density than two 300 m runs at the same speed but with a 3min rest between each run.
The rest pause can vary from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the purpose of the session.
Confusing jargon has developed among coaches in categorizing or identifying daily training sessions. It is or would be far better to be specific and informative, some coaches have difficulty in communication, leaving athletes perplexed and confused.
For an example, there are phrases such as “tempo running,” “interval running,” and “repetition running.”
Some use the term “interval” for the distance run, but others consider it the recovery time between runs.
Finally, before this becomes an epistle, I would just like to add – one sensible method for an injury free athlete and performance progression over the course of a macrocycle involves harmonious interdevelopment of strength, speed, stamina, and endurance all during the year, never eliminating any of these entirely from the overall training plan.

David Davis – Jones
Athletics Australia
Senior Coach level 5

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