IS THIS FOR YOU?
If you are an individual who loves track and field, who is already involved on the junior high, high school, or collegiate level, and looking to get a solid foundation in the basics, this is for you. If you are an individual that is looking to focus solely on endurance, there are other options out there. I personally plan on supplementing the USATF Level 1 with the VDOT O2 Distance Coaching Certification. The focus of that particular certification is from 800m to marathon distance (26.2 miles). See book below. There is another out there from Run-Fit.com as well - the Revo2lution Running Certification.
The fortune is in the follow through. I wrote the above statement in my January 4th blog entry reviewing the USATF Level 1 Coaching test. To catch you up, USATF L1 is very good. I enjoyed the biomechanics segment the most. It is a great foundation in all the various events in Track & Field. With that said, the general foundation did not address the variety of events in lengthy detail. One of those segment events was long distance. That particular subject is something I have great interest in.
USATF does provide more in-depth education in specific events at their Level 2 and 3 clinics. At this time, I see myself being a coach in the private sector and not working with long distance runners as a staffed coach. For this reason, I decided to wait on a Level 2 clinic.
I am glad to say, I indeed followed through, read, and dissecting (continuing to do that) the Daniels' Running Formula book. I was so impressed when I finished, I went ahead and registered for the test. Before finishing the book, I had been back and forth on doing the exam. I am glad however, that I did take it. Amazing what you can do when you are truly focused. As for the exam results? See below 🙂
Why VDOT O2 vs Run-Fit?
Originally, I thought about doing both. Both curriculums looked very similar when I was researching each one. Honestly, it came down to an economic factor for me. Run-Fit's Revo2lution Running certification runs $249 USD (Home Course) or $299 (Live Workshop). That said, I would highly recommend getting on the mailing list, as there are always discount codes given throughout the year for the certification the home course option. Should you pass the exam, you have continuing education requirements (at least 5 hours plus the expenses that incurs with them), along with an annual fee of $49.95 USD.
This isn't too demanding for continuing education. However, in my position, with my current credentials and their continuing education requirements/costs, I did not want another set of concentrated topic hours and annual fee to deal with. For this reason, I opted with VDOT O2 ($199 USD). There are no continual education requirements or annual fee. In my opinion, BOTH look like EXCELLENT options. For the record, I will be taking some of Dr. Karp's Run-Fit continuing education options for my other credentials in the future.
VDOT O2 .... WHAT IS IT?
The VDOT stands for the amount of oxygen, aka, volume of oxygen or VO2 for short, you consume during a minute of running. Why is this relevant? The multiple measures taken at a minute allows to create the formula that can determine a runner's current ability. This measure includes "x factors" such as temperature and mentality in a racing environment. I personally LOVE this, as it accounts for performance when it counts the most, when you're officially running in a competitive environment.
( VO2 Cost of race (vVO2 max) / Fraction velcotiy VO2 max (fvVO2 max)
The listing above are the variables that are calculated in the VDOT calculator. The VDOT equation assigns a score to all running performances and allows the individual to equate a time in one distance against another. Example, a 5k VDOT value also provides the predicted abilities of other distances such as 1 mile, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. The performance time of nearly any established long distance event can be placed into a VDOT Calculator (see at bottom of page) to calculate run training paces. As your results change in time trials or races, the VDOT value changes.
When the VDOT value is known, one can eliminate a great deal of guesswork from training and can avoid overtraining. THIS is one of the main reasons I love this book and teaching method so much.
"All runners learn to identify the intensity of effort they can tolerate for different periods of time; of course, better runners can cover greater distances than lesser runners in the same amount of time. Using these relationships and equations, Jimmy Gilbert and I developed the VDOT tables that have been used very successfully since the 1970s."
Once a VDOT value has been determined, milage and intensity can be determined from there. I don't want to give away everything, so I'm bulletpointing the types of runs and their designed goal. That is OTHER focal point that attracted me to this. There is a PURPOSE/GOAL for EVERY workout. In other words there is a Goal to the exercise. This is not a VDOT term but a phrasing used regularly with the RTS program. - Goal of the Exercise (GOTE).
Runs designed to stress various characteristics of performance
Easy (E) - Stress Tolerance, Cardiac Muscle Strength, Blood Delivery
Marathon (M) - Confidence in ability to complete long distances
Threshold (T) - Blood Lactate Threshold
Interval (I) - Aerobic Power (VO2 Max)
Repetition (R) - Anaerobic Capacity
IS THIS FOR YOU?
If you like knowing the exact reason your doing a particular training session and like injury prevention, than yes, I would say this is for you. You do not need to take the exam in order to find value in Daniels' Running Formula. I'll leave you with the "Laws" by Dr. Daniels. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with a formula that is focused on progression while knowing intent and focused on injury prevention. That kind of formula is something I want to be a part of and adopt in my own training.
DANIELS' BASIC LAWS OF RUNNING
1. Every runner has specific individual abilities.
2. A runner's focus must stay positive.
3. Expect ups and downs; some days are better than others.
4. Be flexible for training to allow for the unexpected.
5. Set intermediate goals.
6. Training should be rewarding.
7. Eat and sleep well.
8. Don't train when sick or injured.
9. Chronic health issues should be checked by a medical professional.
10. A good run or race is never a fluke.