Three finalists announced for European Athletics Innovation Awards

Three finalists announced for European Athletics Innovation Awards
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European Athletics will announce the winners of the Innovation Award during the televised Golden Tracks ceremony in Funchal, Portugal, on Saturday 15 October.

It is one of the biggest weeks of the track and field year - with the European Athletics Golden Tracks awards taking place in Funchal, Portugal, on Saturday.

But it will not only be about rewarding those who can run the quickest, jump the furthest and throw the longest.

On the evening, the winner of the 10th European Athletics Innovation Awards will be announced from the shortlist of three who came top of the ‘Coaching’, ‘Open’ and ‘Promotion’ categories.

Here we profile the three nominees for an award which was created to encourage research and the sharing of new ideas leading to the promotion and development of the sport of athletics.

COACHING CATEGORY WINNERS

Does periodisation matter? The effect of different high intensity periodisation models on endurance adaptations by Øystein Sylta, Norway.

The systematic planning of athletic or physical training, Periodisation’s aim is to be at your best in your biggest competition of the year.

These studies focus on the optimisation of all factors involved in the organisation of training and in endurance sports and include the duration and intensity of individual training sessions and the frequency of training sessions.

To look into the effects of High Intensity Training (HIT), a study was made during a 12-week training period of well-trained endurance athletes in which they performed at all levels of intensity.

Staged in three test centres in Norway, 69 male cyclists took part, with different volumes of training over three, four-week periods, with programmes including ‘eight sessions of 4x16mins training’.

The recommendations of the studies found that “organising HIT training in a specific pattern during the preparation period leading up to the competition period, has little or no effect on athletes competing in middle or long-distance running…and that general training patterns are more important than periodisation of HIT sessions”.

OPEN CATEGORY WINNERS

Thank God for Stretch Jeans – A study on "female throwers" view on body and ideal by Matilda Elfgaard, Sweden.

Different events demand different body types, both in form and size. In order to meet these ideals the athlete works hard, however this is not the only ideal the athlete is being exposed to. Society has its own criteria for the "perfect" body, which sometimes may contradict the ideal of the sport.

These are the words that introduce a study whose aim was to investigate Swedish female throwers’ view of their bodies and their thoughts about the different kinds of ideals they are exposed to.

Through focus groups, the subjects centred upon were:

*What thoughts do the participators have about ideal and body image?

*What views do the participators receive from their surroundings, both in society and in the sport environment, on them as throwers and their bodies?

*In what way are the questions about body and appearance discussed with the coaches? If at all?

*How do the participants experience the situation of being a female in a male context?

The conclusions were that although the athletes in this study all have made their choice of putting the ‘performance body’ before the ‘appearance body’, they still felt sometimes as "anomalies" or outsiders, not just in society but also in the world of athletics. Even so these girls think it is worthwhile but could this be a reason for those who do not want to carry on throwing?

PROMOTION CATEGORY WINNERS

#clickyourclock weekly competition by Geoff Wightman and Gavin Lightwood , Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The #clickyourclock weekly competition, run in conjunction with runbritain/UK Athletics, is a programme which was established to promote the runbritain handicap scoring system and embellish an individual journey in a mass sport.

Anyone can participate in the programme, from the ordinary runner who goes to their local parkrun every Saturday, to the elite like multiple Olympic, world and European champion Mo Farah.

With participation figures rising, the handicap provides a score on any terrain, over any distance but encourages personal progression rather than direct competition against fellow athletes. With numbers rising towards 1000 plus runners entering each week, it is a programme which continues to grow.

The handicap scores range from Mo Farah at minus 7.0 to six hour marathon runners at plus 36.0.

The outcome of this programme have been interesting.

In June this year, Runner’s World asked: Who were the most improved runners in Britain in 2015?

Their feature was based exclusively on the runbritain handicap scoring format and the individual athletes saluted how motivating their score improvements and weekly #clickyourclock progressions had been in encouraging them to train and race more.