Pajulahti Speed Endurance Conference

Pajulahti Speed Endurance Conference
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Natalya Antyukh winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Over 100 participants from 13 European countries gathered in Pajulahti, Finland, for the Speed Endurance Conference from 22-24 November 2013.

The conference consisted of six lectures, three practical demonstrations and a panel discussion throughout the three days.

Topics and key points from lecturers:

Ekaterina Kulikova: Training an elite 400 m hurdler. She described Natalya Antyukh’s training plan year by year, and the different hurdle drills she used.

Juha Sainio: Preparing young talents to become 400m professionals. He explained the importance of training plans and keeping diaries to track progression throughout the year, especially in the early stages of a career.

Ronald Bergman: Coaching a former 400m European champion. Moa Hjelmer's coach says that a coach must be present from the very beginning of training and communicate as much as possible with the athletes. He also emphasised the importance of speed training in 400m running. Hjelmer is also a very strong 200m runner.

Wilson Kipketer:  Becoming the fastest 800m runner. He said that it is important to focus on what you are doing and do it correctly. A coach should notice when an athlete is doing something with false technique and rectify the mistake immediately. You should always keep finding ways to progress and improve your running style, do not settle for what you’ve already achieved.

Ari Nummela: Overtraining and overreaching in speed endurance events. It is important to understand the difference between overtraining and overreaching and be aware of symptoms of overtraining. He also described signs of overtraining and gave advice on how to monitor it.

Antti Mero: Combining scientific and practical knowledge in 400m. He gave information about the scientific background of 400m racing and about the physiology of 400m runners. This distance produces the most amount of pain to the athletes, who need to learn to enjoy hurting themselves in training.

Overall feedback from participants was positive and the plan is to organise another coaching conference in Pajulahti in 2015.