GAINcast Episode 228: Fitting the event (with Trevor Painter and Jenny Meadows)

Too often we have a concept of how to train for a sport or event and use that as the starting point for the plan. We fit the athlete to the event. That works in some cases, but other times you need to fit the event to the athlete. In no event is that more important than the 800 meters, where athletes come from a wide variety of training and physiological backgrounds. On this week’s episode coach Trevor Painter and former elite 800 meter runner Jenny Meadows join us to share some examples of fitting the event to an athlete, 800 meters training, and more.

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Notes and quotes

Trevor Painter is a sprint and middle-distance coach based in Wiggan, England. He is a British Athletics Pathway Coaching Lead as well as the UK U20 Team Leader. He was the longtime coach of his wife Jenny Meadows, who won multiple international medals in the 800 meters and relays. Now he guides Keely Hodgkinson, who won Olympic silver this summer in the 800 meters at age 19.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 4:00 – Painter’s coaching background.
  • 8:00 – Meadow’s journey and experiences being coached by Painter: “If Trevor did not know the answer, he didn’t have an ego and would go and find out.”
  • 13:00 – Going against the grain with lower mileage training: “The rule is 60 miles per week minimum in the 800 meters, but we knew that would kill her speed.”
  • 17:30 – Changes in strength training during the transition from 400m to 800m.
  • 19:00 – Strength levels and adjustments over the career. “You have to fit the event to the athlete. There are a lot of ways to get speed and you have to find the best way for the athlete.” “Coach the individual in front of you, not the event. Obviously the event has certain markers you have to touch upon. But more importantly you have to work with the individual’s strengths and coach them rather than the event.”
  • 21:30 – Keely Hodgkinson’s background and training: “We give her stimuluses that she’s never had before. Some athletes think they aren’t quick, but give them the stimulus and they are.”
  • 26:45 – Coaching young phenoms and developing long-term sustainable success: “If an athlete is happy, they are going to perform well. You have to do what’s right for the individual.”
  • 37:00 – Thoughts on burnout and the periodization of professionalization: “If you can keep your eye on the ball and not miss training, you’ll be good.”
  • 42:30 – Next steps in training and training with men.
  • 46:45 – Experimenting with altitude training.

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic: