Coach Abby Stanley on Athletic Development and Making the Most of Your Training

One of the more interesting questions a coach can be asked is, “How do I keep improving for years and years?” How provocative! And valuable!


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When I’m asked questions like these, I’m glad I’ve read a mountain of running books, have had the privilege of having 10+ coaches, and have my trusty USA Track & Field coaching curriculum with me.

The wisdom from the smartest coaches and the sports governing body about training is invaluable. It steers you away from believing in fad strategies, like:

  • The Maffetone Method (slow running has its place, but not for all of your training)
  • CrossFit Endurance (lifting and sprints are important, but you can’t ignore endurance running)
  • Keto for running (any diet that villifies an entire macronutrient is, by definition, extreme)

To truly prioritize long-term athletic development, we must always focus on the fundamentals of training. Not short-term tactics, quick fixes, or fringe theories.

And perhaps the best type of person to discuss the essential pillars of running success than a collegiate track and cross country coach.

Why? Because these are the folks on the front lines of developing the fitness of a variety of athletes:

  • 18-year old women with little race history and having never run more than 30 miles per week
  • 22-year old men with experience running 100+ miles per week
  • And everyone in between!

And not just “fitness development” – but performance maximization! The variety of experience and capability that a college coach sees is staggering. And that forces them to focus on what works to bring their performances to highly competitive levels.

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you the perspectives of just such a coach: Abby Stanley from California Baptist Univeristy.

Abby Stanley on Improvement

Coach Abby Stanley

Abby Stanley is the assistant cross country and track coach for Cal Baptist and the cohost of the Up and Running Podcast.

She’s also my teammate for Rambling Runner’s Virtual Race Series Podcaster Challenge. And I’m happy she’s on my team – she’s a 2:52 marathoner, too!

Her first race ever was a marathon in college – not the best introduction to racing, but it got her hooked. Now, she surrounds herself with running as a coach and podcaster.

On the Strength Running podcast, we’re discussing a wide-ranging set of issues designed to help you improve:

  • What aspect of fitness do most runners need to develop?
  • How does she focus on injury prevention – and what are the most effective prevention strategies?
  • Should beginners race “complex” or challenging races?
  • How can we adapt the lessons she’s learned working with college athletes to us adult runners?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Show Links & Resources:

Thank You Inside Tracker

This episode would not have been possible without Inside Tracker, who is offering a 10% discount on any of their tests with code strengthrunning.

They test over 40 biomarkers, like various stress hormones, to determine if you’re training too hard, too little, or have any physiological weaknesses that can be remedied by either diet, exercise, or lifestyle changes.

In other words, you learn about problems that have actionable solutions.

After getting your results, they communicate what you can do to lift or lower your results into the optimal range. For any runner who wants every advantage, to see what they’re truly capable of achieving, I highly recommend Inside Tracker. I’ve personally used their ‘Ultimate Package’ tier and loved the process and results.

Don’t forget to use code strengthrunning to save 10% on any test (including their affordable DIY and Essentials)!

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