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Who is "BrianMac Sports Coach"?
BrianMac is a Level 4 Performance Coach and Coach Tutor/Assessor with British Athletics, the Uk's National Governing body for Track and Field Athletics. Brian has 40+ years experience as an endurance athlete competing over distances from 5k to 50k on the roads, fells and mountains. He has 30+ years experience as an athletics coach helping sprinters and combined event athletes achieve their aims and objectives. He has worked with the publishers of Peak Performance writing a monthly newsletter on "Successful Coaching" and a number of training books.

Brian's aim with the site is to provide information for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, sports science students and sports coaches on the many topics relating to athletic development, exercise physiology and successful coaching. Since its conception in 1997 the site now has over a thousand pages thanks to contributions from coaches and athletes around the world.

To find your topic of interest on the website you can use the menu options to the left, browse the A»Z Page index which provides an alphabetical list of most of the pages on the website or you can use the Site Search Facility.

One of the misconceptions in the sports world is that a sports person gets in shape by just playing or taking part in his/her chosen sport. If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in executing a few limited skills is your goal, then engaging only in your sport will keep you there. However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent improvement, and balanced abilities sportsmen and women must participate in year round conditioning programs. The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress. Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress (overload) to increase physical capabilities. You have to move outside your comfort zone if you wish to improve your level of fitness.
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  Heart Rate Zones
  Heart rate training zones are calculated by taking into consideration your maximum heart rate (HRmax) and your resting heart rate (HRrest).
The zones are:
  • Energy Efficient or Recovery (60-70%)
  • Aerobic (70-80%),
  • Anaerobic (80-90%)
  • Red Line (90-100%)
Within each training zone, subtle physiological effects take place to enhance your fitness.
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Ideal Weight & BMI   Maximum Heart Rate
A method of determining if you have an ideal body weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). To calculate your BMI divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (weight ÷ height²). The normal acceptable range of this measurement is 20.1 to 25.0 for men and 18.7 to 23.8 for women.

A more accurate assessment of your ideal weight takes into account your body composition.
  Athletes who use a heart rate monitor as a training aid need to identify their actual maximum heart rate in order to determine their appropriate training zones. Maximum heart rate (HRmax) can be determined by undertaking a maximum heart rate stress test which although relatively short does require you to push your body and your heart to the very limit. It can also be predicted using a formula but the variation in actual HRmax will lie within a range of 20 beats/minute.
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Energy Pathways
Energy production is both time and intensity related. Running at a very high intensity, as in sprinting, means that an athlete can operate effectively for only a very short period. Running at a low intensity, as in gentle jogging, means that an athlete can sustain activity for a long period. Training introduces another variable, and the sprinter who uses sound training principles is able to run at a high intensity for longer periods. Similarly, the endurance athlete who uses sound training methods can sustain higher intensities during a set period. There is a relationship between the exercise intensity and the energy source. So what are they?
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  Speed and strength are integral components of fitness found in varying degrees in virtually all athletic movements. Simply put the combination of speed and strength is power. Throughout this century and no doubt long before, jumping, bounding and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance. In recent years, this distinct method of training for power or explosiveness has been termed plyometrics. So what are some examples of plyometric exercises?
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Flexibility   Muscle Types
Flexibility, mobility and suppleness all mean the range of limb movement around joints. In any movement there are two groups of muscles at work - the agonistic muscles which cause the movement to take place and opposing the movement and determining the amount of flexibility are the antagonistic muscles. Flexibility plays an important part in the preparation of athletes by developing a range of movement to allow technical development and assisting in the prevention of injury. The various techniques of stretching may be grouped as Static, Ballistic, Dynamic, Active, Passive, Isometric and Assisted.   Muscle tissue has four main properties: Excitability (ability to respond to stimuli), Contractibility (ability to contract), Extensibility (ability to be stretched without tearing) and Elasticity (ability to return to its normal shape). Based on certain structural and functional characteristics, muscle tissue is classified into three types: cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system. It interpenetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures. Fascia is an uninterrupted, three-dimensional web of tissue that extends from head to toe, from front to back, from interior to exterior
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Sports Psychology
The increased stress of competitions can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally in a manner that can negatively affect their performance abilities. They may become tense, their heart rates race, they break into a cold sweat, they worry about the outcome of the competition, they find it hard to concentrate on the task in hand. This has led coaches & athletes to take an increasing interest in the field of sport psychology and in particular in the area of competitive anxiety. That interest has focused on techniques that athletes can use in the competitive situation to maintain control and optimise their performance. So what are these techniques?
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    Speed Training
  Speed is the quickness of movement of a limb, whether this is the legs of a runner or the arm of the shot putter. Speed is an integral part of every sport and can be expressed as any one of, or combination of, the following: maximum speed, elastic strength (power) and speed endurance. The two factors that effect speed are stride length and strike rate. Speed endurance is used to develop the co-ordination of muscle contraction. Repetition methods are used with a high number of sets, low number of repetitions per set and intensity greater than 85% with distances covered from 60% to 120% of racing distance.
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Endurance Training   Running Economy
The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance. A sound basis of aerobic endurance is fundamental for all events. During anaerobic work, involving maximum effort, the body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and the muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. The muscles, being starved of oxygen, take the body into a state known as oxygen debt. What are the other forms of endurance?   In many sports speed is an important attribute and ways to improve speed are constantly sought after. To improve speed you need to increase stride length and/or strike rate. Many athletes and coaches initially concentrate on improving stride length only to find that both strike rate and speed decrease. It is more effective to work on strike rate because this increases the power in the leg muscles which in turn increase stride length. Does breathing have an impact on running economy?
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Lisa Brown