World-class Coach on Importance of Cross-training

Coach Rose Monday

Coach Rose Monday (Photo: Image of Sport)

Rose Monday is recognized as one of the top women’s coaches in the United States for middle and long distance running. This summer, she will direct the USA women’s distance runners for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Previously, she was assistant coach for the U.S. women’s distance team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, head coach for the USA women’s track and field team for the 2015 Pan American Games and women’s distance coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Relays in 2014 and 2015. A former world-class runner herself, Monday was ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. in the 800 meters from 1983-92 and competed in four Olympic Trials.

Monday also coaches Laura Roesler, who finished fourth last weekend in the 800 meter run at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. For many runners, fourth place is a major disappointment as that is the first spot off the podium and out of the medals. But in post-race interviews, Roesler said, “After the year I had last, making this final is like all of my dreams have come true.” Roesler missed several months of training last year due to an Achilles injury. She integrated training on an ElliptiGO elliptical bike to aid in her recovery back to the elite level.

We talked with Coach Monday about the importance of cross-training for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

ElliptiGO:  As a former world-class runner yourself and now coach/mentor to many of the top middle-distance runners in the US, how important do you believe that cross-training is in an athlete’s training regimen and why?

Monday:  I realized late in my running career the huge value in cross-training to prevent injuries! What runner does not want to run? I was forced to cross-train throughout my career to come back multiple times from injuries that I now know as a coach were overuse injuries and could have been prevented had I understood physiology and adaptation to stress loads. I thought that if I trained really hard that I could be the best. I tell my athletes that we have to train smart and listen to our bodies. I often tell my athletes that cross-training it is a secret weapon.

ElliptiGO:  You’ve successfully coached multiple elites to personal bests, US Teams, and more. What is the key to getting athletes to the line ready to compete both mentally and physically?

Monday:  The confidence comes with consistent training. I often say it is the accumulation of day after day, week after week, season after season and then … you are good. It is so important to appreciate the journey! All my athletes and myself work with a wonderful Sport Psychologist in San Antonio to make sure we are “on” mentally. Physically, I incorporate all of the energy systems in our training all year round. As we get close to Championships, I stick with increase velocity, increase frequency and decrease volume.

ElliptiGO:  Laura Roesler battled an injury throughout much of 2015. How did she work her way through that time and return to being one of the top 800m runners in the country?

Monday:  Laura incorporated ElliptiGO rides, deep water pool running, biking and physical therapy throughout 2015. We had several “no go’s” where she could handle paces at Tempo and VO2Max, but the minute we did anything faster – like 6-7 meters per second – the Achilles issue would be back. It was very frustrating and emotional for all of us. Thank God for USATF’s working partnership with St. Vincent Sports Performance. We made several trips to Indianapolis and were able to get the Achilles completely healed. Laura knows that even though she did mostly cross-training last year, she never missed a beat with her teammates every time she came back into the fold.

ElliptiGO:  Laura is a self-proclaimed “sprint girl,” as the telecasters pointed out on the USA Championship coverage. What has changed about her approach to training to help her become a top middle-distance competitor?

Monday:  Laura does come to the 800 from the sprint background, which is wonderful! To make the Olympic Team and to medal with all of the qualifying rounds, she knows she has to embrace specific 800 training, VO2 max, tempo runs, long runs in addition to speed endurance and ATP training.

ElliptiGO:  What does a typical week of training look like for Laura Roesler?

Monday:  Here’s a sample week from her training leading up to the Indoor Championships:

Monday:  VO2 max reps. (6 x 600) meters 2:00= recovery at 85% of VO2 max or 3-1K and 3×500 or In and Out 3-4 x 1K alternating 200s at 32” 42” 32” 42” 32” — WEIGHTS

Tuesday:  20 minute anaerobic threshold (AT) run on the anti-gravity treadmill

Wednesday:  Cross train – EllipitGO or elliptical or pool

Thursday:  Hill Reps 6 x 300m 7% incline or Hill circuit 3-4 x (300-200-100) jog recovery continuous, and the shorter the distance the faster the pace. WEIGHTS

Friday:  speed accelerations, 30-45 easy pace run

Saturday:  depending on the season (now) fast race pace reps, race or time trial.

Sunday:  rest day.


Congratulations to Roesler and to Coach Monday.

Follow Monday on Twitter @rosekmonday. Follow Roesler on Twitter @lroesler5.

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