Below are the performance guidelines for a "very good"athletics and cross country scholarship to a US College. Please note that you do not have to have reached these performance levels to be considered for a scholarship, head coaches will take into account your ability to reach these performance levels. Reduced scholarships are also available for lesser performance levels. For further details please email martyn.jones@sportingeliteusa.com

 

 

Men

 Women

Event NCAA D1 NCAA D2 NAIA   NCAA D1 NCAA D2 NAIA
100 10.6 10.8 10.9 12.0 12.1 12.3
200 21.7 22.0 22.5 24.3 24.5 24.8
400 49.0 51.0 52.0 56.0 60.0 62.0
800 1.53 1.55 1.57 2.15 2.18 2.20
1500 3.54 3.58 4.00 4.45 4.55 5.00
3000 8.40 <9.00 9.00 10.00 10.15 10.30
5000 15.15 15.30 15.30 17.30 18.30 18.45
3000SC 9.10 9.30 9.40 10.30 10.40 10.45
110H/100H 14.20 14.50 14.60 14.25 14.50 14.75
400H 53.0 55.5 57.0 61.0 66.0 68.0
HJ 2.08 2.00 1.95 1.72 1.67 1.62
PV 5.00 4.80 4.60 3.90 3.80 3.70
LJ 6.80 6.80 6.60 5.75 5.50 5.30
TJ 15.00 14.25 14.00 12.00 11.50 11.00
SP 17.00 16.00 15.50 12.50 12.00 11.50
DT 50.00 47.00 45.00 42.00 40.00 39.00
HT 62.00 60.00 56.00 52.00 50.00 47.50
JT 62.00 60.00 55.00 43.00 41.00 40.00
Dec/Hept 6400 6100 5900 4200 4000 3800
X-C            
5000 16.10 17.20 17.45 20.15 21.45 22.45
10000 35.45 39.45 39.45 37.45 41.45 45.45
             

 

The width of your running step may have a significant impact upon your performance and injury risk. Step width is the distance between each foot's mid-heel position at initial contact with the ground. Brindle et al 2014 reported that the healthy runners in their study had a mean step width of 6cm. He had them run with a narrower step width (1cm) and a wider step width (15cm). The narrower step resulted in changes to the runners technique, they had greater rearfoot eversion angle and knee adduction; both of these variables have been linked to increased injury risk.

 

 Widening step width (up to 10cm) has been reported to reduce that loading upon the tibia (Meardon 2014), while a step width of -6cm resulted in increased IT Band strain (Meardon 2012). Widening your step width may help to avoid or recover form shin and IT Band injuries.

There may be a risk of decreased performance with running with a wider step width than you are used to. Arellano (2011) reported increased energy cost of running. A narrow step minimises the medial-lateral ground reaction forces.

If your step width is below 3-6cm it may well be worth making adjustments to your running technique. As a cross over gait has been linked to weak hip abductor muscles it is important to start a strengthening regime for these muscles as well.

The traditional way an assistant in a sports shop assign running shoes is based upon your foot type. In particular, they take account of your arch height. If you have a flat arch they recommend motion control shoes, for a normal arch stability shoes are recommended and for those with a high arch cushioning or neutral shoes are recommended.

 

 

This approach has recently been criticised by leading Sports Podiatrist Ian Griffiths (http://sportspodiatryinfo.wordpress.com/) as not being based upon research, if fact, the majority of research in this area shows that this approach is wrong.

 

The traditional approach is based upon;

·         pronation is considered to be predictive of injury.

·         that all runners should have a similar foot posture.

·         that the foot type is predictive of its function during running.

 

These assumptions have now been shown to be incorrect. The majority of studies have shown no link between pronation and injury (e.g. Nielsen et al 2014). Foot shape has not been shown to predict foot function during running. Research shows that the major causes of running injury are training errors and hip musculature dysfunction.

 

So, if the traditional approach appears to be an inappropriate method of choosing running shoes what approach should you take?

 

Griffiths recommends that you pick the most comfortable shoe. Shoe comfort has been reported to decrease injury frequency. Of course, the most comfortable shoe may well be the one that the traditional approach recommends. Others have recommended that you should choose shoes with decreased drop heights (i.e. the difference between the shoes heel and forefoot height). So the way forward may be a return to the past when running shoes had little cushioning or support. The proponents of barefoot and minimalist running point to the research that shows that their use leads to altered kinetics and kinematics during running that should result in decreased injury and increased performance. Although, to date, no research has been published to confirm or refute this.  

 

 

A lower drop height/heel height has been reported to reduce vertical ground reaction force and peak loading rates (Giandolini et al 2013), both of which have the potential to reduce injury. Dicharry (2013) states that the benefits of reducing drop height are improved intrinsic muscle activity, improved balance, proprioception and foot strength as well as the benefits of lighter weight. He recommends making a gradual change in reducing your drop height e.g. if your current drop height is 12mm move down to 6-8mm. You will need time for your body to adapt to this change, so running volume should be reduce by half for 2-4 weeks before returning to normal volume. Further reductions in drop height can be made over time.

 

So, what is best for you? If you have not been having problems with your current type of running shoes is it worth taking the risks in changing? Science suggests that you would be at lower risk of injury in a shoe with better comfort and a lower heel drop. There is only one way to know for certain….

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

The quads and gluts would be the general reply. Recent research (Morin et al 2015) set out to determine if this was the case. With horizontal force production being the key determinant of acceleration performance Morin set out to determine which muscles were most important in producing these horizontal force's.

They examined 14 male subjects from various sports including sprinters, they compared the strength of various muscle with their performance during acceleration. The most significant relationships they discovered were between;

Over the whole acceleration phase - peak horizontal ground reaction force (GRF) and peak hip extensor torque, especially eccentric hamstring strength.

Over the first 10 steps - between gluteus maximus concentric strength and horizontal GRF.

Taken together these results indicate that strength training to improve acceleration should focus upon concentric hip extensor strength particularly the gluteus maximus (hip thrust and deadlifts) and eccentric strength of the hamstrings particularly during knee flexion (Nordics).