Working Hypothesis 1

For the greatest chance at success coaches must determine the type of muscle fibers an 800-meter runner has prior to calculating the balance between aerobic and anaerobic training.

Working Hypothesis 2

Due to the unique qualities the 800 requires, a track and field athlete shouldn’t begin with training the 800. Instead the athlete must figure out if they’re more comfortable in the 400 or 1600 then based off that, determine what type of training they require for the 800.

Twitch Fibers

It seems counterintuitive that high speed athletes train at high mileage. However the middle-distance events (400 600 800) require high speed, and a strong aerobic system to maintain those high speeds. It comes down to training muscle fibers. Unlike pure sprinters, elite middle-distance athletes don’t have a high percentage of 2b fast twitch fibers, but they also don’t have a high percentage of slow fibers found in pure distance athletes. There’s a 3rd fiber, 2a fast fibers or intermediate fibers, which are found in high percentages among elite middle-distance athletes. These 2a fast fibers are more resistant to fatigue than the 2b fast fibers. This leaves coaches questioning whether to focus on speed training or endurance training in these unique muscle fibers.


It seems counterintuitive to run a race opposite to which your body is more comfortable with. Why would a sprinter run a marathon? It all comes down to muscle fibers. Type I slow fibers provide endurance and are what keep you standing or sitting up straight. These fibers work passively all the time to keep the body up and are used more during distance training as movements are slower and less explosive. These fibers can also be trained to Type II A fibers. Type II A intermediate fibers are fast oxidative fibers. These fibers are uncommon to occur naturally but can be created by training the other 2 types of fibers. They allow for fast and explosive movements that type I can’t handle, and these movements can last far longer than Type II B fibers. Type II B fibers are the fastest and strongest fibers, but since they are purely anaerobic, they only last a short amount of time before becoming fatigued. So a sprinter running a marathon would be a chore for that athlete, but it will train their Type II B fibers into Type II A fibers.

Middle Distance General Training research

It seems counter intuitive to train a middle distance athlete’s mind instead of their body, but many factors of being a successful athlete stem back to the mental aspect of running. The first factor that goes into training a middle-distance athlete is VO2max which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize while running. Doing workouts at this pace trains the body to utilize more oxygen while running. The second factor is lactic acid tolerance. Towards the end of races runners slow down because of the lactic acid build up in their legs. To train lactic acid tolerance runner simply flood the body with lactic acid over and over. The third factor and final factor is mentality. A runner’s ability to pace themselves correctly and position themselves in the race will make a successful middle-distance runner. Furthermore this strong mentality stems back to the first two factors of keeping a focused mindset on training and taking care of the body during workouts and recovery. The hard part about all three of these factors is balancing them without causing injury, or too much of one factor.

Middle Distance High Mileage Training Research

David Rudisha has held the World Record in the 800-meter dash for almost 11 years now. Given the amount of time that as passed he has shared his training program with the world, to which many were surprised by; was a high mileage training program. While Rudisha considers it himself low mileage he and his training group run a maximum of 55 miles a week. 55 miles is considered by many coaches the highest mileage a middle-distance athletes should run. This high mileage allows the athletes to do more repetitions during track workouts because they have more and stronger slow twitch fibers. Then during these longer track workouts, the slow twitch fibers are trained into intermediate fibers. Notice how a completely different training program resulted in just about as fast 800-meter times as the low mileage program.

Middle Distance Low Mileage Training Research


Donovan Brazier is considered by many the best middle distance athlete in the world right now. He holds the American record in the 800m, but only runs 35 miles a week. Brazier considers this mileage “high mileage” but to distance athletes 35 miles a week is a miniscule amount. Built into these low mileage weeks are speed and strength workouts to work Brazier’s fast fibers into intermediate fibers. Then in the peak of his distance did a pure speed workout to ensure his fast fibers were still strong before he ran the American Record. Brazier’s muscles are made up of a high percentage of fast and intermediate fibers to carry him across the 800m sprint and it clearly works for him. This would be enough proof that the low mileage training is better if there weren’t also examples of successful high mileage 800 athletes.

Topics for smaller papers

Slow Twitch Fibers vs Fast Twitch Fibers and how to train either into intermediate fibers

How much middle-distance athletes can take before risking injury, and how that changes based on the muscle fibers they specialize in.

Pros and cons of low mileage vs pro and cons of high mileage

How am I feeling about the paper?

I cannot express how ready I am to dig further into my research and begin writing this paper. My main goal here is less about the grade I receive but what I learn about my topic. Since I’m writing about something that means so much to me I have so much drive to research everything I can. Furthermore, I can actually implement what I’m learning into my own training as a middle-distance athlete. I would say right now I can confidently write 2000 meaningful words on my topic regarding the 3 different sub-topics of my main hypothesis.

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2 Responses to WHITE PAPER – Spooky

  1. davidbdale says:

    Spooky, you violate the purpose of the username when you publish your own human name at the top of your posts. Please refrain from identifying yourself on the blog even if you don’t require anonymity. When I fail to provide and ensure it, the trouble comes down on me. Thanks!

    Back soon with reactions to your actual work here. I must say I’m delighted by your “Current State” section.


  2. davidbdale says:

    This is shaping up beautifully, Spooky. I’m very happy but also surprised to see how many of your summaries begin with the language “It seems counterintuitive that.” I shouldn’t be surprised, probably, having trained you to start summaries that way, but you’re the first student I can recall ever doing so in the White Paper.

    I like your Summaries. I particularly like your 2nd Hypothesis. It’s a brilliant strategy that seems so obvious once it’s named. (You should name it. There’s nothing quite so useful as tagging a new concept. Calibration Training, or something like that. Once you define it, it becomes an incredibly useful shorthand and lends you notoriety as if you had invented something.)

    I can help you with some language issues. You might not need this instruction if you’re just producing rough copy here and know it needs editing, but just in case . . .

    So a sprinter running a marathon would be a chore for that athlete, but it will train their Type II B fibers into Type II A fibers.

    This syntax fails and creates a confusing bit of logic. As you state it, “A sprinter . . . would be a chore.” We all know that’s not what you mean, but reading slows and comprehension suffers—your credibility takes a hit too—when we have to untangle your meaning. What you really mean is:

    Running a marathon would be a chore for a sprinter, but it will train their Type II B fibers into Type II A fibers.

    In this version, “Running a marathon” is your subject.

    Here’s another one:

    Given the amount of time that as passed he has shared his training program with the world, to which many were surprised by; was a high mileage training program.

    Where to start. We’re unsure why the 11 years he’s dominated his event should cause him to share his training program. Maybe you mean that his long-standing domination explains why everybody would want or should appreciate knowing his regimen. But my main concern is the “to which many were surprised by” phrase. And the semicolon. Again, I apologize if this would never find its way into your final draft, but just in case . . .

    Most running experts were surprised to learn that an 800-meter runner who has dominated his sport for so long practices a high-mileage training program.

    The only way to accomplish sentences like this one, unless they just come naturally, is to find the skeleton first, then add flesh. Start with what sounds like a headline:
    Experts becomes running experts
    Brazier becomes an 800-meter runner who has dominated his sport for so long

    Is that helpful?
    We had good interaction in our conference. The process continues here, Spooky. I expect you always to respond to show your respect for the feedback process. Thanks!


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