Skip to main content

Study Finds To Become World-Class, Don't Work Too Hard in Junior High

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20110204-OYT1T00513.htm

translated by Brett Larner

"If you want to become a world-class women's marathoner, don't work too hard in junior high school." That is the finding of a study of domestic elite women runners by former Team Toyota Shatai head coach Masahiko Takahashi, 46.

Takahashi sent his survey to 383 athletes and alumni of professional corporate and club teams, including 20 women who made the top 8 in the marathon at the Olympics or World Championships. 90.3% responded. Takahashi compared the responses of those who had made a Japanese national team for the Olympics or World Championships with those who had not. With regard to their training in junior high school he found:
  1. National team members' off-seasons averaged 2.24 months, while those who did not make national teams averaged 0.87 months.
  2. 60% of national team members did morning practice in addition to their main workouts, while 82.3 % of those who did not make national teams doubled.
  3. Those who made national teams' average mileage was 6.68 km per day, while those who did not averaged 8.29 km.
Based on these and other findings, Takahashi concluded that those who became successful international-level athletes tended to have done less training at the junior high school level. Takahashi is studying at Waseda University Graduate School's Institute of Sports and plans to publish the study through the school. His findings will no doubt be of great help to coaches of Japan's junior teams.

Comments

raincityrunner said…
Does this mean that hard training at a young age is detrimental in the long term, or merely that the mediocre (in terms of genetic endowment) tend to overcompensate without success?
Brett Larner said…
Agreed; although the headline and opening quote seem to suggest causation, the study as described only seems to indicate correlation.
Chris said…
It could simply be that people who worked too hard at an early age get mentally burnt out, and lack motivation later.

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…