Learning From the Greats — Jerry Schumacher

Jerry Schumacher is the best coach in America and maybe the best coach in the world, outside of Patrick Sang.

Just in the past week he had American Record performances from Courtney Frerichs in the Women’s 3000 meter steeplechase and Shelby Houlihan in the Women’s 5000 meters.

When you look at those performances, mixed in with Shalane Flanagan winning NYC in 2017 and Evan Jager being one of the top 2-3 steeplechasers in the world, it’s hard to argue this.

So, what can we learn from Jerry? Well, this is a question and answer from a 2010 interview from competitor.com.

How would you describe your philosophy as a coach?

I’m very heavy on fundamentals. It’s like any other discipline. You have to be good at the fundamentals first. You then make the small tweaks when you get the fundamentals down. Every day of practice is a way to get better as a distance runner. I think the guys do that. I think they do that really well. I think the whole team is very fundamental-oriented. They are very disciplined in their approach. They know the things I expect from them on a regular basis and the things I want them to continue to work on. I don’t think you can ever be too good at the fundamentals.

Be good at the fundamentals. A lot of times my athletes get bored with our high mileage, progression runs, hill repeats, and speed maintenance sessions, but as Jerry says, “You can never be too good at the fundamentals.”


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