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Simon says run 10km and reap the rewards

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Words
Jessica Nelson
Published
18 June 2018

Championship runner Simon Rogers is putting his research into practice as he prepares to switch his usual middle distance track events for a crack at the Southern Cross University 10km Run at the Gold Coast Marathon this month.

The New Zealand national and seasoned middle distance runner is currently completing his Southern Cross University PhD industry project with the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, focusing on methods of developing and training teenage pre-elite athletes.

When he isn’t on the track training, Simon is passionate about teaching students how to focus on developing movement competency, especially the fundamentals of strength and conditioning training, so teenagers are ready for a greater chance at sporting success.

“As part of the road into competitive sport, young athletes need to acquire the fundamentals or ‘building blocks’ of strength training. Beginning with an understanding of how to perform a range of movements with just their own body weight can better prepare them for the demands on their body in their sport,” said Simon, who is part of the Elite Student Athlete program at Southern Cross.

“As part of my research I run a weekly lunchtime opt-in training session for Year 9 athletes who are really keen to learn more about performance preparation. There are some conflicting messages floating around in the teenage training space, particularly around progressing into weight training, so the AIS research project draws on the current best practice techniques for youth physical preparation, highlighting the early mastery of the fundamental training techniques.

“Many of these young emerging teenage athletes already have a lot of physical growth and sporting demands to balance on their plate, and they are showing signs of overuse injuries at early ages, so we focus on the technical work first, so good movement patterns become ingrained. A focus of the work in my current project is looking at the progressions made by improving movement competency and the associated messaging to teenage athletes more widely. We are really keen to give these pre-elites the best chance at continuing on the sporting pathway and not get caught in the cycle of ongoing overuse injuries from poor movement control.”

Simon has dreams to follow in his father’s footsteps and represent New Zealand at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

He has previously competed in 1500m track events at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei (representing Southern Cross) and at the Australian and New Zealand National Championships. He took out the silver medal in the 1500m for Southern Cross University at the Australian University Games in 2017.

The 28-year-old will be putting his own advice to the test when he leaves behind the cold Canberra winter to don the Southern Cross University colours for the second time to run in the SCU 10km event on the Saturday of the Gold Coast Marathon weekend (June 30), which will also count towards the UniSport Australia National Distance Running Championships.

“The longest distance I usually compete in is 3km on the track and I feel more at home running short sharp races, so these road races require even greater endurance. My training approach over the winter months this year has been focused on building up to running longer and spending more time on the feet on the quiet roads and trails around Canberra, while still keeping my legs familiar with faster running one day a week.”

Simon said the SCU 10km race will help him build up endurance and engage the competitive mindset in the 1500m off-season, before kicking back into track work as the warmer months approach.

“I learn a lot from new and challenging race targets, and from being around other top runners in the country.

“I’m also excited to run alongside other Southern Cross students who I don’t get to see often, and of course hit up the Gold Coast campus while I’m there.”


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