Danny Mackey is the founding coach of the Brooks Beasts Track Club, one of the two clubs that Brooks sponsors for elite athletes. Danny has been coaching the Brooks Beasts since 2013 and is a true running geek, which I say with much affection. Among his athletes are Josh Kerr, Kyle Langford, Nia Atkins, and athletes competing from 800m to 10,000m.
We catch up with Danny once in a while, here is a long interview we did with Danny during the early days of the pandemic. His love of his craft, his appreciation of his athletes and his understanding of how athletes work is impressive, and his attention to the detail of coaching elite runners is what requires RunBlogRun to catch up with this fine American coach once in a while.
Special thanks to Jazmine Graham of Brooks communications for facilitating this interview.
RunBlogRun, # 1. How often do the Brooks Beasts do high-altitude training?
Danny Mackey: We normally do 2 camps, the first one is 4-5 weeks in January and February. The next one is 6-7 weeks in May-June. Sometimes we do a small third camp before the World Champs or Olympic Champs.
RunBlogRun, #2: How do you break up those segments? Are they a week, or ten days, what is the duration?
Danny Mackey: See above.
RunBlogRun, #3: Is high altitude training just building mileage?
Danny Mackey: By January they are at the high mileage, we start building that in October. So they do intensity here as well.
RunBlogRun, #4: What types of workouts do you do at altitude?
Danny Mackey: Long runs, tempo runs, sprint sessions, race-specific sessions, recovery runs, and weight sessions.
RunBlogRun, #5: Do you train 800m specialists differently from 5,000m specialists at altitude?
Danny Mackey: Yes. The metabolic demands of the events are slightly different. So 800m athletes do more sprint work relatively speaking and less volume.
RunBlogRun, #6: Would you recommend high altitude training for high school athletes?
Danny Mackey: It would not hurt them. Would I recommend it and say it is necessary? No. At that age having fun and training smart is more important.
RunBlogRun, #7: How much time do you spend stretching and core work?
Danny Mackey: 15 minutes every day before they run.
RunBlogRun, #8: Do you use ice baths during the year?
Danny Mackey: Rarely. If inflammation is really high later in the season, then we use them.
RunBlogRun, #9: How do you incorporate recovery days in your programs?
Danny Mackey: I individualize training. But in general, 3 days a week would fall into the “recovery” bucket. They fall after the very hard sessions. So normally after a long run, after a hard workout on Tuesday and a Friday.
RunBlogRun, #10: How does indoor season play a part in your year-long plan?
Danny Mackey: Mentally it is good to have the races because that helps them sharpen their tools for the more competitive and valuable outdoor season. We also start to do more race-specific sessions so they are not in total shock in April.
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