How should I prepare for the Steeplchase?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  GTF 14 years ago.

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  • #2224


    I just started running XC for my high school team this year (as a junior). I have already been hurdling for a year now, and after my XC season, I’ve found myself to be more middle-distance than I expected. My pr for my first xc season was 17:27, and I’m looking to get in the 40-41 second range for the 300m IH this spring track season. My coach suggested that I might want to try out steeplechase, becuase it would combine both hurdling and middle/long distance running. I am hoping to run d2 in this event when I go to college, but I do not know how to train for it, and open meets that have steeplechase are hard to find in New Hampshire. If anyone could give me some training/racing tips for the steeplechase it would be much appreciated!

  • #17682


    First off, if your coach has any experience training athletes for the steeplechase, I would strongly suggest going to your coach to ask this question. However, this sounds like it might be a case where your high school coach doesn’t have any experience working with steeplers and you don’t yet have a college coach. If I’m right, read on. If I’m wrong, stop reading and ask your coach about this.

    Personally, I have never run the steeplechase because my hurdling ability is almost good enough to keep me from killing myself in that event. However, I did run for a school that turned out some pretty good steeplers during my years. As for training, they trained with the 1500/3000 runners. You would want to get this training from your distance coach. After practice, they would set up hurdles and go over the same types of drills that any hurdler would, which I’m sure you’re familiar with being an experienced hurdler. For this part, you would want to work with the hurdles coach. As outdoor season neared, they would practice the water jump a few times but not a whole lot because that is the one that can create a lot of pounding on your body.

    Basically, steeple form for all but the water jump is the same as hurdling form in the 300s or 110s you would run in high school. The barriers are 36 inches high for the men (if I remember correctly) and the one thing to remember, which shouldn’t be hard when you see the barriers, is that they aren’t as forgiving as hurdles so you definitely want to clear them without clipping them with your heel or knee. For the water jump, most steeplers will step on the barrier, then jump toward the end of the water pit. You want to land near the end where the water isn’t deep but most people say you want to land in the water so it will absorb some of the impact of the landing. When jumping the water, remember that you want to jump out, not up. At a collegiate meet, it’s not hard to see that the better runners don’t jump very high over the water, while the slower ones will go very high. Our steeplers also stressed accelerating into all barriers including the water barrier, which was the opposite of one’s natural instinct but worked very well for them.

  • #17683


    Thanks for the advice! Hopefully preparing now will give me the extra edge that I need! One question on the water barrier. About how long is it? I don’t have any to practice with except for a nearby college (UNH), so I would like to try and at least get a feel for how far out I need to jump off that 4th steeple. My high school coach does have some steeple experience, but I feel it’s good to get more than one opinion on this. Again, thank you very much for your advice!

  • #17684


    First, as I was looking for information on the exact dimensions of the water pit, I found this link, which near the bottom has a pretty good demonstration of water pit technique. The pictures and associated video are not of a perfect jump but he does a good job of explaining what he did right and what he did wrong and I found it pretty easy, given his description, to see what was done right and what the result would have been had he not made his slight mistake.

    I’m having trouble finding a set specification for the water pit but the one thing I did find was a reference to 12 feet long for the water pit. It also tapers up from probably 3-4 feet deep by the barrier to nothing at what must be about 12 feet out. If anyone else has more precise specifications, please share. if you don’t hear anything else, you could check out the college track near you to get an idea of what you’ll be jumping over. In fact, you may be able to get on that track at some point in the spring to practice on it.

    Of course, I hope you are going over everything you plan on doing with your coach. While your coach may or may not be able to help you a lot with the steeple, he should be aware of what you are doing because it might affect your training.

  • #17685


    A good practice is to simulate the water pit by placing a barrier at the end of a horizontal jump runway, near the start of the sand pit.

    The water jump, including barrier, is supposed to vary in length depending on the height of the barrier, and thus the maximum depth will vary, though it is supposed to be no deeper than 70cm.


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