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Aug. 15, 2011

Follow Ohio State head coach Robert Gary’s blog while he represents the Buckeyes as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, August 27 to September 4, in Daegu, South Korea.

Sunday, August 14

It is the night before I leave for Korea and I thought it would be a good idea to get a solid update in now before what is probably going to be an incredibly long day of travel tomorrow/into Tuesday. I am slated to arrive in Daegu at the Team USA training camp around 9 pm on Tuesday evening. Best part of the travel is they’ve recommended staying awake for the entirety of the plane trip which will be easy for me to do as I can never sleep on flights – since my son was born, I have had very few chances to go to the movies so a perfect trip for me would be watching seven movies in a row and being there (14 hour flight). If that isn’t available, I have a long list of projects I would like to get done for the Ohio State team as well as some plans for 2012 post-collegiate guys I coach.

Many people have been asking me what we do on these trips as coaches. Obviously, we do not specifically write training schedules and speak on racing strategies at this point. I had many good coaches work with me when I was fortunate enough to make some national teams and always enjoyed any feedback or instruction they may have had. That being said, I can’t think of a worse scenario than me giving contradictory advice from what their personal coach may be giving. I have been in email contact with all the distance guys (1500, steeple, 5k, 10k, marathon and walk is my area) and spoken to most on the phone at least once. I have also included their personal coaches in all communications and handouts from USOC regarding heat acclimization, jet lag recommendations, nutritional and training suggestions. Additionally, we have had numerous conference calls with our staff discussing important information for the athletes/coaches to understand, rooming assignments, practice times, meet protocol, etc. This afternoon, I bought extra safety pins, spikes and wrenches.

I am very excited for this particular coaching assignment – I have been a Team USA junior coach for world track, world cross country and an U23 team, so this is my first time at the senior level. Working with the juniors is exciting because you can see the “stars of the future”, but the seniors are the “show” – these are next year’s Olympians that can be representing our country. As for Worlds, I almost enjoyed it more as an athlete over the Olympics primarily because it is just track and field. To that end, it seems USATF has spared no thought in trying to assist in any way possible for a successful team outing.

We have a very knowledgeable staff and the men and women’s staffs have been working together very closely thus far. I am sure everyone feels it is a great honor and opportunity to learn from so many great athletes and staff so I am looking forward to the next 3 weeks. It will, however, be very tough leaving my family for 3 weeks (especially my son Percy who will be a world record holder at 400m hurdles; I have explained I need to research the event at this high level to assure his position on the 2028 Olympic team!). It will also be tough to leave a couple professional guys right before they head back over for a couple European races – both ran Falmouth this past weekend. Jeff See PR’d in the mile at 3:55.2 for second and Brian Olinger was the first American and fourth overall in the road race today (Brian just missed the “A”-standard in the steeplechase when he finished second at London Golden League). A third post-collegiate, Daniel Huling, will be competing in Korea and I am very excited to be able to be there with him as he competes! Our calendar at OSU is nice because we are still on quarters so I don’t miss pre-season. I do return in early September and we depart for our training camp in Boone, NC Sept. 8-19.

Go Team USA (and GO BUCKS)
Coach Robert Gary