The Equalizers Track Club is a youth running group that trains for and competes in track, cross-country and road racing. It is open to athletes under the age of 19 who are interested in middle distance running, regardless of capability and experience. The club has been in existence since 1986 and has a strong tradition of helping runners of all ages achieve high ideals. A large number of runners from this organization have gone on to lead their high school track and cross-country teams, and also have excelled at the state and national levels.
The group is coached and managed by head coach Jerry Palazzo, along with highly capable assistant coaches. In addition, several parent runners of varied capabilities provide invaluable help. All of whom share the common belief that this program is for and about the runners.
A primary objective of the club is to encourage youth participation in running, and in the disciplines that accompany the sport. The methods include a safe, balanced and enjoyable approach to training and racing, all of which should lead to a smooth transition to competition at the high school level and beyond. The ultimate goal is not so much to win races, but to instill a love for running as a life-long activity and to develop strength of character through competitive running. Winning races is a by-product of accomplishing these goals.
The philosophy of the club is that each runner is competing against his or herself, and that how fast or where a runner finishes is not nearly as important as how they conduct themselves in the face of adversity. Each runner is encouraged to improve his or her own times with each race, and not be overly concerned with what the next runner is doing, since there is only one person you can control in a race, and that person is yourself. We believe that every runner is a winner regardless of how he or she finishes a race, as long as they do the best they can. It is our hope that this pursuit of excellence will serve them well throughout their lives.
The training includes drills and running techniques, endurance and speed development, racing tactics and mental preparation. Strength and flexibility training are also incorporated into the program as they relate to the sport, with an emphasis on preventing injuries. Our season begins with general conditioning and endurance training, followed by speed training; and ends with peak race training to finish the season.
Competitions take place throughout the year, with track meets in the spring and summer months, followed by cross country meets in the fall and winter. Road races are sprinkled in throughout the year. The meets vary in the levels of competition present and runners will compete only in those meets deemed appropriate for their capability level. No runner will compete though until they are ready, both physically and mentally. In June/July and November/December, the USATF Junior Olympic meets take place and present the highest level of competition. These meets will be limited to those who meet certain higher capability levels at that time. Although it is not required to compete in any competitions, it is strongly encouraged once an appropriate capability level is reached, as competition is an important part of the development process in this sport.
Once our regular season has ended, post-season opportunities will exist for those runners who have achieved high capability levels in their respective age divisions. These meets include the Regional and National Junior Olympic Championships. These meets are limited to those runners who qualify for them, by placing high at qualifying meets.
Every effort must be made to attend our workouts on a regular basis. This means that runners must manage their time wisely. It is their responsibility to complete their homework and chores promptly after school and in the evenings. Workout sessions throughout the week will have different objectives and, by missing too many, the runner’s body will not receive enough conditioning to withstand the demands that will be placed on it during competition. I believe it to be unwise to place a child in a competitive race situation without adequate preparation.
Workout sessions will start promptly at the scheduled times. We ask that all runners be present at that time and dressed in the appropriate attire. Also, runners should pay special attention to what they eat and drink prior to the workouts. An upset stomach will prevent them from accomplishing their workout goals. Plenty of hydration throughout the day is very important, rather than immediately before workouts. And, so that I can adequately prepare, I ask that you notify me in advance when you cannot attend.
During training sessions, an understanding of the runner’s body will be emphasized. In this regard, each workout will have a specific objective that will be made clear to the runners. For best results, it is very important to follow the plan of the day and understand its objective. Running hard on an easy run day will only wear you down for the next difficult session.
Pace is very important and will be strongly emphasized. Each runner will be assessed based on estimated or known recent racing times and be assigned an individualized pace for each of the 3 types of training runs that include: 1) Easy and Long Runs, 2) Tempo Runs 3) Interval Training.
Each pace assigned will be closely followed until such time that the runner’s level of discomfort at that pace becomes less than it used to. The goal of our workouts is NOT to always hurt as much as possible, but rather to experience improvement at a level before stepping up to the next.
Parents, you play a big part in how well your child will do. You can help your child by demonstrating a good attitude, respect and support the philosophy of the coaching staff, and just remember, the runners are young and this is a learning experience. They will not always live up to your expectations, but you must remain supportive, and encourage them no matter what. Children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment, not ours, and children need models, not criticism. Any single race is only a very small piece of a much larger puzzle.
Available upon request.
4 training sessions per week are available for members. These sessions vary in both time and location and seasonally. Specifics will be provided upon request.
Weekend workouts will NOT always take place on some meet weekends
Suggested minimum of 3 workout days per week** (4 running days is ideal for good progress)
** Special arrangements may be made for independent workouts for those with conflicting activities and for those living further away
Meets take place on weekends
Those having serious interest in training for competitive running and the maturity to follow instructions.