Jerry Schumacher's Fitness Spectrum
As former Portland Pilot and current Bowerman TC Pro, Woody Kincaid, verified in a recent podcast, Jerry has a keen eye for talent and readiness when it comes to world-class distance running.
Jerry has a three-point spectrum of fitness, or at least that is what I discerned during the early 2010s when I was under his tutelage.
To my knowledge, he has never outrightly defined it, but these are the three most common illustrations I've heard him use to describe fitness. And that is why I've affectionately dubbed it "Jerry Schumacher's Fitness Spectrum*."
(*Quick Note: Remember, the lens Jerry looks through is at the highest echelon of the sport, so this spectrum only concerns Professionals whose livelihoods are centered on winning medals at the world-class level. It does not apply to non-outlier runners that are mere mortals, which is most of us, myself included.)
Jerry Schumacher's Fitness Spectrum looks like this: Sloppy — Fit — Turbo Fit
The lowest degree of fitness. I understood Sloppy to mean an athlete was not fully prepared to race at a world-class level, not ready to qualify for an international team and/or make a World Championships final.
The middle ground. Most Professional runners fall into this category. An athlete who is "fit" has done the necessary work and is capable of making a World Championships team, the World final, and being a factor on the international scene.
Used very sparingly. Reserved only for the rare occasions someone is ready for a fantastically special performance on a big stage, such as setting a national record, vying for the win at a major international competition, or blowing a world-class field out of the water.
I've only heard Jerry describe someone as Turbo Fit a handful of times. The last was 2.5 weeks out from the 2017 New York City Marathon. We were discussing Shalane Flanagan's build-up for the race that day.
He started off the conversation by saying, "Jon, she is Turbo Fit right now." I didn't need to hear anything else. Right then and there I knew Shalane was going to win. And of course, in all likelihood, Jerry knew too.
Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm