Featured Coach – Ryan McClay

Coaching Bio

  • Ryan McClay of St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • In his 8th year as Head Coach of Cross Country and Distance Track & Field
  • Coaches roughly 50 athletes each season during Cross Country and 35 during Track season
  • 6 State Cross Country team titles, 2 State Track & Field team titles

Why He Loves VDOT

“I discovered VDOT a few years ago and started it as a guideline for the workouts I was already doing. It wasn’t until I went to Dr. Daniels’ VDOT O2 Coaching Clinic this past summer and met Jack that I really decided to follow his plan strictly. I made some changes and my athletes definitely questioned them initially. It was an interesting adjustment for the first few weeks of the season but once we got rolling they started figuring out why I made the changes. Eventually, they really started enjoying the training. After that we found our stride mid-season and started doing really well in meets.

From top to bottom we were seeing quite a bit of improvement from the previous year. Then, at the state meet we had our biggest breakthrough winning the Georgia Class 4A state championship. It was a pretty big upset over the big favorite. My guys all ran their best races of the year at the region and state meets and we finished off the season really strong.

I think the biggest way using VDOT has helped is holding kids back in workouts. Since I coach high school my athletes all want to prove themselves everyday and have a habit of pushing too hard during the week. This leaves them too tired for races on Saturdays. I saw less of that this year than any previous year, and I think it’s because they were always able to run a pace they knew they could run because of what their races indicated. It led to very few bad races, and I think the consistency has been the biggest benefit.”