mom2runner
Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/8/2013 10:04PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My son would like to try to qualify for the middle school state meet which takes place in mid May. He turned 13 in December and is in 7th grade. The qualify standard for the 1600 for 7th grade boys in his division is 5:13.

His experience: Loves to run but isn't super serious about it. He was on the XC team at his middle school where they averaged about 10-12 miles per week from September through end of October. In November he didn't run much during the week, maybe twice per week, but ran two 5Ks, one at the beginning of November and one at the end. His best 5K time is 19:09. He runs about twice per week now that's cold, snowy, and icy outside. He probably runs anywhere from 3 to 5 miles each time he goes out. So, averaging about 8 miles per week.

Last week, he ran a timed mile on an indoor track (10 lap/mile) in a basement. His time for the mile was 5:34, which I believe would translate to a 5:32 1600m. Do you think it's realistic, if he were to start slowly running more beginning at the end of February/beginning of March, for him to improve his time to meet the qualifying standard? Will running outside on a 4 lap track make an immediate difference? If so, any idea how much?

Thank you. I know he'll appreciate the answers of all of you experienced high school runners!
Mhm
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/9/2013 6:00AM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Without a doubt. Just keep increasing the number of days running and distance--slowly of course. And add a little speed eventually too. Then he can get 5:13 easily. Maybe under 5 if he does enough training.
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/9/2013 3:35PM - in reply to Mhm Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thank you, Mhm. If he doesn't make it this year, there's always next year, but for eighth grade the qualifying time is 4:59. So we'll see.

I'll report back in a couple of months.
A young coach
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/9/2013 6:59PM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've coached 7th and 8th graders for a few years. Some thoughts:

--Keep his workouts aerobic until track season begins. Don't have him grinding out intervals in the offseason. Anaerobic work is the fastest way to get him to a 5:13, but will stunt his long-term development as a runner.

--Keep it fun. The surest way to burn out a runner is to press him into doing things he doesn't want to do. When a parent wants it worse than an adolescent runner, the runner finds ways to consciously or subconsciously rebel eventually.

--Keep it low-key. Even Lydiard disciple Mark Wetmore encourages 12-13 year olds to only run seasonally, and not year-round. It is for this reason I really oppose the idea of state meets for kids younger than 9th grade. It promotes an atmosphere of pressure to succeed, rather than of fun and growth.
Karma Police
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/10/2013 7:50PM - in reply to A young coach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

A young coach wrote:

I've coached 7th and 8th graders for a few years. Some thoughts:

--Keep his workouts aerobic until track season begins. Don't have him grinding out intervals in the offseason. Anaerobic work is the fastest way to get him to a 5:13, but will stunt his long-term development as a runner.

.


I've got some questions on this:

1. define what you mean by aerobic and anerobic work for that age. Is lactic threshold the limit?

2. Do you include sprint training as anaerobic training?

3. How long do you think they should do anaerobic work for? 6 weeks?

4. Are you a Lydiard disciple?

5. Why will anaerobic work in winter "stunt his long-term development as a runner"? Does thhis depend to an extent on his physical maturity? How much anaerobic work do you mean?
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/10/2013 8:20PM - in reply to A young coach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks young coach.

I wouldn't have the confidence in training him to do any intervals. I like that he's taken an interest in this and wants to succeed, but I also don't want to "screw him up" before he even gets to high school. Do you recommend longish, slow runs, (assuming he is taking the lead on wanting to run)?

I believe you about not pressing him to do things and will keep it low key. I appreciate the caution flag!
worst poster
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/10/2013 9:07PM - in reply to A young coach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't disagree necessarily about overdoing it in general, but in most cases, what are we really "saving" a runner for?

For many, many runners, youth track or XC is their high water mark. Why not make the most of it? Most kids will not be state or even county champ in HS no matter what they do now. So shouldn't they put the pedal to the metal to the extent they are inclined?
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 2/12/2013 10:29AM - in reply to worst poster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

worst poster wrote:

I don't disagree necessarily about overdoing it in general, but in most cases, what are we really "saving" a runner for?

For many, many runners, youth track or XC is their high water mark. Why not make the most of it? Most kids will not be state or even county champ in HS no matter what they do now. So shouldn't they put the pedal to the metal to the extent they are inclined?


I can't answer your question (though I know you were asking more generally, and not specifically in relation to my post). This is the first year that his school has even had a track team so it's all pretty new to him. The only experience he has running is with his middle school cross country team in 6th and 7th grade and about 7 5Ks since he started XC. He's had a decent amount of success without a ton of effort or previous involvement in the sport. Though he would like to get to the state meet, since he only has 1.5 years of middle school left, I don't think he cares as much about being a middle school track or XC stud as much as trying to be a great high school runner. That remains to be seen!
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mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 8/12/2013 10:55AM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Update. He did not make the state meet. His PR for the season was 5:15. He decided to just keep on being casual about running and didn't change any of his habits over the winter. He didn't really "train" much until track started in April (the meet was early May), and only about 10-15 miles per week. He was disappointed that he didn't qualify but still loves running and has been running 15-20 miles per week this summer. He's hoping to make the state meet next year in 8th grade. Thank you all for the advice!
Flagpole
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 8/12/2013 11:43AM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

mom2runner wrote:

Update. He did not make the state meet. His PR for the season was 5:15. He decided to just keep on being casual about running and didn't change any of his habits over the winter. He didn't really "train" much until track started in April (the meet was early May), and only about 10-15 miles per week. He was disappointed that he didn't qualify but still loves running and has been running 15-20 miles per week this summer. He's hoping to make the state meet next year in 8th grade. Thank you all for the advice!


5:15 for a 7th grader is pretty good...bodes well for him that he did that on not much training too. I'm not a big fan of lots of training until high school anyway.
middle school coach
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 8/12/2013 11:54AM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I definitely understand his desire to make the state meet. I want you to know that with the amount that he is training and the times he is running, any high school coach would be very excited to know he is coming their way. I myself would be ecstatic to have a runner like him.

During the season (We have a 6 week season) my boys are running around 15-20 miles per week and I've only had a handful of 7th grade boys under 5:20. They run a couple of days per week, if I'm lucky, during the off season. These boys end up being varsity runners on one of the best perennial teams in the nation.

Just keep encouraging him with the hard work he has put in and let the high school coaches know about him so that he can get connected as soon as possible out of middle school.

He should definitely get under 5:00 next year if his coaches have any clue about training. All of my runners that run under 5:20 as 7th graders run around 4:50 as 8th graders.