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.
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/16/2014 10:51AM - 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!


Update number two for those of you that shared encouraging words (which I shared with him) after his disappointment last year...

As an 8th grader he continued to run 20 miles per week during the middle school XC season and did well. He then ran through the winter. When track started, he went down to 15-20, as that's what the middle school coach had all the distance runners doing. He ended up making the state meet and a PR with a high 4:5x, not good enough for the top ten, but he was pleased nonetheless. He is excited about his Freshman year.
dadoftwinsortofrunners
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/16/2014 12:02PM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Congratulations to him! Those seem like fast times to me, although I don't really follow track for that age. Are you in a big/fast state? My kids are going into 8th grade (boy/girl twins) and they are talented runners, but I'm not sure they could get near those times even if they decided to get serious about running and train. I hope he keeps enjoying it. If so, he'll definitely keep improving.
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/16/2014 2:35PM - in reply to dadoftwinsortofrunners Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

dadoftwinsortofrunners wrote:

Congratulations to him! Those seem like fast times to me, although I don't really follow track for that age. Are you in a big/fast state? My kids are going into 8th grade (boy/girl twins) and they are talented runners, but I'm not sure they could get near those times even if they decided to get serious about running and train. I hope he keeps enjoying it. If so, he'll definitely keep improving.


Yes, I am in a fast state. Most people would probably say it's a top 5 for distance running.

Thank you. They actually changed the qualifying time from 4:59 to 5:05 this year and raised the 7th grade time as well, but I'm not sure what it was. This was also for the larger class middle school. Lower class schools had slightly easier standards. Good luck to your son and daughter!
Spokane Runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/17/2014 2:11PM - in reply to mom2runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
He would win/be near the front of the GSL middle school championship with that time.

Hope he has a great net 4 years running in high school. This is only the beginning for him. Have fun as a family as he sets goals and works to reach them. Keep encouraging him in a positive way and watch him grow.
trackcoach
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/17/2014 4:50PM - in reply to Spokane Runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I agree with most of the post that you need to keep it low key and fun, but there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting a kid to be competitive and training to get better. I started my coaching career coaching youth football, basketball and track, why would you ever give a young runner different advice for running than you would for any other sport? Success in any sport at any age requires practice and running is no different. Running like all sports have youth level local, state and national championships; people talk as if running is so unique that practicing and striving to be good at higher levels is a bad thing. There are kids who go away to summer tennis and gymnastics camps, who are training 4-5 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, I am not an advocate of that no more so than I am for a 12 yo pitcher on 3 baseball teams throwing fast balls every day. That is too much physically and kids like adults need balance in their lives and it's probably more than what the typical kid actually wants. I have seen many kids who participate on multiple teams and leagues and the parents will swear that's what the kid wants but, but in reality, the kid would like to hang out with their friends more and sleep late on some Saturdays, Kids for the most part, follow our lead and will do what we want them to do. I have never said to a young runner who is self-motivated, enjoys runner to only runs 10mpw and don't do any track workouts, when the kids he want to beat are doing much more. - Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anything and success at any age is wonderful.

I started running at a young age and so did 2 of my kids and we all were successful in H.S. and college. The best H.S. teams, without a doubt have the best middle school feeder programs and the best colleges get the best H.S. schools kids and the best pro runners where usually good NCAA athletes. When people don't progress to the next level in anything, more often it’s because they did not do enough, not because they were doing too much. With all of that said, there is definitely such a thing as running too much and parents being overly involved, etc., but you don't purposefully discourage a kid from being competitive and training to get better…at any age.
vpathletics.com
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/18/2014 1:53PM - in reply to trackcoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Theres an army of 15-16 minute 5k runners in college who apparently "saved it" for later in life. There is no saving it in the sports world. Sure, don't train so much that you are inviting injuries, but the whole "keeping the legs fresh for college" thing is silly. Would you rather be a 10:00 2 miler walking on to a small school or a 9:20 guy getting money? The 10:00 minute guy will never have the opportunity of the 9:20 guy in finding a successful school to attend, even if the 9:20 guy is much closer to his physical limit.
mom2runner
RE: Middle school state track meet. How much improvement? 6/18/2014 9:43PM - in reply to vpathletics.com Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
While I do think they are pretty conservative with most Freshmen, they do get up there in mileage by Sophomore or Junior year. From here on out, it's all out of my hands. He'll do what the coaches tell him, unless it's completely absurd (and it would have to be really absurd for me to realize it). From what I can tell, he's in good hands and I'm sure they'll put him on a solid path to reach his potential, whatever that may be. The rest is up to him.