Having boldly stated a goal of wanting to run a 6:45 mile this spring/summer in preparation for the 2011 New Canaan Mile, my 9 year old son asked me for another checkpoint in late May, and I obliged. As background, as an 8 year old he ran 8:30 at the New Canaan Mile (on the road) in June 2010, then lowered his mile time in September to 7:31 (a one minute improvement in 3 months), so it was not totally crazy that he could run 6:45 in June 2011. But then again, an almost 2 minute drop in 12 months does sound crazy. And what was even crazier is that this 8 year old boy, after having run an 8:30 mile, set a very specific goal that was a year in the future. To be clear, we did not train specifically for the mile, nor did I increase his training volume or intensity over the past year, and as far as his racing is concerned, my son preferred to focus on 5K and 3M road races.
So on a warm day in late May 2011, about 3 weeks before the New Canaan Mile, my son and I warmed up for another mile time trial at the track. He seemed confident, having worked hard all winter and spring, and we stepped up to the starting line. I paced him around the track and my son passed 800 meters in 3:20, so he was on track to achieve his goal. The warm and humid day started to affect him on his 3rd lap, and he labored a little but maintained his pace into the final, bell lap. I was so proud of him as he crossed the finish line in 6:51, and looked at me and said “Dad, I came close”. I gave him a hug and told him “You are amazing, you did it.” It was unbelievable that a kid who ran an 8:30 could run a 6:51 less than a year later. My son was on top of the world, and that is what carried him through a 3 mile warmdown. “Dad, I want to do my 5 miles today!”