2012 Year-End Retrospective

Note: This is an update to the “Check Point – 3 Year Retrospective” and paints a picture across the 2012 seasons of indoor track, outdoor track and cross country (including road races).

My younger son (now 11) accomplished several goals in 2012: he achieved his 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo (read about it here) and continued to learn, grow and improve as a distance runner. Just as important is that he stayed healthy, enjoys running, and built important leadership and social skills.

Although he continues with passion towards his 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, running is now his favorite sport. In 2012, my son ran 4 days per week totaling about 20 miles (so more than 1,000 miles), unchanged from the prior year. I modified his workouts, which I describe more below. In the past few weeks, we have also added one weekly strength training session, using free weight exercises with low weight and high repetitions to build upper body strength (running and Taekwondo provide sufficient core and lower body training). The strength training did not impact his running in 2012.

He improved his mile time from 6:30 to 5:58 this year, and I think he’s capable of running 5:50 (the 5:58 was run in poor weather conditions). In the past two years, my son has lowered his mile time by more than 90 seconds. The goal for 2013 is to run around 5:30 (as an 11-year old).

Demonstrating that he’s a distance runner (the mile is considered middle-distance), my son improved his 5K splits from 7:20 per mile to almost 6:30 per mile, lowering his 5K road race times from 22:48 to 20:23, during 2012. That surpasses his improvement in the prior year, when he reduced his 5K splits from 7:40 to 7:20, and may be the result of physical growth, increased mental stamina, race experience, and improvements from changes to the 2012 workouts. The goal for 2013 is to run in the low 19:00 range (can he break 19:00 as an 11-year old?).

I made several key changes to the 2012 workouts. I changed the intervals from 400’s and 800’s to include some longer intervals with 1200’s and 1600’s, and we do these in weekly progressions with the 400’s, 800’s and 1200’s as repeats and the 1600’s as threshold. Week 1 we run 10×400 repeats at 82 seconds with 1:3 break (slower in the colder weather), 5×800 at 2:50 in week 2, 3×1200 at 4:30 (6 min/mile pace) in week 3, and then 3×1600 threshold at 6:20 with 1:1 break in week 4, then we start again with week 1.

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