We use the indoor track season to transition from the cross country season to the outdoor track season. Our goals are to rebuild the aerobic base; continue working on speed, strength and flexibility; and to have fun and stay healthy during the cold and harsh Connecticut winter months. To accomplish our goals, we do not plan a formal and full indoor track season, rather we plan 2-3 low-key indoor meets with specific goals in mind.
During the 2012/2013 indoor track season, my younger son participated in 2 youth indoor meets at the Armory in New York (here and here). The goal was to practice racing the 3000 meters in preparation for the outdoor Junior Olympics because this event is usually not contested during the regular youth outdoor season.
During the 2013/14 indoor track season, we wanted to lay the foundation for a successful outdoor track season, which means rebuilding my son’s aerobic base that was depleted during a long cross country season with many races, and continue developing his speed and strength to run faster across distances from 800 meters to 5K. We focused on long trail runs, 6 x 200’s once a week after a trail run, some quality workouts (ranging from 800 to 1 mile repeats, hill repeats, tempo runs), and strength and flexibility sessions.
To incorporate some short term goals and measure progress, we planned for my son to lower his 800 and mile PR’s. As background, he ran 2:46 for the 800 and 5:46 for the 1600 (or 5:48 when converted to the mile) during his 2013 outdoor track season (age 11). Our goals were for him to run the mile on December 22 at the New York Armory in the low 5:40’s, run the 800 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on February 9 and break 2:40, and conclude the indoor season with another mile at the Armory on February 17 and run 5:35. My son and I agreed that to run 5:35 for the mile, he would have to be able to run fast, back-to-back 800’s. Hence we planned to sandwich the 800 race between the mile races.
My son achieved his goals and in the 1st indoor meet ran 5:42 for the mile; in his 2nd indoor meet ran 2:38 for the 800 (8 second improvement from outdoors); and in his final indoor meet he improved his mile PR to 5:35.67 (13 second improvement from outdoors). Equally impressive was his ability to close fast and pass 2 other runners in the final 100 meters, starting 20 meters behind and finishing 10 meters in front.
Short season. Focus on long term goals. Incorporate short term goals. Keep it simple, fun and stay healthy.