With 4 dual meets on the schedule, followed by the Connecticut Middle School State Championships and the Western Connecticut Conference (Middle School) Championship, we knew it would be a short outdoor track season. And recovering from an iliotibial band (IT) injury in late winter, my son was rebuilding at the beginning of outdoor track, only to hyper-extend his knee in Taekwondo practice and miss the 1st outdoor meet.
Running the 2nd meet of the 2015 outdoor track season on May 8, my 13-year old son won the 1600 m race in a solid 5:35, 8 seconds slower than his 2014 outdoor PR and matching his December 2014 (only) indoor 1600 m at the New York Armory. Everything considered, he was thrilled and looking forward to consistent training and improvement. Until he contracted a virus and bronchitis, and he missed the 3rd meet of the season. He came back from illness just in time for the 4th (and last) dual meet on May 22, before the championship meets, and although not 100% healthy, he was pumped to race against a strong Wilton team.
Our pre-race phase this year was focused more on aerobic strength, with key weekly workouts including an 8 mile trail run as our long run, workout of 2 x 1 mile uphill tempo at 6:15-6:30 pace, and a 6 mile trail run followed by 6 x 200 m progression on the track (with 200 walk) starting at 36-38 and reducing to 32-34. Starting with the 1st meet, we replaced the uphill tempo runs with 4 x 1000 m on the track at 5:30 mile pace (current race pace).
In the 4th meet, only 2 weeks after his season opening 5:35, my son ran a 5:23 PR in the 1600 m, a 12 second improvement. The fact that the Wilton runner pulled away with 150 m to go to finish in 5:21 didn’t bother him. His splits were relatively even 80, 82, 82, 79. Not done for the day, he won the 800 m in 2:29 (76, 73), also a PR. The awesome negative split in the 800 m, especially after running the 1600 PR, is a result of the aerobic strength training. And a sign that if he stays healthy, he is capable of running faster. Although I advised him to cool down and call it a day, my son wanted to support his teammates and at their request anchor the 4 x 400 m relay team. Totally tired from 2 fast races, he nevertheless closed the 4:37 relay in 68 seconds, another PR. It was a crazy triple and not something that I would recommend for a middle school runner (and he agrees, and probably won’t triple again in the near future).
Emptying the tank as the anchor leg in the 4 x 400 m relay (black singlet, chasing the lead runner)
Happy to improve the team’s 4 x 400 PR by about 30 seconds (son is far left)