As some of you know, I run masters track, teach elementary school and coach track there as well. Well, I just added a new hat, coaching a 200/400m hopeful who has some raw talent, but has a long history of injury problems and inconsistent training.
We decided to give this outdoor season a full effort. Obviously, I am very limited in my ability to maneuver as the season is very near its beginning, so I guess we will have to be realistic about the potential for progress, but I remain hopeful. I think his expectations are probably somewhat optimistic, but I’m not going to say much at the moment.
He ran a few indoor meets this season despite having a painful foot problem. He ran 35 flat FAT in the indoor 300m on a flat track. He ran 6.95 in the 60m as well. I would say that he has some very good natural talent, but training has been very inconsistent, and his training age must be considered low. His technique is not a strength either.
His PB’s are 10.85 in the 100, 21.62 in the outdoor 200m, and 34.80 in the 300m indoors. He is 6’5, so running indoors may not be the best indicator of his overall ability.
He wants to run at the Canadian National trials, thus must achieve 21.60 in the 200m, and 48.30 in the 400m. Nationals are from June 27-30th. As you can see, we’ve got our work cut out for us!
I will keep a journal, but here is the basic breakdown: we did a 6 week GPP, keeping everything on the grass or turf with minimal turn work, followed by a rest/test week. In the test week, he ran the 300m in 34.50 and the 150m in 16.31, both hand timed. They were run outdoors in 4C weather.
We were both slightly disappointed with his times (I don’t know why I was disappointed, he had been doing zero training prior!), but hugely encouraged by his increasing fitness. Prior to the GPP, he would not have been able to run a flat out 300m and walk away as if it was no big deal, then run a 150 about 20 minutes later.
I asked him to run the 300m smoothly, as he usually goes out like a kamikaze and drags ass home, so that may not have helped.
After the rest/test, I transitioned him for about 10 days into some shorter speed work (accels, a couple of 50’s), and we booked a trip to a southern meet with a fantastic track, excellent weather, and an appropriate level of competition. Charlie’s advice from the taper DVD was ringing in my head, “go to the conditions if they wont come to you!”
He had lane 5, +1.7 wind, 25C weather with some humidity, and a bunch of guys running 21-22 to mix it up with. Unfortunately, he strained his groin in his run-out just prior to his race! Shit! “Now we know why you don’t race coming right out of the GPP” was ESTI’s deadpan response when I told him the result. I told the athlete that it was my fault for pushing into racing too quickly. Hopefully he isn’t too discouraged mentally, because we still have a lot of work to do.
What is my best move here? I am mindful of Charlie’s words of playing to an athlete’s strengths- this guy really benefits from speed but has always been hurt from it.
Should I move into a carefully managed KK style transition phase, waiting until early June to intensify the speed through some 200m races and appropriate Charlie style short to long 400 sessions? I have to be careful with speed, as though he responds very well to speed work from an improvement standpoint, he has consistently hurt himself in the past. Usually he runs a fast 150 or 200 in practice and ends up with stress fractures in his shins, or foot issues. I suspect a lot of this stemmed from running the turn indoors, which is suicidal at 6’5 with some decent 150 speed (he’s run consistently in the mid-high 15’s in practice in the past).
Fitness is also a major concern, so I consulted with ESTI and we thought that keeping the 5x200 in once a week would be wise instead of going with 2x2x200 at this point.
I was thinking of following the transition plan for 4 weeks with some 200m races to help his speed starting in late May, transitioning into some 400m Short to Long type workouts in early June, and trying to run some decent races in mid-June. I have to confirm what date he needs to hit a qualifying time by. Also, we may need to find some good conditions elsewhere so he can have a chance at a decent time.
KitKat, do you have any advice? Would anyone else care to weigh in?