Young runner's training journal

Here is a video taken from last Mondays workout.

She is running 300m. Her wrist action is getting more pronounced, is this from running relaxed? Video is @ 39% normal speed:


And another video from the same day:

Here she is doing 30m runs with block starts. Video is @ 53% normal speed:


Nice video footage! How did you slow it down? The video editing program do it for you?

On her block starts, look to move the entire block back a few inches. She is pretty jammed in there. when you move her back, her hips probably won’t have to come up as high as they are. I find if I put my girls in position so the front foot is slightly behind the hips, they can get out easier and faster. Look to get shins at 45 degrees, and the back leg thigh pointing down to the track. In this shot, her back leg thigh points towards the start line. Play with this a little and see what happens. It will be slightly weird at first, but see if it makes technical improvement.

You may want to check out the South Africa video series drills and block starts download.

Also just a quick note, if you look at her feet, there is daylight between the bottom of her shoe and the block pad and as a result her foot has some distance to travel backwards before her legs begin to go forward. Likely ESTI’s suggestion will eliminate or drastically reduce the frequency of that occurrence, but I thought to point it out all the same.

ESTI and Janic, thank you for your suggestions and help.

The video software is Kinovea, here’s a link, and yes, it is what I used to control the speed of the video.
It’s the best freeware I know of, and a thank you to TMMS for informing me about it a year or 2 ago.

I am also a fan of 1080p60 camcorders, I have a Panasonic TM700 and to get good action video, especially if your going to slow it down, it takes more frames per second.

I will review those videos again, and she will do some block work tonight/tomorrow.
Her first indoor meet is on Sunday, and is signed up for both the 400m and 600m, but will probably run the 400m only…I signed her up for both in case she couldn’t get into the 400m because of number of athletes, the 600m gets about 1/4 of the athletes.

There will be some fast girls at this meet, it is in Dempsey Stadium, at the University of Washington… 12 heats in the 400m, thankfully she made the list, as there are 40 girls on the “Alternate list” who didn’t make it. This is why I also signed her up for the 600m…it only has 3 heats and no need for an “Alternate list”

This will be her first indoor meet ever, her first meet of the year…and competing with College aged girls, she is excited.

The event distances will get shorter with the next meet(s), as I want to ease her into the shorter sprints.

Tried a few block starts with the blocks back a couple inches, straightening the rear thigh more perpindicular to the ground, and getting the shins lower.

She first said she lost “the springyness” of her start and that she was just running out of the blocks.

She then told me that when she had had private training with coach Tony Veney, that he measured her hip to ground and other measurements and changed her block set-up because of her short legs, as she is 5’ 1" tall.

I think I will wait until after Sundays race to change anything, but on Monday, will work on this again.

She’s not extending at the hip coming out of the blocks, so there is never a straight line from foot to head. This may be a strength issue.

I agree with waiting until after her race to make changes. No need to create any anxiety about starting before a race. Too bad the meet doesn’t have a 300, they are much less stressful.

Yes, it did help… as she was very nervous today…she said she was so nervous she was shaking in the blocks…she said it was a little intimidating that the other 4 girls were college athletes, and “giants”…

As you can tell from watching the video.

She is in lane #3, wearing the yellowish green top.

She said that just after about the first 60 meters or so, she heard the announcer say her name, and that she was “out early”, so just as she disappeared beneath the video catwalk where I was filming from, she paniced, and she slowed down.
Also, since this is a 307 meter track, she lost her bearings, thinking she had longer to run than she actually did.
That at the last turn she realized she only had about 100m till the finish, so she picked it up.

She said that she should have never slowed down, that she felt very strong during the whole race, especially when she sped back up. She said she never felt this strong before.

Even with all the warts, being her first indoor race ever, and her first race of the season, she still ran faster than in her whole freshman high school outdoor season last year… she is very happy and excited.

Her time was 59.73

We will probably try another indoor meet next Saturday, at University of Idaho, and she will run the 200m, then back to UW on March 1, for one final indoor meet, probably running 60m/200m.

Even though there is still 1 week left in her program, it already is proven successful.


Fantastic result Rich! Congrats to Keana, I’m excited for you both! It’s clear from your journal that you’ve done a lot of hard work carefully planning the season. You made clever adjustments when weather got in the way, and cut off workouts when there was an injury risk.

It’s great to see all that hard work pay off. Since you have two meets left and are coming to the end of the Long to Short 400 plan, you have the opportunity to try a 7-10 day taper for your final indoor race. Might be something to seriously consider…

Ditto this. Keep posting Rich - I’m reading even though I’m not responding. With the interest you’re taking in sprinting, you’ll soon know more than most highschool coaches (unfortunately).

Rich - her rear foot is not flush against the block in the video you’ve shown. While the start is not what you’re working on in a 300m, it might be something to remedy so that she doesn’t have a gap between her feet and the blocks.

ESTI already commented on her block positioning, and I agree it looks a bit funny. The 300m vid looked ackward while the block starts viewed from the side looked ok.

Edit: She looked fantastic at the end of her indoor 400m. I agree that if she hadn’t slowed down she probably could have held on for most of the race. To my maybe-way-wrong-eye, she looks to be in 58-flat shape already with a good race. I usually avoid telling my young female runners what I think they can run, in case they don’t run it.

Ditto this. Keep posting Rich - I’m reading even though I’m not responding. With the interest you’re taking in sprinting, you’ll soon know more than most highschool coaches (unfortunately)., thank you for your observations and insight.

Yes, it is sad about the state of coaching… I would like to try to help a couple kids this summer for AAU/USATF track, my daughter would surely appreciate the company and added bonus in training too.

We will be doing block work tomorrow and probably keeping at it for awhile.
Hopefully, that will fix many of the quirks of her start.

There are also issues with her wrists flipping backwards… you can see a little of that in the last video, but it is really evident in the 300m slow-motion video. I know she has a problem with the left one because of playing viola, but now, the right one is also doing the same… they are too relaxed?

Also, I wonder how much of her hip extension issues while coming out of the blocks may be from being too compressed? Any opinion?

Hopefully we can take care of some of the mechanics issues early.

Running anything in the 58 second range would be huge this early.

Again, thanks for your very helpful and encouraging comments

One thing Charlie used to say was that younger athletes often weren’t strong enough to start properly (this is especially true of females). I think this is at least partially what is going on with the lack of hip extension. My thought is that since she’s not a 100m/200m runner, as long as her start is reasonable (which it is) don’t worry about trying to improve it beyond keeping her feet flush against the blocks. That is easily correctable and will have a very slight time gain. The block positioning, hip height, hip extension on exit, … are much harder to correct, and you also don’t know IF they are completely correctable now anyways. Just my 0.02.


OK, while we’re waiting to hear about the next meet, I propose we help Rick come up with a name for his new club!


Video running 400m today at University of Idaho “Idaho Open II” meet.

Got somewhat late start leaving town, drive took longer than anticipated (4 hours).
She slept most of the way, up until when we got to the Stadium.

Not much time to get ready, “wake-up” or do a long, proper warm-up… she said she felt “lethargic” right up to the race and didn’t really feel right while running.
She still did great considering my poor performance in providing her ample time for preparation.

Lesson learned…

Part of the race blocked by a mobile basketball court with perimeter walls, in the middle of the stadium floor.

She is in Lane #3, placed 2nd overall.


First 200m since May 2012, first indoor 200m ever.

Start of 200m race on opposite side of track blocked by mobile basketball court with tall walls.

She ran this about an hour after running the 400m race.

She said that coming around the corner was quite the “Strange and somewhat ‘painful’ experience”, and that she felt like she was being pulled into the outside lane.
Also, she said that after coming out of the turn, her legs started to turn to jelly and she couldn’t speed up to keep the same girl who won the 400m from passing her.

The 200m time was 26.54, she was 2nd overall, which is excellent considering she had just ran a 400m. This is also a big PR as far as her outdoor 200m time was.
Her legs were gone after the race…and it took her a long time getting up the stairs.

She is in Lane #2


The last meet before starting a new program will be March 1st, at University of Washingtons “Final Qualifier”.

Her events will be the 60m and 200m.

I need to come up with a taper soon, as, actually tomorrow would be the first of 10 days for a 10 day taper.

I have watched Derek and Charlies, “Peaking when it counts” a couple times today… but not sure.
She did not return to lifting weights after stopping lifting in the middle of her SPP, so I am not sure what would be appropriate?

Some suggestions would be greatly appreciated.