ed --frustrated runner

by Ed
(Ohio)

I achieved a PR last track season of 4:20. This season I can't seem to break 4:30. I feel like crap after my first 400 when I used to split 64 and feel good. I was injured (stress fracture) most of last summer but came back early fall and had a fair XC season. I am a senior now and want to go to states again but I fear this won't happen this year. HELP!!


Hello Ed,

Here are some of the ideas that I have. Read them all and see if one of them might work for you. Training is pretty much out of the question by now. You have been training consistently for a while, so these ideas are more about what you can do off the track or before a race to be at your best on race days.

IDEA # 1 - Senior year can be tough because of all the activities. Are you getting enough sleep every night. It's all good to train hard and race hard, so long as you let your body recover.

Get your homework done early, and then go to bed. I know that this could make for a boring month or two, but if you are serious about making it to State, this could be a huge factor.

IDEA # 2 - In a race where there are fast runners, let them do the work for a while before you make a move. Going out in a 64 where you are in the lead is a lot harder than going out in a 64 where you can tail off of someone.

I would lay in the weeds for at least the first 600 meters of the race. Right before the 1/2 mile I would make a move to get in position for the last couple laps. I looked at the 600 meter mark to the 1000 meter mark as crucial. Here I would make a controlled pick up of the pace, and get myself into position for the end of the race.

One thing to remember is you have to do this move regardless of how you feel. The reason for this is you never know what kind of kick you might have at the end, so you might as well push yourself to be ready to run a great race in the middle instead of thinking about how you feel and waiting for your body to be the guide. Your mind has to be tough and then your body will follow.

Here's a link to a video of one of my best 1500 meter runs in college - My toughest 1500

IDEA # 3 - What's your diet like? If at all possible, clean it up. Get rid of soda, energy drinks, processed foods like Doritos, Chips. Try to cut out as much meat as possible from what you eat.

Eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can. Also, try to eat whole grain foods like brown rice, 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Beans, and trail mixes with stuff like almonds, raisins and cranberries. The more "real" food you can put in, the better you will perform. An example would be like this. Eat a banana, and a hard boiled egg, or toast and jelly for breakfast instead of Lucky Charms.

IDEA # 4 - Don't run the mile for a few meets. Focus on the 800 or the 2 mile. Maybe you are just burnt out on that distance, and you might uncork a great time in one of these other two events. Then you could decide what to shoot for come the qualifying meets for State.

IDEA # 5 - What do you do to get ready for the race? Do you do traditional static stretches. This is where you bend and hold a stretch for like 15 seconds at a time.

I suggest doing some research on dynamic stretching. I am going to work on a video for that soon, but doing a dynamic stretching routine before a race instead of static stretching might add some bounce to your step.

I hope one of these ideas or multiple ideas help you. Keep me posted.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief.


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Oct 12, 2015
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