How much can I improve in 1 year?

by Kitt
(Canada)

Hi, I'm currently in grade 12 and I do Cross Country and Track and Field. I only started last year in grade 11 so my times aren't that good.


So next year I will be going to university, University of Alberta, and I would really like to get on the Track team there.

Here are my times from a recent track meet. I think I could improve on these when I race my elimination meets in the following weeks.

1500m - ~5:30

3000m - 11:25

Those are my two races I do in track. I'm just wondering how much do you think I can improve in less than one year with those two times? And do you think I will have a chance to make it on the university track team? If my times aren't good enough in 1st year university, I don't mind training an extra year and try out in 2nd year.

So what do you think coach, and how do you recommend me improve?

Thank you very much - From Kitt

You can improve a great deal from one year to the next, but it really depends on two very important factors.

1. The most important factor by far is you keep on training. The best way to improve at running, is to keep on running. Since your focus is on two of the longer track races, then it is very important that you continue to run throughout the year.

This doesn't have to be intense training. Just running four times a week would make you improve dramatically from one year to the next. Once a week run a little harder than normal, but the rest of your runs can be done at a nice and easy pace.

I recommend you read the following article if you want some other ideas as far as training is concerned.

Preseason Running Tips

2. The second factor is to stay healthy. Injuries can derail anyone, even the best runners, so don't overdo it with the running, especially at your age. You should be running, but don't go out and race the mile every day. This will only end up causing more problems than good.

Another advantage that you have is your young age. I bet people who are 11 to 12 aren't running a lot when they aren't at practice. When the track season is over, just keep on training and you'll improve so much more than the other people on the sideline.

Here is a great book about a kid who loved running, and he ended up getting a scholarship to the school of his choice because he worked really hard in high school to get good at running.

An Honorable Run by Matt McCue

I hope some of this information helps! Let me know next year if you have been successful.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for Tips4Running.com. In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

You can follow David on Twitter @Tiefsa or visit his blog
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