Hi Coach Tiefenthaler! I am a junior guy this season running in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I just got done running the first meet of the season with a 19:40 time and 25th place finish. My goal coming into the race was to be AT LEAST under 19:00 and hopefully be in the top 15 overall. I was first on my team and getting all kinds of "nice job!"s every which way, but I was really dissapointed that I didn't meet my goal and a little concerned for my season. Teammates were telling me it is okay because it is a tough course, it was hot out, and it was the first race of the season, but I personally don't want to make excuses.
I ran this course the first race of the season my freshman year and had about a 20:16 (PR that season-19:12) and then my sophomore season I had a 19:42 and for conference at the end of sophmore year on the same course I had an 18:40 (PR that season-18:37). I may have started out too fast as my 2 mile split was a 12:16 ( I think my 1 mile split was about a 5:40), but I am not really sure if my time still would have stayed that poor even if I started out slower. The winner of the race had around a 17:10. I really want to run a sub 18:00 at some point this season (around the Smiley Invite), but after this race I am worried for a "let down" kind of year. Do you have any tips of advice for me, or maybe an idea of why this time and place isn't where I would like it to be? I feel like I may have had just a bad race like everyone does once in a while, but I also still have that worried feeling that maybe this season won't be anywhere close to my expectations. I know I gave a lot of information, but any type of help would be great!
Hello Northwoods Wisconsin Runner!
I'm in Wisconsin too, by the way. The Smiley is a great invitational. I hope you run well there.
Thanks for all the background information. That always helps me to give a more complete answer. First of all, the heat does take more out of you, and could have been a contributing factor to your slower race. If you look at your mile splits, the slow down happened after the mile, not the two mile mark. 5:40 first mile and then 12:16 at the two mile mark means your second mile time was 6:36. That means you almost ran you second mile a minute slower than your first.
My suggestion as the season goes on is to try and stay with that 5:40 starting mile, and really focus on passing runners after the first mile. The race will naturally slow down after the first mile, and if you aren't passing people after this point, your pace is slowing.
I don't see why you should be super concerned during the first race. This was always the toughest race for me in the season. Just stay confident and believe in your abilities. The races that matter are later in the season (Smiley Invite, Conference, Sectionals, and State).
Here's a video about some different race strategies for CC. Maybe you can apply some of these techniques to keep you focused and moving up after the first mile.
To sum it up again: Don't go out too hard. Stick with the 5:40 first mile. Move up in the second and third mile. Use the course to your advantage and STAY POSITIVE!
Tell me how your season goes. I'm interested to see how you do!