Runner's Mom

by Tammy
(Wewahitchka, Fl)

My daughter runs cross country and track and loves it beyond belief. She runs at a small school and is a junior this year. She has one more cross country season left.


She is a great runner but has not seemed to improve this year in her times. She runs sometimes 13 miles during practice and trains very hard.

I know she can improve and I think she needs a different training program but don't know what she should do. Is there anything you could suggest to help her reach her potential?

It is refreshing to hear that your daughter is striving to reach her potential. A lot of runners don't try to find what their best could possibly be.

It is pretty normal for runners to hit a plateau at some stage in high school. This means, even with harder work, the times just don't seem to drop.

Don't fret, and continue with the training. It will pay off, especially if she trains consistently as she works towards her Senior year.

As for mileage, focus on quality, not quantity. Running 13 miles in a day is great, but not if it is just designed to suck all the life out of your legs. Look maybe at just one long run per week, and the other workouts can be shorter, but at a little quicker pace.

I really like tempo runs. This is a workout that is relatively fast, but you aren't supposed to put in your maximum effort. The Kenyans are masters of this workout, and last time I checked, they are pretty good runners on the international scene.

Keep working hard, but make sure you are working smart. In the end, your daughter will be able to look back at her high school career knowing that she gave it her all. You can't ask for more than that.

- 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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