High schooler about to start track-- which events and how to run them? (Read 104 times)


    Hello!  I'm new to this site so my apologies if I screw up in any way.


    I'm not an entirely new runner but I'm pretty new and slow, so I figured this was an appropriate place.  I started running in back in May 2015, but initially I was only doing 1-2 miles a handful of times a week.  In fall I ran cross country, and I'm getting ready to start my first season of track as well.  Here's my stats:


    Miles -- up to 25 a week, maybe a little more, during the cross country season.  However, I haven't been running nearly as much lately, so I'm getting back into it and looking at only about 10 miles for this week, though that's partly due to weather.  I should be up to 15 or 20 next week.  The longest I've run nonstop is about 6 miles.


    Times-- I should mention that I'm a girl, by the way.

    3 miles-- 24:50

    1600m -- 7:05, I've run as low as 6:53/mile but that wasn't really an accurate timing

    400m-- 1:20, but I wasn't racing it so I'd guess around 1:17

    200m-- 32s, not racing

    150m-- 22 or 23 seconds, not racing


    I was one of the slowest people on the cross country team so I'd like to not repeat that in track, if possible (though I'm not gonna get my hopes up).  I think I'm going to end up doing the 1600, most likely.  The 7:05 was paced horribly (I started at like a 6:20 pace for my first lap or two), so I should be able to get below that if I just pace it correctly.  Also, the 1600 will probably help most when it comes to getting faster next cross country season.  I've been having a lot of trouble getting my 1600 to a good pace.  I ran out too fast two of the last three times, and the other time I did prevent myself from starting too fast but I never picked the pace back up and finished with 7:30.  After running 7:05 I felt energized and like I could keep running, simultaneously tired and energetic actually, so I assume that proper pacing and more effort would let me take a fair amount of time off of that.


    Which events would you suggest I run, and how would you suggest I strategize in the race?


    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Feeling the growl again

      If your information is accurate, you are a 200m sprinter.  Your 32.X 200m is far superior to anything else you post.  No use strategizing that, you're all out.


      If you think you will run the "mile", strategy depends largely on how the race rolls out.  Except going out too fast, that is a classic mistake.  If you truly have 32sec 200m speed, you want to tuck yourself comfortably behind the lead back and make sure the race goes out no faster than it has to.  Then kill them on the last lap.


      You have a lot to gain by increasing (out of season) your weekly mileage into the 30-40 mpw range, even for the mile.  Running 6-7 miles as your longest run for the week is fine for where you are at.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


      I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills



        Now I'm paranoid that my 200 was actually slower than 32, haha.  I mean, that's what I thought it was, I have a note on my phone saying "32" that I'm pretty sure refers to that.  I'm certain it wasn't more than 34, and definitely not less than 32.  I do think it was 32, but let's say I'm nuts and it was actually, worst-case scenario, 34-- does that change things?


        There's also the 100m but I don't have any recorded times for it, closest I have is 150m.  Those times I am far more confident in-- I know I was running 22 or 23 (hand-timed and all, but still).


        As far as increasing mileage goes, the track season is starting in a few weeks so I don't really have much time to build up before then, but over summer before the XC season I definitely want to get my mileage up.


        Oh yeah, and I forget to mention, one of my concerns with sprinting is that I have a bit of a turned foot (external tibial torsion), which I think might affect my ability to run with proper form, and I know that matters more in sprints.  It's not really bad or anything, but it's enough that I am incapable of walking or running with my foot straight (I limp if I try).  Laying or sitting down with my legs straight ahead of me, it's extremely easy for me to turn my turned foot parallel to the ground and touching it, while keeping my legs pretty straight and flat.


        Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it

        Good Grief!

          Spaniel is right that you show more aptitude for the sprints than distance, but if you have a strong preference for the mile/1600m, you can certainly improve your time there. If your coach is amenable, try out several different distance and see which you like the most.

          2018 Goals: taking suggestions
          2018 Races: NC 24


            Thanks, I believe we can try and switch events but we need to make the tryout time for any events we want to run in.  I already made the mile cutoff time, so I'm able to do that event.  On Monday I'll probably try out for the 100m (there's no direct 200m tryout).  Cutoff for the 100m is 14.1 seconds, hand-timed.  Does that seem doable based on my times? I'm afraid that maybe it isn't.


            Although I do think I have more aptitude for sprints (age-grade calculators support your observations), our sprinting team seems to be faster so it might not be a big difference relative to my peers, if that makes sense?


            Case in point: Using one age-grade calculator I found online, our slowest cutoff for sprinters is rated about 77% "age performance percentage", while our slowest cutoff for the mile is 7:15, which is given about 60%.


            I'll probably end up trying out for the 100m on Monday and then if I make it I'll decide which one to start with and talk to my coach about if I could switch.


            Other events I could try out for are the 400m, 800m, and hurdles, but I'm significantly slower than the cutoff for the 400 and 800, and probably not fast/flexible enough for hurdles (my orthopedist was sort of amazed by how inflexible my hamstrings are…yeah).


            Thanks for the help, everybody!

            Feeling the growl again

              If you like the mile, run the mile.  I ran the 100 hurdles in junior high because I liked them.  I am the worse sprinter on earth, however, and ended up finding my home in the longer distances.


              The thing about runners your age is that, except for the very naturally talented, you ALL look like you are better at the shorter stuff.  This is because (short of genetic predisposition) aerobic ability over distance requires training you don't have yet.  You just have to put in the miles to see what is hiding under the hood.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


              I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills



                Ah, I see.  That makes sense.


                Regarding the mile strategy, I don't think our mile races are seeded, at least not all of them.  So trying to pass the front pack or stay just a little behind them is going to be unrealistic since I'm pretty sure I'll be running against a fair amount of sub-6 minute milers.  Should I just pick and try to stick with a pack that's roughly my speed?  When I researched the strategy for the mile I kept getting stuff about how to try to win the race, which I'm definitely not fast enough to do.




                  I ran the 100m in 14.79 (hand timed), and I do think I can go faster than that since I didn't really feel tired afterward or anything, and I never felt like I hit that "sweet spot".  Regardless, the cutoff is 14.6 so I didn't make the sprint team, but there might be another opportunity for people who were close like me to try again in a couple weeks.


                  I think I'll likely end up in the mile, but I'm still not totally ruling out sprints, I think I'll give it another try if I get the chance.


                  I figure the mile would help me to not be the slowest/close to the slowest in cross country, so there's that, since it's sort of discouraging to feel so slow all the time.  Apparently my league is really fast though, my PR of 24:51 for 3 miles put me as one of the last finishers for sophomore girls.  In the varsity race, there were girls running under 18 who didn't even make the top ten.

                  /end rant


                  Thanks for the help and advice, everybody!