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Improving short and middle distance (Read 107 times)

tomgajerry


    Hi all,

    I'm a 16-year old with average fitness trying to improve my short and middle distance times. I started running a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure which events to train for (out of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500), and would like help trying to figure out my running type (short or middle), and how best to train for it.

    Some facts:

    My legs are a little short (cuz i'm asian lol)

    I also have little to no access to running coaches and am not too sure if my knee pain is due to flat feet or running form. how do i know form is correct?

    Currently I train every day with intervals of around 400-800m with a couple minutes rest in between, usually to the extent that I've recovered breath fully, but my legs may still be a little tired. By the end of a session, my 400m time is around 1:20-1:30, according to runkeeper.

    I'm running with orthotics right now. Previously when going without orthotics or barefoot, my inner legs below the calves would hurt, probably because of the stretch of overpronation.

    Is it possible to reach 55sec/400m or 2min/800m or 4min/1500m?

    cheers

      There is no substitute for mileage.

      There is no magic sequence of intervals or repeats that will improve your times better than just putting in a lot of miles.

      Once you HAVE put in a lot of miles over 3-4 months, speedwork will then be able to fine-tune your performance.

      Keeping it simple, I'd suggest working up to at least 40 miles a week over a few months starting out at 20-25. Just plain old runs, easy pace. Run 6 days a week, with the last day being a longer distance than the others followed by a day off. It's more important to run the entire distance than it is to run fast while you're putting on these "base miles". If you find yourself jogging at near walking speed at first, that's ok. World class Kenyan runners will do their EZ runs at 10-12 minute/mile pace (a fast walk is 15:00 mile).

       

      Trying to figure out what you're best at:

      Compared to other kids in your school, are you at the front for those short sprints in PE (like down to the end of the gym and back)? Or in the middle?

      If you have to run a mile in PE (our kids in CA do), how well do you do? No one TRAINS for these PE miles, so everyone should be on equal footing.

       

      Keep in mind that a middle distance runner (800-1500) is also going to have pretty good speed, and be just barely behind true sprinters in a 200m, and might even beat them in 400m.

       

      After maybe a month of these basic runs, you might try doing a 200, 800 and mile for time (mile on different day) and see which you score better on using an age-grade calculator...

       

      http://www.howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/wmalookup15.html

       

      Anything above 80% is outstanding.

       

       

      Also, Asian isn't an excuse. There are world class Asian sprinters and distance runners.

      55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

        On the knee pain and orthotics, there are lots of opinions about orthotics. I'm in the camp that thinks orthotics should only be used for therapy, like a cast, and discarded once the issues are healed. UNLESS the person has a physical abnormality, which is rare. Pain in your legs is more likely due to using muscles you're not used to using. I sometimes run barefoot or with minimalist shoes as a workout, and my calves and other parts are always sore the next day, because they are getting used more than regular.

         

        There are other people that think every foot is defective, despite millions of years of evolution, and requires artificial support to restrict the natural motion in order to be "correct". These people will tell you that a custom molded orthotic is the ONLY way to go if you're going to run.

         

        You need to read a bunch of thoughts on orthotics and running to make up your mind, personal anecdotes as well as articles by exercise physiologists. Keep in mind that some websites/people make money selling orthotics, so their findings and data might be biased. And some websites/people view barefoot running as almost a religion, so they'll be biased as well.

         

        For regular runs, a neutral cushioned shoe is the best choice for about 95% of people. Having a bit more cushion than normal will compensate for some irregularities in the contact phase of the stride, and the shoe will conform to your foot and gait with more use (that part of the outsole that wears faster, that's OK). Hoka Clifton is a good all-around shoe, so is Brooks Ravenna and Skechers GoRun Ultra Road (now called MaxRoad) and GoRun Ride-7. I have to disclose that I'm partial to the Skechers running shoes, I think they're about the best shoes out there right now, at least for my use, especially for the price.

         

        YES, you can get to your goal times with diligence. It might take a year or two, though. I coached a young man starting at age 13 who wanted to be a distance runner. He was SLOW, but determined. It was like watching someone run in slow motion! By the time he was senior in HS, he won the district meet and ran in the State track meet in the 3000. Personal anecdote: I ran about 2:05 800m as a sophomore, and my HS PRs were :51, 1:55, 4:07 and 8:56 when I was a senior. I didn't have a coach either, just what I learned at camp and from magazines (no internet then!).

        55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

        tomgajerry


          On the knee pain and orthotics, there are lots of opinions about orthotics. I'm in the camp that thinks orthotics should only be used for therapy, like a cast, and discarded once the issues are healed. UNLESS the person has a physical abnormality, which is rare. Pain in your legs is more likely due to using muscles you're not used to using. I sometimes run barefoot or with minimalist shoes as a workout, and my calves and other parts are always sore the next day, because they are getting used more than regular.

           

          There are other people that think every foot is defective, despite millions of years of evolution, and requires artificial support to restrict the natural motion in order to be "correct". These people will tell you that a custom molded orthotic is the ONLY way to go if you're going to run.

           

          You need to read a bunch of thoughts on orthotics and running to make up your mind, personal anecdotes as well as articles by exercise physiologists. Keep in mind that some websites/people make money selling orthotics, so their findings and data might be biased. And some websites/people view barefoot running as almost a religion, so they'll be biased as well.

           

          For regular runs, a neutral cushioned shoe is the best choice for about 95% of people. Having a bit more cushion than normal will compensate for some irregularities in the contact phase of the stride, and the shoe will conform to your foot and gait with more use (that part of the outsole that wears faster, that's OK). Hoka Clifton is a good all-around shoe, so is Brooks Ravenna and Skechers GoRun Ultra Road (now called MaxRoad) and GoRun Ride-7. I have to disclose that I'm partial to the Skechers running shoes, I think they're about the best shoes out there right now, at least for my use, especially for the price.

           

          YES, you can get to your goal times with diligence. It might take a year or two, though. I coached a young man starting at age 13 who wanted to be a distance runner. He was SLOW, but determined. It was like watching someone run in slow motion! By the time he was senior in HS, he won the district meet and ran in the State track meet in the 3000. Personal anecdote: I ran about 2:05 800m as a sophomore, and my HS PRs were :51, 1:55, 4:07 and 8:56 when I was a senior. I didn't have a coach either, just what I learned at camp and from magazines (no internet then!).

          That's awesome, thanks for the reply. I'd consider myself average, although I'm best in sprint, and seem to tire out on longer distances. Should I do further training on top of the easy runs?

            That's awesome, thanks for the reply. I'd consider myself average, although I'm best in sprint, and seem to tire out on longer distances. Should I do further training on top of the easy runs?

             

            Getting the base miles in is key, but if you feel like you need to do some fast pace stuff, you can do 10x100m strides AFTER a longer run (maybe barefoot on the astroturf infield of the track), or finish a couple of the runs during the week with a fast last 400-800m. One run a week with a lot of hills wouldn't be bad. Hills are almost the same as speedwork. Once track season starts in March, you start adding a day of speedwork each week or two, and 2-3 weeks before the last meet you should be doing 3-4 "quality" (speed) days, a long run of 1:00, and a recovery day of very slow jogging following the long run. (you should be working up to a long run of at least 1:30 or 12-14 miles before the end of February).

             

            These are simple guidelines, specific training once track starts will vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses.

            55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

            tomgajerry


               

              Getting the base miles in is key, but if you feel like you need to do some fast pace stuff, you can do 10x100m strides AFTER a longer run (maybe barefoot on the astroturf infield of the track), or finish a couple of the runs during the week with a fast last 400-800m. One run a week with a lot of hills wouldn't be bad. Hills are almost the same as speedwork. Once track season starts in March, you start adding a day of speedwork each week or two, and 2-3 weeks before the last meet you should be doing 3-4 "quality" (speed) days, a long run of 1:00, and a recovery day of very slow jogging following the long run. (you should be working up to a long run of at least 1:30 or 12-14 miles before the end of February).

               

              These are simple guidelines, specific training once track starts will vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses.

               

              Thanks for the help! Really do appreciate it. Been doing a couple easy runs and feels great not to always push myself. My trials are in late February... so I'll definitely update you on how I go for that. Calculations tell me i'll have to run a cadence of 230-240 per minute for 400m, and 210-220 per minute for 800m. Maybe i can do something with this cadence in my trainings?

                messing with cadence is all the rage right now, but there have been a few people who have injured themselves bad doing it. One guy in my Master Milers facebook group was out for 6 weeks following his online coach's advice about changing his cadence. Your body naturally knows how it wants to run, and will gravitate toward what hurts least and is easiest to maintain. Running barefoot will force you to run in the easiest, least damaging manner for you, I think it's a good training tool to run some strides barefoot as a warmup to interval workouts on the track (in shoes).  Maybe some other people will chime in and share their experiences.

                55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

                  Right now, I don't think there is any way to determine what event you should be training for.  I ran track for 8 years and I'm pretty sure I trained for the wrong events in both high school and college (not that I would go back and change it if I could); you have to try every event and see which ones stick.  I had decent speed so my high school coach made me try the long jump - I jumped 12' 9" and placed second to last and I never long jumped again.  I tried every event from 100-3000m, high jumped, and even threw shot to see what I liked.  I settled on the 800m.

                   

                  A novice comparing race times across distances will always conclude that he or she is better at shorter distances because they rely less on training and aerobic development so I wouldn't bother doing that.  Running is a process of life-long development so taking a year to figure out what you're good at is fine.  Unless you've been noticeably faster than your classmates on the playground your whole life, I would forget about the 100 and 200.  At your age, for the 400 and up you need the same training.  Build up your weekly mileage as Surly Bill has suggested and your times will plummet.

                   

                  Your inner legs hurt because your body is not prepared for what you're trying to do.  A steady diet of easy runs and stretching will reduce your risk of injury - my legs used to hurt where yours do but I built up my mileage slowly and stretched my calves and hamstrings and haven't had that issue in 10+ years.

                   

                  It is possible to reach 55/400m, 2:00/800m, and 4:00/1500m but keep in mind that those are definitely not equivalent goals.  The 400m is by far the easiest and the 1500m is by far the hardest.  Is it possible for you?  Only one way to find out.

                  tomgajerry


                    Right now, I don't think there is any way to determine what event you should be training for.  I ran track for 8 years and I'm pretty sure I trained for the wrong events in both high school and college (not that I would go back and change it if I could); you have to try every event and see which ones stick.  I had decent speed so my high school coach made me try the long jump - I jumped 12' 9" and placed second to last and I never long jumped again.  I tried every event from 100-3000m, high jumped, and even threw shot to see what I liked.  I settled on the 800m.

                     

                    A novice comparing race times across distances will always conclude that he or she is better at shorter distances because they rely less on training and aerobic development so I wouldn't bother doing that.  Running is a process of life-long development so taking a year to figure out what you're good at is fine.  Unless you've been noticeably faster than your classmates on the playground your whole life, I would forget about the 100 and 200.  At your age, for the 400 and up you need the same training.  Build up your weekly mileage as Surly Bill has suggested and your times will plummet.

                     

                    Your inner legs hurt because your body is not prepared for what you're trying to do.  A steady diet of easy runs and stretching will reduce your risk of injury - my legs used to hurt where yours do but I built up my mileage slowly and stretched my calves and hamstrings and haven't had that issue in 10+ years.

                     

                    It is possible to reach 55/400m, 2:00/800m, and 4:00/1500m but keep in mind that those are definitely not equivalent goals.  The 400m is by far the easiest and the 1500m is by far the hardest.  Is it possible for you?  Only one way to find out.

                    Ah, thanks for the advice. I only started running a couple weeks ago and already my leg muscles (thighs and hamstrings especially) have become much more defined + big. I guess this is fast-twitch fibres since they're bigger than usual? So I've been training short distances (100 200 400 800) and have had most success in 100m. Cadence is 280-290 but I can only hold it for about 7 seconds, so my goal will be to train my legs to keep going at that rate for longer, so I can (hopefully) hit 11 seconds.


                    I'm out of ideas

                      Cadence is 280-290 but I can only hold it for about 7 seconds, so my goal will be to train my legs to keep going at that rate for longer, so I can (hopefully) hit 11 seconds.

                       

                      Forget about cadence.  That's a variable function of stride length and speed.  If you try to keep too high a cadence you end up cutting your natural stride length and increase your inefficiency.  280-290 is unsustainable in any case.  More typical is 170-190.

                       

                      Just because you tire out on longer distances doesn't mean you are more a sprinter.  Endurance comes from training over months and years, not a few weeks.  With sprinting you either have the natural speed or you don't.  There is a certain amount you can improve through training, but at 16 if you are running 12-13 seconds for 100m, you're more likely a middle distance or distance runner.

                      2019 Races:

                            6/01/19 - IHM Nun Run 5K

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                            6/29/19 - Loopy Bunny 6-Hour

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                            9/21/19 - NC24

                      tomgajerry


                         

                        Forget about cadence.  That's a variable function of stride length and speed.  If you try to keep too high a cadence you end up cutting your natural stride length and increase your inefficiency.  280-290 is unsustainable in any case.  More typical is 170-190.

                         

                        Just because you tire out on longer distances doesn't mean you are more a sprinter.  Endurance comes from training over months and years, not a few weeks.  With sprinting you either have the natural speed or you don't.  There is a certain amount you can improve through training, but at 16 if you are running 12-13 seconds for 100m, you're more likely a middle distance or distance runner.

                         

                        Oh, I see. Well I guess there's no hurt to try both short and mid distance for now since I've only been training for a couple weeks. I haven't timed my 100m for a couple years. Although, when I was 12, I never trained and ran 12.96 in the school carnival. So I'll keep training and update as I go along.

                          If sprinting is your passion do not load up on mileage!  If you have an ability for sprinting you should not be steered toward distance running.  I have a kids who run sub 11 in high school that I can never imagine trying out a diet of distance to build their endurance.  I have kids that are clearly distance runners.

                           

                          You say you have no access to a coach?  Just curious what your situation is in terms of where you are, how you are able to enter competitions, etc.?

                           

                          Do you have anyone that can help you with some testing?  You can download the coach's eye app on a phone and have someone record your speed testing.

                           

                          Do the following and report back here:

                           

                          - Standing long jump.  Take off both feet landing in sand pit

                          - 30 meter crouch start test.  Measure out 30 meters, mark with cones and use the coach's eye to figure the time from start to finish. From blocks or a standing start. Let me know which one you are doing?

                          - 30 meter on the fly test.  Same except start in to full speed using a 20-30 meter fly zone before hitting the start mark. Time from the 30m start mark to finish.

                          - 60 meter crouch (same as above except longer)

                           

                          Allow a ten minute break between running tests.  This is VERY important!  There is other testing but this will tell me quite a bit about your sprinting abilities.

                             

                            It is possible to reach 55/400m, 2:00/800m, and 4:00/1500m but keep in mind that those are definitely not equivalent goals.  The 400m is by far the easiest and the 1500m is by far the hardest. 

                             

                            This is the truest thing I've read on this thread so far. A 55 second 400 is probably the equivalent of a 2:02 - 2:03 800 and a 4:25 - 4:30 1500.

                            Runners run.

                            Cyberic


                              I have a short input on barefoot running,  because it was mentioned by Surly Bill. The worse running injury I've had was to both Achilles. I had read Born to Run (yeah). I was on an indoor track. I jogged about 2 miles with shoes on as a warmup, then took my shoes off. Thought I'd jog 1000m or so. After 500m or so I felt something in my Achilles, but finished the lap anyways. My Achilles were not ready for that. I also was running in 12mm trainers back then.

                              I am no coach. I am not knowledgeable in any way running, I do not train for short or middle distance and I'm certainly not 16, so you can disregard my comment. Personnally, though, I do not think going cold turkey on barefoot is for everyone. I think some people's bodies need to adapt.

                               

                              I realize this is off topic, but since I think being injured is the worse thing, I decided to comment anyways. I will not engage in a barefoot running debate. I'm just sharing my personal experience.

                              tomgajerry


                                If sprinting is your passion do not load up on mileage!  If you have an ability for sprinting you should not be steered toward distance running.  I have a kids who run sub 11 in high school that I can never imagine trying out a diet of distance to build their endurance.  I have kids that are clearly distance runners.

                                 

                                You say you have no access to a coach?  Just curious what your situation is in terms of where you are, how you are able to enter competitions, etc.?

                                 

                                Do you have anyone that can help you with some testing?  You can download the coach's eye app on a phone and have someone record your speed testing.

                                 

                                Do the following and report back here:

                                 

                                - Standing long jump.  Take off both feet landing in sand pit

                                - 30 meter crouch start test.  Measure out 30 meters, mark with cones and use the coach's eye to figure the time from start to finish. From blocks or a standing start. Let me know which one you are doing?

                                - 30 meter on the fly test.  Same except start in to full speed using a 20-30 meter fly zone before hitting the start mark. Time from the 30m start mark to finish.

                                - 60 meter crouch (same as above except longer)

                                 

                                Allow a ten minute break between running tests.  This is VERY important!  There is other testing but this will tell me quite a bit about your sprinting abilities.

                                Thanks! before the results below, just about my situation:

                                I'm currently on holidays, and only just started running mid-December. The 'trial' will be in late february, so I'm trying to get either the 100m or 800m in shape before then. Any clues on which I should do?

                                I've got my results here:

                                Standing Long jump (no shoes, on timber): 2.4m

                                30m crouch test: 4 seconds

                                30m fly test: 3.7 seconds

                                60m crouch: haven't done this one yet!

                                I've also been doing some 800m training with 100m intervals of 14-14.5 seconds each. I feel this is my domain, as I only recently started these intervals and can do 4-5 intervals with 3-5 second break in between.

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