You can click on the links to see video footage if you’re so inclined. My 200m is pretty bad in light of my 100m time. I ran the 200m first and think I just wasn’t running smoothly during it. I can’t complain about the 100m time though as I’ve had an injured hamstring for the past 6 weeks and that’s the fastest I’ve gone since starting training. The 4 x 100m was pretty impressive considering we didn’t have a team until an hour before the event and didn’t even get to practice hand-offs before the race…that 45.24 is with a 44-year old leading us off (he runs an 11.7 100m), a 27-year old, me at 28, and a 17/18-year old anchoring.
Here are fifteen things I learned in the past three months:
The clock is an incredible task-master. Trying to hit 100m splits on tempo days means being driven by the incessant beeping of a countdown timer. If the clock says to hit 20 second splits, you’ll hit it. If it says to hit 17 second splits, you’ll find a way.
It can be difficult to get enough Paleo carbs to fuel intensive sprint training. It takes a lot of fruit and a good bit of sweet potatoes. Probably more than I ate.
Work up to volume. I started too fast with the plyometrics and tweaked my hamstring, which forced a layoff from plyos and speed work for a couple weeks in my first 4-week training cycle.
Shin splints suck. Midway through training, I developed a case of posteromedial shin splints. Luckily, through ice and both light and deep massage, I was able to keep them managed. Now it’s time to let them heal.
It’s a thin line between “just enough training” and “too much training”. Once you cross that line, the body doesn’t typically let you just step back to “just enough” and go one as if nothing happened. See the above note about shin splints and hamstrings.
When an old man interrupts your track workout to talk for 30 minutes, warm up again before coming out of the blocks at 100% lest you aggravate the aforementioned hamstring injury and have to lay off of speed work and plyos for another 6 weeks (it’s still not completely healed). It doesn’t matter that it’s 99 degrees with a 105 heat index; warm up again.
Commit to what you’re doing. The more focused you are on performing at the highest level you can, the more you need to exclude extraneous activities. Early on, one day of hard-core basketball hindered my training for 4 days. Two CrossFit workouts at the Level 1 Certification left me with a workout hangover for a week.
It’s really hard to practice starts without someone to give you a “Ready, Set, Go”. The trick I use is the Countdown/Chrono function on my Timex. I set a 4-second countdown, get into the blocks, hit “Start,” count to 2, raise into Set position, and go on the beep. The Chrono starts at the beep. Two hurdles set behind your blocks will keep them from sliding.
The 400m Dash may not be the hardest race (I think a convincing argument could be made for the 800m and possibly even the 1500m), but it’s darn sure in the top 3. It’s a painful race, but so much fun. The dread starts before you even get in the blocks and doesn’t stop until at least 5 minutes afterwards when your lungs quit burning, your legs quit shaking, and you can finally sit down without turning into one big cramp.
On that note, how do they always manage to build tracks with pockets of extra-dense gravity on the final stretch?
It’s worth every second you spend training to push yourself to the limit of what your body can handle and enjoy a little friendly competition. The people you meet at events like this are unbelievably friendly. Competition begets camaraderie. Win or lose, it’s a great time.
No matter how fast you go in practice alone, you will probably go a few ticks faster in competition. Someone running in front of, beside, or behind you is an incredible motivator to find that extra ounce of energy.
It’s amazing how much the competitive atmosphere saps your energy. I ran a total of 800m over two days, a total of less than 1:45 of total running. I am absolutely beat and that’s only about half the volume of a normal training day, which don’t leave me this tired. Let’s not discount the sunny 95 degree weather, though.
I still wish I had taken the opportunity to run for the small college that recruited me to run track for them. There’s no telling how much farther I could’ve gone with a real sprinting and strength coach. At least I have that engineering degree that I decided to pursue instead. Oh, wait…
I’m going to thoroughly enjoy taking 3 weeks off to heal. I mean I’m not even going to look at a track. My legs will appreciate having time to heal the shin splints, hamstring, and blisters from spikes.
I asked around at the meet about other Open events like this. It turns out that there are a few throughout the year that anyone can enter, so that gives me something else to continue this training for. If you’re interested in entering a track meet, here is a site that might help:Mile Split. For Kentuckians, checkKTCCCAfor Open meets by clicking on the Track and Field links for the year you want. It looks like the meets are over for this year, but that gives me about 8 months to get faster.