Part 3 of our series of how we got a track athlete (Anna Kessler) faster so she was able to have the necessary speed to make the state 100M finals.
The previous two weeks, I discussed the previous season’s times and what the object was for the offseason to get her in a better position to run faster – get stronger and more explosive.
The final discussion will be about the season itself.
The post from last week, most any track athlete could duplicate that. The post listed exercises and also some theories for workouts that you definitely could apply in your own off-season training.
Once your track athlete’s season starts, most of what the athlete does is up to the coach. You have to trust your coach’s knowledge that he/she will get you in the best position possible to be running fast by the end of the season.
Assuming that is the case, then what are the things you can control that will help aid your workouts?
- In-Season Lifting – I think this is HUGE!! Luckily, I know for a fact Anna’s team lifted twice a week during the season. Understand, these workouts are meant to be short and sweet, hit the nervous system, and keep you strong and explosive. If you aren’t lifting with your team, you need to do it on your own. You will lose any strength you gained in the off-season slowly after 3-4 weeks. After that 4th week, the strength gains dip fast and last I checked, track is longer than 4 weeks.
- Diet – If you can make sure your teenage athlete is eating smart, it will only benefit you. This was super important the weekend of the state track meet. There was a 3.5 hour delay, so Anna was not running when she thought she would. Consequently, she needed to rest, stay off her feet, stay hydrated, but get some food in her system. She was able to do all that as her aunt got her a sub and more water. I think this played a role in her making finals because probably a lot of the other athletes didn’t do that. Especially since she had the 16th fastest time going into the semis (out of 18 athletes) and was able to make finals.
- Creatine/Supplements – We’ve played with some supplements as part of Anna’s repertoire throughout the years, but this year we added creatine to her diet. She took creatine daily once outdoor season started (the meets not the actual season). Once started about six weeks in (when league and districts were starting) the creatine would really kick in. Yes, you can get creatine naturally, but the way the kids eat adding this to her diet would make sure she was getting enough of it because once again she is a teenager and eating is a super priority. Not going into the science of creatine, but let’s just say creatine helps the explosiveness needed by sprinters. This definitely could have played a role in her success.
- Sleep – Anna didn’t really do this real well throughout the season because like a lot of teenagers would stay up late with homework or whatever. I do feel if an athlete can discipline themselves to getting 8-9 hours a night it will really benefit their athletic performance.
Did all this work?
Last year, Anna did not make it to the district finals in the 100M. This year, she won districts in the 100M and 200M. She was Regional runner-up in the 100M and got 8th place in the 200M. In the state meet, she ended up getting 9th place in the 100M. Not bad for a sophomore!
Her PR’s changed. Here is what they are:
- 100M – from a 12.85 to a 12.45.
- 200M – from a 27.38 to a 25.86
- 400M (open) – from a 1:03.30 to a 1:01.10
- 400M (split time) – from a 1:00.70 to a 57.70
You might think that she would have made these improvements anyways because she was a year older. I had athletes that also were a year older that didn’t come close to these improvements.
You might do all of the things that Anna did and still not make significant improvements. Sometimes that happens and maybe you have to look as to other reasons why that happened.
BUT, if you want a chance at seeing gains to get faster at track (or any sport) don’t leave anything to chance. Do what you can to put yourself in the best position possible so you don’t have to say “what if I had done such and such”.