Dear Coach Ed,|
My daughter ran track at age 12 last spring very unsuccessfully. Even though I tried to convince her to train all summer she didn't but finally did get interested in the fall when cross-country season approached. She started fairly slowly on the team but closed to 2nd overall by the end of the season. She is able to run a 2.0 mile cross-country course in 15:05. This puts her in about the 35 percentile in her league. She wants to continue to train all winter and run the 1600 meters in spring track. Most of her training will be on a treadmill since the weather in Ohio won't allow outside training on a regular basis.
My problem is that I wish to help her train but have gotten so many conflicting reports on the best course of action from prospective coaches and published material. My daughter will be 13 in february and wants to be ready for the 1600 meters in spring but I think her love will become cross-country when she enters high school next fall and will be running the 3.1 mile course. (She is presently in eighth grade.) Can you provide some guidance or direct me to the best source so I can help her develop a running program for the winter? She is presently doing about 2 miles a day on the treadmill but needs more of a routine. Should she train by heart rate at her age or just train as hard as she can?
Really need some help,
Joe in Ohio
To answer your last question is NO she should not just train as hard as she
When working with athletes age 14 and under, my first priority is the athlete's
well being and second is to make sure the athlete is having fun with running.
Only then do I approach the competitive aspect of running with a young
A young athlete should get advice from one coach only. More than that is
confusing and usually conflicting. If your daughter is on a team, the coach
should provide her with the proper training schedule. If you are coaching your
daughter, I offer the following:
An example of an off season schedule for young distance runners (age 12-14)
Sunday: run 1 mile about 9 minute pace then begin a series of
alternating fast and moderate running, run 1 minute fast and controlled
followed by 1 minute at a 9 minute pace repeat 6 times. Fast and controlled
means the 6th time you run fast it should be as fast as the 1st time. Be sure
not to do that 1st fast run too fast. Then do a 1 mile cool down run.
easy running (9 minute pace) for 2 miles.
Tuesday: no running.
running (9 minute pace) for 2 to 4 miles depending on your conditioning.
Thursday: no running.
Friday: easy running (9 minute pace) for 2 miles.
Saturday: no running.
This is not a treadmill schedule. All runs should be
done on the road or on trails. If the weather is too bad to run outside use
that day as an added rest day with no running.
Make this fun for her. If you cannot run with her bundle up and go out on a
bicycle next to her to keep her company in cold weather. Encourage her, don't
push her. Besides helping her running this can be a great dad and daughter
experience. In high school she will get all the hard training she can handle.
Ed Poirier, "Coach Ed", recently was invited by the United States Olympic
committee to attend a workshop and training seminar at the Olympic training
center in California.
Feel free to email the kid's editor at email@example.com with comments on this column.