Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irvine Invitational Summary & Lessons Learned + Training Plan


I bet it feels good to get your first track meet of the season under your belts. Coach Eisele and I saw a lot of good things on Saturday. Hopefully you take away the lesson that there is no need to get stressed about racing. Excited? Yes! Nervous? No!

(I know the following entry looks long, but I promise there is good stuff throughout. So please read it! It took a really long time...)

1600m races:
- There were strong efforts from both Chandler and Haleigh in the f/s 1600m. Chandler ran a steady and patient race to steadily move up through the field. Her nervousness about being the last seed was unnecessary since she finished mid-pack with a new PR!

Haleigh went out fast, demonstrating her natural speed, but struggled with the pace on the second and third laps. She hung tough and used that speed to kick down a number of people in the last hundred meters.
- Lessons Learned: Both speed and aerobic strength are needed in the middle distances. Chandler's aerobic strength carried her to a PR, but she will need to work on her speed to be able to kick it home. Haleigh has the speed, but will need to get her miles in to develop the aerobic strength necessary to carry her through the middle laps.
- Another group of strong efforts by the ladies running in the varsity heats. Kristen continues to chip away at her PR, while McKenna and Hailey are rounding into shape after missing some key workouts due to other commitments or illness.

Kristen ran a gutsy and tactically outstanding race. After letting a few ladies go off the front at an unsustainable pace, Kristen moved to the lead of the chase pack. This is a psychologically difficult position. With the leaders 20m up the track, it is easy to doubt that you can close that gap alone. The safety of the group is hard to leave. Did Kristen take the safe route? Nope! She went for it and quickly reeled the lead group in and fought for victory in the last 100m!

McKenna also ran a smart race and continues to chip away at her times this season. This, even though she missed one of the hardest workouts we have done this season while she was away in Yosemite. Maybe the high altitude did it!

Hailey, using her natural speed and aggressiveness went out at 5:20 pace. This, after battling illness and missing over a week of workouts recently. Gutsy. As with Haleigh, she hung tough and didn't give up.
- Lessons Learned:
- Pacing is difficult; everybody feels good during the first 400. We will continue to do race pace workouts to help you get used to what race pace feels like.
- Patience can pay off. For Kristen and McKenna, they placed well because they didn't freak out when girls went off the front. It is very hard to recover from going out too fast.
- If you think too much, you are likely to not "go for it" and then regret it later. Kristen went for it and reaped the rewards of a new PR.
- There are a lot of races during track season, so these early races are perfect opportunities to try different strategies. No pressure. There will be another race next week, or possibly in two days!

800m races:
- Both Brooke and Shawnie came into their races with many reasons to lack confidence. Both have battled illness and lack of training, and while they could have let this fact negatively impact them, they both attacked their race with guts and determination.

Racing is hard. Every one of your competitors is hurting too, but it is easy to quit when you start to feel the pain. Shawnie dug deep on the last lap and chose to face the pain and finished strong!

Brooke attacked the first lap, and even though she didn't have the fitness to maintain the pace, she battled on and still finished with a respectable time. I also wanted to give Brooke kudos for being such a great teammate to Katelyn. Prior to their race, Brooke was giving advice and helping to soothe Katelyn's nerves.

- Wow! There was a whole lot of goodness in the varsity 800. Pre-race in Irvine, Madison and Katelyn had a bit of nervousness. Did they let that get them down? Nope! Both girls were patient and ran smart races. They didn't let their nerves get the better of them.

Madison, after a week of outstanding workouts, must have rolled into this race with a bit of confidence. She was patient enough not to go out too hard, and then, on the  second lap, she moved up into position and attacked on the back stretch. It would have been very easy for her to doubt herself. Was she going too soon? Did she have enough to carry her home? Well, you never know unless you try, and try she did! At 200m out, she made her move and stormed home for a commanding second place!

Katelyn, running her first true 800m race was a bundle of nerves pre-race, but she went out and executed a smart race plan and also finished strong.  No need to worry about not breaking 3:00!

Amber, after a week in which she was sick, and then two days later busted out a solid tempo effort, chose to run the OC Classic, where she knew she'd be racing tough competition. She ran a gutsy race, especially considering the week she had.

Lessons Learned:
- See the lessons above, and also remember that it is just running!

Training Plan March Weeks 3 & 4

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