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Getting better

Answered By ian dobson

Question

How much can a high school athlete expect to build up from one season to the next? I am a junior guy that ran a 16:18 in cross country this season. Next year I really want to get into the low fifteens; is this practical or possible, if I commit myself to training all summer? On a little side note: I love how you recognize where your gift of running comes from. Why do you think you have been given a special gift and are not just fast because of your own ability?

Answer

I'm not sure, but maybe this question was for Sara. . .if so sorry, but you got me instead! If you'd like an answer from Sara, please just submit it again, stating that it's for her, and I'll gladly let her know it's up. It's hard to know what's a realistic goal for improvement without knowing what your training history is. As a general rule it's more difficult to improve the faster you're running. 16:18 is a good time, so an improvement of a minute is a lot. But that doesn't make it unrealistic! If there are significant improvements that you can make in your training, then a big jump like that is very possible. When I was in high school I had a goal of improving by 45 seconds a year in cross country. I did it the first couple years, but was more like 30 seconds a year as my times got faster. Another thing to think about is maintaining steady improvement. In other words, you want to make sure the goals you set aren't so high that you're going to get injured or too discouraged and then end up with no improvement at all. That said, I think it's great that you're setting high goals and are willing to work hard to achieve them. Good luck!

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