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Not Improving

Answered By Jeff Arbogast


I am a 10 year old girl and this is my first year on a track team. I run the 1500 meters and my times have not improved all season. How can I get faster? My times have been 6:00, 6:27, 5:59, 5:58, 6:11 and 6:04. I love running but everyone is beating their time and mine is still around the same. Thanks!


You have made a super start and the tone of your question indicates you are motivated, happy to be running, and looking to improve. With those three things, your continued success is certain. Now, to get a bit faster. First of all, realize you are just starting out and it does take a period of time to stabilize your PRs and get used to competition. Don't worry about others around you as they will improve at rates that are different from yours, but you are correct in looking for PRs and wondering why you aren't faster. I am not sure of your strength background (coming from core mileage over time) or your speed (how fast you can turn over your legs) or speed-endurance (how well you can carry speed over time or distance) but the easiest way to improve in the 1500 is to look at the race from a standpoint of a goal pace. You are averaging arround 6:03 (with one 'outlier' at 6:27 we won't factor in), so ideally you need to set a goal that is a bit faster than your average, and possibly a bit faster than your PR. Let's arbitrarily set 5:50 as your immediate goal. The first thing to do (besides maintain a core distance base of strength) is to start getting comfortable with what 5:50 pace feels like. The best way to do that is to run some repeat 800s in 2:55 with a full recovery (4-5 minutes) in between. Get comfortable with what the pace feels like to PR. Next, once per microcycle (week) do a speed session where your intervals (repeats) are run just a bit faster than your goal (PR) pace. These should be shorter exercise bouts that range from 300-600 meters and are run at your PR pace minus 2-5 seconds. An example would be 4 x 600m with a 2:00 rest in 2:06-2:09. That will help your speed-endurance and keep you on your goal pace. For flat-out legspeed, try "Flying 40s" where you 'roll' into a 40-45 meter full out (on the toe) sprint every lap, but slowly jog around in between so that it takes at least 2:00. 8-12 laps of this on another day of your microcycle will round out a good approach to a PR. Keep all your work on the track with an overall goal toward pace. Get used to what paces feel like, then test yourself on the track during these types of workouts. You will be faster soon! Train hard . . .have fun . . .