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Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar


I am a thirteen year old girl who is huge swimmer. Right now I am trying out for varsity girls swimming team. I also play soccer and cross-country ski. I am not a naturally great athlete but I love to work hard and improve and have fun. A lot of my firends are very very competitive. I ran in track last year to try it with a bunch of friends. I found that I like racing at a moderate pace for three to five miles a day. I am very good at keeping a steady pace. Everyone expects me to be a great runner because my mom runs marathons and my brother (15) always places in cross-country meets without training. But the thing is I don't like running meets. And I have never been very competitive except for the fact of getting on some kind of a team. The most important thing for me has always been to work hard, try my best, and improve my running. My best ever mile time is seven minutes and thrity two seconds after lots of training though. I am not good at sprints. I am wondering if this is normal to not like meets because I don't like the pressure of competing and having to be the fastest runner. I think running should not always have to be about who is the fastest and sometimes about who likes it and who reaches their own goals and who tries hard (I know a girl who never ever tries but has a junior national qualifing tiime) it also takes away the fun and if I run anything longer than a 400 in a meet. (I usually do the 800) at the end I can't breathe and wheeze. I don't feel good and it makes me not want to compete. And do you any training suggestions for someone who likes paced distance workouts? Thanks Purple


Dear Purple, I think what you do now is fine. Running is supposed to be fun and if you have fun now, stick with that. If you want to be in good shape and if you want to get stronger over time, just continue to run with your friends. Not everyone wants to run track or cross country meets and that is ok. Running is a lifetime sport because it is fun to do. I don't think you need paced distance workouts, just be consistent in your training. Fun first, Coach Mick and John