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Coaching tips for 7th graders

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

Could you please make a list of how to coach a 7 and 8th grade track team from events 100m through the 3200m.I was thinking the distance runners could start out at running 2 miles a day for a week straight + intervals such as 6X800m and 8X400m.Then the next week move up to 3 miles a day and the same intervals once a week.The next week move up to 4 miles a day and the same intervals once a week. The next week 5 miles a day + the same intervals. Then I'll keep them at 5 miles a day + intervals once a week. And I have no idea on what the 100m through the 400m runners should do ?Could you please help and if you don't think the my idea with the distance runners is fairly good could you please help on improving that too? Thanks, Greg

Answer

Dear Greg, Please remember this; practices must be fun. If it isn't fun, you won't have a team. Assuming that you have beginning runners, just do easy distance running. If a kid can only run for 5 minutes (do it twice), that's what he should do. Find out how far they can go and build on that. For a group of beginning runners, I don't recommend interval training. Doing 100m strides at a specific goal pace is ok, but not hard interval training. I also recommend doing team stretching. Stronger kids might do 200m at a specific pace. The important thing is to improve aerobic fitness to a high level. Training for beginning sprinters is similar, increase their fitness. For leg speed, I would have everyone on the team do a few (8-10) 40m sprints once or twice per week after a good warm-up. Pay attention to how the kids are running, never let an athlete run in pain. Also make sure they stay hydrated. The goal for your program might be to have a number of kids come out for the team, develop a noticeable increase in fitness and have fun. Please review our other training tips for lots of good ideas on developing new runners. This advice is for a team of beginners. Advanced runners would obviously have a modified plan. Have fun, Mick and John

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