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Maximizing workouts for the 1600m

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

Dear Coach, I have a 7th grade girl who is running low 6:20's in the 1600. I was wondering if you could tell me how many miles she should be running for her endurance workouts and how often she should mix in speed work. She has an excellent kick, maybe has too much left at the end. This is her first year in track so I just want to get her started on the right track, since I believe she has the ability to excel at it. Any tips or Web sites that will help her maximize her workouts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Heath Roach

Answer

Dear Coach, Your young runner's mileage should be based on her experience and motivation. Make sure she is having fun. In general, a 12-13 year old girl with some training background can easily handle 15-20 miles per week. I like to concentrate on improving 400 and 800 times while the kids are young. If you can get her under 2:30 for 800m while building a mileage base, you will have a good young miler. Work on speed once a week and endurance once a week. If you are designing an 800m endurance workout for her, make sure she can run each interval faster than the previous one and run each lap at the same pace, or faster. For example, 3:30, 3:20, 3:10, 3:00 with a 400m recovery. It is better to start slowly and build on that. It gives the kids confidence and you will learn quickly how much they can handle. If you are charting the workouts, get a 30 second heart rate after each interval to monitor effort. Don't do long intervals very often, let them run on trails where the running is more enjoyable. Good luck! Have fun, Coach Mick and John