Quick question for high school coaches: How would you want to see the athletes you work with run the 800m, the 1,600m and the 3,200m? Positive splits? Negative splits? Even splits?
It’s an important question this time of year because the work you do in the next four to six weeks will determine “the tools” that the athletes has on their toolbelt come race time (i.e. you can’t expect a miler of average ability to be able to shift gears at 300m to go and again at 100m to go if you haven’t started a progression of speed development, as speed takes time).
Want an 800m runner to be able to “get out” in the first 50m and run a slight positive split race between the first 400m and the second 400m? Similarly, do you want them to come through 600m at a blistering pace and then run a solid last 200m, which will likely result in passing several competitors? Or maybe you believe the the only way to run the event is to run even splits?
Have you empowered the 1,600m runners to deal with the pace changes and “moves” that typify great races at that distance? Can they go out slow and run each successive 400m faster than the previous? Can they go out hard for 800m or 1,000m, then decelerate a bit for the next 400m or so, then be able to switch gears and run faster…and switch again if need be, running their fastest?
Do you want to see a 3,200m runner simply get on his or her edge for that race and run eight even splits, or do you expect to see some faster laps (or at least a faster 200m) at the end of the race?
I don’t go to high school meets weekly, so my opinion regarding these questions may be skewed. If you have some time (and I know you may not now that you’re back in school) I’d love to hear your opinions regarding these questions, specifically, how you think athletes should run each of the three disciplines.
I’m speaking in 10 days at the OATCCC clinic and I want to make sure I’m helping those in attendance. Thanks for your assistance.