Daughter Wants to Train for the 800m / 1500m

by Debbie
(Toronto, Ontario)

Any advise for a young athlete who wants to train for the 800m and 1500m?

I really appreciate your help with this request.

Thanks, Debbie

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
I find it extremely difficult to answer questions about running for younger children, with the simple reason that I don't want anyone to get injured due to me.

With adults I expect them to be able to "listen to their own bodies", with children it is often left to others to take care of that. I basically can't be careful enough.

I would hope that in Toronto you'd be able to find a good athletics club with great youth coaches that can monitor your daughter and help her develop her running much better than I can from a distance.

I can give some rules for 800m/1500m runners in general.
The 800m and 1500m are tough races because it is too long for a straight out sprint, but way too short to run at a comfortable speed.

General running training for these distances should include:

* Some easy running, although it is a lot less important than for the longer distances.

* Some tempo running which will help to increase the lactate acid threshold.

* Intervals, plenty of intervals, e.g. 5 x 400m, 3 x 800m, 3 x 1000m with recovery jogs in between.

* Shorter repetition runs, e.g. 200m repetitions with full recovery in between. In those runs it is not about speed, but about form, quick turnover of the legs, etc.

* Cross training. Especially when kids are developing and growing it is good to not focus all the energy on just one area (running/the legs).

I hope this helps a little bit.
Kind regards,

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