Time to go long! We hit the beautiful urban trail and headed out of town for 30 minutes only to match that 30 minutes back. It is slightly downhill on the way up and slightly uphill most of the way back (and they thought it was just the 7000 feet elevation that was getting to them!). The weather was perfect, skies were clear. Some of us even saw a huge elk along the way.
Breakfast and some down time was welcomed before we had our morning session on racing and race tactics. Drafting, running tangents, running efficiently for time (even splits) and when to make moves on a track were some of the key topics.
It wasn’t enough to talk about running in a pack. We experienced it out on the field. We walked laps getting moving from an arms length apart to progressively closer until everyone was in a pack elbow to elbow, and barely a foot between our rows of three and four runners. The the challenge went to walking a bit faster and maintaining the close quarters. Then to a light jog. It forced everyone to pay attention to where they were; their feet, and others feet. Lose focus and you step on someone or a gap develops.
This lead us to the blind man’s run. With a partner you were lead on a walking, jogging and then running lap. This increases the necessity to tune IN to your body and stride (as well as trust your partner). It also focuses your body on proprioceptive senses. The key once again is focus.
Focus is an overused term. Many parents and coaches alike tell their athletes to “focus”. The truth is the athlete is focused – on the weather, the wind, who is in the crowd watching or what they will eat when the race is over. They are indeed focused – on the wrong things. These drills emphasize focusing on what is important – yourself, your immediate environment as it impacts you.
A stroll over to Target for a break from campus life was welcomed. The weather is gorgeous. And the walk was intended to help soothe those legs after some tough miles today.
Tonight was time for them to practice their creativity. Tomorrow they will get videotaped… it’ll be a surprise.