Loren’s Quest for Sub-Fifty: Part 2

Now that you have a little bit of background information into my quest to run sub-fifty, I want to break down the different stages of my running career. For this post, I will focus on my freshman and sophomore years of high school.
I went to a small private high school my first 2 years, and up to that point in my life, training had really only been, well, the sports I had participated in, which included football and basketball. No off-season workouts, only practices and playing on my own. Track up to that point had really been simple jogging around the track, socializing, and more or less just a hang out time with no orderly workout progression. Once I entered high school, however, practice was suddenly filled with things like, “intervals,” “splits,” “warm-ups,” “starts,” “drills,” “ladders.” I thought to myself, “Wow, my times are going to really drop now that I’m practicing like a professional!” Well, they came down a little, but then began to even out. I was sitting right around the 54-second mark all the way through my sophomore year. I had even taken football off my sophomore year to just focus on running all fall, thinking I would get myself in great condition for the spring season. I felt sure that I would easily take off a couple seconds between my freshman and sophomore years.
I opened my sophomore year with about a 55 second 400. Not a bad start, I figured. It wouldn’t be long before I was running 53’s, 52’s, 51’s, maybe even under 50 seconds. Unfortunately it didn’t come together. I finished the season running just under 54 after sitting comfortably in the mid-54 range all season. I was feeling quite frustrated, and I knew something had to change. I knew that if all my work hadn’t somehow produced the results I was looking for, that doing it all over again the same would not get me any closer to reaching my goals.
I had the same problem over and over, but didn’t really understand what it was. Almost every 400 runner experiences it at some point. That last 100 meters, they experience extreme tightness, not the general feelings of fatigue that set in, but literally a complete loss of running form and power due to tightness from my lower legs up through my hips, back, shoulders and neck. Every coach out there tells his or her runners to relax and just glide down the home stretch. The problem is, how do you do that exactly? My coach would tell me to drive my knees more and relax my upper body, but my body just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I began to realize that the issue was more than just lifting and relaxing, but it actually had to do with my muscular system and how it affected the way I ran.
I had actually heard about a sports performance specialist, Scott Olson, who was not only great with runners, but also going to be a coach/trainer for a high school that was opening the very next year. I met with him right near the end of my sophomore year to ask some questions about running and training, and at that point I decided I had to transfer to this new high school to change up my training and see where that would take me. The way Scott explained his training philosophy of running and muscular efficiency made total sense, and I was sold. It was the first time that I began to understand that more running wasn’t going to really fix the problems that existed in my stride. All it could do is give me a bit more endurance which would only improve my times to a certain point, never really unlocking my true potential. I began training using the Runwithpower training system going into my junior year of high school and have been training my body using this unique system ever since, minus one year away at college, which I will talk about later.
Next time I will talk about my last 2 years of high school and the transformation my muscular system and running stride went through, as well as the new marks I reached and the setbacks I had to fight through.

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