Country is sometimes difficult to predict.
Comparing an athlete's time from one meet and to a different meet with a
different course could be a bit misleading.
One course might be fairly flat.
One course might have massive hills and hardly any flats. Then you might be running in 72 degrees or 42
degrees and rainy! There's one way to
solve that issue - head to head competition.
If you're lucky enough to get to the State Championships, then you get
that opportunity to go head to head with the best competition in your division
across the state. This Saturday,
November 4th, it's the exact same course that everyone gets to run. It comes down to who has trained the best,
who can prep their way to the starting line at your designated time, and who is
ready to race when the gun goes off!
The State Championships schedule for this year:
10:00am - Girls D1 Large School
10:45am - Boys D1 Large School
11:30am - DII-A Girls Race
12:05pm - DII-A Boys Race
12:40pm - DII-AA Girls Race
1:15pm - DII-AA Boys Race
1:50pm - D1 Girls Small School
2:30pm - D1 Boys Small School
If you've run the Steeplechase course before, then you know how tough it can be. Although it's not a course that's packed with lots of hills, the ones it has are either steep or long. Side-hill footing is common on this course too, so it's a bit of a challenge all around. With the rain expected in later this week, and storms on race day, it might get a bit sloshy on the course. Setting a personal best on the course might not be the best strategy either this Saturday. But then again, if you're determined enough, it could very well be a good day. If you're a spectator, bring boots.
With the end of the regular season either over or about to be over, are you making plans on what to do next. Maybe a bowl of ice cream pile high with all kinds of really good for you toppings! Or maybe a huge dinner... and then the ice cream! Or maybe you've decided to give it a shot at one of the Hoka One Locals coming up. Really, you are in great shape this time of year. It's not a bad time to consider throwing out a fast 3200 on the track now.
On November 11 and 18, you could get that chance. The Hoka One Locals are being run with the first one at Lipscomb Academy and the second at Brentwood Academy. They start around 5pm (but check the calendar and don't take my word on that) and will be seeded based on entries, so you're guaranteed to get into a group that will help push you to a really good time for the distance. On November 17, Knoxville is putting on a Hoka One. This will be a super local presented by Knoxville Youth Athletics and held at Hardin Valley Academy. After doing 5K's on cross country courses all season, then running a 3200 on the track sounds like it'll be a piece of cake! Great opportunity to PR in the distance, don't you think!
These 3200's held prior to and after the regular cross country season are really good ideas, so hats off to these meet directors for putting these on. Before the season, it's great way to gauge your fitness just as the season starts. After the season, just maybe your cross country season didn't go the way you wanted and you feel like you need to get a fast race in. Or maybe you just feel invincible enough to gut out a super fast 3200 on the track and set a huge PR. Whatever the reason, now's the time to get it done!
If you're in the Memphis area, or want to travel there, November 18th there's an age group USATF cross country championships at Shelby Farms. Based on age, you could run the 2,000 meters (8 and under), 3000 meters (separate runs for 9-10 years and 11-12 age), 4,000 meters (13-14 years) and the 5,000 (15 to 18 years old).
Then of course, there's the Foot Locker South Regional in Charlotte North Carolina and the NXN Southeast Regional in Cary North Carolina. Both, which I think is unfortunate, are held on the same day, November 25th.
And don't forget, always check out the Mile Split calendar to see what's up. And really thinking ahead, there's a lot of spring track meets already listed on the calendar.
See you on the track... and the grass!