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2021 Track Season Retrospective

2021 Track Season Retrospective

Another year, another track season. This was my 12th competitive season, and my second training by myself. The 2020 and 2021 seasons melted together for me—with COVID and without meets, I didn’t take any time off in between. After my extended taper and after some time away from the track, I’m realizing just how beat down my body had been.

My last race of the season resulted in both a PR and injury—a mixed but mostly positive result. “Mixed but mostly positive” is an apt description for my entire season. Like I did last year, I’ll reflect on the past season, both successes and failures, and apply my learnings to next season.

Training

  • I consistently ran 3-4x a week and lifted 6x a week. I always made sure to run in the mornings, before the weight room, and to match track days with leg days so my legs would always have 36+ hours to recover before the next workout.
  • I roughly periodized my track and weight-room work into month-long blocks. As the season wore on, I transitioned from pure velocity & acceleration work towards more speed endurance, and focused more on explosive Olympic lifts over strength-based movements. I also introduced Nordic hamstring curls, reverse lunges, and back squats into my weightroom routine which had previously been almost entirely hex bar deadlifts.
  • I used a Freelap to time all of my velocity and acceleration work, and often recorded each rep for analysis.
  • I was blessed to avoid major injury this year, up until my very last race.

Timeline

5/8: Atlanta Track Club Spring Track Meet #3

  • 100m: 10.92 (+0.2)

5/15: Lee University Last Chance

  • 100m: 11.02 (-0.1)
  • 200m: 22.18 (+1.8)

5/23: TFCUSA Club National Championships

  • 100m: 10.93 (NWI)
  • 200m: 22.20 (NWI)

6/5: 2nd Annual Summer Sunset Classic

  • 100m: 11.05 (-0.8), rain

7/23: USATF Masters Championships

  • 100m: 10.79 (+2.6), injured
  • 200m: scratch

Well

  • I achieved my goal of becoming 1% faster in the 100m, despite being injured: 1% faster than my previous FAT PR of 10.96 is 10.85. How much faster could my 10.79 have been?
  • My taper was well-executed. I felt fresh and fast going into the USATF Masters meet.
  • I was able to compete—which wasn’t a sure thing at the beginning of 2021.
  • I built a lot of strength and power, and set PRs in every lift I regularly performed this season.
  • My first race was marked by a poorly executed transition phase, and I suffered for it beyond 80 meters. I managed to fix this in subsequent races.

Not Well

  • I pulled my hamstring, which has been a recurring theme in my track career.
  • My speed endurance never quite got to where I wanted it; I never managed to run a 200 all out.
  • I struggled with temperature regulation at meets where I competed in multiple events.
  • I had a long, 6 week layoff between races, which may have contributed to my injury.
  • I have several inefficiencies in my technique that I never got around to fixing.

Learnings & Action Items

  • My progression this year seems mostly predicated on improved power and strength. Next year, to continue to improve, I need to work on some of my technique inefficiencies. In particular, my foot strike is often too close to my midline, and my feet are splayed outward on landing.
  • I’ll spend a small part of my offseason building work capacity. Then, I’ll incorporate more intense speed endurance workouts earlier in my season. Maybe I’ll even run a 400 or two!
  • I need to plan my meet schedule better. I’d like to sync it with the NCAA season if possible; meets become scarce by July which makes it hard to avoid long breaks between meets.
  • More unilateral, isometric, eccentric, and core work in the weight room! Now that I have a better strength base, I can finetune some of the little things.
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