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2022 Track Season Retrospective

August 17th, 2022
2022 Track Season Retrospective

Track has been the most constant part of my life these past few years—through job changes, moves, and a global pandemic, I’ve hit the track and competed. This year, my preseason started all the way back in September of last year, and I didn’t run my last race until the last day of July.

And I had a great season! I shaved two tenths off my wind-legal 100m (10.92->10.71) and more than a half second off my 200 (22.10->21.55)—these results, especially the 200, are well beyond my expectations for the year. I also managed to stay healthy during the competitive season (with one minor hamstring injury in October) for the first time in about a decade.

Coaching

There were plenty of factors, both good and bad, that led to my excellent results this season. The biggest positive influence by far, however, was working with Evan Gregory, aka u/thesprintdoctor.

I had had two seasons of self-coached training under my belt before working with Evan, which had worked fairly well. So I was a bit skeptical that working with a coach would be that beneficial. But it was immediately clear after talking with Evan that he’d be able to push me to a whole new level.

For me, working with Evan has had a few main benefits:

  • Programming my weeks had been a huge cognitive burden, and I often figure out my workout only when I got to the track. With Evan writing my workouts, I’ve been able to separate my workout self (where I prefer to just gun it with abandon) and my analytical self (i.e. learning from Evan during the rest of the week).
  • Just like with my programming, Evan’s helped me refine my sprint technique through both live sessions and reviewing video. At the beginning of the season, we focused on injury prevention, and moved more towards optimizing block starts and max velocity as it progressed. Comparing training videos from October to July is like night and day.

I’m excited to continue working with Evan next year!

Training

Like I mentioned, Evan wrote my track workouts this season. I typically spent four days a week on the track, with two days dedicated to some kind of acceleration, max velocity, or speed/special endurance workout, and two days focused more on tempo work.

Two days of tempo was much more than I’ve done while self-coaching—I think the additional work capacity and special endurance helped me especially in the 200.

In the weight room, I mostly tried to maintain strength after the season started. Like in prior seasons, I focused mainly on powerlifting-style movements for strength (though I swapped from back squats to reverse lunges during the season on Evan’s advice), and Olympic lifting for explosiveness.

I started the preseason at 195lbs, peaked at 199lbs in December, and slowly cut down to 191lbs by the end of the year to improve my strength-to-weight ratio. I think this was generally positive, although I may have cut too aggressively in the back half of the season, as my PRs were set in April when I was hovering at 193lbs.

Racing

I competed in 10 meets this year between January and July (new PRs in bold):

Date Meet Events
1/18 2022 UAB Vulcan Invitational 60 (6.97), 200 (22.56)
1/22 2022 Vanderbilt Invitational 60 (6.96)
2/19 2022 Berkeley All-Comers 2 60 (6.88 +1.3), 200 (21.85 -0.9)
3/26 2022 Carnegie Mellon Invitational 100 (11.24 -2.9), 200 (22.24 -4.3)
4/9 2022 Atlanta Track Club Meet #1 100 (10.82 NWI), 100 (10.71 -1.3)
4/23 2022 Mountain Laurel Invitational 100 (10.88 -1.2), 200 (21.55 -2.3)
5/7 2022 Tennessee Challenge 100 (10.82 +1.6), 200 (21.58 +1.3)
5/14 2022 Lee Invitational 100 (10.87 +0.0), 200 (21.75 +1.2)
6/6 2022 Sunset Summer Classic 100 (10.81 NWI)
7/30 2022 USATF Masters Championships 100 (10.76 +0.6), 200 (21.96 -0.6)

Besides the anomaly in Pittsburgh (~30 degree weather, snow flurries, and calf cramps), every single race this year was faster than my wind-legal PRs from previous years. That’s amazingly special.

I noticed that I tend to tense and push when I have competition next to me. More race experience (or even just a workout buddy) should help. Next year, I’m going to try to compete a bit more often.

Competition at these meets was mixed. I’d love to get into some faster meets and heats next year—my best race experience of the year was getting dusted by a bunch of Olympians and elite athletes at the Atlanta Track Club meet.

Next year

I’ve had a couple of weeks off the track now, and I’m already chomping at the bit to start running again! There are a few things I’d like to do differently for the upcoming season:

  • Focus more on dedicated core work. I’ve had a persistent low-back issue that my physical therapist thinks is my QL spasming from overload. Getting a stronger core, especially resisting rotation, should help there.
  • More technique work, sooner. My hamstring pull in October killed a lot of momentum I had had with max velocity mechanics. With healthier legs, I should be able to stack my training better and come into the season more prepared to compete.
  • Compete more. I had two month-long gaps in my season. Next year, I’m hoping to fill in those gaps so I that I don’t lose my competitive edge.
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