This is part 2 of the article Running 100 Meters before your Big Race.
With the USATF National Championships around the corner, you have to ask yourself when is a good time to double.
Unlike the Olympics or Olympic Trails spread over 8 –10 days, the USA system is 4 days long and only 3 days for Canada.
At the 2008 USATF Olympic Trials, 70 out of 950 athletes doubled up. That’s 7.4%.
You should see some of the World Masters (WMA) meets where sprinters try to triple up – running the 100, 200 and 400. Sometimes, it means 12 races spread over 10 days depending on the age group.
At the 2009 USATF National Championships, for the 200-400 combo, the 400m is on 3 consecutive days: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with the 200m heats on Saturday (prior to the 400m Final) and Sunday with Semi-Finals and Finals 2.5 hours apart. Just long enough to stay warm and loose.
The 100m heats are on Thursday with Friday’s Semi-Final and Final 3 hours apart. That’s a bit too long for my liking, but if all 8 sprinters are affected, then I guess it’s fair.
In any case, you are looking at 6 races in a span of 4 days if you plan on doubling up on the 100-200 or 200-400.
That is, if you make it through the rounds. The USA selection is the toughest team to make. Chances are the athlete coming in 4th place will be watching the Worlds in Berlin on TV (with the exception of the relay pool selection)
NCAA – no exception
Then again, you have some superhero and iron horses stories of athletes running the sprints and relays with all the required qualifying rounds.
Xavier “X-man” Carter of Louisiana State University did a 100-400 double (plus the 4×400 later that day) set back in 2006. In fact, he wanted to double up in the 200/400m but the schedule didn’t permit it. So he chose 35 minutes between a 10.09 and 44.53. Sweet.
I use to do several events and I found that my body could withstand the pounding, but it was the mind that was vulnerable. Just getting psyche up and down several times in a weekend was mentally draining.
From my experience, I found training was tougher than racing, at least on the physical side. When you do 3 x 300 meters at 95% with 15-20 minutes recovery, running a double with more recovery was easy.
At High School or College Championship meets, it’s all about points. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the 2009 NCAA Championships. The Men’s Team did not have an individual winner, but plenty of seconds, thirds, and forth place finishers. Even 8th place gets one point. Add them up, and, well, you have a winner.
They can take away your school record, or world record, but they can never take away your Championship trophy. Of course, retroactive disqualifications over ineligible athletes can ruin this!