Tips From Tonie

So old man Jack Frost is a blowing and the fall colors are quickly fading to the grey days of winter. Don’t be blue, be cheery instead, because that means winter has arrived and with that INDOOR Track and Field season is banging on your door!

I love indoor track and field. It’s explosive, exciting, not for the faint of heart and many times, is a peek into the outdoor season that is not too far behind. But how do you prepare for it? This is a question I often get from young athletes and seasoned professionals. The truth is I never really gave much thought about indoor season. Being on the West Coast, winter generally means 60 degrees and time to grab a sweater and maybe, but only maybe put away the “flip-flops” for a spell. However, I was actually successful indoors, go figure. My first major world title was wining the 60m hurdles at the 1st World Indoor Championship in Indianapolis 1987. You can YOUTUBE it if you like but I regress, like I was saying, I did well indoors winning US, World and countless international competitions so I guess you could say I know a few things about the sport, and it is a different sport with much different requirements to get ready for it.

My first suggestion is this; 1 – decide if you are competing indoors to COMPETE indoors or are you competing as preparation for the outdoor season. Let me explain, I generally competed indoors as training for outdoors. I notoriously was a slow starter outdoors. Indoors you don’t have the luxury of getting a slow start in any of the races. The person with the best reaction time usually has a greater chance of winning or getting the pole position which in-turn more often than not wins the race. Using indoors as a break in training for outdoors is a great idea. It’s also a great training platform for the mental game. Competition is far different than training and the pressure you experience can reek havoc on you if you’re not prepared for it. Indoors is like a “3-Ring Circus” lots of things are going on all at once and you’ve got to handle distractions, tight quarters and hurried competition.

 However, if you are; 2 – competing to COMPETE indoors, you need to accelerate your fall training to include short explosive sprints and explosive lifts to maximize your potential for success. Starting the indoor season in race ready shape is crucial. In technical events, you don’t want to “learn on the job” you want to get on the mats or in the pits as soon as possible so you’re proficient at your technique. Putting together with your coach, if able, a competition plan also helps. What I mean by this is you may wish to selectively choose meets that will have the best competition there or sometimes the easiest so you can focus on “you”. Additionally, you may want to create a plan to what event you’re training for and what events will help you prepare for that event. For the short sprinter, step up to longer events or shorter as training for different phases of your main focused race. You can also do the same in the longer lap races and to a degree in some of the jumps, use the sprints as training.

Which leads us to; 3 – Mentally train for indoors by constantly reminding yourself. “Indoors and outdoors are two different sports. How I compete indoors doesn’t necessarily mean how I will do outdoors.” So if you don’t have a great indoor season, don’t sweat it! Indoors will be a fading memory come March, April, May and June. But if you are having a great year, forget everything I just said and constantly remind yourself, “If I have a great indoor season, I’m going to have an even more awesome outdoor season! Yea indoors! Yea me!

Have a great fall training and best of luck this season each and every one of you and see you at a World Record Camp coming to you soon.

-        Tonie