Track & Field Training and Coaching Articles

7 Tips & Tricks for the High School Track Runner

by Coach Frank Pucher

Note: Although this article is written by a runner and is directed towards runners on race day, the same thoughts apply to throwers and jumpers on meet day. Put these 7 tips to work for you and focus-in on improvement and success!

1) For morning races, always eat something on race day. Some toast or a bagel with some peanut butter is an excellent race day breakfast. A POWERBAR is another good choice. Be sure to drink 8-10oz of water with breakfast 2-3 hours before race time.

2) Try to avoid soda or sugary drinks on days when you have races - they will NOT help your performance. Water works best. Even Gatorade should be diluted with water. Did you know that Gatorade isn't helpful unless the race is longer than 1 hour?

3) Runners have worries. Every runner on the starting line usually asks "does my ankle hurt?", "is my knee aching?" or "am I getting a cold?" Don't worry - when you out-sprint another runner to the finish, somehow, that all seems to go away.
Even when you don't feel your best, you must still give your best!

4) Before your races try to relax (relax??). Yes, Relax. Repeat to your self, "I'm strong, I'm fast, I'm well trained" - repeat this in your head again and again. Pretty soon you'll start to feel better. If that doesn't work, scream real loud and start to wave your arms. You won't run any faster, but you'll definitely feel better.

5) The 1st half of a race, most run poorly. Some go out too fast, some too slow, and some are skilled enough to get it just right. Understand - the success of your race isn't determined by how you start, but how you finish. It's the 2nd half that counts. The track season is a race itself, so finish strong.

6) After your performance, assess what you did well. Under-achieving athletes ALWAYS focus on what they did wrong. High achieving athletes often focus on what went right and can't wait to repeat it. Even in a less than optimal performance, always find what you did correct, and focus on that!

7) If you choose to focus on what went wrong, here is what you can do: Make 2 lists, the 1st list is of the things that you can control, while the 2nd list is of the things you can't control. Throw the 2nd list out. Now take a look at what you're left with. That's where your work lies!

I've never finished a run and thought, "that was a waste of time."

Frank Pucher is a former 2x All-Conference Distance Runner and NCAA XC Qualifier for East Stroudsburg University. A 6x Boston Marathon Qualifier, he owns a Sub-3hr PR in the Marathon and a ½ Marathon best of 1:15. In addition to being the personal coach to many outstanding athletes, Frank is also the owner of Fitness 121 Personal Training in Livingston. He is one of the few Coaches/Trainers to receive certification as an Endurance Performance Specialist from The National Endurance Sports Trainers Association (NESTA). Frank is also certified by The American Council on Exercise and The Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research in Dallas, TX. Visit his websites: and

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