When I told the team today that we were heading out to do “leap frog” this is what some of the new runners imagined. I heard one of them ask is friend, “Where do we play leap frog?” as we were running down Bolz Ranch road on our warm up. Now some of you are also probably wondering what does leap frog have to do with a track practice workout?
My “Leap Frog” run started as a way to keep runners of different abilities together. There is a road just north of the Ranch Vista Golf Course, in the nice homes there that has a series of 9 very short cul de sac streets jutting off the north side of the street. One day we were running through there and I had the team run up and down each and every one of the cul de sacs. I instructed that if any of the kids were falling behind they could “leap frog” a cul de sac to get in front of the team. We ran through the section until we reached 30th west. Then, we turned and ran back through it the other way.
The second time we did this I noticed something awesome develop. The fast kids took it as a challenge. They ran fast enough to never have to leap frog. As they took off the rest took off and though they leap frogged, they took that leap frogging as an insult. At the end of the section we gathered and they bragged, “I never leap frogged.” “I only leap frogged 1 of the 9 streets.” Since the section is a little more than a mile long without the cul de sacs, and the students were choosing to run it pretty hard, I stumbled upon the “holy grail” of middle school coaching. I discovered a way to get middle school kids to do a tempo run!
For myself, I have discovered that if I run at Marathon Pace. I go just fast enough to only leap frog once or twice, and I am able to get the middle to back of the group pushing themselves to stay ahead of me. So, today, 4 days before Boston this is what I did. The whole thing is about 5 miles. It includes two sections of about 1.5 miles each done at marathon pace. It felt good! I love taper week!
Speaking of Boston, the wind forecast is looking scary…. but it is still early as weather forecast’s go.