How to prepare for the 2018 track and field season

It’s October, and that means one thing for track and field: It’s time to get back to work. With the championship season long behind us, the Fall brings with it a new start for most track athletes. But what should you be doing to prepare for the season ahead? We caught up with Olympic silver medalist Joe Kovacs and recapped his fall focal points below.

Reassess and regroup
Take time to review your year. Look at results from both competitions and training sessions that were successful and unsuccessful. “If you’re not making progress, you’re going backwards,” Joe says. So, recap your season and analyze the good, the bad and the ugly. For Joe, a bulk of the important review comes from looking at weightroom logs.

“Since I keep a log of my sessions, I’m able to to track how intense my weight lifting was during different parts of the year and connect those results to performance at meets,” Joe says. By recording every workout, you can see how intense lifting takes away from the throw and how lighter lifting gives your throw more momentum. The “weight room is your regulator,” Joe says.

Go back to the basics
Once you’ve reviewed your year and pinpointed high and low points, it’s time to get back to the track. But wait. Not so fast. Joe says it’s important to start with the basics, no matter how advanced you are.

“Don’t be scared to fail at something easy when someone is watching,” Joe says. “If you’re going to fail, do it in front of the people who want you to succeed.”

When it comes to basics, incorporate drills and easy movements. Start from the ground up, focus on balance, and embrace deep positions. Make movements more methodical before you jump to full movements in training. “Everything I do when I first start training is all about details,” Joe says. When you do start to throw, for example, consider throwing the ball into the side of a hill or net. Don’t worry about where the implement necessarily lands. From October through Thanksgiving, training is about slowing down and being deliberate.

Don’t forget nutrition
Maintaining a clean diet is a critical part of fall training. Make sure your food is your fuel and put a system behind what goes into your mouth. “I have all the components of my training planned out, including nutrition, now through Christmas,” Joe says. “I know when I’m going to be sore and I know what I’m going to eat that night.”

For Joe, timing and planning is everything. He eats 6 meals a day and weighs his food so he knows exactly how much he’s eating.

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