Indoor Running

US Indoors masters – Experiences highlighted by PC

Peter Crombie highlights his experience in competing in the US indoors masters

Firstly,congrats to Peter Crombie for his recent efforts in the U.S. indoors masters. I’m guessing from his results… 

1.the indoors tracks are really responsive for the 60 metres 
2.the 2 bends in the 200 are tough to negotiate if you are tall and/or inexperienced.
3.ditto the 400 but worse.

Peter, your thoughts on this please!

REPLY by Peter Crombie:

In reply to your various questions about running indoors.

I don’t think that the indoor track I ran on was any more responsive than outdoor tracks. It seems to me the best thing about indoor running was the absence of wind. In fact I should be able to form far better than the performance indicated.
I arrived just prior to the meet. It is important when going to a big meet overseas that we arrive in plenty of time to get over jetlag.
We had a straight final of 9 runners & I was thrown in to the deep end without the chance to get a feel of the new conditions. It is good to have had some sort of pracpc_indoor200_2006tice when confronted with something new. In my case it would have been good to arrive a day earlier. In the absence of heats it would have been good to simulate a race by going all out like a race from the start for the full 60m. It would have been good to feel someone beside you in the simulation. The lanes are very narrow on an indoor track & it is an unusual experience to have someone so close. It would also be good to have crashed in to the bags at the end of the track.
I was overawed by too many new variables despite my long running experience which I found too difficult to overcome first up.

2. The 400m race was my next race. Once again there was no chance to properly experience the track as the race was a straight out timed final with the placegetters determined from separate seeded heats. I was too overawed by the situation.I had just been beaten into 2nd place in the 60m by the world champion at 100m & now was up against the top 2 ranked 400m runners. So I committed the 1st primary sin of running I started the race content to finish 3rd behind these two superstars.
The gun started & I was away with too many unanswered questions still going around in my mind. It was quite an unusual experience to start a race on a banked corner. I was in my favourite lane for a 400m race, lane 3 with the two stars seeded in 4 & 5, I would be able to watch what to do & react accordingly.
What a mistake, all of my prior local & world titles have been achieved by being confident in knowing EXACTLY what I had to do. Here was too daunting with too many unanswered questions. As we left the blocks my mind went in to overdrive checking out the many variables which had never been experienced before.I started to think about everything except concentrate on the race. The 2 in front of me seemed to be gunning it right from the start & already I wasn’t prepared. The lanes are so narrow, the surface a little different, the 2nd bend came up very quickly & the banking felt weird & the bend very tight. I was quite worried about stepping on the line as I am very tall with a long stride. This indoor running was not suiting me at all.
As we came around the 2nd bend it was time to cross over at the 150m market into lane 1. Instead of being right up on the other 2 I stayed back to watch the action. Big mistake as they continued to power on to go through the bell in a touch over 26 sec. It was marvellous to watch the 2 superstars running so powerfully. The 2nd lap was quite boring by comparison with me tailing off into 3rd place.

3. The 200m was next which is my specialty, except I had lost all of my confidence at the ability to learn enough about indoor running before the final.
The good news was that there would be heats & that I would be in heat 3. I could watch the other heats & learn. The other 2 stars won their heats in a touch over 25 seconds. At last I was up. After 50 metres my opposition had already passed me on the lane inside, a disaster. What is going on with this indoor stuff? That 2nd bend is so tight & was much harder to run than the 400m at the much faster pace. You had to concentrate hard as the announcer kept warning the athletes not to stand on the line or they would be disqualified. We came around the final bend with 50 metres to go & I was still behind, very puzzling. Admittedly my opposition was no slouch as a former national champion in the sprints.
I came up to his shoulder & had to make a decision whether to go past or not. If I pass him I will be in lane 3 in the final according to my internal calculations or if I am beaten I will run in lane 6. I went for lane 6 & finished just behind. The first time I had made a positive decision. The only trouble was I had finished in over 26 seconds in about the time the 2 guys went through the bell in the 400m earlier & about a second slower than my world winning time last year.
I had determined before the race that the seedings for the final were based solely on times from the 3 heats & would be in the order 4,5,3,6,2,1. Before the final I had to start building up my confidence so I went over to Roger Pierce, the current 400m world champion & former record holder over 200m & said that I could have passed my opposition in the heat but chose to run in the outside lane for the final. Of course if I had misjudged the running times then I would have ended up in one of the dreaded indoor lanes. Roger who lives in Boston promptly told me that I had outsmarted myself. Lane 3 was a better lane than 6 & that in his view lane 6 was the worst lane. Having thought that I was a genius to have ended up in lane 6 I quizzed him as to the reasons. He advised that there were a series of undulations going around the 2nd bend which when hit at top speed could jam your hip or cause you to stumble or lose momentum as your body reacted to the series of unexpected dips. He was right, in the final I experienced these dips 3 times going around that bend & you slow to steady yourself as your foot drops a little lower than you expect. I decided to review all of the things I know about 200m running. I feel as I have mastered the outdoor surface as I can always expect to beat double my 100m time but this indoor surface was a whole new experience.I would have to attack from the gun & instead of reverting to my usual steady state running form I would have to keep on gunning.I would also have shorten my usual stride as it was clearly not working to date.
The good news was that I was in lane 6 & would be able to concentrate on what I was doing instead of being mesmerised by everyone else. The final was on & I hit it out as planned & was running quite well until those series of undulations where I lost a considerable amount of momentum & found myself coming around the final bend in the unusual position of 3rd place with only 50 metres to go.I finally had the confidence to charge the line catching the other 2 at a rapid rate but too late to catch 1st place Allie finally finishing in a good 24.84.I was pretty happy overall with that run & will do better next time.
Overall indoor running is quite different to outdoor running & those considering competing in a major outdoor meet would do well to consider getting some experience before putting it on the line at the big meet. There is a definite learning curve.


Peter Crombie
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