There is no secret formula or training plan available to get track and field athletes to perform their best when it matters most.

Teams are different. Kids, too.

What works for one coaching staff might completely impede momentum of another, which is why the recipe to peaking at the right time embodies vagueness.

The Franklin girls track sectional takes place a week from today; local boys athletes converge on Columbus North’s facility two days later (May 21) in an effort to advance to the regional.

With so much at stake, never during the regular season has the appropriate mix of training, rest and emphasis on technique been so imperative.

Most county programs benefit from a seven- or nine-day hiatus to prepare for postseason competition.

However, by this juncture runners are so accustomed to maximum effort that anything less is deemed unacceptable.

“It’s just keeping your total volume workouts as long as you can. They’re used to running so hard for so long that when you start dialing them down, (athletes) can be a pain,” 16th-year Center Grove boys coach Eric Moore said.

“Every workout you have to keep an eye on. If he’s not doing a good job don’t send him home because something is wrong. You have to save your legs. That’s also why we don’t run some of our top guys as the season is winding down.”

Uncovering cracks in Moore’s postseason philosophies is difficult given the program’s success.

The Trojans are ranked No. 3 and in the midst of a stretch in which the program has finished in the top three at the state finals three of the past four seasons — including a championship in 2011 — and was seventh in the final standings in 2010.

Elements beyond anyone’s control make training in March difficult as practices are often held inside with athletes running in gymnasiums and hallways.

April isn’t much better. This is when a combination of inconsistent weather and the slate of early-season meets often affect training.

May’s warmth and the aforementioned pre-sectional break in the schedule make the days ahead the most important time to tie up loose ends regarding everything from hurdle technique to baton exchanges.

“Our schedule is set up so that our Mid-State Conference meets were last Tuesday, and we run (today) at Bloomington North. This gives us some consistency late in the season when it comes to what days we’re running,” Whiteland girls and boys coach Brandon Bangel said.

“Our practices are the most intense they’ll be all season. It will be that way until the end of track season because in order to peak you have to train accordingly.”

Bangel’s boys squad, which is coming off its first conference title in 38 years, also is beginning to get healthy again after some untimely injuries to key personnel.

Bangel said beginning Wednesday his boys will enjoy a recovery day before going through two difficult workouts. There will also be video stuck to apply to enhanced technique, work on baton exchanges, etc.

Just to mix it up a bit, Bangel worked time in the Whiteland pool into the Warriors’ post-Mid-State Meet workout.

Center Grove’s 15th-ranked girls program sticks to the same basic blueprint each spring, though coach Wes Dodson realizes every athlete’s situation regarding the days ahead won’t be the same.

“I know what’s worked in the past, but if a kid is pretty beat up you have to make a plan for that kid. And you can’t go hard every day,” Dodson said.

“We’re using this week as a last chance to get better than we are.”

Stretch run pullout



Indian Creek at Mid-Hoosier Conference Meet at Waldron, 5 p.m.

Greenwood and Whiteland at Bloomington North Invitational, 5:30 p.m.


Franklin at Columbus North, 5 p.m.



Center Grove at Noblesville Relays, 5:30 p.m.

Indian Creek at Mid-Hoosier Conference Meet at Waldron, 5 p.m.

Greenwood and Whiteland at Bloomington North Invitational, 5:30 p.m.


Franklin at Columbus North, 5 p.m.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at