I have a limited coaching background, but more with emphasis on half marathon and up. I will be coaching a group of distance athletes at our local high school (800m to 3200m). One of the athletes has a chance to be a state contender in the 800m. Last year she opened up with a 2:18 (indoors), but never improved on that mark. I've heard varying reasons as to why there was no improvement and that was part of the reason I was asked to help. She went on to have a very successful XC season this year.
She is a middle distance specialist and naturally fast (excellent form and very motivated). Of course, she ran nowhere near what her 800m time would have predicted in XC this year, but she was one of the best in the area. I'm a follower of Tinman's methods and, in the past, I have always run a race to get my starting paces for the season (i.e. TT, CV, etc). I know that much of the success with his training is running appropriate paces. I don't think training paces derived from her XC season best would be accurate as to what she could currently run in the 800m. For example, in 2016, she closed the XC season off with only an 18:45 5k, then ran base mileage for a few months, a few 200s and then ran 2:18. She improved on that 5k XC time down to 18:20 this year. Any thoughts as to what distance we should time trial in order to get appropriate paces for not only the athlete above, but for all of the athletes? I feel this overwhelming pressure to make sure she improves and stays healthy. She is a junior this year.
Would you emphasize heavy doses of CV work for her, sprinkled with bits of faster running as we get close to competition phase?
Thanks for the help