Going into my junior year in college, and running in a Women's D1 program. Came in my freshman year with little running experience coming from a small high school and only running winter and spring seasons of my junior high school year, and cross country, winter, and spring track my senior year. Made solid progress my senior year coming from a small school and a low level of competition. 10:35 in the 3200, 4:46 in the 1500 were the PRs I finished with my senior year. Coming into cross my freshman year I was looking strong in the workouts and ended up being the top runner in my program. Competed well as a team and individually. Finished second in my conference meet and had a PR 6k of 21:04 on a moderately-to not very hilly course. After that my indoor PRs were 9:47 3k and 17:01 5k... My coach was talking to me as if I was ready to be running 16:20s after my cross season according to the lactate testing he does on us. My winter season I started struggling in certain workouts, and I would get dropped on mileage runs. I would still compete better than my training group, but I felt that a lot of workouts didn't have the smooth feeling they used to. Come spring season fairly early on I ran 16:57, and then 35:45 in the 10k. My races started to feel like I was pressing way too early, and I no longer had another gear for later in the race. Workouts were getting harder and it was getting difficult to hit 80s on interval repeats. I kept trying to talk to my coach and figure out if we could change something up, but he thought pushing through was the answer. My mileage runs were started to get really hard to get through and my legs felt dead all the time. My ferritin levels were routinely checked, and they were low after cross country but I got them back up again for the winter season. Other blood results showed that my platelets and white blood cell count were low, but doctors aren't sure what effect that would have on performance. Over the summer training was hard, legs still felt heavy and distance runs slow. Cross country season my performance was very poor, all running felt very difficult. No easy days felt easy. Took 5 days off coming up to the regional meet, and regionals was probably by best performance of the season. Took another 5 days off after that, and started winter training, but then had to take another week off due to feeling very weak during training. Took a week off completely and then light training for 4-6 weeks. Raced after 2 weeks of workouts and ran 10:05 , but then next race 17:30s in the 5k. Started feeling worse again on runs and workouts. Was dropped by 150m on workouts with perceived effort being at 100%. My Heart rate would vary from being extremely low with high effort some days, to be extremely high on 8:00 to 8:30 pace runs. Coming up to championship indoor season it was decided I would rest up, and I redshirted indoor season. Sorry for the long description, but hoping to get good insight into what I can do this summer and next year.
Our training consists of a lot of anaerobic work, mile/ 800 group is on the track 3x a week and my distance group 1-2x. We don't do many tempos and our group runs mileage at 6:20-7:00 pace. This is way too fast for me and I run more towards 7:15-8:00. We also run about 45-55 miles and periodize in 4 week cycles with each week getting harder and then the 4th week being a down week, but everyone agrees that our down week is not really a down week. Coach will take out one morning run and give us a day with a 60 minute pool, but the workouts are very difficult or he will place our lift days with a morning run on mileage days and workouts the day after so everyday feels intense. We also do this thing where we run in a heat chamber for a half an hour and then walk the other half hour. It's 2x a week during the cross and spring season and takes A LOT out of us. I would do that at 6:30 in the morning and then run to lift right after and then have a workout or mileage again in the afternoon. It's a 97 degree room where we run on a treadmill, and my heart rate gets up into the threshold zone. Our team has NUMEROUS injuries and compete very poorly. Everyone works very hard and does everything they are "supposed" to with what our coach prescribes us. Really want to help myself as well as my team!