Drills help speed up Moon's pace

August 22, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

As a distance runner, Christy Moon thought only more mileage could make her a better racer.

This summer, the Aberdeen High senior learned that while mileage has its proper place in her training, so should speed work and strength workouts.

The addition of both helped Moon make significant enough gains LTC the track to take fifth place in the 1,500 meters at the national AAU Junior Olympics earlier this month.

Moon, who ran in Belgium before her family transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground last summer, showed right away that she had the endurance to outlast the local competition.

During the school year, she won Harford County titles in cross country and at 3,200 and 1,600 meters on the track.

When she started racing with the Harford County Gliders track club in June, however, she lagged considerably behind times that could qualify her for AAU regional and national competition.

"When I came here, I had the endurance but I never really knew how to race," said Moon, who did not have a coach until last fall. "I didn't know anything about speed. When I went to the Gliders, I expected to do the 3,000 and the 1,500, so I was shocked when they said the 800."

Gliders coach Ben Hulbert dropped Moon from the 3,000 meters and moved her into the 800 to improve her speed.

"Christy is a road racer," said Hulbert. "She's got super endurance. She runs slow, but she runs long. What we emphasized with her, and with the whole team this year, was speed training and form."

After about two months of training with Hulbert, Moon shaved nearly 15 seconds off her 1,500-meter time. At the Junior Olympics in Knoxville, Tenn., on Aug. 7, Moon ran a personal best time of 5 minutes and .18 seconds for the 1,500 meters.

While running her in the 800 and in shorter speed intervals during training, Hulbert also added hills in an effort to lengthen Moon's stride. Running as fast as she could down the hills forced Moon to increase her strides.

"We got Christy to stretch her stride out about a foot longer than what she had been running. She kept turning her legs over just as fast so she was running faster," explained Hulbert.

At the same time, Moon has worked on strength training all summer with Mike McCabe at the Aberdeen Proving Ground fitness center. Along with weight training to strengthen her upper body, she spent time on the stair and rowing machines.

"When I started, I didn't think it would work, but I found out it did in the 800 at the [AAU] regional race," said Moon, who got off to a slow start in that race. "In the last lap, I started moving up, and I ended up coming in fourth. I felt like I had an extra reserve in my arms, and my arms had always been tired before."

With the high school cross country season fast approaching, Moon has turned her training techniques back to the more familiar road mileage under the guidance of Aberdeen High coach Donna Lewis.

"My goal for the season is to stay between 40 and 45 miles a week. That's not really that much because I've heard of some girls who do 60 miles a week, but last year I did 35 and that's not enough," said Moon, who carries a 3.76 grade-point average and ranks seventh in her class, academically.

Over the summer, Moon ran several road races, including the Baltimore Road Runners Club's Lady Avia Classic 5K at the Inner Harbor on July 18. She finished 18th in 20:08, five places and 15 seconds behind Lewis.

This fall, Moon hopes to defend her county cross country title and finish higher than her previous 16th place at the state championships. She may have to do both to achieve her dream of a running scholarship to Texas A&M University, her father's alma mater where her brother Eric is now a junior.

Hulbert expects Moon's hard work and success on the track this summer to carry over to cross country.

"I think she's going to surprise a lot of people," said Hulbert. "Christy is going to get a lot stronger, and she's not afraid of competition.

"It's hard to find kids with that kind of determination."

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