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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am asking for your suggestions for a high school junior x-country runner. She started x-cross training in 8th grade and had her best running results in beginning of 9th grade with 22 min for 5K, 25 min for 5K a year later, and now 29 min for 5k 2 year later.

Here are a few facts about her:
1. she trains diligently. she use to do about 25-30 miles a week of training, with mixed long runs (7-9 miles, intervals, sprint, etc). she also does some light free weight training and core training. Coach said she could be over training so she recently cut it to 20 miles a week. but the decline is still ongoing and she said each practice run was getting more difficult on her.
2. she eats health and sleeps well.
3. she is generally happy about life and study, excepted being frustrated about the running performance.
4. she's gained height and weight since 7th grade. She gained about 12 cm in height and 30 lb, with most height done by freshman year and most of the weight added in the last three years. Though being 5'5 and 125 lb, she is nowhere close to be overweight.

Noticing the decline, we brought her to family dr who confirmed she is not low in iron. There is no general health complain from her. Dr. says it was because of puberty. There are reports showing female runner's performance gets hurt by puberty but the continued decline and the magnitude of the decline made us worried and her coach surprised. The coach suggested another dr. visit. But based on our past experience, a family dr. visit would not be very useful.

Hence here is my question:
1. if you have experience with high school age female runners, do you think the decline of her performance is normal?
2. normal or abnormal, what could be the cause of the decline?
3. if we need to follow up on this, what type of dr should we see?

Thanks!
 

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My 9th grade son is in same boat! He ran 5k 2 whole minutes faster exactly two years ago. He has grown 6 inches and put on 35 lbs. he is way slower than her was as a 7th grader! Its driving me bonkers. Does 25 miles a week, including a 7 miler on weekend for endurance! Tonight he missed the travel team last spot to a kid that has only been running two weeks! What gives!
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience, XC Dad. Based on coaches input, 2 min could well be within the normal range. Guys grow so fast that initially they are very lean. It takes a while for them to put more muscles and usually high school boys’ performance will go up as their grade goes up. I can understand how frustrated your son must be as I am witnessing the same thing with my daughter. Take some comfort that in all the coaches I’ve talked to have said they’ve seen 2-3 min of relapse during fast growing period. So I want to rely the messages. Best of wishes to your son and you!
 
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