I ran HS track 77′-79′ at a small school. Under those conditions, you typically ran the events the coach believed would yield the most points. We ran under the “team” concept and because I was one of the few “distance” guys, I ran on the 2-mile relay, and the 1 mile and 2 mile open races. Occasionally, I would run the 880 because we needed the points, but I would have to be compromised somewhere else.
For me, I never found my best distance because I was always racing. I ran 2:03 for the half as a junior and felt if I had concentrated on this distance I would have went sub 2:00.
I never had the option to pick events and I was happy to race where
ever the coach put me. However, I was a consistent scorer and typically scored around 90-100+ points a year. If you belong to a team that has strength at the distance events, that does provide you with the option to run different events.
My take, and certainly not meant as a “pad” answer is this. After 25 years we still hold the school record in the 2-mile relay. The other 3 members of the team did no specific training until the season started and could run from 1:58 – 2:05 range at their peak. They all had 53-55 second speed for the 440, meaning they used this speed to their advantage. I was in “this” group as well for natural ability, but I ran year around and still performed the same as they did in the 880. My training allowed me to recover and go on to run the other distance events and these guys ran the 220 to 880 range.
If you have “good” speed, you should be able to run sub 2:10 for the 800 within a month of the season. If that’s not competitive in your area, or that’s seems like an unreasonable goal, then I would suggest the 1600 – 3200 meters, because the chance of seeing results can be far much greater. I ran those distances because we had guys we could already turn a good 880.
The answer is complicated, but depending on school size, depth of track program, and coaching abilities; my best answer is you can’t train enough to aquire pure speed, but you can work your butt off and be very competitive mainly at the 1600-3200 range. I know of guys I could kill in a half by almost a straight, but at the 2 mile they had me for lunch.
Just thinking out loud.