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Early-In-The-Season Training
Article By: Jack Farrell


Training Ideas
Article By: Jack Farrell
Many of the ideas I promote in training actually come from the observation of adult runners, many of whom are self-coached and have achieved significant success using prolonged periods of steady-state running. I also looked at the training schedules of professional road racers, those who need to run 28 minutes for a 10k, week-in and week-out, pretty much the whole year, with only an occasional half-marathon thrown in. Their training is pretty much the same year round. Only in runners who have defined seasons, as in track races in the summer and cross country in the fall, followed by some road races in the winter and spring, will you find periodizing in their training.


Pool Workouts For Runners
Article By Erin Sloan: M.Ed
Many athletes today are extolling the virtues and benefits of swim training. They are making the discovery that, done safely and with serious intent, there is no downside to cross training in the pool. This is a phenomenon that surfaces from time to time on a variety of levels, and history is replete with examples of champion athletes that have supplemented their training with swimming (ala "Rocky II") or have made the conversion from competitive swimming to other sports with some success.


Preparation For The Big Meet
Article By: Jack Farrell
Thousand Oaks High School has run well just often enough at the end of the season to gain a reputation for peaking. Coaches have asked me on occasion if there is anything special that we do, perhaps some secret, which allows us to perform at our best in the big meets. I never know if I'm quite believed when I say that we don't do anything special. If there is a secret, that's it.


Thousand Oaks Cross Country Training Program
Article By: Jack Farrell

General Philosophy During This Time

1. What are you trying to accomplish? Our training is fairly consistent year-round for our veteran runners. There is not a great deal of difference in a training run on September 15thand November 15th. We do not follow a hard-easy pattern. All of our runs are basically tempo runs, fast, but within the comfort zone. Our mileage increases slightly from early season to mid-season (from 49 to 56 miles per week [from 7 to 8 miles per day]), and the pace gradually quickens as runners become fitter, but the effort is fairly consistent. Our goals is to lower the comfort zone of our steady state runs. Athletes gradually dropping from 7 minutes per mile to 6 minutes per mile will correspondingly drop their race pace 30 to 45 seconds or more per mile.


Building A Successful Cross Country Program
Article By: Tim Butler
Before we discuss how to develop a successful cross country program, we need to determine what success is. Some might define success as winning or beating your opponents. However, the talent you receive will usually determine that. We are not always blessed with talent every year. So how can you, as a coach, be "successful" year-in and year-out?


Jackrabbits Discover Signal Hill Gold
Article By: George Wright
While running up to the Poop out hill viewpoint during the 2000 CIF Championship, I was asked by a fellow coach, "How do you train for a course like this?" My quick reply on the run was, "we run hills." Not a very helpful answer. I'll try to do better this time.

Training For The Championships

Article By: Sal Perez

Don Bosco, Rosemead, CA Preparing a cross country training program that will be competitive in Southern California and hopefully at the championship level in November, takes months of planning and organization.

Cross Country Training Program
Article By: Bill Miller
We like to break the season into three parts: summer, season, and peaking. Nothing is etched in stone, and workouts are sometimes based on where the athletes are and where they need to be. Our workouts are based on distance, speed and hill training, with equal emphasis put on each.

Esperanza Cross Country Program
Article By Rich Medellin: Esperanza High School

At Esperanza, we start with an aerobic base building mileage phase in the early part of the season and slowly progress into peak shape by use of aerobic threshold runs, tempo runs and anaerobic intervals.

Speed Endurance for Cross Country

Article By Jeff Arbogast: Bingham High School
Throughout the modern era of organized workouts for distance running we see time and time again the inclusion of speed work and speed endurance intervals for improvement of leg speed in cross country and distance track. Athletes from the earliest youth track clubs to masters meets and beyond improve their ability to hold a challenging pace through various types and lengths of repeated intervals, with the length and number of these repeats usually depending upon the distance of the race and the competitive ability of the athlete. The rationale is sound . . . train the body to accept the speed and deal with the discomfort.

Ayala Cross Country Program
Article By Brad Peters:
Head Cross Country Coach
King High School

Ayala High School was founded in 1990, and under the guidance of the founding coach Mike Goff, the cross country program was begun with big goals. The workouts given during those first couple of years were not long or intense, but enough to achieve local success and create a desire for more. It was a patient strategy that reaped early dividends, but more importantly set in place a foundation upon which to build for the future.

Boys Cross Country Program!
Article By Gene Gurule:
Mission Viejo High School
The cross country training program starts in mid-July. I meet with the team in a class developed to encourage young athletes to train during the summer months. This is not a serious training period, although if a team wants to have a winning season, the summer is where it all starts. The entire running is done at a moderate pace with a variation of distance and terrain. Most of the runs have some up hill running due to the location of our school. To break up the monotony, we do some interval training on the track; usually repeat miles at an easy pace. The main idea of the summer running is to make it fun and, at the same time, develop a good cardiovascular base. We try to have picked up runs where the team runs to a certain destination and is picked up. I find that I can get more miles in with this method. I always try to have ice water or Gatorade at the finish of these runs.

Old Loves, New Beginnings:
Tips for Establishing a New Program

Article By Brad Peters:
King High School
It had been one of my most satisfying seasons. Our girls' team had finished in the top-three in the State, and my top boy and girl had both qualified for the Footlocker Nationals. Steve Smith, our lead runner that year, upset the field to win the Western Regional race in Fresno, CA, and then went on to finish 12th in soggy soup of Footlocker's 1997 return to Florida. Our girls' leader, Jennifer Burris, qualified for nationals as well. The individual accomplishments of these two were a grand continuation of success and accomplishment that had accompanied Ayala High School Cross Country teams throughout most of the nineties. Long win streaks, League and CIF Championships, nationally-ranked teams and runners had been our legacy. We rode a crest of achievement that seemed to have no end. Little did I know that in just one short year, I'd be feeling the tug to move on and begin anew.

Boys Cross Country Program
Article By George Wright: Long Beach Poly, California

Poly is a 102-year-old inner city school with a long and prestigious athletic heritage. The school population of 4,300 is culturally and ethnically diverse dominated by Asian (39%), Black (21%) and White (16%). In a setting where one can easily be lost and overwhelmed, the XC program strives to provide a "family" ambience and sense of belonging. To meet that end, we have a very strong XC booster club, activities such as weekly pasta dinners, breakfast runs, team functions (golf was big this year), weekly newsletters, a web site and a year end banquet that attracts over 200. The boys and girls programs are coordinated, but separate and there is one coach for each with no assistants.

Re-Thinking the Hard-Easy Myth
Article By Jack Farrell: Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach, Assistant Track Coach. Thousand Oaks High School, Thousand Oaks, CA
One of the more enduring tenets of training for distance and middle-distance runners is the hard-easy approach. If there is anything approaching a given, this principle is it. In fact, it's been extrapolated to hard-easy weeks and many other ingenious applications. My guess is that the principle is borrowed from the sport of weight-lifting where it has a long and storied past, and where it certainly makes a good deal of sense. In laymen's terms, you tear down a muscle group with vigorous work and skip a day before you repeat that kind of intensity. During the rest, or recovery day, the body compensates by rebuilding the muscles. The theory is that the body will, in time, over-compensate, making the muscles stronger and capable of greater work. It seems only logical that the muscle groups inolved in running can profit from just such an approach. I spent a good many years working with young runners and assigning killer work-outs followed by easy recovery runs. For the last five years I have tried to use a radically different principle and have been very encouraged by the results. I now question the wisdom of the hard-easy approach as it applies to distance runner.

Tactical Training: Training to Race
Article By David Olds:
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA

Running fast and racing are two very different things, and training to run fast and training to race are also two rather different things. "Training to race" takes the principles behind training to run fast and gives them a more specific focus--comeptition. Unfortunately, many of us focus our workouts exclusively on running fast while relegating the tactics and strategies of racing to post-workout or pre-race discussion. In doing this we separate the running from the racing. Racing and competing well require skills which must be taught and practiced, not just discussed. Therefore, training itself should be designed to both teach and practice the tactics and strategies we want our team to employ in their races. So, once a team has achieved a good level of basic fitness, the focus of their workouts should shift away from trying to run faster and further and towards training to compete.

Article By Ken Reeves: Nordhoff High School
One of the most successful coaches I know, Joe Kelley of Peninsula High School, has stated that the most important thing a coach should have is a philosophy. Why are you in the sport of cross country and what do you want your athletes to accomplish by being in the sport?

Peninsula Hill Running
Article By Joe Kelly: Peninsula High School
Any movie fan knows that in The Sound of Music Julie Andrews and all the Von Trapps joined hands and ran through the hills of Salzburg singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music." The key word here is hills. Did you ever hear anyone singing, "The flatlands are alive with the sound of music"? Of course not. And, any runner knows that hill work is the backbone of a periodized program.

Morro Bay: Building a Competitive XC Program
Article By Cary Nerelli: Morro Bay High School

Building a competitive cross country program is an exciting and ever-evolving challenge. Though there are features that characterize any successful training regimen (base training, speed/pace work, rest days, etc.), the ways in which those features are utilized vary to a great degree. The myriad number of ways to train distance running athletes always provides fodder for discussion and debate. The real key, however, is not necessarily the methodology used to develop a team, but whether the athletes believe in themselves, their teammates, and their system.

Ayala Cross Country: Building Team Spirit

Yucaipa Cross Country Program

Hoover Cross Country Program

Santa Margarita Cross Country Program

Believe, Achieve and Succeed

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