Depending on your group placement on the team, you will be able to compete at certain meets that are suitable to your current fitness level. Eventually as you become faster, more opportunities will arise, and races will start to hold even faster runners. All athletes start the same way, but with consistency and hard work, you are the one who decides how far you want to go in this sport.
Every XC course is different. Some courses hold more elevation gain than others or have certain terrain that make it more difficult to run on in general. In ANY competition, give it your 100% effort and fight for spots. Don't look at a watch, don't worry about a time, go out there and give it your best.
Do your best to be latched on to a group or be moving up to the next group. We will practice thing in every workout we do throughout the season, so it should be familiar to you in competition. Pack running is extremely beneficial as others can pull you to a fast time and give a visual to stay honest throughout the hardest sections. If you see a teammate, run with them! Do everything in your power to be with others.
PREPARATION & MENTALITY
What is your reason to run? Why are you doing this? Remind yourself of why you are here to train and compete. Many of our hardships in challenging tasks resort from the mentality we bring into the challenge itself. Be on top of hydration and eating enough on a daily basis. Be efficient with your time, so you can get enough sleep each night. Talk to your teammates & coaches about your aspirations. Running becomes much more fun when you are in it as a team.
WHY RUN WORKOUTS?
When the body undergoes stress and adapts to that intensity, this is where improvements are made. Workouts are that component of stress. With these sessions, your body rips it's own muscle fibers, waiting to be replaced by even stronger ones with proper recovery and nutrition. Aerobically, your body starts to develop an even higher threshold and efficiency for uplifted paces. One of the main benefits of workouts is making pace feel easier. Another is to help you recover more quickly between reps, between days, between meets. The more experience you have with running, the better your body adapts to what is occurring.
WIHAT IS MY WORKOUT & PACE?
Your workout with entirely depend on the point of season, how you are doing health wise, your experience level, what exactly you are training for, and how tired (or not tired) you are on an overall basis.
Every single day, training will be given on Strava and you can use the Pace Chart to figure how fast YOU should be running. Note, the track is fastest surface you can run on, anywhere else you will run slightly slower. At practice, the coaching staff will explain the workout a final time and remind each athlete what group they should be in. If you have ever have a questions about ANY workout or run, simply comment on the post on Strava and your question will be answered ASAP.
WHAT IF MY WORKOUT FEELS TOO EASY OR HARD?
Treat every single workout like a race. We're not speaking about the intensity, but the preparation, the mindset, the willingness to dig deep should all be there. Workouts only happen twice a week, so make the most out of these opportunities. Every day will feel different, depending on your stress levels outside of practice and how we are treating recovery. Any given workout will always within your capabilities, some sessions will be harder than others. Treat the workout sessions seriously so that when it comes race time, it will feel that much more natural.
LOGISTICS OF PACING
It's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you are running your own intensity in any workout. Pacing is vital because it allows you to maximize your time running at an accelerate pace without over stressing the body. Your group pace can easily be determined off a recent race performance, or if improved fitness becomes notable in workouts on a consistent basis.
DRAFTING & GROUPS
The most overlooked component in HS distance training is the ability to draft off of other teammates in workouts. In any session, whether it be on the trails or track, have at least 1 person leading the rest of the crew at desired pace. This allows the teammates behind to block the wind and mentally take a break by simply following what's in front of them. Many athletes constantly worry about being on pace.. instead, have 1 person take the duty of this and allow the rest of the team to hop on the train. Typically, the lead runner will switch every rep, or every 400m, depending on the workout.
Single File Running (Indian File)
When running on the track in your group, remind yourselves that you all have the same task to run the same pace. There is absolutely no need to be running anywhere else other than lane 1. Running extra distance can add 1-2 seconds per 400m, something you don't need to go through! Granted, if the teammate in front of you is not running fast enough, help them out and go around, at times they just need a reminder that they are slowing down. Hop right back on the rail as needed. Again, one teammate should take the lead, doing the pace work for others, and switching off as needed (every 400m or so). You can easily switched leads once you're on a straight away.
When running on the trails, do your very best to stick right on your group. It's much easier on the mind to follow the person in front of you, rather a couple meters back trying to bridge the gap. Typicall 2-3 across can pace a certain rep, and others can follow accordingly. Please make sure that you are running your own intensity and let me teammates know if they are running a bit oustide of there prescribed zone. With any workouts not on the track, pacing can be tricky with the elevatation grade and terrain. As you gain more expierence learn how to run workouts properly, running by feel will become comfortable and natural.
Please be extremely careful when crossing the track at all times. Although this may sound silly, but you would be surprised how often someone is incorporating strides post run and accidentally runs into a teammate that isn't looking where they are going. Whenever crossing the track, just take a second to glance left and right to make sure you won't be in anyone's way.
Any session on the track will have athletes running in lane 1 the majority of the time. When it's time to rest, and your rep is done, be adamant about getting out of lane 1 immediately. Either step on the turf or move slightly to the right in lane 2, but don't be someone to ruin a group's momentum. This is a habit that can easily ingrained into someone's mind, so just be conscientious of the others around you. If you have jogging your rest, always be out of lane 1, even during 20 // 40s, you never know who is running behind you.
INCORPORATING DRILLS & STRIDES
For drills, use the turf as it is a soft surface with wide open space. Avoid A-B-C skips or other types of variances on the track, typically during workout sessions this is soley used for fast running. During strides, feel free to use the track, but keep an eye out as you start each one. Your teammates should be vigilant in being aware of their surroudnings, and you can do your part by double checking no one will be in your way. Use Lanes 2-8 at your own needs, but always keep lane 1 open for anyone that might be doing there workout early.
Warming up help the body gradually build into the intensity of a harder run. This minimzies the chances and injury and helps make the transition to accelerated paces much more smoother and relaxed.
The standard routine before any workout or race:
20 min Easy
RUNNING 2O MIN BEFORE A WORKOUT?!
A common misconception with warming up is that it will make you tired for the workout. An easy run should be... easy! Being on your feet, running at a relaxed pace, while warming your ligaments, muscles, and aerobic engine up is a perfect transition to the session ahead. You shouldn't be breathing hard at any point and if so, you're going a bit too quick. Usually within about 7-8 minutes your body finally starts to feel natural with running again and at about 20 minutes, you are pretty much warmed up and ready to roll.
PURPOSE OF DRILLS:
Drills are an activation component in the warm up process. When you are running easy, you are not even close to running full stride length. Doing drills helps ligaments and muscles fully warm up, especially the ones that will you assist you in running fast. All workouts eventually build into full stride length at one point, so it's important to warm up ALL MUSCLES to feel ready, prepared, and excited to finally get going. It will make your life much easier smoothly transitioning into strides without forcing the intensity.
PURPOSE OF STRIDES:
Strides warm up the aerobic system, heart, and have you breathe hard for a bit before hopping into the session. This helps enormously with making that first rep feel great and not forced in any way. Depending on the session, strides can consist of 4x-6x100m or 2x200m strides. Don't be afraid to run your strides hard, typically at 1600m --> 800m pace. Take time between these of course, as you truly to warm up the system. These will not leave you fatigued for the workout either as there will be extra rest before the actual workouts starts.
Sometimes, this can be hardest component of the day! No one wants to run more after they just finished running hard, especially after a race. It's hard, but vital in promoting recovery and having you feel a bit better that following day.
Make sure the cool down isn't too delayed after your faster running. Take a breather, drink a bit water, but get going within 7-8 minutes as the body will start to tighten up. It's understandable at races that your family & friends will be present at your compeitions, but get your work done and you have will have all the time you need to say hi and chat.
HOW LONG DO I COOL DOWN?
Typically 15 - 20 minutes, or 2 miles max. Some days a cool down won't feel as hard as others, but always listen to your body. If you feel like your form is truly detoriating, just run 15 min. If you feel tired but okay in general, get the whole cooldown session done. When you come back, you can roll out, chat with the whole team, get that post-run nutrition, and have all the time you need. After any workout, the team will have a meeting, so feel more than welcome to do your post run stretching in the circle during this time.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO FEEL BETTER?
Definitely getting in a big dinner and hydrating appropriately. Athletes typically take an ice bath when getting home, as this plays with the circulation of blood, ultimately speeding up the recovery process. A typical ice bath session can last 10-15 min, but no more than that.
Another form of recovery is compression sleeves, which can be accessible for purchase at any running store. This has the same effect as the ice bath, with the promotion of circulating blood to help you feel better. All compression sleeves (both arm & legs) vary in price depending on how tight you want them and longevity of the product itself.
At the minimum, take a hot shower and take to roll out for 10 -20 minute at home. There are so many types of rollers you can get at stores, but if you are in desperate need, foam rollers are available to borrow and be brought back the next day!
The preceding day, you may or may no feel tired and that's okay! Everyone's bodies reacts differently to workouts so just take it day by day, run as easy you need, and enjoy the process.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING SHOES DO I NEED?
All athletes must have the proper running shoes at every practice.
Trainers are your typical athletic running shoe. Please be very diligent in getting the proper trainer, the right choice truly depends for each person. Stop by Forward Motion in downtown Danville, as they will personally fit you for the right fit. Coach Intravaia can make recommendations after practice depending on your running gait and any pains/problems you have had in the past.
Options for Category:
Neutral (athletes that are stable or slighlty supinate)
Stability (athletes that pronate)
Options for Cushion:
High Cushion (Hoka & New Balance)
Standard Cushion (Brooks, Saucony & some ASICS)
Light Cushion (Nike, any marathon r shoe)
Racing shoes are extremely light fits that have zero cushion. You wouldn't do a typical easy run in these. However, you could do strides and parts of workouts in them. With racing shoes, they typically force you to run more on your toes, so your calf will start to take more strain. If you are not careful into the transition of racing shoes, this could possibly result in injury. This is why it's recommended to use them for a bit during strides. Also note, all racing shoes will feel tight in general.
Flats (purchase only for XC)
Spikes (purchase only for Track)
Typically you can find the right fit by picking a similar brand that is compatible with your trainers. Again, any running speciality store will fit you for this! Spikes can only be used on the track, as they have needles on the bottom of shoe not useful on any other surface. Flats can be used on any surface.
Leg Swings & Lunge Matrix (LSLM)
Our full warmup routine before every run. One of the major causes of athletes of not reaching their potential is due to injury. The entire reasoning behind LSLM is to prevent this. These exercises are extremely simple and are not exhausting any way. We start with leg swings to engage the hip flexor, quads, & hamstrings. Then we transition to lunges to activate ligaments (muscle attached to bone) to help the body become prepared for the impact of running. The entire LSLM session takes about 10 minutes to complete is done together as a group. During this time, the atmosphere is relaxed an athletes can chat all they want.
The full LSLM routine can be found here, athletes will be expected to memorize this after the full week of practice.
Listed below is also the routine:
LS (Leg Swings)
30sec Forward // Backward
30sec Side // Side
30sec Hurdlers Forward
30sec Hurdlers Backwards
30sec Side to Side A Skip
30sec Knee Drives
LM (Lunge Matrix)
30sec BW Squats
30sec Front Lunge
30sec Front Lunge w/ A Twist
30sec Side Lunge
30sec Diagonal Lunge
30sec Back Lunge
20sec Depth Jumps
30sec Jumping Jacks
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?
SAM stands for Strength & Mobility, sessions specifically done AFTER runs. Depending on the day, SAM can consistent of extremely simple hip mobility, or can include challenging core techniques. A SAM session isn't necessarily a workout that will leave you tired for the next day, but more as additional feature to include in training to become faster through improvment in muscular endurance and less prone to injury.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO DO?
There are so many different SAM routines, but depending on the day the session will be decided on Strava. Typically on workout days (fast running), you wouldn't want top that with a hard SAM session. On aerobic days, where athletes are running 45 - 60 min runs at at time, this is the perfect opportunity to hit a good SAM session with solid core. Some SAM days are strictly flexibility and stretching, very simple. If you have question about how to do each exercise, check out the Injury Prevention document for visual reference. Additionally, you can ask any Varsity member on the team for direction as well.
An efficient, free, easy to manage, training platform for all levels.
We welcome even our parents to try out our training and routes!
WHY DO I NEED THIS?
Keep track of all your mileage and training.
View the route planned for the day.
View training prescribed and events in advance.
Write about how your body feels on a daily basis.
Elaborate on how workouts feel and the intensity of the session.
Engage in your teammates efforts and see their hard work.
WHY IS LOGGING IMPORTANT?
Describing how your body feels after ANY session will help immensely in determining what will best for you next. It's important to note down how you feel on a daily basis, doing this could eliminate a potential injury or doing too much too soon. Noting down if a workout felt too easy or too hard is EXTREMELY helpful!! Please take the time to communicate with the coaching staff so that we can help you become better.
The act of logging takes less than 30 seconds!
Roughly equivalent to your 3200m race time. For workouts, base your fitness off your current ability in this event. This is the perfect blend between speed and strength, ideal for running your own personal effort. For alternatives, choose either your 1600m or 3 Mile XC times.
A measure of your current running ability. It assigns a score to all running performances and let's you equate a time in one distance against another. You can compare your VDOT score from a recent race and determine who you should be doing workouts with!
Before any workout session, check the pace chart attached to the right to determine what splits YOU should be hitting. The coaching staff will associate runners together that are very similar in fitness.
If the workout is Mile repeats at Lactate Threshold (LT), find your current 3200m time and check what you should be running.
Easy Runs = Easy! You become better as a runner when you recover from harder sessions. Hydrate and eat right after any session. Keep recovery days no more than 1 minute faster than Tempo pace. Always go by feel, have a conversation with your teammates, enjoy some hills. Be sure to include strides after an easy run to promote full stride length, this will help you loosen up and feel better.