I have a some questions on summer training for freshman XC. My son will be an HS freshman this year. He and 4 of his buddies are considering XC in the fall, although they are all still undecided. I decided to get them together as a group and lead them on a running program this summer. I figured they would all be more likely to run as a group rather than each left on his own to do it. I???m trying to balance getting them in very good shape for the start of the season vs making sure they don???t burnout, get injured or lose interest. Starting this out positive will be key to whether they stick with it. They have varying skill and fitness levels. A few of them did track in the spring for about a month. So far, I've taken the group out 5 times in the last 11 days, about 4 miles each time. The fastest boy does his runs about ~7:30/7:45 pace, the slowest about 9:00 pace, others in between. Any suggestions on the following: a) how fast I should ramp up their miles, b) what should weekly mileage be peeking at by mid/late Aug, c) whether they should try to increase the pace as they get more in shape, d) when should they start doing hills, e) when should they start speed and tempo. Thanks.
Summer Cross Country training for freshman?
Daniel Andrews on June 25, 2005 at 1:11 pm #46751
Gradually build mileage from 15-20 a week to 30 over a 6 week period.
Speed and Tempo work can best be done in the form of Fartleks at this time in their training, only do this once a week.
I am going to assume they are going to run 3 miles in XC, if so when you reach 30 miles, when you start doing some doubles one run is easy preferably the night run a 4-6 miler at an easy pace, the other a tempo run of 1.5-2 miles at race pace, best done in the morning.
If they've never done XC or really any kind of distance running, you might want to extend things out a little bit more too. At that age, it doesn't take much for a kid to convince themself that what they're doing isn't worth it. See if you can figure out a couple ways to make the running "fun." Like indian runs (not sure what these are called everywhere else, but where you run in a line, and after a certain amount of time the person in back moves to the front and sets the pace, and you keep rotating like that) might be something to consider.
Also be careful not to push the kids harder then they're really willing to go. Encourage them to try as hard as they can, but be aware that you might have to back off the encouragement now and then too.
I say all that because I'm always really wary of parents and sports. I've seen way too many times when a parent pushes they're kid in a sport and it stops being fun for the kid. Thats the sort of thing that enrages me, hehe. Anywho, good luck with the training.
Onto your specific questions:
Like I said Danimal's ime scale should work pretty good (Provided everything I ranted on about above), as should his predicted mileage. In my experience, your pace increases itself as you get in better shape, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. Maybe once they get a little training in, encourage them to try and run a little bit faster now and then, see how it feels. After another week or two, start introducing them to some running course that involves hills. They'll be in good enough shape at that point that a hill or two won't kill them, hehe. I wouldn't worry too much about speed and tempo right now. For freshman HS XC, its more important that they get used to the lots of running and getting used to racing against large groups of other people. If they want to do some speed and tempo stuff, I'd give it to around late august/early september and start off with maybe one or two of those a week, gradually easing your way into it.
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