Summer XC Practices
Starting June 17th, the team meets at the CHS track, on SE 31st Ave
What to expectGenerally, about 10-20 runners will show up to run. Coaches are happy to meet new people (runners & parents, too). There is secure space to store your backpack or bicycle if you ride to practice. Water to fill your bottle is available. The first half hour is at the track, so you can ease into the amount of running that works best for you. We generally start with an easy jog to "check in" with how we are feeling before gathering in a group to do any announcements, introductions, and an ice breaker. The group often does the Core Routine before breaking into groups to go out into the neighborhood and local parks.
Benefits of Summer Running
Summer Running Tips
Everyone Welcome in XCEveryone is welcome to join the CHS Cross Country team. XC is a community of people who want to give good effort, persist through thick and thin, and explore strategies to reach their highest potential. The XC team supports each other and through this community grows to be better than any single individual alone.
Is it fun being on the team?
Yes! We have a great time working together toward a common goal, running around the community, supporting one another, racing together, and doing lots of team functions. Meet new people, challenge yourself, get in shape, and have a great time.
What if I've never run before?
If you want to do it you can do it. The team is there to support you.
Will I be out there by myself?
Nope. Our team is big and people run at all different paces.
What if I'm really slow or need to walk?
It's effort that counts. We do some running as a team and also in smaller groups. It's OK to walk and we take needed breaks.
"Train, Don't Strain."These three words outline an essential component that allows our program to be successful. By being consistent in our day to day training cycle the body is given an opportunity to break down a bit so it can recover and be just a bit stronger during the next workout. We want to work hard enough to get this response without pushing so hard to where we can't recover. It's the cumulative effects of routine exercise with the periods of recovery that allow increased fitness and the ability to run further (and ultimately faster). Being aware of your personal response to this stress of training is important. It's better to back off when exercising (take a walk break) if you feel you are working too hard then to push through and be unable to swiftly recover (or face an injury). Running is hard on a body due to the repetitive forces placed on it. Gravity isn't changing, yet the body can adapt to the demands. Build up slowly, go at a pace that works for you, and take walk breaks when needed to provide episodes that allow you to check in with how your body is responding to the stress. The first half hour of our summer practices will be at the track doing introductions, a couple of laps which include "striders," drills, and core work. This allows for a good assessment period before deciding if going into the community to run is the best choice for that day. Some people may find that doing that first portion of the workout may be enough at first. Being honest and realistic about how your body is feeling each day is an important step towards establishing the base of fitness. The good news is it's easier to stay in shape than to get in shape. Summertime is the time to start increasing activity, build up slowly on a regular basis, and allow the ongoing effort to provide the gains you will need as the season formally begins on August 14th.
Heat IndexYes, the team is practicing in the hot afternoon weather. We will practice through the summer and during the season during any hot spells. Put on sunscreen (we have some at the track), wear cooling clothing (white is a good choice), come to practice well hydrated and bring a water bottle. We have an ice machine at the track and a container to refill your water bottle as often as you like. It's fine to carry your water bottle with you, although there are often public drinking fountains in the parks where we run. The OSAA gives alerts to coaches when there are conditions exceeding 95 degrees. Coaches monitor athletes for symptoms of heat induced illnesses and make adjustments to any workout based on the weather conditions. By OSAA rules, practice and events are cancelled if the heat index meets or exceeds 105 degrees. Here is a nice article from Runner's World magazine on How to Stand the Heat and if you want to see how much the rising temperature may impact race performance check out a Temperature Calculator from Runners Connect. For example, if you can run a 5K in 22 minutes (7:05 pace) in 60 degree weather then an appropriate adjustment would be to expect to run 23:09 (7:27 pace) if the weather is 95 degrees. It's a great idea to wear a watch, check your pace, and adjust your race plan in a way to get the best finishing time under the given conditions.
How much to RunAlthough this is a very individual question to ask, here are some general guidelines that may help you find the right balance of effort to rest. If you are starting out without much of a base, create a walk/run schedule that will build you up to 15 miles a week. Consistency and routine are the key. Getting in a mile or two each day when you are free of aches and pains is a good initial goal. Alternating easy running with walk breaks (2 minutes run, one minute walk) is a good way to start. Building up more time on your feet will guide you for how much is going to benefit you the most. When you obtain the 15 miles a week you have reached a point where the benefits of the exercise is good with the risk of injury being relatively low. Running 3 miles five days a week will provide you about the same gain as running 5 miles three times a week. Recovery between each session will allow your body time to adapt to the stresses you are putting upon it during exercise. If you are already running 15 or more miles each week then by increasing the duration or intensity of the effort will continue to provide you adaptation to run further or faster when the seasons racing schedule begins. The biggest predictor of improvement as a runner is the ability to progressively and consistently train with high frequency (most days each week), with a gradual increase of volume (more miles or time), and the ability to handle increased intensity (faster pace) while being able to recover between efforts. Although this happens over weeks and months of training, the effects will continue to build over many years. Remember, you get better when resting after a workout as your body adapts to the stress you gave it. People respond at different rates when training, so listen to the signals your body is giving you (fatigue, soreness, aches and pains) and adjust the frequency, duration and intensity of each effort. Do enough so you feel your body respond to the effort while giving it time to bounce back between training sessions. Over time you will feel more confident in what you can handle and when it's OK to push or back off to get the best effects from training. You may want to record your running on a calendar. This will allow you to monitor your frequency and how much running (volume) you are doing over time. Build up in a progressive manner and it's a good idea to back off every 3-4 weeks before continuing to increase the mileage to reduce the chance of overuse injury. Coaches are happy to review your running log with you and give you feedback based on what you have been doing. Have fun, recover between workouts, join the team and meet new people as you enjoy exercising this summer.
Summer Training is "Base" Running: High Volume, High Frequency, Low IntensityIt's best described as easy, conversational running with walk breaks as needed. Try to run almost every day of the week and cross train as able (bike, swim, lift weights). Be consistent and note it's the cumulative effects of training that you are after. General overall fatigue is to be expected and pay close attention to any specific body issues, such as lower leg pain. Focus on recovery: sleeping well and good nutrition. Let me say that again... recovery is important, recovery makes you better, it's needed to build up your body during this phase of training. This period helps to prepare your body to handle the increased effort in the "competition" phase that will start in late August. If really sore, focus on long walks to let any aches and pains heal. Make "deposits" into your "fitness bank" and let the account build up this summer.
An Even Pace Wins the RaceYou may have heard this phrase in relation to a pacing strategy to get the best finishing time. Another way that I view this is when looking at the larger perspective of the fall cross country season. By consistently practicing, allowing the body to recover, and slowly making gains in one's personal fitness the chance of improvement are most likely. It takes time to improve fitness and running ability and the more time you spend on your feet (especially now, during this base phase of training) the more likely you are to protect yourself from any troubles down the road that may sidetrack your goals. It's best to do some easy running most days of the week now then to wait for the season to start. Pace yourself, be realistic with your current ability, and know that over time the distance will be easier to cover with consistent training.
What is your Level of fitness?Coaches want to meet you at your level of fitness. The goal is to work from your current point of fitness and to improve that by giving good effort when attending practices. Being realistic about your conditioning and realizing that it takes time for the body to adapt to the stress of training is important. There will be three levels of training group for the workouts and it's important to place yourself into the group that will meet your needs the best. It's better to be conservative and build up over time than to jump in over your head and become injured by doing too much too soon. Traps that people get into include trying to run with friends who may be a different fitness level and not accounting for additional exercise (riding bike to school, PE class, other sports) and stress (homework load, meeting new people, changing routines). Recovery between workouts is important to allow the body time to adapt to the stress of running. Please be honest with yourself to your own level of fitness and how much activity you do with the team. Staying healthy is important and XC is here to improve your health by providing workout options that will best meet your fitness level.
Core RoutineThe team does daily core training at the field at the start of each practice. Eight exercises, selected to best improve running performance, have been identified and starting with 30 seconds each which allows this set to be completed in about 5 minutes. A mnemonic is used to cue us to the next drill: CHS PRIDE. Here is a list of the current set: Cook Hip Lift, Heel Drops, Side Plank, Plank, XC cRunches, bIcycle, birD Dog (quadruped), Extensions (knee to chest). As the season rolls along other core work will be substituted such as rowing, clam shell, dead bug, fire hydrant, grass pickers, pushups, scissors, and superman. The main thing to keep in mind at this time is to spend a few minutes every day and build up your framework to allow you to support your body as you run. Maintaining your posture allows efficient movements and helps to keep you healthy throughout the season. Read descriptions of each of these exercises as well as more photos of the routine at the CHS XC Core Program page. Now is the time to start conditioning your core, so follow the instructions and conduct this training several times each week.
Multi-Sport Athletes:Some people may be participating in more than one fall sport, such as soccer players who also want to run XC. Most people in this situation primarily practice with the soccer team and then race XC when the schedule allows. Generally, the XC team has more difficult practices three days a week (M/W/F) and easier days to assist in recovery on Tuesday/Thursday. Special attention needs to be paid to freshman, and other people who have a fitness class during the school day, to not over extend themselves with exercise which could lead to burn out or injury due to the frequency and volume of activity. If you are already cleared in another sport then in order to race with the XC team you need to be sure to complete the Family ID process and inform the athletics office that you want to run XC. In addition, you will not be signed up for races without additional communication with the coaches. Stopping by at the beginning or end of practice and talking with a coach occasionally is a great idea. You may also send an email requesting to be signed up to race. If you were hoping to play one sport and no longer have that opportunity, note that the XC team will be taking new members until the end of the second week of school. We hope you will want to join the team, improve your fitness, and test yourself through the opportunity to race.