2018 Summer Cross Country Conditioning
Summer training is the most important part of any cross country program. Successful cross country is a summer sport that is competed in the fall. A team that wants to compete on the state level and be the best it can be needs to put in the work over the summer. Official practices start
August 8th mid-August (TBA), but we will be meeting for summer runs starting Monday, June 25th.
Summer Practice Schedule: June 25th – July 28th
Times are subject to change. Any change will be noted at northsidexctf.org and announced at practice.
- Monday: 6:45 AM
- Tuesday: 6:45 AM
- Thursday: 6:45 AM
- Saturday*: 8:00 AM
*Saturdays we will meet near the turf soccer fields at Foster and Lake Shore Drive to run on the Lakefront Trail. All other days, we will meet in front of the main entrance of Northside.
Summer Running Time Assignments:
For your appropriate group, your goal should be to gradually build up to the assigned weekly running time over 3-5 weeks (see suggested progressions) and sustain that for as many weeks as possible except for one or two low mileage, “down weeks” for recovery. Running minutes includes all running including slow warm ups and cool downs.
The vast majority of these minutes should be at an easy pace – easy enough to hold a conversation without getting winded. If all your running is fast, you risk injury with no added benefits. Counterintuitively, many benefits that make you faster come from running slowly.
- Group C: 150-200 minutes per week
- This amount is designed for beginning and freshmen runners. Those who begin to find this easy can gradually move up after a few consistent weeks here.
- Group B: 275-330 minutes per week
- This amount is for runners who have been training on the team for at least one year or have a significant background in running. This will lay a solid foundation for the season.
- Group A: 350-385 minutes per week
- For advanced runners. This is the amount of time it takes to be All-State and medal at city. This is a very challenging goal, but it can be done. It should not be done at the expense of health. Running at this level requires a significant amount of strength, balance, and mobility work outside of running to stay injury-free. Do not run at this level without the required supplementary work to handle it.
A typical training week in the summer will be structured like this:
- Monday: Light speed workout
- Tuesday: Medium-long easy run
- Wednesday: Easy run
- Thursday: Tempo workout
- Friday: Easy run
- Saturday: Easy long run
- Sunday: Rest day
In addition to running, it is critical to do supplementary strength training, balance work, and stretching. This is especially necessary for the runners who are training at the highest levels. This extra work is not just for staying injury-free. It is also key for faster running.
Single-leg balance is the most important supplementary work you can do to improve your running. Practicing this will ensure that the forces involved in running are in the optimal direction for preventing injury and producing speed. Practice this often by balancing on one leg for at least 30 seconds. If that is too easy, make it dynamic by turning, leaning back and forth, or tossing and catching a ball with a partner or against a wall.
The most important stretch for the large majority of runners is a hip flexor (in the front of your hip) stretch so that your legs can get behind you without any excessive leaning. This tends to be tight from spending a lot of timing sitting. This stretch should be held for a total of about 3 minutes (you can take short breaks but total time spent stretching should be at least 3 minutes).
Strength training should focus on maintaining correct running form and creating force into the ground. Exercises could include bridges, planks, hip hikes, and squats.
Below are running schedules for each level so you have a general idea of how to progress running minutes. You should leave room for some variation – doing a little more or a little less based on how you feel is a good thing. The vast majority of this running should be at an easy, conversational pace. If you have already been running for a few weeks, you may be able to skip the first weeks of the progression.