What is Cross Country
Cross Country Information for Parents and Runners
What is cross country?
Cross County is traditionally a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) for boys and a 2 Mile race for girls, race over grass, gravel, asphalt, and dirt. Some courses might have more asphalt than grass and vice versa. Some races we run might be slightly shorter or longer. Weekend invitational’s consist of fields from 50-300 runners and are generally divided into different races for boys and girls, as well as varsity, junior varsity, and middle school.
Types of Training
Longer runs of between 3-8 miles depending on age and ability. These runs are generally done at a moderate pace. The purpose of these runs is to allow student-athletes to get in mileage, which will build their aerobic capacity and muscles while recovering from more intense workouts and races.
Speed workouts can vary between pace runs (longer sustained
periods of running slower than race pace), fartleks (alternating periods of race pace or below running and distance run pace), and interval workouts (repeated runs for a defined distance and pace with a defined rest time period). Speed workouts are designed to increase student-athletes’ ability to handle the intensity and paces that they will encounter under race conditions.
Drills are done at every practice and before meets. Drills are
designed to improve student-athletes’ running form and efficiency as well as isolate certain muscles for strengthening. Drills include butt-kicks, A-skips, high knees, karacoa, and duck walks.
Strides are done after distance runs. They consist of 100-150
springs at 80-90% effort. Strides are done to help in the
development of fast twitch muscles and speed for the end of races.
Body weights will be done 2-3 times a week. Body weights will consist of pushups, crunches, supermans, squats, and plank exercises. These exercises will help to improve upper body and core strength thereby improving running form.
Core is a vital part of all sports and exercises. However, it is often one of the most overlooked forms of exercise. I have come to realize that one way proven to help prevent most injuries is to take CORE work seriously. Sometimes it is the easiest part, but it is the little things that can create the big things. We will do Core work nearly each day after workouts or long runs. The stomach muscles are a group of muscles that can be worked each day, and not result in overuse. By using various exercises it is my goal to make it a point to target them daily
Injuries will happen as a part of training for cross country. The objective
is to identify problems early so that steps can be taken to mitigate their effects and to practice preventive measures.
Types of common injuries:
An overused muscle condition that is caused by any activity that involves running, jumping, also sometimes even walking. Untreated shin splints can lead to a stress reaction mid-shaft in the tibia, which can eventually lead to a stress fracture. A stress fracture can be diagnosed by a bone scan or an MRI and takes much longer to heal than shin splints.
A painful inflammatory condition of the foot caused by
excessive wear to the plantar fascia or plantar aponeurosis that supports the arches of the foot or by biomechanical faults that cause abnormal pronation. The pain usually is felt on the underside of the heel, and is often most intense with the first steps of the day. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing or sudden changes in weight bearing or activity. Jobs that require a lot of walking on hard surfaces, shoes with little or no arch support, a sudden increase in weight and over activity are also associated with the condition.
– Sore muscles
Comes with getting into shape, and we have all been there. Oddly enough, one of the best ways to fix it is to not “take a few days and let it rest”, but to workout the soreness. Other common ways to help with sore muscles is by drinking a ½ cup of pickle juice (random I know) or by taking ice baths after tough workouts. Ice baths will be taken after tough practices at the school. It is done by filling up a large place (bathtub, kid pool, feeding trough, exc. with mostly ice and cold water) you sit in the ice for around 8-12 min.)
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