The cross country season has started for thousands of high school students. Best of luck to everyone. Here is some advice from someone who has run a few seasons of cross country in his lifetime:
1. Work hard. This one is obvious, but it is the only way to be any good. Really push yourself during every workout. Treat the last interval like it is the last few meters of a race. Try to run each interval better than the last one. Do not run all out the first one and fail to finish workouts!
2. Run at least once during the weekend. You are not going to race to your potential if you take both Saturday and Sunday off. Run at least once (preferably twice) over the weekend to make sure that you are getting enough mileage.
3. Take a day off. Do not be afraid to take a day or two off if you are feeling a lot of pain. One of my favorite quotes is from Colorado coach, Mark Wetmore: “You need to have the courage to take a day off.” Trust your training and know that not running for a few days will not hurt you…it’s certainly better than missing weeks with a serious injury.
4. Take the season seriously. The cross country season is more than getting in shape and hanging out with friends…it can be a means to get a college scholarship. Obviously, not everyone has the talent to draw interest from college coaches, but how will you know unless you really try to be the best that you can be?
5. Keep a log. One great way to stay motivated is to keep a training log. There is nothing worse than having to mark “0 miles” for a day. A log will also allow you to chart errors in your past training that will help you prevent future injuries. Use the Runner’s Resource running log program as a way to keep track of your running online.
6. Have fun. High school cross country is a great experience. You will make memories that will last a lifetime. Have fun and enjoy!