From Zero to Varsity: A Beginner’s Guide to Training for Cross Country

Jun 14

I found these two articles in explaining how a new runner should approach cross country to be very good and very much my philosophy. The points discussed in these articles will be explained to you as we move forward. It is a good read and will help you understand things as we get ready to begin summer training. Remember – make every effort to attend the “New XC Runners” Meeting on July 12 th at 6:00pm. Go to the bleachers under the football press box.

How to thrive in your first year on the cross country team

 
 
Is this your first year running cross country? Do you want to make varsity? Or do you simply want to become a better runner?  Both goals are achievable if you approach your summer in the right way. No matter your sport background, you have all summer to get ready for the first day of practice and the fall season.  
 
Participating in cross country can be a valuable experience. By being patient, consistent, and a team player, you can have a very successful first season.Start SlowIt’s not going to be easy. Running is a difficult sport—one that can take years to master. Don’t expect to bounce through fast intervals in your first workout.“The most important thing for a new runner is not experience, but patience,” says Adam Kedge, the coach at Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico. His teams have competed in five NXN meets and won 20 state titles in track and cross country. “Kids who start early in the summer, don’t get carried away right out of the gates, and keep showing up every morning will ultimately succeed,” he says.To start out, Kedge recommends doing two to three weeks of running at least four to five days in the 20–40 minute range. That will allow you to get into shape while not overdoing it.If you’ve done another sport, keep doing it as a form of cross training. Go out to shoot some hoops, kick a soccer ball, lift some weights, ride a bike, swim —it can be a great supplement to your running.Building Up. A lot of runners are worried about making sure they work up to big mileage weeks and tough workouts. But for someone who just started running, Kedge recommends focusing on time and adding more and more to your running after two to three weeks of getting in shape. Keep in mind: For a first-time runner, a 20-minute run is a workout in itself.To build up, first, work up to five to six days a week. Then, go a little farther on your runs, getting up to 45­–50 minutes. On top of that, add in stretching, drills and core training too. (This will be explained to you on July 12th new XC runners meeting.)  Be a Team PlayerMaking the varsity squad depends on a number of variables. How good is the team? How naturally talented is the runner? Can you stay injury free? But making varsity shouldn’t make or break your season. Being on the JV or freshman squad can be a good thing.“Time spent cutting your teeth on the JV is usually well spent,” Kedge says. “Newcomers can take their time adjusting to the volume and intensity of cross country without the pressure of having to perform at a consistently high level.”And remember, have patience. If you take your time building up mileage and getting better at workouts, you might work your way up to varsity by the end of the year or be called upon in case someone gets injured or sick.

Enjoy the team aspect of the sport and cheer on your teammates. You could form a special bond with them. “There is something magical about the daily toil, suffering together, and developing a sense of pride and a sense of family that comes with cross country,” Kedge says.

Even if you don’t make varsity, the friends and relationships you can build will have an impact on the squad. 

The article below was taken from”My Running Tips . Com

The Walk/Run Method 

The ideal way to start running is to follow our “Couch to 5K” training program which uses the walk/run method– this prepares you for running by combining periods of walking with gradually increased periods of running. In your first session you run for 1 minute, walk for 2 minutes and repeat eight times – over an 8 week period you would improve stamina by increasing the periods of running until you can run for 30 minutes non-stop (about 3 miles).

Warm Ups And Warm Downs 

A great beginner running tip is to warm up with a 5 minute walk. This prepares your muscles for a run and you are less likely to pull something when muscles are warm. Once you finish a run warm down with another 5 minute walk, don’t just stop. This helps your muscles to recover properly, reducing soreness afterwards

Cross Training

Run 3 or 4 times a week, and on non-running days do some cross training. Cycling, swimming and strength training are good options – they work other muscle groups to give your body more balance

Other beginner running tips for cross training are walking, tennis, basketball, football, & soccer

Run On Hard And Soft Surfaces 

Explore your local area for good places to run, try to find different surfaces – research shows that running on a variety of surfaces (bumpy, smooth, hard and soft) engages more muscles in your legs and if done gradually, makes your legs stronger, improving your chances of avoiding injury 

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