Team Thoughts

“Somewhere across town there is a girl running when you are not. When you next face her, she will beat you.”

2010 Cross Proposal


In lieu of the boys’ results from the past five years, I have come to one conclusion. The boys have not been running enough mileage in the off season. Sadly, I have not been able to break this trend. Despite guiding, supporting and encouraging runners to train; providing off-season workout programs and setting up training sites and dates, I have been unable to foster and sustain the energy and enthusiasm necessary to run an adequate number of miles from November to August. The following proposal for boys should help to promote the overall development of the student-athletes dedicated to cross country.

There will be a new standard for all returning runners to aim for. The standards will vary depending on the experience (grade level) of the athlete.

Rising sophomores will aim to run 1000 miles between November 1st and July 31st. That is an average of 30 miles/week for 36 weeks. Currently the boys’ team is logging 30-35 miles/week.

Rising juniors will try to put in 1250 miles between November and the last day of July. Juniors that complete this goal will be running 35 miles/week on average.

The returning seniors will hit the 1500 mile mark or risk not making the traveling varsity squad. These experienced runners will be putting in 40 miles/week during a nine month stretch.

Three conditions have led me to promote this change which is a return to the running culture that once existed here at JHS: the frequency and severity of injuries, the poor fitness/conditioning levels of returning athletes and the performances/times of runners has caused me concern. The inability of athletes to complete workouts and be more competitive in meets warrants a change and a dramatic one at that. The safety and devlelpment of our runners are of  utmost importance to us. That is one reason we are changing the amount of preparation. The alternative is to eliminate invitationals and just run the conference duel meets, city-county championship, the PAC-6 championship and the regional meet. I enjoy the invitationals and the atmosphere; they present great opportunities to run against the best in the state and nation. They are not part of a regular season though. I believe they are an essential part of a competitive season, because they prepare runners for the championship meets. Having said this, our participation in such races will be contingent on the level of preparation by returning runners.

The proposed program does not discourage student-athletes from participating in other sports, nor does it prevent student-athletes from being involved in other activities, clubs or organizations. In fact, I encourage you to be well rounded and live a balanced life; explore other pursuits and find your niche in this world. By experiencing other things you might discover that running is not your passion and this is A.O.K… By the same token, you may find that running is exactly what you need.

The traveling varsity squad might conisist of 7-10 individuals. I understand the time, effort and energy that is required to run so many miles and I know some people won’t plan their work and work this plan. Those individuals who don’t prepare properly will have the chance to try-out and run JV and participate in the home meets in conference. They will not travel or race in the invitationals.

The off-season training program has carefully placed rest and recovery periods. There are provisions to account for time away from the sport. They are monthly and they are sufficient if the runner adheres to the schedule.
There are three phases to the nine month macrocycle. Each phase is approximately 3 months long with a structured routine for each month. Each month, or microcyle, is broken into 4 weeks. The progression or mileage somtimes spikes; week one would be 40, week two 45, week three 50 and then week four would be only 15 miles. The progressive trend is designed to challenge the various systems of the body and then allow an adequate recovery period to rest, recuperate and rebuild. As the weeks pass, the mileage increases each week. It is recommended by many professionals that mileage does not increase more than 10% each week and we’ll attempt to follow this recommendation. The first month or two the increase will be from 10%-16%. This will be in the months of November and December just following the cross country season and a two week hiatus from training. The escalation of mileage will culminate in the summer when returning runners will be hitting 10 miles/day. After the first phase, the mileage will increase at a manageable load (less than 10% each week).
At this point, the plan is intended for the boys. A similar plan is under construction for the girls. There will be other objectives to encourage the overall development of the athletes. Boys will aim to pass a fitness test that includes bench press (3 sets x 75% of body weight x 10), push ups (set of 50 straight), crunches (200 straight), chin-ups (set of 20), dips (set of 10), and squats (3 sets x body weight x 10).
The standards are changing. The bar is being moved to a level the majority of the team can attain if they set their mind to it and take responsibility for their own training and development. What we are planning is not beyond any one of the athletes on the current team. But our plan may be beyond what some of the athletes are willing to do.

The following is an example of a proposed training log for a rising senior in December and January:

  • Week one – 40 miles (6 runs
  • Week two – 45 miles (7 runs
  • Week three – 50 miles (8 runs
  • Week four – 10 miles (2 runs
  • Month two Week one – 45 miles (6 runs
  • Month two Week two – 50 miles (7 runs
  • Month two Week three – 55 miles (8 runs
  • Month two Week four – 10 miles (2 runs

If you have questions, concerns or even recommendations, please feel free to contact Coach Mulligan.