For High School Coaches — Summer Base

My goal over these next four days is to post some sample training for the summer (XC base), fall (XC season), winter (Track base), and spring (Track season).

Today, we’ll start with the Summer Base. There is no doubt in my mind that Champions are made in the summer. The work that you do in the summer helps establish the foundation for the entire season.

For me, the summer base should be 8-10 weeks long broken into two different phases. Let’s call it ‘easy’ base and ‘intense’ base.

During the first 4-5 weeks of the summer we’ll run the ‘easy’ base. The easy base is as it sounds…EASY. The focus here is on building mileage and introducing strides and speed maintenance.

Over the 4-5 weeks of the easy base you’ll want to start at a very low volume marker and try to increase to peak mileage by the last week of the easy base (4th or 5th week).

A typical week in our ‘easy’ base could look something like this:

M. Easy run (can be run over hilly course)
T. Easy run + strides
W. Easy run (can be run over hilly course)
T. Easy run or x-training
F. Speed maintenance
S. Long run (can be run over hilly course)
S.  Easy run or x-training or rest

A young runner trying to build up to 45 miles/week might look something like this:

M. 6 miles over hilly course AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 5 miles easy + 6 x strides (2 x easy, 2 x medium, 2 x fast)
W. 6 miles over hilly course AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 7 miles easy running
F. 3 miles warm up + 2 x (4 x 200 meters) + 2 miles cool down
S. 9 miles over hilly course
S. Rest

The last 4-5 weeks of the summer would be the ‘intense’ base. There will be more structure during the intense base, but still very general training, focusing on the far end of  the aerobic side of the training spectrum and the far end of the neuromuscular side of the training spectrum.

During this phase the mileage might slightly increase, but will typically remain at the marker set at the peak of the easy base phase.

Here’s what the intense base phase might look like:

M. Progression run; 1/3 to 1/2 of the run picked up.
T.  Easy run + strides
W. Progression run; 1/3 to 1/2 of the run picked up.
T. Easy run
F. Speed maintenance
S. Long run over hilly course; older runners could run the last 1-3 miles picked up.
S. Easy run or x-training or rest.

A runner trying to hit 45 miles/week during this phase would run something like this:

M. 6 miles w/ the last 3 miles picked up AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 5 miles easy + 6 x strides (2 x easy, 2 x medium, 2 x fast)
W. 6 miles w/ the last 3 miles picked up AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 7 miles easy running
F. 3 miles warm up + 2 x (4 x 200 meters) + 2 miles cool down.
S. 9 miles over hilly course; last 1-3 miles picked up.
S. 5 miles recovery.

This is just a sample, but it’s something I really believe in. The summer base should be about establishing the aerobic base, building the mileage, and introducing speed maintenance and strides.

Completing 8-10 weeks of this kind of work will set you up really well to get to work during the Cross Country season and run your best later in the fall during the Championships segment of the season.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask! You can email me at thedailyrun@gmail.com.


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