For High School Coaches — Fall XC

So, you’ve hopefully read what to do in the summer as you build the base for the XC season. If you have not read that post, stop now, and read the Summer Base post before reading about what to do during the season!

Now, after you’ve given your team an 8-10 week summer base program you can move into the Fall XC Season. Typically a season is ~12 weeks long, which really sets up well for three phases of training within the season.

Those three phases would be the strength phase, the specific phase, and the taper phase.

The strength phase is ~6 weeks and includes a focus on tempo running and hill repetitions. Our runner doing 45 miles/week would run a week like this:

M. 2 miles w/up + 8-10 x 400 meter hill repeats + 2 miles c/down AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 5 miles easy + 6 x strides (2 x easy, 2 x medium, 2 x fast)
W. 2 miles w/up + 3 miles tempo run + 2 miles c/down 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.

***On race weeks you would run 3 miles easy + 6 x strides on Friday, and race on Saturday. Everything else would be very similar with a quality day on Monday and Wednesday. 

***The Wednesday tempo work can be continuous or split. For this example runner you could do 3 miles continuous tempo run, 3 x 1 mile tempo run w/ 60 seconds rest, or 2 x 1.5 miles tempo run w/ 90 seconds rest…

The specific phase is ~4 weeks and will transition from hill work on Monday to race pace / specific workouts. Wednesday would continue being a tempo session with Friday remaining a speed maintenance session and Saturday a hilly long run. A week in this phase would look something like this:

M. 2 miles w/up + 5 x 1k @ XC pace w/ equal rest + 2 miles c/down AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 5 miles easy + 6 x strides (2 x easy, 2 x medium, 2 x fast)
W. 2 miles w/up + 3 miles tempo run + 2 miles c/down AM // 3 miles easy PM
T. 7 miles easy running.
F. 3 miles w/up + 2 x (4 x 200 meters) + 2 miles c/down.
S. 9 miles over hilly course; last 1-3 miles picked up.
S. 5 miles recovery.

***On race weeks you would run 3 miles easy + 6 x strides on Friday, and race on Saturday. Everything else would be very similar with a quality day on Monday and Wednesday. 

***The Wednesday tempo work can be continuous or split. For this example runner you could do 3 miles continuous tempo run, 3 x 1 mile tempo run w/ 60 seconds rest, or 2 x 1.5 miles tempo run w/ 90 seconds rest…

The taper phase is ~2 weeks long with a focus on feeling good, feeling sharp, and racing fast. During this phase we’ll relax the mileage slightly, but only about 1-2 miles per day and not do any intense quality sessions. THE FOCUS IS ON FEELING GOOD…the hard training is done at this point.

A sample week for our 45 mile/week runner would look something like this:

M. 2M w/up + 8 x 400 meters @ 3k pace w/ equal rest + 2M c/down AM // 3M easy PM
T. 4 miles easy + 6 x strides (2 x easy, 2 x medium, 2 x fast)
W. 2M w/up + 4 x 200m + 2M tempo run + 4 x 200m + 2M c/down AM // 3M easy PM
T. 5 miles easy running
F. 2 miles w/up + 2 x (4 x 200 meters) + 2 miles c/down.
S. 7 miles over hilly course; last 1-2 miles picked up.
S. 3 miles recovery.

***For the peak race week you would run 3 miles easy + 6 x strides on Friday and race on Saturday. Everything else could be similar to the sample week. 

Nothing exciting here…just good and simple, BUT consistent work. I’m convinced if you follow something similar to this plan you’ll run your best when it counts and your athletes will stay engaged and excited throughout the season!

As usual, any questions, please email me at thedailyrun@gmail.com.


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