Getting Better — Winter 2018/2019 — DBU XC

I mentioned in an earlier post that we did not have the Cross Country season that we had envisioned for our men’s program and that we have to get better and get to work. So, this post is a rundown of what that work will look like.

At the conclusion of our semester we’ll have a one-week break from training. Every one of our guys will take a one week break after the Pitt State Indoor Opener on Saturday, December 8th. The goal is to take a week off to reset mentally and physically and then we’ll start building back over the winter.

The build back for the winter is a simple, five-week, mileage build. We’ll have three groups, our seniors, our juniors, and then our freshmen and sophomores. The seniors will build to 110 miles per week by the 5th week of the winter training, while the juniors will hit 100 miles per week and the freshmen and sophomores will get to 70 miles per week.

The winter training will be built around a few key sessions:

The hilly long run. Every Saturday going forward that we are not racing the team will run a 14, 16, or 18 mile hilly long run (depending on mileage group). We typically run these hilly long runs as a naturally progressive run. We start very easy and get faster every mile…with the goal of not forcing the pace at the end of the run, but just getting stronger and stronger as the run moves along.

Progression runs. Every Monday going forward that we are not racing the team will run a 10, 12, or 14 mile progression run, with the last 4, 6, or 8 miles at a high-end aerobic effort. For our guys, the high-end aerobic pace usually averages out to 5:45-6:00/mile.

Tempo runs. I believe that our runners who make an impact are those who are best at running continuous tempo runs of ~5-6 miles. Our younger guys have to get better at running tempos and our older guys have to continue developing through this work. For our guys I try to assign tempo runs to be progressive in nature, within the session itself, and within the season. For the winter we’ll just ask them to run these tempos, mostly at a ‘steady’ pace which is typically somewhere in the 5:30-5:45/mile….nothing crazy, but good, steady, aerobic work.

Tempo fartlek. This is a newer session for our team, but I think it will be a great bridge for them from tempo running to faster running. Once we get out of the winter training, our continuous tempo runs will typically get a little faster, somewhere in the 5:15-5:30/mile pace range…and then towards the very end of the season we’ll have some tempo runs that will get to 5:00-5:15/mile pace range. THIS SESSION helps bridge those paces from the high-end and steady running that we are doing in the winter. These tempo fartleks are something along the lines of 2 x (6-10 x 1 min ‘on’ / 1 min ‘off’) where the first set will be run in the ‘tempo’ pace range and the second set will be run in the ‘fast tempo’ pace range.

Speed maintenance. This is the tried and true session that we do every Friday when we are not racing. For us, it’s a simple session on the track of 2 x (6 x 200 meters) with an easy 200 meter jog between each rep and a 1000 meter jog between each set. This just keeps our team running fast, focusing on good form, and turning the legs over.

A two-week snapshot of the training will look something like this over the winter:

M. Progression run
T. Easy run
W. Tempo run
T. Easy run
F. Speed maintenance
S. Hilly long run
S. Easy run

M. Progression run
T. Easy run
W. Tempo fartlek
T. Easy run
F. Speed maintenance
S. Hilly long run
S. Easy run

If our team can be consistent this winter and put in the miles assigned, while getting better at the progression runs, tempo runs, and hilly long runs we should be on our way to getting better!!!


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