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2017 Cross Country Super-Prep Program: Secret #1

7 Secrets for a Successful 2017 Cross Country Season

1. Secret #1: Plan Your Season

- Plan your races for the entire season

"Pencil-in" on a calendar your races for the entire season, including pre-season time trials and any other high level racing efforts. This will allow you to evaluate and prioritize key races for your season. It may turn out that you have too many races! This is often the case, as I listen to high school runners who face possibly unnecessary racing in the later stages of their seasons. There may be diminishing "performance returns" after only a few races. That is, you may end up peaking too soon/running slower races with too many high-intensity early season races.

This also allows you to develop a training and performance progression for your season. Theoretically, you would want to run your best at the end of the season, and actually documenting goals from race to race will help you accomplish this objective. As was mentioned above, racing too frequently can create problems as the season progresses. In my book, "less is often better than more", and this applies to racing frequency. After writing your season plan, you may modify your racing schedule accordingly.

- Plan your workouts for the entire season

Using your same calendar, write workouts for your entire season, at least conceptually, if not specifically. This should theoretically not be a problem, since many high school coaches will schedule very similar workout programs from year to year. Your workout effort/interval splits should approximate your goal racing times. For example, if your workout is 10x400m the average should be at least 5k race pace. I will discuss workouts in more detail in later blogs.

- Plan your rest days for the entire season

Your calendar should also include "rest days". These rest days mean exactly that; no running, no exercise, very little physical activity other than your normal, daily routine. One of the keys to success is learning to recover without guilt! Enjoy your days off. The rest will make you a better runner.

Forthcoming blogs:

2. Secret#2: Document Your Goals

- Compile a personal performance inventory

- Write goals for each race

- End-of-season peak performance goalk on Your Pacing

3. Secret #3: Work on Pacing

- Run short intervals at peak performance race pace

- Increase length of pace intervals over the course of the season

- Adjust pace workouts according to progress

4. Secret #4: Work on Your Speed

- Start speed workouts early in the season at short distances

- Include plyometrics in your weekly schedule

- Include weekly time trials at short distances

- Work on acceleration (surging and kicking)

5. Secret #5: Work on your strength/range of motion

- Incorporate resistance training twice a week

- Incorporate stretching every workout day

- Incorporate agility drills twice a week

6. Secret #6: Work on race strategy

- Write race plans for each race (mile splits, cumulative splits, and narrative)

- Practice running short trials at race pace

- Practice surging and kicking in trials

7. Secret #7: Peak for important races only

- Race sparingly

- Incorporate short time trials

- Work on peak performance progression

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