L.C. Bird XC

2017 L.C. Bird XC Summer Training

“Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.” -- Unknown

"Life's battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can." –Steve Prefontaine

“If you have a body, you are an athlete.”- Bill Bowerman

One of the great things about distance running is that, in terms of sports, it is one of the most fair because you are able to achieve serious improvement by putting forth great amounts of effort and you are able to compete against yourself. Sure, some people have genetic advantages, but most people can gain significant achievements by hard work alone. By training you can increase your fitness, increase your oxygen carrying capacity, prepare mentally, and become generally tougher... thus being faster. In order to put yourself in a place to achieve success over the course of the relatively short cross-country season it is necessary that you extend the season into the summer. This is another great aspect of cross-country -- you can prepare as a team even when everyone is training individually. There can be team runs for bonding, motivating, and accountability reasons; however, even if you are away from Bird for the whole summer you can still be preparing to achieve individual and team success in the fall by training on your own.

Why run during the summer?

Without summer training there is no possible way for you to achieve your potential as a runner during the cross-country season – the season is simply too short. We will start unofficial team practice on Monday July 17 at 6:30am.Our first official team practice will be on Monday, July 31, 2015 at 7 a.m at Bird. We will do some running, but mostly this will be a team meeting.Bring your up to date physical !

What should be my main focus during summer running?

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SUMMER TRAINING IS TO ARRIVE THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE WITH A STRONG AEROBIC BASE! Don't focus too much on speed throughout the summer. Just put in the time and miles and get your lungs, joints, tendons, ligaments, and BRAIN used to the rigors of running. Be careful though...it's addictive! At the beginning of the school year, if I were to say “we’re going on a six mile run” you should be able to finish with a reasonable degree of ease. Start setting goals for the XC season, both as an individual and as a team. Set a goal of running a certain 5k time. Run some local 5k’s and 10k’s this summer on your own and experience the thrill of setting a new PR. Talk with more experienced runners at team runs to get an idea of reasonable goals if you don’t have any ideas, but make sure to have something that you desire to achieve --- if you don’t know what you want to achieve it doesn’t much matter what you do.

Running Progression Calendar:

On the last page is a running calendar. It shows a general schedule that you can follow throughout the summer. Obviously, if you are a beginner, you may want to cut back on the miles, but if you are a veteran to cross-country, you WILL want to put in a few more (top runners on the team will probably be hitting 50-60 mi/wk (no more). Running is so versatile that anyone, even if you have never run before can become a runner. Can’t run 5 miles yet? Run 3 or run 2, but the most important part is just getting out there and doing it. The key is to train hard but don’t over train. The last thing we want for the team is burn out. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Now, you may have to overcome some lazy tendencies (come on, it must feel better to lie on the couch than go for a run in the rain), but if you ever feel anything that is “not quite right” in your body, then TAKE A BREAK. Most running injuries are caused by overtraining and failure to rest. If you stick to the schedule, you will be surprised on how well you will do, how strong you will get, and you may be in a position where you can test your own limits. BUT REALIZE THAT RUNNING SOMETIMES HURTS AND THAT’S JUST PART OF IT. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HURTING AND BEING INJURED!! Remember these progressions are suggestions, and each individual is different in terms of their training. The important thing about summer running is consistency – it is ok to take a couple days off if you are feeling beaten up or are on vacation with extenuating circumstances, but it is not really ok to take a couple weeks off because you forgot to train. If you don’t train over the summer your potential for injury will be much higher and you will not be in a place to race to your potential. The bottom line is that if you run over the summer your cross-country season will be much more enjoyable, you will run better as an individual, and the team will be more successful.

Cross training:

There are some days on the attached calendar that indicate that you should cross train. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! This can mean doing any number of activities, essentially where you are engaging in a cardiovascular strengthening activity such as soccer, basketball, weight lifting, swimming, biking, etc. Although it is difficult to quantitatively put a value on cross training, in terms of your mileage log you may write down 1 mile for every 20 minutes of cross training (indicate the type of activity in which you are engaging). For example, if you choose to ride your bike to your friend’s house who lives 2.5 miles away (instead of driving), you would be biking for about 20 minutes to get there and back – you may count this as 1 mile of running.

Books to read:

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear

Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan

How Bad Do You Want it? by Matt Fitzgerald

In addition to fitness and faster running, what will I gain from summer running?

To log your miles, write them down on either the attached training log or in your own running log. If you do not do so already, it is very helpful to write down the workouts and mileage you are running. This practice is useful in terms of keeping yourself accountable for training and allowing you to look back retrospectively on your training to see what workouts allowed you to race your best. If you follow the running progression in minutes, write the minutes down that you run instead of miles. I’ve heard a lot of people run for a set time period, not just miles. For instance, if you run a leisurely 8.5 minute/mile and run for an hour, you will have covered about 7 miles.

If you follow the attached training progression you will be progressing from about 18 miles a week up to 35 miles a week. Over the course of the summer you will have run about 270 miles, which is not terribly difficult, but can be challenging with summer vacation plans, and if you are new to running. For those of you who have been consistently running for several years without being prone to injury it will be beneficial for you to run up to 300-350 miles over the summer.

Remember, if anyone feels that they are beginning to become injured as a result of running miles during the summer, back off running until you are healthy so that you can enter the season healthy.

Team Chat: the Bird Cross country team will have a GroupMe* chat. On the L.C. Bird XC (this is the name of the group) page you will be able to communicate with team members and Coach Canning, you all will be able to schedule meet ups over the summer and organize team functions. Download the application and request to join. That way we can communicate more efficiently over the summer. Also, if you have questions over the summer about where team runs will take place or what you can be doing to prepare for the season, please email or call me.

Adam Canning (757)254-4470 / adam_canning@ccpsnet.net or canningaj@gmail.com


In order to have increased accountability and create a fun, social aspect to summer training, we want everyone to join our Strava group. Strava is a website and app that tracks your runs, rides, cross training, etc. You can use a GPS device, Android or iPhone, or computer to log and analyze data. We have set up a LC Bird XC Strava group. It’s invite only, so once you join, I can add you. It is super fun to look at all your run data, “like” and “comment” on each other's’ efforts. Strave can generate a great sense of encouragement and excitement. Joining is FREE (unless you want upgrades) and all you have to do is go to www.strava.com Please let me know if you have any questions. https://www.strava.com/clubs/lcbxc


If you own a Ferrari and put diesel fuel in it, there is a small chance you will go anywhere. This may seem obvious, but when someone wants to be a competitive athlete and they don’t supply your body with proper nutrition, they will not and cannot perform at their best. I’m not saying going “cold turkey” on the foods that you love (i.e. ice cream, burgers, etc.) but you should make a conscious effort to limit yourself on what you eat. There are lots of runners who don’t really lose weight because they feel like since they’ve run, they can eat whatever they want. Well, this is partially true, but it’s common sense that if you eat more calories than you burn you will not lose anything. Runner’s World (www.runnersworld.com) has a tremendous amount of information with nutritional suggestions, recipes, etc. to help educate you on how to fuel your body. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

1. DON’T SMOKE! This is obvious

2. Drink lots and lots of water. Summer is obviously hot, plus water keeps your metabolism churning. When your metabolism is on overdrive, you are burning calories even when you aren’t running.

3. Try to stay away from refined sugars and starches (ex. Twinkies, white bread, etc.) – moderation is the key, but these foods will slow you down. Whole wheat bread, bagels, and pasta are good.

4. Try to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies which are easy to get during summer months.

5. Don’t neglect your protein! Some runners think that all you need are carbohydrates, but protein is very important for fueling your muscles. Try to eat lots of LEAN MEATS such as chicken and fish and try to limit your burger intake.

6. If you eat fast food, please think about what you eat. Fast food can be healthy depending on what you order and where you go. THINK about whether what you are ordering will help you or hurt you during your training.


1. It is always good to run in groups of at least two (in case of a sprained ankle, suspicious person, etc.).

2. Carry a few bucks with you in a pocket for a phone call or your cell phone of if you have to stop for a drink or something at a store.

3. Always wear a reflective vest and/or lighting if you plan to run after dark anywhere near a road.

4. Always run toward traffic whenever possible (except on blind curves). This means run on the left side of the road.

5. If anyone causes you a problem, no matter how slight, promptly report it to your parents and the police. Get all information you can at the time...location, license numbers, descriptions, etc.

6. Be careful off-road. Low-hanging branches, roots, curbs etc. can cause injuries.

7. Hydrate well before and after. 12 ounces of water prior to a 30-minute run and 12-20 ounces immediately after (water/sports drink) are a good idea. Carry your water bottle at all times if possible.

8. Delay or cancel your run if you are ill. Try to avoid extreme exertion on the first day of a cold. Light runs with a cold after the first day are usually OK.

9. Inform your parents or another responsible party of the direction your run will take and roughly when to expect to be back

Here are some suggestions to change up your schedule a bit (in case you are getting bored!)This is also really good to practice the competitiveness of a race:

Tempo Runs: A tempo run in this program is a workout of 30 to 45 minutes, usually run on trails or in the woods so you have no reference to exactly how far or how fast you are running. Here's how to do a tempo run. Begin at an easy pace, about as fast as you would during any warm-up on the track. After 5 or 10 minutes of gentle jogging, gradually accelerate toward peak speed midway through the workout, holding that peak for 5 or 10 minutes, then gradually decelerate, finishing with 5 minutes of gentle jogging, your cool-down. Run hard, but not too hard. If you do this workout correctly, you should finish refreshed rather than fatigued.

Fartlek: Fartlek is a Swedish word, loosely translated as "speed play." A fartlek run in this program is a workout of anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes that involves constant changes of pace at different distances. It is entirely intuitive (similar to tempo runs) and is best run on trails in the woods where you have no idea how far you are running. After 5 or 10 minutes of gentle jogging at the start, pick up the pace and surge for maybe 10 or 20 or more seconds, then jog or even walk for a near equal time until partly recovered, then surge again. These speed bursts could be anywhere from 100 to 400 meters, or longer. They could be up a hill or down a hill or on the flat. They could be at top speed or at the pace you might run a 5,000 meter race or from this tree to that tree.: "In order to be a good distance runner, you have to build strength and endurance, learn race pace, and practice race tactics. Fartlek training can incorporate all of these essential elements into a single workout." Fartlek teaches you how to surge in the middle of the race to get away from opponents--or hang with them when they attempt to surge on you.

Long Runs: Long runs are necessary to improve your aerobic fitness and endurance. You begin in the first week, running for 60 minutes and add 5 minutes each week to a peak long run of 90 minutes. If your pace lags and you have to walk in the last few miles, you obviously ran the early miles too fast. Run at a conversational pace. If running with your teammates (something I recommend), use this workout as an excuse to talk about every silly thing that happened to you during the week. This is a workout that you can run on the roads or on trails. Mostly, have fun.

Rest/Easy Days: These are the two days of the week when you do not run hard. And quite frankly you can't run hard seven days a week without risking injury or overtraining. So in between the hard workouts, run easy. Rest can be an easy run of 30 minutes, or it can be a day when you do not run at all. You need days of comparative rest between the hard workouts; otherwise you will not be able to run those hard workouts at full speed. If you fail to do the hard workouts properly, you will not improve. Don't train hard every day assuming that it will make you a better runner; it may actually affect your training negatively.

Racing: Local road races can be fun can offer a change of pace from training and can motivate you to run all summer long. For that reason, you are free to run several road races during the summer, maybe once every fourth week. You can go to the Richmond road runners website http://www.rrrc.org/ and search for events nearby.