Training Philosophy

Sanborn Regional High School

Training Philosophy and General Information

  • Cross Country running is hard work but should be FUN!

  • Cross Country (XC) is a sport in which training plays the largest role. NO ONE can compete successfully in cross country until they have trained for it. The training build-up is slow and gradual. For the high school season, we like our athletes to start by putting in easy miles over the summer and building up distance and intensity as the season goes on.

  • Since training plays such a critical role in cross country running success, ANYONE can be a successful runner. The key to the successful athlete is the EFFORT they’re willing to put forth.

  • At Sanborn, we generally train on a pattern of one “hard” day followed by an “easy” day, with usually no more than 3 “hard” days per week, including races. The hard training days are always within the athlete’s ability. “Hard” days include speed workouts (short, fast repeats), tempo runs (sustained durations of faster running), long runs, intervals, and races. “Easy” days are runs and activities that help the athlete recovery following a difficult workout.

  • The athlete won’t be asked to do more than they are able to do. The most difficult aspect of cross country training is not having to train hard, but having to train CONSISTENTLY. The athlete who makes running a daily habit is guaranteed to improve and be successful.

  • There is no “bench” in cross country. Everyone will participate in every meet. (The only exception to this is the end of season Division II Championship and Meet of Champions which limits us to 7 athletes).

  • Cross Country is a team sport. Every scorer is equally important to the outcome of a competition. Scoring is determined by adding up the scores of the first 5 athletes on a team based on their finishing positions, so the lower the score the better. A perfect score would be 15 if the given team had the first 5 finishers in the race.

(1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15)

  • Training is individualized as much as possible within the team environment. So, each individual athlete trains at a level of intensity appropriate based on experience, athletic development, and current level of conditioning.

The season is broken up into 4 main training phases:

  1. Summer Training Phase (6 weeks: end of school until practice starts August 13)
    1. Focus on building base (like a pyramid)
    2. Mileage increases gradually throughout the summer
  2. Pre-Competition Phase (3 weeks: August 13 - September 2)
    1. Mileage continues to increase and introduce intervals, speed work, and hills into daily workouts
    2. Speed work is usually longer distance repeats on short rest, and/or high repetitions of short distances
  3. Competition Phase (4 weeks: September 3 - September 30)
    1. Weekly mileage levels off
    2. Lots of races - most Tuesdays and Saturdays
    3. “Hard” days will vary between hills, intervals, and repeats
  4. Championship Phase (3 - 4 weeks: October 1 - November 3)
    1. Focus is getting ready for the Divisional Championship and NH Meet of Champions
    2. Weekly mileage decreases
    3. Workouts will be more about quality than quantity

  • Optional summer practices - Monday nights at 6:00 PM
  • Season practices start Monday August 13, Monday - Friday 8:00 - 9:30 AM
  • Once school starts - practices are Monday - Friday 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Sunday (run on your own)

A sample of our typical week once the season starts. Times/distances will vary by athlete.

Each practice starts with a warm up jog followed by dynamic drills/stretches.

  • Monday - Longer recovery run at easy pace + strides
  • Tuesday - Race or Speed Workout (ex. 6 x 800m at 5k race pace)
  • Wednesday - Recovery run (3 miles easy pace) + Ultimate Frisbee game
  • Thursday - Longer Hilly Run (7 mile progression run) - increases weekly
  • Friday - Recovery run (3 miles easy pace) + strides
  • Saturday - Race or Rest/Cross Train
  • Sunday - Long Run (7 miles +) - with the team or on own