With the completion of my son’s 2015 middle school outdoor track season, and able to build on momentum and motivation gained during the track season, we’ve designed our goals and plans for a successful 2015 middle school fall cross country season.
The formula is simple:
- Set goals
- Adjust plan as needed
- Have fun
- Stay healthy
- Achieve goals
- Learn from mistakes
Cross Country Goals
My son summarized his goals as follows:
- Perform well in XC invitationals and championships, and challenge for top placement
- Qualify for Junior Olympic Regional XC meet
- Lead and enable his middle school XC team to improve on its team placement from last year’s major meets
- Leverage XC training, racing and development to qualify for the New Balance indoor national track meet (Junior High School mile)
Planning the Training and Competition Phases
Our approach to a winning championship season is based on 4 phases (26 weeks including competition season):
- Phase 1 (13 weeks from mid-June to mid-September): Build aerobic base and core strength and flexibility. Integrate form and speed work. Approximately 440 miles.
- Phase 2 (6 weeks from mid-September to end-October): Develop aerobic strength, and continue with strength and flexibility, and form and speed work. Approximately 190 miles.
- Phase 3 (5 weeks in November): Transition from aerobic strength to focus on race specific training. Where possible, integrate races with race-specific training and do not overload on hard workouts. Continue with ancillary work. Approximately 150 miles.
- Phase 4 (2 weeks in December): Prepare for championship meets with race-sharpening, anaerobic workouts for final 2 weeks of season. Continue ancillary work. Reduce speed work as appropriate, if already incorporated in race-sharpening workouts. Approximately 60 miles.
Summer / Fall Middle School Cross Country Program
We’ve designed a simple framework for achieving his goals, based on the above 4 phases:
Please note the following about the above framework:
- The actual training may deviate from the framework (but should still enable the overall goals). I will post periodic updates about actual progress.
- Changes are denoted for each weekday. The word “Same” means there are no changes from the prior week / month for a particular weekday.
- The framework does not include the local summer XC race series that we use for tempo runs (simply designated as tempo runs on the above chart) or the actual fall XC competition schedule of dual meets, invitationals and championships (we assume dual meets on Wednesdays in September, and intend to run these as tempo workouts; invitationals and championships are on the weekends and require some modification to the training schedule, e.g. moving a hard workout to mid-week).
- The framework excludes 10 days spent on vacation in Costa Rica during late June and 7 days at a running camp in Vermont in early August, which require some modification to the training schedule.
Related articles include:
- Operating at the Boundary of Health and Injury
- Summer Training for Middle School Cross Country
- Middle School XC Summer Training