Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Thoughts of July 18, 2022

Yesterday I chose to complete my 10,000 steps (about 6 miles, 563 days in a row) on the trail between the Visitors Center at Wompatuck State Park and the Cohasset Railway Station.  It's a trail I ran regularly back in the day, and one our XC teams return to at least once each fall on our Saturday off-site long runs. During the summer when I'm not coaching every day, I look forward to my time walking, just as I did my training runs of years past.  It's been 5+ years since I was diagnosed with "exercise induced" ARVC, and though I'm able, following a brisk 2.5 mile walk, to alternate some jogging and walking while keeping my heart rate at <140 BPM, I have not had a single day during that time when I can't admit to seriously missing the joy I took from endurance training.  So much so in fact I am at a total loss as to why everybody doesn't feel the same way I once did.  Thrilled to lace up the Asics, and feel the slight chill created by the breeze colliding with my neon, sweat-soaked singlet.  The feeling of disappointment when it was over for the day, that either time constraints or training safety brought my daily run to its conclusion. Immediately after which planning for the next day began.  Sadly, I find the sameness of what I do now severely lacking by comparison. But I've had my time.  And I'm still very much involved in leading others to that place that brought me so much happiness. We're gearing up through the summer for what I hope will be a great Fall Cross Country season.

Coaching provides the opportunity to work with young men and women who I honestly hope will experience what I and the rest of our coaching staff have made a big part of our lives.  The running experience.  We do not live vicariously through our athletes; we sincerely seek and are grateful for the privilege of sharing our experiences with our student-athletes in the hopes of providing them with the same enjoyment we've found in our sport. Many of our athletes through the years have found what we have.  I can cite dozens of examples of athletes who have gone on to stellar college careers and then moved on to successful endurance and marathon training.  Many, many more have made running a consistent part of their adult lives.  Our current dilemma however is how to attract more people to our sport. I read a book over the weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed, got through in a couple of days, and in which I found some of the answers.

Dennis Barker's, "The First Season," tells the story of a fictional high school Sophomore (Linda Nordquist) who is inspired to qualify for the State Girls Cross Country Championship despite the fact her high school has no Girls squad.  The book's liner notes read in part, "Running becomes a transformative experience, revealing her inner strength and growing confidence."  There is also a testimonial on the cover written by Kara Goucher, NCAA Champion and Olympian distance runner which reads, "the empowerment and self-awareness Linda gains through running is something we all can relate to. I really loved this book."  Reasons enough to not only buy the book but follow Linda's lead.  

What I feel we must do to attract people to our sport is not so much to continue to point out the positive effects distance running has on our short- and long-term health, or even how welcoming and friendly every member of our team is, but how running can instill that "inner strength" and "confidence" in our students. Traits that will serve our young adults well in the real world.  As well as any lesson I've learned along the way. And certainly, traits that I as a parent and grandparent, would love to see in all our children. I promise, with all sincerity, that commitment to our sport will build character, confidence and discipline in any student willing to make that effort. And I pledge to encourage and support anybody making that effort.  If I get a single parent to accept this message and point his or her son or daughter in our direction as a result, then I will have met my challenge.  A challenge which, I assure you, won't stop there.

More, much more, to come . . .

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

FALL TRYOUT and PRACTICE SCHEDULES

 BOYS’ and GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY


Cross Country is a no cut sport and open to all regardless of experience or ability.  Team practices begin August 22nd at 2:30 on the athletic fields between the turf field and the school driveway.  Practices will be held at 2:30, Monday through Friday, throughout the season thereafter, along with a Saturday morning practice at a time and place to be determined each week.  In order to participate, each student/athlete must first:


  1. Complete the Parent/Guardian Permission Slip, found on whathletics.com ,

  2. Complete the Student Concussion PreTest, also found on whathletics

  3. Either have a current (they expire after 13 months) physical exam on file with the school nurse, or submit a current physical exam to the school nurse. 


Practices generally last approximately 90 minutes.  All student/athletes should wear clean, weather appropriate clothing and running footwear that fits and is not worn out.  Every athlete should have his/her own water bottle.  On hot, sunny days, sunscreen is a must, and a hat and an extra pair of socks is suggested.



Monday, June 27, 2022

Summer Training Update

Summer strength and conditioning, a/k/a "Core at Four", is set to get under way Tuesday, June 28th under the large tree on Franklin Street in front of the WHRHS Tennis Courts at 4:00PM.  We have some new things planned for this summer's edition.  ALL are welcome.  Bring a friend.  You don't need to be a member of the XC team to join in, but if you are, and have been following a summer training plan, bring your training log.  Any Cross-Country runner who has yet to create/form/receive a summer training plan should speak with one of the coaches for suggestions.  August 22nd, our first day of formal practice is not all that far away, and you don't want to arrive unprepared.  It will be here before you know it. Let the countdown begin:

Countdown to August 22

While we have put together very safe and effective training plans based on our athletes' current perceived conditioning and ability, at a very minimum, beginners could begin with a 7-week training schedule approved by the Mayo Clinic.  I don't know if there is a simpler and easier way to get started.  Whatever it takes.  Yet, I'm certain some will arrive August 22nd having done nothing. But the ease of the Mayo Clinic 5K Training Plan should eliminate the need for any explanation for doing so.  That plan can be found at the following link:

Mayo Clinic 5K Training Plan

Thank you to those who attended last week's meeting.  We hope to see many of you at "Core at Four." 


Thursday, June 16, 2022

"Consistency is the Key" and XC Meeting Information

I just finished a book I might have written.  I didn't of course, but Coach Jay Johnson in his book, Consistency is the Key, echoes many of the things we've adopted and spoken about over the years.  The fact that Johnson sub-titles his work "15 Ways to Unlock Your Potential as a High School Runner" makes it even more relevant.  It's a short read but definitely worth spending the hour or so needed for a first "run through", and it is a good reference book beyond that.  I've requested 25 or so of these books at a deep discount and will make them available at cost if and when they become available.  For now, Johnson encourages reading an excerpt from the book which can be found at the following link:

Consistency is the Key

If I had a nickel for every time I've used the word CONSISTENCY since arriving at Whitman Hanson I'd be riding a much nicer bicycle.  CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY element in your summer training as you gear up for the Cross Country season. I, for one, am excited as I've ever been heading into XC with this year's teams.  I won't sugar coat anything.  We open up against two of the top programs in the State (Marshfield and Hingham) and I want you to understand, we MUST be prepared if we are to compete with those teams, and August 22nd is too late to get started.  We have a MANDATORY meeting scheduled for 2:00 next Tuesday (June 21st) on the Outdoor Track.  Summer Training is at the top of our meeting agenda and I honestly expect every athlete interested in achieving his/her maximum potential in the fall to be there. I posted a general training plan yesterday, and plan to provide specific, individual training plans to those who request one.  One thing is clear.  There is room at the top for those who want to be there.  We've lost some major contributors to the success of our teams with the graduations of Tassey, Gordon, Kamperides, Kelly, Boulger and Flynn.  You're being asked to step up, do the work, get to the top of your game, and fill those spots.  I know the potential is there. I know the talent is there.  You'll let us know if the effort is there.  Starting Tuesday.  


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

SUMMER TRAINING PLAN - GENERAL

 

WHITMAN-HANSON CROSS COUNTRY SUMMER TRAINING 2022

 

This summer’s training will focus, as is it customarily does, on base mileage or foundational training, but

will also include elements of speed, resistance and endurance. How many miles do you need to run to

accomplish your goals? The appropriate answer is unique for you and varies dramatically between

members of our team. I feel it takes two to three years of building up before you can tolerate a high

training load level. And no training program should be used as a reason to over train. I encourage each of

you to discuss your summer training with me before proceeding. Descriptions of some of the training

included in the plan follow below:

 

Tempo Runs: A tempo run in this program is a workout of 30-45 minutes, preferably run on trails or soft

surface with reference to time, rather than distance. There is no need necessarily to know exactly how far

or how fast you run a tempo. Begin a tempo run at an easy pace, that is warm up speed. After about 10

minutes increase your speed to a pace that is slightly uncomfortable but one you can maintain through the

middle portion (10-25 minutes) of your run, after which you will decelerate and run at cool down pace for

10 minutes. You should not feel exhausted following a tempo, but feel somewhat refreshed following the

cool down.

 

Interval Training: This is a more precise form of speed training, consisting 200-8000 meter fast repeats

followed by a jogging or walking recovery. Your speed during these workouts is less important than

remaining consistent throughout the repetitions. You do not want to run an interval slower at the end of

your workout than at the beginning, nor should your recovery period (the interval) be different from repeat

to repeat. If you are new to running it may take several workouts to determine the parameters within which

you feel comfortable. An experienced runner may have already developed an intrinsic sense of how fast

he/she can run intervals as well as the recovery required to repeat each in a consistent time.

 

Fast Running: For our purposes fast can be generally defined as the rate at which you can run the entire

distance programmed for the day. This does not imply or suggest that it is a sprint or even close to the

speeds you run your intervals, but is somewhat slower than the middle portion of your tempo run. For

experienced runners, fast pace can best be described as a pace 30-45 seconds off your (achieved, not

projected) 5K pace.

 

Long Runs: In order to improved your aerobic fitness and endurance, long runs should be a weekly

element in your training plan. Speed is not a factor in your long run, just a pace that you can run from start

to finish. These runs are better accomplished when running with others. Run at a conversational pace.

Add 5 minutes to your long run each week. It is about time and not distance.

 

Rest Days: These are the days when you do not run hard. For less experienced runners rest can be an easy

run of 30 minutes, or it can be a day you do not run at all. No runner should run 7 days per week. One day

of rest is required to maintain health and fitness. You need days of comparative rest between the hard

workouts. Otherwise you will not accomplish your goals for those hard workouts. And you will not

improve without those hard workouts. Training hard every day will NOT make you a better runner.

 

Extra Training: For some experienced runners, 35-45 miles of running per week is not enough. To a

certain extent , for those runners, extra training will improve your racing speed. Extra training can be

accomplished by adding miles on easy days (for Advanced runners, Monday and Wednesday) or adding a

second shorter run on one of those days. If after 5 weeks of training with a second workout on one day, an

advanced runner can add a second day of a short run. For example, an experienced runner adds a second

three mile run to his/her Monday routine. After five weeks, he/she can add a second three mile to run to the

Wednesday routine. Keep in mind you are expected to maintain consistent workouts on Tuesday and

Wednesday.

 

OK then . . . I have attached Novice, Intermediate and Advanced summer training plans and ask that you

discuss your particular situation with me over the next week or so. Our season starts August 22 and you’ll

want to be ready . . .

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

Rest or run/walk

1.5 m run

Rest or run/walk

1.5 m run

Rest

1.5 m run

30 min walk

2

Rest or run/walk

1.75 m run

Rest or run/walk

1.5 m run

Rest

1.75 m run

35 min walk

3

Rest or run/walk

2 m run

Rest or run/walk

1.5 m run

Rest

2 m run

40 min walk

4

Rest or run/walk

2.25 m run

Rest or run/walk

1.5 m run

Rest

2.25 m run

45 min walk

5

Rest or run/walk

2.5 m run

Rest or run/walk

2 m run

Rest

2.5 m run

50 min walk

6

Rest or run/walk

2.75 m run

Rest or run/walk

2 m run

Rest

2.75 m run

55 min walk

7

Rest or run/walk

3 m run

Rest or run/walk

2 m run

Rest

3 m run

60 min walk

8

Rest or run/walk

3 m run

Rest or run/walk

2 m run

Rest

Rest

5-K Race

 

 

NOVICE

 

 

 

 

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

Rest

3 m run

5 x 400

3 m run

Rest

3 m run

5 m run

2

Rest

3 m run

30 min tempo

3 m run

Rest

3 m fast

5 m run

3

Rest

3 m run

6 x 400

3 m run

Rest

4 m run

6 m run

4

Rest

3 m run

35 min tempo

3 m run

Rest

Rest

5-K Test

5

Rest

3 m run

7 x 400

3 m run

Rest

4 m fast

6 m run

6

Rest

3 m run

40 min tempo

3 m run

Rest

5 m run

7 m run

7

Rest

3 m run

8 x 400

3 m run

Rest

5 m fast

7 m run

8

Rest

3 m run

30 min tempo

2 m run

Rest

Rest

5-K Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERMEDIATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

3 m run

5 x 400

Rest or easy run

30 min tempo

Rest

4 m fast

60 min run

2

3 m run

8 x 200

Rest or easy run

30 min tempo

Rest

4 m fast

65 min run

3

3 m run

6 x 400

Rest or easy run

35 min tempo

Rest

5 m fast

70 min run

4

3 m run

9 x 200

Rest or easy run

35 min tempo

Rest or easy run

Rest

5-K Test

5

3 m run

7 x 400

Rest or easy run

40 min tempo

Rest

5 m fast

75 min run

6

3 m run

10 x 200

Rest or easy run

40 min tempo

Rest

6 m fast

85 min run

7

3 m run

8 x 400

Rest or easy run

45 min tempo

Rest

6 m fast

90 min run

8

2 m run

6 x 200

30 min tempo

Rest or easy run

Rest

Rest

5-K Race

 

 

 

ADVANCED