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Consistency Is Key
Physician, heal thyself!
Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.
That’s right, I’m back. And this time, I mean it. Newsflash to all you recent grads1 — work sucks, and it takes up a lot of time. Whodathunkit? Not only that, it turns out being a reporter for the local news isn’t exactly conducive to a “work/life balance” (whatever that means).
That’s why I devised this one simple hack to reclaiming your time. I like to call it “getting laid off.”
I’ve still got a few more weeks of full-time work left, but it looks like I’m gonna be diving pretty deep into freelance work moving forward. A lot of that is going to center around Reasonably Speedy. Let’s just say big things are already in the works for the future of this newsletter, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks.
I’m excited to get the ball rolling! The only thing I’m asking of y’all is that, if you enjoy what I do here, just send it to somebody (or a few somebodies) who you think will enjoy it too. The #1 way this newsletter finds new readers is via word of mouth (or, in this case, email).
SO, with the housekeeping out of the way, let’s get into it. It’s summertime, y’all — time to log some miles.
Summer Training — XC Starts Now
It’s often said that cross country champions are made in the Summer, not the Fall. The coming months are for logging miles, building aerobic fitness, and generally building yourself up without burning yourself out. The more you deposit now, the more you can cash out in November. But don’t take it from me — I’ve only actually raced a handful of cross country races, none of which went particularly well. So I asked the experts: you.
One thing I have noticed over the past few years is that all the clubs with the most competitive success in XC have some kind of summer plan for their athletes to follow. Though they vary from highly detailed to what I would call “vibe-based,” they keep the runners on the straight-and-narrow and make sure everyone’s in comparable shape when they come back in the Fall. So, I asked the captains/coaches/training chairs of NIRCA — what are your training philosophies for the summer? What’s the goal? How do you set your team up for success?
Here’s what they told me:
1) What’s the main emphasis of your summer training?
The main emphasis on the summer training plans is to develop overall aerobic strength. We have the season to work on fine tuning towards various races (mainly the 6ks and 8ks), so we want the summer to be all about putting in miles and getting comfortable running long hard workouts. Most of our weeks include 6-7 days of running with 2 hard efforts and a long run, occasionally there is a scheduled tempo long runs as well. Our workouts are primarily strength based which include tempos (split and normal), hill workouts, fartleks, and running economy workouts. — Kyle McKee, GVSU Distance Coordinator
I always put the main emphasis on mileage and building strength. I think that is the most important part of the summer for sure. It’s great to do workouts over the summer but it’s a long season and I think there should be more focus on getting strong enough to get though the season, the speed will come eventually. — Andrew Quaal, (former) MRun Training Chair
For us, the main emphasis on summer training is sprinting mechanics and fundamentals. Our athletes should know what attacking back, low heel recovery, dorsi flexion, etc. mean and how to apply them. It can be difficult to teach these things in season given the time constraints of club compared to varsity, which creates many challenges because they are so important. Good mechanics are vital to all our athletes, as they will generate faster times and prevent injuries. — Rose Fotino, Tufts Sprint/Power Captain
My main emphasis for summer training is to provide necessary workouts and training plans to members of our club who want to train for XC next Fall. — Woodrow Murray, IU Running Club Distance Captain
2) What’s the goal?
We lost a few of our top dawgs for XC. Last year our top 2 were Dylan Parker (25:24) and Michael Trombetta (26:03) who both graduated. That being said, we had many freshman, so we are hoping that with another year of training under our belts and some more experience in racing 8k’s, we will be able to make the Championship race at Nationals. Although overall, I want us to race like a team. Running can feel like an individual sport a lot of the time, but teams are successful when they can string a few guys likely their 3-5 who run within 10 seconds of each other. I would love to see our top 5 all under 28:00 (last year we had 3). — Kyle
There’s no real time goal this season. I just wanna win the most races as possible as a team and an individual. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder after last season’s nats and I think we all wanna push ourselves this season. — Andrew
Overall, the main goal for our sprinters is just continue developing as a part of our club. I want to continue to generate interest from all skill and commitment levels, which is why our existing sprinters becoming more knowledgeable over the summer is so important. We will be more equipped to make new members feel included and have a home if we can all become effective team leaders. This past season, we were also the only freshman/sophomore group in TURC. There is plenty of room for us in terms of improvement, growth, and visibility. — Rose
My goal is to help runners in our club reach the goals that they set for themselves. At the start of the summer, I sent out a survey so our runners can set their own goals for the upcoming season. Later in the summer, we may also do some Zoom meetings to check in on how training is going for everyone, and I think this will be a good way to keep in touch and check in on everyone’s progress. — Woodrow
3) How can people best set themselves up for success in the fall over the summer?
My personal belief is that a good fall comes from a consistent summer. Summer running in Michigan, although beautiful, is extremely muggy and hot. Getting yourself out the door 5-7 days a week to get your mileage in will you apart from the many runners who sit comfortably in the air conditioning. Long-distance running is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, being consistent throughout the whole summer is absolutely key. Additionally, throwing in some lifting, cross-training, rolling, and stretching can significantly reduce injury risk, and it is very hard to have a successful fall when you’re battling an injury. — Kyle
Number one tip is to listen to your body. Like I said before, it’s a long season and you wanna make it through the whole way. If you need a down week, don’t be afraid to take one. Your body needs what it needs. — Andrew
I find the easiest way to generate success is to be coachable to yourself. Because of the club atmosphere, we are our own coaches and must be willing to learn from one another. Doing your own research is crucial to personal growth as a track and field athlete. There are so many helpful guides online that explain mechanics, drills, and analyze athletes of all levels. Engaging oneself with these resources will increase your understanding and love of this sport exponentially. — Rose
I think that establishing a consistent summer training routine is the best way to set yourself [up] for success in the fall. Especially with club running, summer training is very individual and does not have much of a team aspect, which can be a difficult adjustment for people coming out of high school. In addition, I think doing necessary stretching, core, and strength is very important to avoid injuries, as well as pacing yourself and not adding on mileage too quickly. Our club is not very large, and for our small group who is going to train over the summer I will do my best to keep in touch with everyone and get our group excited and ready for next fall! — Woodrow
Now go out and run some miles!
Thanks for reading, and good luck out there. And, again, keep your eyes peeled. As far as those big things coming, here’s a little hint:
Congratulations, by the way