Cross country athletes get a running start

Training for races involves more than a jaunt around the block

Posted 8/14/17

Many cross country athletes have been running all summer, not merely since the official start of high school practice Aug. 14.

Tempo, progressive and recovery runs, interval sprints and core strengthening are some of the elements of cross country …

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Cross country athletes get a running start

Training for races involves more than a jaunt around the block

Posted

Many cross country athletes have been running all summer, not merely since the official start of high school practice Aug. 14.

Tempo, progressive and recovery runs, interval sprints and core strengthening are some of the elements of cross country practices as boys and girls athletes prepare for the state cross country championships Oct. 28 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

Mountain Vista’s boys and girls teams, both second at state last year in Class 5A, have been steady regional and state contenders in recent years under coach Jonathan Dalby.

“We meet five to six days a week at Vista for cross country practice, and some of our older athletes meet two to three mornings a week to get in an extra easy 30-minute run before school,” Dalby said. “Most afternoon practices involve flexibility and strength work along with the day’s run. On weekends, we like to do longer runs.

“We do not taper off a lot for early season runs. As we approach the more important races of the year like state and Nike Cross Nationals, we usually decrease both our mileage and intensity.”

Cherry Creek coach Ethan Dusto has the Bruins stress mileage and difficult workouts early.

“We push the intensity until late September, early October and then change focus,” he explained. “We focus on shorter, higher speed workouts. We also focus a lot more on the mental outlook of our athletes. By the end of the season, there isn’t any physical workout that is going to change anything. It’s all about where the athletes are mentally and what they believe they can accomplish.”

Practice workouts are dictated by the time of the season.

“As the season progresses, so do the workouts,” Castle View coach Laura Cook said. “We try to focus on more general fitness in the summer and in the start of the season and then work to more race-specific training later in the season.”

Running, as might be expected, is involved in most practice sessions.

“In any given week, our freshmen and new runners might total somewhere between 20 and 30 miles,” Dalby said. “Our oldest boys typically get all the way up to running 60 to 65 miles a week.”

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