The Most Important Coaching Tool - Planning your Season By Charlotte Lettis Richardson
This week we will talk about workouts that are specific for pre-season, pre-competition, main competition, and championship competition. The WRCC will help you look at your season as a whole, and then use your season goals to break it down into manageable phases, planning the right workouts at the right time!
"When I was a competitive runner, I was impressed by the coaches who had a plan. They knew what workouts to give me exactly when I needed them. As I became more experienced as an athlete, and then as a young coach, I began to decipher the “magical” talent some coaches had. I saw that each year should be broken up into segments that addressed the type of training needed for cross country, indoor and outdoor track. I saw the focus and planning that went into each competitive season. And within each season, I understood how it was broken into phases that addressed the workouts needed to make me run my very fastest in the championship races. It was a series of building blocks. Each phase build upon the one before it, finally reaching the championship part of the season." -Coach Charlotte Lettis Richardson
One of the most important tools you have as a coach is the pre-planning of your season. This tool will give you a road map to follow to achieve your training and racing goals for your XC season. As you head into this season you need to ask yourself several important questions. What are my goals for training and racing for the team? What kind of athletes do I have on my team? Where do I want to be at the end of the season? And finally, how do I get there? You will then be ready to make a Plan or Periodization Chart that will map out your season ahead.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for a coach to decide on a workout as she or he steps onto the field. It is also not unusual for coaches to repeat the same workouts over and over again throughout the season without building in any progression. Some experienced coaches have a workout template they use every year, only changing the dates for the new year. But to get the most out of your season, it is important to take into consideration the athletes you have, the races you will run, and the many workouts opportunities you have available. Learn all there is to know about the multitude of brilliant methods and philosophies. Incorporate them into your training bag of tricks. Take the time to look at the ideas and methods other coaches are using. See if they might help you reach you coaching goals for your cross country season.
(Books to inspire - Training for Young Distance Runners by Larry Greene and Russell Pate, Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton, Daniel's Running Formula by Jack Daniels, Running to the Topby Arthur Lydiard, The Bowerman System by Chris Walsh (Out of Print but try and find!), Joan Benoit Samuelson's Running for Women by Joan Benoit Samuelson and Gloria Averbuch)
When I was a competitive runner, I was impressed by the coaches who had a plan.They knew what workouts to give me exactly when I needed them. As I became more experienced as an athlete, and then as a young coach, I began to decipher the “magical” talent some coaches had. I saw that each year should be broken up into segments that addressed the type of training needed for cross country, indoor and outdoor track. I saw the focus and planning that went into each competitive season. And within each season, I understood how it was broken into phases that addressed the workouts needed to make me run my very fastest in the championship races. It was a series of building blocks. Each phase build upon the one before it, finally reaching the championship part of the season.
What the WRCC would like to do is help you look at your season as a whole. From there, break it down into manageable parts that focus on what workouts need to be completed when, and understanding why.
Below is a very basic chart that puts a season into four basic phases. Pre-Season/Summer, Pre-Competition, Early Competition, and Main Competition. Other phases can be added depending on your needs (Post Season, Recovery, etc). It is for you as a coach to create a plan that will help you to see the season as a whole, and then break it down into parts that focus on specific types of training for each phase. This visual aid is helpful to your assistant coaches, and your athletes, especially your varsity athletes. It helps them understand why you are asking them to to do certain workouts at specific times.Once you have put your season into a chart, you can then begin to break each phase into weeks, individual workouts, and races.
I have used a fictional team to help you understand this process. Remember you will customize your Plan or Periodization Chart for your use and your team. By knowing your goals for each phase of the season and putting in each of the races your team will participate in, you have a training map of how to plan your season. It is quite simple!
Name of your School ________________________________Year________
Focus-Mileage Build Focus- Focus- Focus-Sharpening. Up-10-15% per Conditioning Conditioning, Long intervals @ race week, longer longer mixture of pace, quicker hills, tempo runs in intervals, hills, race medium & long intervals-over speed, August, longer tactics, tempo intervals, hills-a hills with a race intervals. Core and runs & intervals, mixture of long focus. strength work 3 x's some race pace and short per week. Team intervals of 400- building. 800m
Strength, core, Strength, core Strength, Core, flexibility flexibility, balance! flexibility, balance! flexibility, core, balance, strength- (Running is a one balance! maintenance leg at a time sport)
Events and Clinics- Team camp, Race tactics, Goal setting for Race practice for fundraising racing skills races, how to race District and State discussions. discussions Goal setting for season
Possible fitness mile? See where kids are at? Also be able to put them into more accurate groups - Daniels Running Formula
RACES- RACES- 9/7 - Lydiard Invite 10/4 - Decker Classic 9/14 - Daniels XC 10/12 - University Challenge 0f Bowerman XC Classic 9/17 - Training wk. 10/17 - XC Relays 9/28 - Coos Bay 10/25 - District Invite Championships 11/3 - State Champs.
Once you have your season broken into phases, like above, it is easy to begin to plan the workouts for each week.
Here is an example -We are looking at the #2 Phase - Pre-Competition of the Plan or Periodization Chart and week #1 of the 3 weeks.
Phase # 2 - Pre-Competition Focus is on conditioning, longer intervals for endurance and strength, hills, starting to talk about racing tactics and skills, tempo runs, and some race pace intervals of medium length (400 - 800)
Week 1 - August 13 - August 19 Monday - 8/13 Medium Run (MR) of 30 - 45 minutes with Dynamic Warm up (DWU) and 4 - 6 X 100 meter strides at the end. Strength and core
Tuesday - 8/14 Normal stretching and warm up. 10 minute warm-up for all 1 - 2 sets of (4,3,2,1 minutes) (4 minutes @ 80 - 85% effort, recovery 2 minutes, 3 minutes at 85% effort w/ 2 minute recovery, 2 minutes at 85-90 % effort with 1 minute recovery, 1 minute quick and smooth) 2 minutes recovery. Do same for 2nd set. Cool down 10 minutes. 4 X 150 meter strides. JV and younger runners should do less according to their fitness and ability.
Wednesday - 8/15 Recovery Run (You can carry on a conversation!) of 25- 50 minutes depending on fitness level Strength and core
Thursday - 8/16 Normal stretching and warm up. Jog another 5 - 8 minutes. On a measured loop do some version of the following depending on fitness level 2 X 1200 meters with each 400 progressively faster (tempo to 5K race pace (RP), 3 minutes active recovery between 1200’s, 1 X 800 @ 5K RP (Date Pace - DP), 2 minutes recovery, 2 X 400 quick and smooth with 2 minutes between.
Friday - 8/17 Easy Medium Run (MR) of 30 - 45 minutes 4 X 200 meter strides working on form (on grass if possible) Strength and Core work Game or some sort of team building
Saturday - 8/18 Long Run (LR) - EASY Everyone try and go 5 - 10 minutes more than last Saturdays LR 45 - 70 minutes Foam Roll and Stretching
Sunday - 8/19 OFF One day off each week is important for recovery, both physical and mental
A Pre Race Warmup for Cross Country Thank you to everyone for this list! I have "stolen" my ideas from colleagues, PT's athletes, and trainers! Thank you! Charlotte Lettis Richardson
Athletes - Make sure you know the start time of your race. Work backwards about 45 - 60 minutes to begin your warm up. Warm up with a 10 - 15 minutes easy jog. Find a flat, open surface (if possible) for your Dynamic Exercises. Mark out about 30 meters. Begin with the slower dynamic exercises and finish with the more active dynamic exercises.
Dynamic Warm up - 30 meters In and out feet - (Feet and toes inward and gently reach down to touch toes, walk a few steps, feet and toes outward and gently reach down to touch your toes.) Toe walks Heel walks Hamstring Stretch - (gently pull your knee towards your chest, grabbing hold behind the knee and lifting up) Quad Stretch - (keep the foot flexed and grab your ankle behind your back. Keep thigh aligned with the hip) Hip flexor stretch - (James Bonds) Over and Under Hurdles - (Imagine your self a mime! Step over the hurdle and duck under the hurdle) Runners Touch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-SoCqdR1x8 Prisoner Walks - Hands behind your head, back straight and tall, lift knee up and down, lift same knee to the side and down. Take a few steps and do the other side. Karaoke or grapevine - Arms out to side wide, right leg goes behind left leg and then behind right leg. Stay facing the same direction and come back - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euYH7H-I76c "A" Skip and "B" Skip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFGw5pTcUl4 4 - 6 x 75 meter Progressive Strides
Time your warm up to finish the strides right as they call you to the starting line! Have fun and run fast!
"We’ve read the alarming statistics on children's inactivity; so how do we encourage participation in something other than a screen? Cross Country is the perfect activity for runners of all abilities. If we build a Cross Country team and get them to join, how do we encourage a team atmosphere for these young runners? How do we get them to like the sport we love? How do we keep them coming to practice and races? And how do we encourage parents to help their kids learn and love the discipline our sport demands?"
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