Many athletes find they can only attend a small portion of summer training for cross country due to family vacations, camps, other sports, jobs, and family obligations. Since they miss out on so much of the important base building, here is a look at some of the training that athletes have used to excel in the off-season and prepare for a great cross country season!
High School Boys
Many freshmen come into the summer off-season having run middle school track or club track. If that is the case, most athletes are looking at a starting point of 20-25 miles per week during the month of June, 25-30 miles per week during the month of July, and a peak at about 30-35 miles per week in early August. A typical week often looks like this:
Monday: recovery mileage (starts at 4 miles, ends at 6 miles by the beginning of XC)
Tuesday: recovery mileage or workout (starts at 5 miles, ends at 6-7 miles including the warmup and cooldown)
Wednesday: recovery mileage (3-6 miles)
Thursday: recovery mileage or workout (4-7 miles)
Friday: recovery mileage/easy run (4-5 miles or cross training)
Saturday long run (starts at 6 miles, ends at 8 or possibly 9 miles)
Body weight training, core, and hip strength are also a great piece to add in for overall strength improvement.
If the incoming freshmen are brand new to running, they may start with lower miles around 10-15 miles per week and ending at 25-30 miles per week by the start of the season. This is similar for any newcomer with very little running background.
Returning sophomores who ran track will often start the summer off-season around 22-28 miles per week and try to get up to 35-40 miles, some maybe approaching the 45 mile range if they have a running background. With the same kind of weekly setup as the freshmen, the biggest difference is added mileage each day, including on the warmups and cooldowns for workouts. Recovery runs will often be in the 5-6 mile range and workout days will be in the 6-8 mile range by the end of the summer. The long run will generally start at 7 or 8 miles and end around 10 miles depending on the ability of the athlete. They may also be able to handle a little more weight training than incoming freshmen.