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2012 Dunwoody High School Cross Country

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A Cross Country Primer
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About Cross Country

Cross country is a sport with an international following and an annual world championship. In the United States, males and females compete at the high school, college, and open levels. Dunwoody High School (DHS) has a large, active, successful team with members who range from social runners to those who are competitive at the state level.

 

Meets

The DHS Cross Country team competes in regional, county, state, and invitational meets. County meets have races at two distances: three miles and two miles. Boys and girls race separately at both distances. The three-mile race is the Varsity distance and the two-mile race is Junior Varsity. The coaches decide in which race an athlete will compete.

In scored races, teams are usually composed of seven scoring athletes (seven each in the varsity girls and boys, and JV girls and boys races) though in some meets additional non-scoring runners may run.

 

Scoring

Cross Country is a team sport and team placement is based on a lowest point score wins system. For a team, each of their top five runners is awarded points for the place they finished the race. That is, first place is one point; second place is two points… A sample race scoring sheet with three teams is below.

 

 

Red

White

Blue

Runner 1

3

1

5

Runner 2

4

2

8

Runner 3

6

7

9

Runner 4

12

14

10

Runner 5

13

15

11

Total

38

39

43

 

In this example, the Red Team wins the race because they have the lowest total points. This is despite the fact that the white team had runners that came in 1st and 2nd overall. The Red Team’s third through fifth runners placed ahead of the White Team’s corresponding runners which made up the difference. In cross country, a team’s fifth runner can make or break the team’s results!

 

Spectating

Don’t be late for a cross country meet! Races take less than 30 minutes and the start, with the thundering herd of all starters, and finish, with runners straining for their place, are very exciting. Some courses have loops that allow you to see runners at various points during the race. Be sure to cheer all of the Dunwoody runners on, but don’t run alongside your runner (which can lead to disqualification).

Also note, all County and some other races have admission fees, typically around $5, which all non-runners must pay.

 

Cross Country Vocabulary

 

Cross Country is often abbreviated XC or CC.

 

Cross Country differs from Track which is run exclusively on a track and also includes non-running field events. Our Track season begins in January and Cross Country runners are encouraged to participate. Our Wildcat Track Team is coached by Brad Hendrickson and Jeff Beinke. The DHS Track team has won back to back Region Titles.

 

A PR stands for personal record. That is the best time a runner has personally run that distance. Overall PR’s are important to each runner and is a way to gauge progress. Course PR’s are also meaningful since some courses are much slower than others (based on difficulty of the terrain, etc).

 

Pace is the average time it takes to run a mile of your race. Race pace is usually faster than training pace (see below).

 

5k stands for five kilometers which is approximately equal to 3.1 miles.

 

Training Terms

 

Edited from http://www.time-to-run.com/training/articles/blocks.htm

 

Fartlek

Derived from the Swedish term that means ‘Speed Play’, fartlek can provide an excellent endurance and strength session, as well as help improve your speed and race awareness. Fart=speed and lek=play. The use of 'fartlek' came about to provide a less structured approach to that of interval training. Its origins and use were developed in the 1930's. Whereas, in interval training the structure prescribes a given distance run in a given time with a given rest, fartlek's approach is to have you run at a given time, 2 minutes for example over undulating terrain or flat wherever your run may take you. The effort prescribed can be at 10k race pace to whatever speed you wish to make your effort. The rest in between is normally at an easy pace to allow recovery before the next effort.

 

Tempo Runs

This is hands-down the least complicated variety of speedwork. There are no distances to keep track of, no split times to remember, no hassles. All you have to do is run faster than your usual training pace, somewhere right around your 10K race pace. Unlike most speedwork which consists of relatively short bursts of high effort, tempo runs call for a single sustained effort. The result is that your body learns race economy: running at a fast pace for relatively long periods of time. Tempo runs will give your articles speed a boost, too. By running nearly at race pace, your body becomes accustomed to running close to its upper limit (though not exceeding it). In doing so, you actually increase that upper limit, and you become gradually faster.

 

Intervals (also known as 200’s. 400’s)

The track. Any runner at any level can improve his or her performance with a little help from the 400-meter oval. This is what intervals are about. Interval sessions are the most formal of speed workouts in that the distances and target paces are precisely fixed before you run. The idea is to run a series of relatively short repetitions over distances from 200m to 1600m, with rest periods of slower running in between. Because of their very nature, intervals involve a shorter period of effort than your usual run of, say, 45 minutes at a steady pace. This allows you to run much faster than you usually do, adapting your body to higher demands and your leg muscles to faster turnover. Over time, you become more physiologically efficient.

 

The Long Run

The long run, like the name says, is a distance run that is the longest an individual runs in a week. The distance varies by individual and schedule. It is the essential foundation for building and maintaining stamina, the ability to run for a prolonged period without getting out of breath or suffering from muscle fatigue.

 

Hills

For many runners, hills spell trouble. Fortunately, much of that sentiment is more in their heads than their legs. Running hills is an acquired skill, and a little practice can give runners the confidence to overcome their hill phobia and make peace with the dreaded incline. And not least, a consistent regimen of hill workouts goes far to build leg and cardiovascular strength.

The rather obvious benefit of hill workouts is that they make you better at running hills. Even better, you will see benefits on the flats, too. The muscle groups you use to overcome hills are virtually the same as those you use for sprinting, so hillwork enhances your speed. This strengthening effect is supplemented by the fact that hill workouts help increase both the frequency and length of your stride -- you get even faster.

 

Easy or Recovery Run

A workout meant to let the body recover while providing a training benefit. Easy runs are usually done after a race or hard work out or as part of Race Prep (below).

 

Race Prep

An easy run combined with strides the day before a race.

 

Strides

http://www.runquick.com/corcorn/strides.html

WHAT ARE STRIDES? Strides (or striders or strideouts) are short, fast runs of between 50 and 200 meters. They are run at a "comfortable sprint" pace (i.e. as fast as you can go without tying up and losing good form.) A typical Strides Session might be 10 x 100m following a 30 minute easy run.

WHO SHOULD DO STRIDES? All distance racers, from milers to marathoners, should incorporate Strides into their training program on a year round basis. However, as a general rule, they are more important for shorter distance runners.

WHY DO I NEED TO DO STRIDES? Strides help you in at least three ways:

         Improved leg speed - to run fast, you gotta run fast

         Improved flexibility and coordination - faster running puts your legs through a more complete range of motion; quicker leg turnover forces you to coordinate your movements to prevent tripping or stumbling

         Improved running economy - training your muscles to run fast and relaxed over a short distance should translate into faster, relaxed running at longer distances.