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HARE AND HOUNDS XC INVITATIONAL!

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

INTRO TO THE RACE:


On September 16th and 17th 2022, the Hare and Hounds XC Invitational was hosted at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC. McAlpine Park is a very popular cross country course in the state of North Carolina and the Southeast, hosting many state and regional cross country events.


The Hare and Hounds XC Invitational has races from 2k to the 5k, ranging from elementary to high school. One of the things that make this an interesting event is that all of the elementary kids race together in one group. The elementary age kids race the 2k at this event, which is a very fast course because it does not go over the one main hill that the 3k-5k races go over. In the boys 2k race there was 40 kids competing.


All three of the Herrington boys, because all the elementary boys race together, got to be in the same race; Elijah (10 years old), Everett (8 years old), and Jude (6 years old). Also, this was Jude's first official cross country race and the start to his first cross country season. This is the second season of cross country for Elijah and Everett.



All 3 brothers after the race!

TRAINING BEFORE THE RACE:


As the first cross country race of the season all 3 boys had about 4.5 weeks of training leading into this race. We have designed the training to be progressive throughout the Fall, so the boys were very much in a building stage leading into this race. The goal of the Fall training block is that the boys peak and get faster as cross country nationals approach in early December. The progression of the training throughout the Fall will be strength, endurance, and speed.


In the 4 weeks leading into this race the older boys ran 19 miles, 24 miles, 31 miles, and 23 miles the week of the race. Jude who is 6 ran a little less throughout the 4 weeks. The goal of these first 4 weeks of training was to build up to 31 miles in weekly volume, which will be the max weekly volume during cross country season. Another goal of these 4 weeks was to start building strength at just below tempo pace, which is much slower than goal race pace for the season, and to begin to work on speed and running efficiency by doing "faster than race pace" workouts.


The key workout each Saturday of these 4 weeks was a 3 mile "up tempo" workout where the older boys ran 3 miles continuously at just below tempo pace. Jude ran 2x1 mile instead of the 3 miles continuous. The older boys averaged around 7:30 pace for these 3 mile "up tempo" runs. During the week, for each of the 4 weeks, we did a speed maintenance day where we did some 20 and 30 second pickups during a continuous run with a focus on running efficiency. We also did a full workout during the week where we rotated between moderate hill repeats one week and 200's another week, all at faster than goal race pace. These 4 weeks of training went smoothly and they were able to build to 31 miles the week before the race.


HOW THE RACE PLAYED OUT:


For the older boys the biggest strength they have is their endurance. Yes we are counting to work on speed, but compared to most kids their ages they have a pretty good mileage and running base. For this reason we have learned that they run best when they run from the front. While this can be a risky way to run, their goal is to try to keep the other runners pushing the pace from the beginning of the race so that they run out of the energy it requires for a big kick at the end.


Within 50 yards of the start of the race Elijah (10 years old) was in the front and Everett (8 years old) was close behind in second place. This is how they raced the 1500m in track season and it worked well for them. Jude was somewhere in the middle of the pack. Elijah pushed the pace from the front all the way down the first straightaway before the course turns around and goes through the woods heading back towards the finish line. When I saw them about half way through the course in the woods section both boys were still in first and second and Elijah was continuing to push the pace. Everett looked smooth and strong in second place.


Eli leading the race

Everett in second

As the boys headed to the finish Eli added to his lead and Everett remained in second place. Eli did a great job in this race holding the same pace throughout the race. Eli finished the 2k race in first place in a time of 7:38 which is a pace of 6:08 per mile and 3:49 per kilometer. The goal race pace for the season, and what we are designing workouts around, is 3:40 per kilometer for a 3k race, which is a 5:54 per mile pace. Eli's age group (9 and 10 boys) normally race the 3k. This would put Eli in contention for a high spot at nationals at the end of the season.


Eli finishing first (Everett right behind him)

Everett also had a great race, remaining in second place pretty much wire to wire. Unlike Eli, Everett came in to the finishing straight with two boys close behind him. But coming around the last corner Everett began to accelerate and had a great kick to finish. Last year Everett raced the 2k at nationals and placed high enough to finish as an all-American. This year he will be racing the 3k throughout the season along with Eli in the 9 and 10 boys (even though he does not turn 9 until the end of the year). Eli and Everett and are at a similar level, while Eli is a little stronger aerobically and Everett has a little more natural speed. It will be fun to see how they will do throughout the season and leading up to nationals.


Everett finished the race in a time of 7:43 for 2k which is 6:12 per mile and 3:52 per kilometer. Everett also has a goal pace for the season of 3:40 per kilometer for the 3k so this was a great start to the season but we still have a ways to go in terms of fitness and speed.


Everett finishing second

It was a little harder to track Jude during the race because he was in a large pack of kids. Ultimately Jude finished in 20th place out of 40 boys in a time of 9:04 for 2k which is a 7:17 pace and a pace of 4:32 per kilometer. This was a great race for Jude as his very first cross country race. Jude's goals for the season are to gain experience racing and add to his mileage volume. He hopes to finish well at AAU nationals where he will run the 1k for cross country.


Jude at the finish

Ultimately all 3 boys had a great race. The older boys ran really great for it being the beginning of the season and Jude competed well with it being his first cross country race, not to mention the number of older kids in the race that he beat. Our training this season will slowly build towards cross country nationals as we focus on endurance and strength before we focus on speed towards the end of the season.


Coach Bobby with the boys
Proud mom with her 3 boys

This was a great start to the 2022 cross country season. The big takeaway for the older boys is that running a full season of track helped tremendously with their running efficiency going into cross country and they are stronger than ever. Jude is positioned to continue to build mileage and get experience racing. The boys will run 4 more races leading into the cross country nationals in early December 2022. Lets hope for more strong finishes and some PR's!


*205 Endurance is about the belief and mindset that ANYBODY can do ANYTHING they set their mind to. The mission of 205 Endurance is to help you achieve what you never thought possible through endurance coaching. We offer cross country coaching, marathon coaching, and ultra marathon coaching. If you have any questions or want to inquire about coaching feel free to reach out to coach Bobby here.

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