Fall Cross Country season is in full swing for all three of the Herrington boys and the 205 Endurance crew! In this series of blog posts we want to write about the journey throughout the Fall season on our way to AAU Cross Country Nationals in Knoxville, TN at the beginning of December. For this specific post we want to get into the training philosophy for the Fall training block.
For Elijah (10 years old), Everett (8 years old), and Jude (6 years old) the Fall training block is primarily about three things.
1) Base Mileage:
For Elijah and Everett they have built up to 30+ miles a week and plan to hold that throughout the Fall season. We are training for long term fitness NOT just one good season of running. Distance running is all about increasing mileage over time without injury. This is how one really becomes a better runner in the long term. So in each training block adding consistent mileage without injury is the ultimate goal. Although Elijah and Everett are only 10 and 8 they have slowly built up to this mileage base over time, so for them running 30 miles a week is not a stretch at all. For Cross Country season they basically run 5 miles a day six days a week with Sunday's off. For Jude, since he does not have the same running base, his schedule is the same but he only runs about 20 miles per week. On some of the easy days for the older boys Jude will ride his bike instead of run. Thus far the boys have basically run injury-free.
Here is a typical week of traIning early in the Fall season:
Monday: 5 miles at recovery pace
Tuesday: 2 mile warm up, 8x300m slight hill repeats, 1 mile cool down
Wednesday: 5 miles at recovery pace
Thursday: 5 miles with 10x30 second pickups
Friday: 5 miles at recovery pace
Saturday: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at up-tempo pace, 1 mile cool down
Sunday: off day
TOTAL: around 31 miles running with 3ish workouts
The second goal for the Fall training block is fitness. When we say fitness this is about efficiency while running at threshold pace (pace you could only run for an hour all out). Next to running volume, fitness is the most important component of building a strong engine to run fast and strong. Many times in training it seems like people can skip this stage of tempo and threshold workouts and move straight to very fast running efficiency stuff. While high-end anaerobic stuff is important, overall fitness is more important in the long term. To really build fitness we have at least one workout per week that is a longer workout at up-tempo, tempo, or 10k paces. These paces are basically between 10k and half marathon paces. These type of workouts really help build the power of the running engine. These workouts also build up the boys running confidence. Being able to do workouts that are 3 miles when their race distances for the season are only 3k for the older boys (1.8 miles) and 2k for Jude (1.2 miles) gives them a lot of confidence when it comes to racing and the ability to push the pace for the whole race.
Here are some example workouts to build threshold fitness:
3 miles at up-tempo pace
3 mile fartlek (3 on/3 off) at 10k pace
3 miles of 1k reps at 10k pace
*Jude does shorter versions of these workouts
3) Speed and Running Efficiency:
As the Fall Cross Country season moves into November the workouts begin to focus on speed, running efficiency, and race pace efforts. Speed is something that can really be added to running fitness and strength which is why the focus on running efficiency becomes more important as the season goes on. The boys will continue to have tempo-ish workouts once a week but will also have two other workouts each week that are at race pace (3k pace and 2k pace) and also faster than race pace. Speed can be gained and lost a lot quicker than fitness and strength, which is why it is so important to focus on speed as the more important races get closer. When training speed, not only do we want to get really efficient at race pace as nationals get closer, we also want to gain some running efficiency at faster than race pace efforts, that way race pace feels smoother and easier.
Here are some speed and efficiency workouts we are doing this season:
In the next blog post in this series we will walk through the race schedule for the Fall Cross Country season leading up to nationals and how the training is built around a series of races.
*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.