We have a group of kids 12-18 at our club that are definitely not interested in running cross country.
They are mostly kids that do sprints and jumps during the summer with varying degrees of success.
This question is around what to do with them for the 5/6 months until the indoor season starts.
I have been trying to plan generic sessions for the next 3 months and what I've come up with is something along the lines of the following.
They train twice a week so a typical session could be
Gentle plyometrics - skipping, hurdle swings/hops/pops, bounding. etc - 15 mins.
Endurance running - 6 x 300 or 8 x 200 or 100,200,300,400,300,200,100 etc - 15 mins
Conditioning - circuit of pressups, situps, squats, planks etc - 15 mins.
Am I better off doing more Conditioning initially ? I also am conscious of trying to keep a bit of fun in the sessions. Any thoughts/feedback?
I think you are on the right track (no pun intended)
The types of sessions you are describing are more tempo endurance sessions which at this time of the year is one of the areas which does need to be addressed
There are other aspects which need to be covered such as strength endurance - for this some you are talking hills something along the lines of 6 x 150m with 4-5 min recovery
Regarding the plyometrics at this stage of the season should be done on grass to minimize injury risk also.
If you have access to indoors circuits are also a great conditioning workout which will benefit the athletes majorly. It also always comes across as more fun for athletes on the long dark winter nights and gives them chance to communicate somewhat and have a bit of banter.
Also 1 mile - 15 min fartlek for these athletes is not a bad idea just for some aerobic strength will stand to the sprinters in the 200-400 quite well. To keep people interested have athletes run single file and on whistle back athlete sprints to front and can dictate the pace and others must go as fast or as slow as this athlete goes. If you notice an athlete continually slowing the pace double whistle so you have two athletes racing to the front this also creates a bit of interest.
Another way to keep things interesting is to do the intervals via Parlauf method. Basically set up the athletes into teams at the 200m mark and 400m mark turn it into a relay where half the teams start at each of the starting marks (200m and 400m). By doing this every team always is working hard to try and catch the athletes which start at the alternative start points. This way the faster athletes have someone to chase and the slower athletes have someone chasing them down so they dont feel like they are last and ultimately people tend to forget who won or who lost but no one walks away too disheartened (unless they are way too hard on themselves)
These are just a few ideas off the top of my head
Yes I'd go with all of that. If you want to keep all of your group intact I'd just be wary of overdoing the Indian files and Parlaufs which can be very hard work and a turn off for some.
I'd also not totally neglect speedwork throughout the winter months.
If you've got access to medicine balls then these give you access to a lot more strength and conditioning ideas.
Cross Country footware
Juvenile Cross Country season is going to start. The AAI booklet says 'wear appropriate footware' ... what should an u12 wear for cross country race? Do they use the same 5mm spikes as for running on outdoor track? Is there any special feature needed if you are going to buy running shoes for cross country versus track? Any guidance is appreciated!
There are sprint spikes and middle distance spikes - sprint spikes have a harder sole, more upward bend in the toe area, and less cushioning
Cross country spikes are more like middle distance spikes - more cushioning, less rigid.
So it depends on the kind of track spikes you have, some are suitable for cross country, some aren't.
The length of nibs (the spike itself) you should use depends on the conditions. You can get 12mm for really mucky races, but 5-9mm will do for most days.
Kids who don't want to do XC in our club get told to drink some concrete milkshakes, and HTFU
We have a group totally devoted to T&F so we usually start back training near the end of Sept.
We try to build up there aerobic endurance in the first 2-3 weeks mixed with hurdle drills for hip mobility and maybe 1 circuit session per week.
We then go more event specific (throws, sprints/hurdles and jumps) so 1 or 2 coaches will take a group and work on that 1 session per week with 1 circuit session and 1 core session per week.
(Core stability work)
-Superman (opposite arm, opposite leg)
-Jackknife (swiss ball)
-Side to side (swiss ball)
(start with 3)
20seconds each exercise
2-3 mins rest between sets
Most of our athletes have their own foam roller so we might spend 10-15 mins each night for the first 2-3 weeks revising exercises learned from last year and encourage athletes to repeat same 2-3 times a week at home.
Would introduce speed sessions after Christmas and work on the technical side of there event once a week.
Thanks for all the info Ray Cun. The Wikipedia page was very helpful. So far my son seems to be favouring middle distance so will lean towards a pair that suit both that and Cross country. I am a lot more informed now so I think I will have a better idea what to be looking out for now. Great that you share your knowledge with us newbies!
I'm a newbie myself, running four years, first cross country two years ago, my kid's first cross country around the same time...
Have you considered them doing the indoor pentathlon. The secondary schools one is normally mid Sept for regions and end Sept for All-Irelands. But this year it has moved to mid Oct for regions and mid November for All Irelands. And the clubs one is normally January.
They could approach it as a fun event to learn some new stuff and maybe they will take a shine to some event they have not tried yet.
This thread was originally started 2years ago :-) but equally applicable now. Think it's good that schools CE are spread out a bit this winter, we'll definitely have a few competing. Thanks.