UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA SUMMER TRAINING PROGRAM
You are about to start a training program that is probably different than what you are accustomed to using. It is not necessarily better than the one you are used to, but it is one that has proven very successful for our runners. To get the maximum benefit from this program, it is important that you follow it the way it is designed. I know that you are probably very excited about getting started with your collegiate running. However, it is important that you follow the program the way it is written. It is designed to gradually prepare you. If you follow it faithfully, you will come to school in August ready to race and, more importantly, ready for the type of training we will do during cross-country season. If you follow it the way it is written, you will also be less likely to suffer any injuries that could get in the way of a successful cross country season.
One of the features of this program that may be very different from what you are used to is that it is based on 4-day training cycles. We have had excellent success using 4-day training cycles during the summer training period. Four-day cycles allow us to have quality workouts and still build in plenty of recovery days. Typically, every 4th day in a four-day cycle is an OFF day from running. I know what you are probably thinking I can get more training in if I dont take off day every 4th day. You may be correct, but the question is whether or not you can get as much quality training in and I think the answer is no. We stress quality of training over quantity of training and this means you will need more rest than you might get in some other programs. When you see an OFF day on your schedule, it means just that OFF. That means no running on that day. However, if you want to do some alternate form of training such as biking, swimming, deep water running, etc. that is fine. You can still get in work that will help you develop cardiovascular fitness and still allow you to recover for the next quality workout.
A typical four-day cycle looks like this:
Day 1 Quality workout
Day 2 Quality workout
Day 3 Recovery workout
Day 4 OFF
The summer program is divided into several phases. Each phase has different training goals, which build upon those achieved in the previous phases. If you achieve the intended goals of each phase, it will be easier to reach the goals of the next phase. If you do not achieve the goals of a particular phase, it will be more difficult to achieve the goals of the next phase. As you go through the various phases, keep in mind the long-term goals we have to win the Gulf South Conference Cross Country Championship and to compete for the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship and earn a trip to Nationals. This summer program is a key element in our attempt to meet these long-term goals.
The goals of this phase are:
- to re-introduce your body to consistent training
- to prepare your ligaments, tendons and muscles for the work ahead
There are two major ideas to keep in mind during Phase I. The first is consistency
and the second is moderation. Consistency refers to regular training trying to train on all days that are scheduled. Moderation means gradually increasing your workloads and not trying to do too much too soon. You have to be the judge of how gradually to increase your mileage and the speed of your runs. To achieve the maximum benefit from our program it is necessary to keep both consistency and moderation in mind.
One of the aspects of consistency I want you to keep in mind is that we are not stressing any specific paces for most of your training this summer. Dont get hung up on what exact paces you are running for your training. Just go on effort. Whatever seems comfortable, medium or hard for you is OK. We will put the clock on you when school starts. With the exception of your 2-mile time trial (Day 33) and your 4-mile time trial (Day 57), you should just use your watch to tell you how many minutes you have run. At this stage of your training there is no real urgency about hitting any particular pace. You have to learn to read your body and use it as a pace guide instead of your watch anyway, so it is a good idea to start doing that as early as possible.
At the end of the summer, you should be able to look back at what you have done and say something like, " I really had a very solid, consistent period of training" or "I really accomplished a lot during this training period".
Day 1 20-30 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 2 20-30 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 3 20-30 at a comfortable., steady pace
Day 4 OFF
Day 5 25-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 6 25-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 7 25-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 8 OFF
Day 9 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 10 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 11 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 12 OFF
Day 13 15 out at a comfortable pace and back in a little < 15
Day 14 40-45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 15 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 16 OFF
Day 17 18 out at a comfortable pace and back in a little < 18
Day 18 40-45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 19 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 20 OFF
Day 21 20 out at a comfortable pace and back in a little < 20
Day 22 45" at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 23 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 24 OFF
The goals of this Phase are:
- to gradually increase the pace of your running
- to gradually introduce changing paces into your runs
Up to now you have pretty much been doing just steady paced running with the
exception of the out and back runs on Days 13, 17 and 21. However, there will now be more frequent changes of pace within some of your runs. Cross-country running is characterized by frequent pace changes so it is important to get your body and your mind used to this tactic. Again, moderation and consistency are important. Dont forget about them as you get into Phase II.
Day 25 20 out at a comfortable pace and back in a little < 20
Day 26 30- 40at a comfortable pace with 1 pickups every 3-4
Day 27 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 28 OFF
Day 29 10 comfortable 10 medium 10 hard 10 comfortable
Day 30 5 easy 12 x 2 min medium/fast with 1 easy recoveries 5 easy
Day 31 30-35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 32 OFF
Day 33 10 easy - 2 mile time trial on grass/dirt if possible - 10 easy
Day 34 30-40 at a comfortable pace with 1 pickups every 3-4
Day 35 30- 35 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 36 OFF
Day 37 23 out at a comfortable pace and back in a little < 23
Day 38 4 miles at a hard, steady pace
Day 39 35-40 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 40 OFF
The goals of this phase are:
- to introduce hill work into your training
- to introduce long interval work into your training
Day 41 2 x 1 mile at a hard pace with 3 rest between each mile
Day 42 50- 55 at a steady pace
Day 43 40 45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 44 OFF
Day 45 10easy 10 hard 5easy 10medium 5 easy 5 hard 5 easy
Day 46 hill repeats on a long, not too steep hill for 20-30
Day 47 40-45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 48 OFF
Day 49 10 warm-up and run 6 hard and jog 3 easy repeating this 3 times
Day 50 50-55 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 51 40-45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 52 OFF
Day 53 run 6 miles with #s 1, 3, 5 easy and #s 2, 4, 6 hard
Day 54 hill repeats on your long hill for 20-30 at a harder pace than Day 46
Day 55 40-45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 56 OFF
Day 57 4 mile time trial on dirt or grass if possible
Day 58 55- 65 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 59 40- 45 at a comfortable, steady pace
Day 60 OFF
Depending on when you started your summer program, you may still have up to 2 weeks before school starts. We will have spoken on the phone by now and, if you have finished these 60 days of training, I will give you the next set of workouts. If you came close to finishing you are probably in good condition. If you havent come close to finishing, we may have to train you a little differently than those who come into the season in good condition. Just do your best and everything will turn out OK.
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON SUMMER TRAINING
150 meters, done at mile pace. Walk back to the start after each stride and take a couple of minutes rest after the first set of 3 strides, before you begin the second set. The object here is to simply maintain your track speed. The object is not to build endurance, so take lots of rest between each stride and between sets.
sit-ups, leg lifts, medicine ball sit-ups etc.) Use as many different exercises as you know throughout the summer. Also, be sure to do pushups on these days too. Use your imagination and make up patterns to follow such as: 1-short rest-2 sr-3-sr-4-sr-5-sr-4-sr-3-sr-2-sr-1. Challenge yourself to get as good as you can get at doing pushups. Work on pull-ups if you have a bar available.
SOME THOUGHTS ON WARMING-UP AND STRETCHING
I think it is important to realize the difference between stretching and warming-up. Stretching refers to lengthening of muscles, most often through what is called passive stretching. Passive stretching is what most of us have done when we sit and reach for our toes or any of the many stretches with which we are all familiar. The purpose of this type of stretching is to move the body toward a relaxed, restful state. Warming up, on the other hand, refers to a complex group of activities designed to prepare the total body for intense physical activity, such as racing or training. In order for the body to function optimally in racing or training, it must be prepared for the intense activity that will follow. Simple passive stretching does not adequately prepare the body for intense activity. It simply lengthens the muscles that are stretched and relaxes the bodys various systems.
Our theory of warm-up is to prepare the total body the muscles, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the orthopedic systems (the joints) for the activity that is to follow. Warm-up proceeds from a general to a more specific form, specific meaning more like the actual activity that is to follow (racing or training). This means that the warm-up activities get more and more similar to the actual event as the warm-up continues. Our warm-up procedure is as follows:
- An easy 7-10 jog to raise body temperature and make the tendons, ligaments and muscles more elastic and easier to stretch. Any passive stretches you wish to do.
- A set of mobility exercises designed to increase the range of motion of the various joints in the body. The intensity of these activities is a bit greater than that of the initial 7-10 jog and stretches and is more similar to that of the event which is to follow. Also, the more active parts of the mobility exercises also more closely model the movements the body will have to make during the race or training.
- A final 10-15 run, which gets faster and faster as the run goes on. The last 5 of the run should be at a pace that is close to that at which you will race or train. The object of this second run is to raise the heart rate to a level which approaches that which the runner will experience during the race or training run. Notice how this part of the warm-up is more similar to the actual event than the previous two parts.
- Some strides shortly before the race or training run. These strides should be at or even a bit faster than the pace at which you hope to run. Again, the activity is more similar to the actual event than the preceding activities.
- After the race or training run is completed, a cool down run of at least 10 should be taken. At this time, after the cool down run, it is appropriate to do the traditional passive stretching. The purpose of stretching at this point is twofold: (1) to lengthen the muscles, which have been shortened during the race or training and (2) to return the body to a rested, relaxed state which existed before the competition. Post race or post-training passive stretching should be of at least 10-15 duration.
Keeping the above information in mind, it makes sense for you to begin to try our system of warming-up as you get into your summer training. Use this warm-up system before Day 1 and Day 2 of each 4-day cycle. Day 3 is an easy, recovery day and the activity will not be as intense, so the body doesnt have to be prepared as vigorously. On Day 3 the regular warm-up, omitting the second run of 10-15, would be sufficient. On Day 4 it would be appropriate to do passive stretching, even if you dont run.
Read the material on Mobility Training "A" and make sure you understand it. If you have any questions, please call me and get them answered. Mobility training is important for a couple of reasons. For example, if you can increase the range of motion in your hip joints enough to increase your stride by just 1" you can improve your time significantly in any middle distance or distance race. Also, by having a standardized warm-up that you know by heart, you will have something to concentrate on before your races. This can be a big help in keeping any nervousness to a minimum.
It is never a problem for a runner to be strong. If everything else is equal, the stronger runner will be the better runner. Stronger runners are less likely to get injured and, therefore, will miss less training. Stronger runners will be able to be more economical in their running and, therefore, will be able to run longer at a given pace or run at a faster pace. Stronger runners will also be better able to deal with the collisions, both intentional and unintentional, that occur in racing. So, it is to your benefit to be as strong as you can.
Potential problems arise when runners work on increasing their strength. If care is not exercised, muscular hypertrophy can develop to a level that interferes with economy in running. There comes a point past which gains in strength yield smaller gains in performance because of the added weight of increased muscle mass. As a result, I encourage first year runners to work on increasing strength, employing exercises that use their own body weight, instead of barbells/dumbbells/machines. If a runner cannot handle his/her own body weight with simple exercises, they need "functional" strength more than anything else. There will be time later to move onto weight training.
So you should feel free to do as many pushups and pull-ups as you can during the summer. Do them in as many different ways as you can, using sets, pyramids, etc. Do the same with abdominal exercises. Crunches, sit-ups, medicine ball work etc. are all great. You CANNOT be too strong throughout the core section of your body. If you do lots of abdominal work, be sure to also do exercises to strengthen your lower back. The runners who have already been in our program will be doing this type of strength work almost daily during the summer, especially abdominal strengthening exercises. It is also a good time for you to begin developing this as part of your daily training ritual.
Study the CORE EXERCISES very carefully and begin doing those on a regular basis. They have really helped our runners in the past and I am confident the will also help you. Once again, this is the type of exercise that you cannot do too much! The strongest legs in the world are wasted if a runners trunk is too weak. So work on it.