This is Saturday, August 12, 2023.
Let’s be ballpark frank, as a few of my buddies say.
If you want to race well, you need to race often.
During my high school racing, I raced 9 times in the fall and 14-16 times in the spring.
In college, I raced 6-8 times in the fall, 6 times in the winter, 9-12 times in the spring and 4-6 times in the summer.
During winter and summer in college, I ran mileage and raced 2 miles 5 times, a 5k once on the track, and perhaps 3 road races. In track, I would do 2 miles, 3k, then 10k on roads and 3-4 10ks on track, and 10ks on roads. I would begin with hilly races prior to XC and use my 2-mile speed to help me build into racing during cross country and track.
Post collegiately, I raced from 2 miles to marathon, with most races from 2 miles to 10k, a couple of half marathons, and one marathon a year. I found that longer races (one in summer) and one in fall, with a marathon ending the season.
Here are a couple of fun facts. I found that taking a couple of weeks off after a marathon and running a flat 10k would produce the fastest times of the year. No marathons for high schoolers, and college athletes should stay away too.
For your workout today, warm up a couple of miles, race 2 miles to 5k flat or a 6-8k hilly, do a 30-minute cooldown, and hydrate.
Oh yes, note the picture! European U 23s, 400-meter runners, and 400m hurdlers get many benefits from running cross country. We also had our 6300-point decathlete run cross country in junior college.