Training Tips

Tom Heinonen has been coaching Cross Country since 1975


By  Tom Heinonen (posted 12/19/11)

Here are four holiday workout plans. Pick one…

a)   GENERAL PLAN for Maintenance Running:
…with no races in sight, a relaxing break:

–Run or do an Alternate Aerobic Activity (AAA) 5-6 days per week.
–AAA includes swimming, running in the water (Andrew), skating, cross country skiing (Frances), exercise machines (EFX, stairmaster, rowing machine…you name it!), canoeing, sea kayaking, aerobics, rollerblading, spinning, freeline skating.
–Run every day that it’s the obvious thing to do…do those other aerobic activities when the opportunity arises or the weather dictates.
–Exercise with a friend whenever you can…we all know that running by appointment makes the first step a lot easier!
–If you’re having trouble getting out the door, run right away in the morning, before breakfast. You’ll be glad you did!
–If you need variety…find different routes. Get someone to drive and drop you off, then you can do a one-way run back.
–Run errands. Change the speed of part of your run. Find some hills.
–If you actually have mileage goals, plan it out a little:
15-18 miles per week means you run 3 miles 5-6 times per week.
24-25 miles per week means 5 runs averaging 5 miles, or 6 runs averaging 4 miles.
39-40 miles per week means 8 miles per day if you run 5 times, 6.5 miles if you run 6 times.

* * * * *

b)  SPECIFIC PLAN for Maintenance Running:
…it’s easier to get out the door when someone tells you what to do, so do it!

Here’s a plan for 25 miles per week. (Double each day to maintain at 50 miles per week, or do 6 days and add an average of 3.5 miles per day. Split your runs into two-a-days if it’s easier for you.)

[Note:  this plan is for 2011, not 2010.]

Sat, Dec 10: 5 miles relaxed, thinking about three weeks without school
Sun, Dec 11: day off…complete rest unless you go shopping.
Mon, Dec 12: 4 miles including 6:00 brisk…finish with a half-dozen drills.
Tue, Dec 13: 6 miles with a friend…then demonstrate abs or planks.
Wed, Dec 14: 5 miles including 3 x 1:00 (1:00 per mile faster than usual)
Thur, Dec 15: AAA…do something fun and active…or go shopping again
Fri, Dec 16: 4 miles slow and easy…siteseeing!
Sat, Dec 17: 6 miles…with some hills or a little fartlek.
Sun, Dec 18: complete rest

Mon, Dec 19: 7 miles with a friend…or try a one-way run if you dare!
Tue, Dec 20: 4 miles including 2-3 hills.
Wed, Dec 21: 6 miles on a different course than usual…and 5:00 brisk. Drills too?
Thur, Dec 22: Take another day off. You deserve it!
Fri, Dec 23:   5 miles including 6 x 1:00 (lactate threshhold, i.e. tempo run pace) with 1:00 jogging between…after the run do some abdominals or planks.
Sat, Dec 24:  3 miles very relaxed…waiting for Santa…and shopping for stocking stuffers!
Sun, Dec 25:  Merry Christmas!  An afternoon walk…or something to get out-of-the-house.

Mon, Dec 26: 3 miles including 5 x 100m of relaxed striding along the way.
Tues, Dec 27:  4 miles, abs/planks/drills before breakfast..then take a nap or go to a movie.
Wed, Dec 28:  7 miles, mostly easy but when you’re well-warmed up, do 5:00 brisk (faster than your regular pace).
Thur, Dec 29:  Think about running, then take a nap or go to the drive-in.
Fri, Dec 30:   5 miles…abs? Drills?  What do you want to do with your running in 2011?
Sat, Dec 31:  6 miles including including 10-12 minute tempo. Calculate year’s mileage.
Sun, Jan 1:   Day off…or maybe a bonus run to start the year.

Mon, Jan 2:  Quick 5-miles before the Rose Bowl.  Ducks!
Tues, Jan 3:  Celebrate Oregon’s win with an easy 7-mile run.
Wed, Jan 4:  Go to a movie, then do some abs.
Thur, Jan 5:   5 miles including 5 x 1:00 (1:00 per mile faster than usual)
Fri, Jan 6:   short 3-mile run, then an AAA activity…snowshoeing?  Lawn mowing?
Sat, Jan 7:  5 mile run with a brisk 6:00 along the way.  Then pack!
Sun, Jan 8:  Take the day off…except for several hours in train, plane, bus or car.

That’s four 25-mile weeks!

* * * * *

c)  GENERAL PLAN for Mileage Buildup:
…for runners who have rested or decreased their running after cross country, and want to gradually increase their volume as preparation for races in the winter or spring:

Although it’s a long time until track meets outdoors, it’s fine to begin a mileage buildup now…as long as you realize that there will be 8-9 weeks during winter term before the first outdoor track meet.

I suggest a 5-mile per week increase from week to week during the four-week break…for example, 25-30-35-40 miles or 40-45-50-55 or 60-65-70-75.  Maybe this is too much!  You might do one “plateau” week or a “dropback”  week.

But, please, don’t be a slave to mileage! Mileage is the simplest way to measure your running but it isn’t the only way or the best way to measure how you’re doing. What about pace, heart rate, how you feel, how rested you are the next day? Or your heart rate when you wake up in the morning?

Look at these suggestions but adapt them to your setting and background:

–I suggest that you do 6 days per week of running if the local conditions allow it. If you want to train, but the weather is atrocious, do AAA as listed in plan a) above…and don’t try to make up the mileage.
–Do one longer run each week, say, 3-4 miles longer than any other day.
–Do two runs each week that have something extra…a short fartlek, hills, light repetitions, some tempo running or cruise intervals, cutdowns…these should be for variety more than to greatly improve your fitness.
–Do one really unique run each week…examples: one-way, errands, totally new route, with an old friend.
–Do two very easy runs each week.
–Remember, if you are able to do most of what you’ve planned, that’s good. Don’t rush it! –Split up your runs into two-a-days instead whenever you wish.
–Once school starts in January, there will be 8-9 weeks of training opportunity before outdoor track meets…five weeks until the Valentine road races and UW indoor.
–We will do some off-track reps in the last half of January and start training on the track in February.

* * * * *

d)  SPECIFIC PLAN for Mileage Buildup:
…day-to-day approach to plan c), following the suggestions…you don’t have to think!

Here’s a plan for 40-45-50-55 miles per week: [add 3-4 miles three times each week and you have cautious!] Do two-a-days anytime it works better for you.

Sat, Dec 10: 6 miles relaxed
Sun, Dec 11: AAA (see plan a, above) and enjoy it!  Do what you couldn’t do in Eugene.
Mon, Dec 12: 7 miles with 5 x 100m easy striding for fun…finish with drills you remember.
Tue, Dec 13: 5 miles with an old friend. or a dog.
Wed, Dec 14: 6 miles including 10-12 minutes brisk.
Thur, Dec 15: 5 miles really easy, then abs or planks
Fri, Dec 16: 7 miles including 5 x 2:00 (lactate threshold…tempo run pace) with 1:00 jog between.  Don’t go too fast!
Sat, Dec 17: Long run 10 miles, then think about stretching…or 2012 track season.
Sun, Dec 18: Day off.  Do something that does not resemble training.

Mon, Dec 19: 8 miles including the world’s easiest fartlek session…finish with a few drills.
Tue, Dec 20:  6 miles “nice and easy”, then 8:00 abs or planks.
Wed, Dec 21:  Go for a walk then make snow angels, rake leaves or build a sand castle.
Thur, Dec 22:   7 miles with a couple hills
Fri, Dec 23:  8 miles including 10 x 1:00 (10 km race pace) with 1:00 at steady-run pace between…more is okay.
Sat, Dec 24: In the morning, Do your week’s long run (11 miles), take a nap.  C’mon, Santa!
Sun, Dec 25: Happy Holiday!  5 miles easy or go skating, surfing, or sledding.

Mon, Dec 26: 7 miles…just float along. Try out your new shoes and do some abs or planks.
Tue, Dec 27:  8 miles including 5 x 2:00 (10km race pace or faster) with 2:00 jog-walk…pavement is okay.
Wed, Dec 28: 9 miles including two or three pickups, 4:00 each (just a little faster than your steady run pace)
Thur, Dec 29: AAA …hiking?  Nordic skiing?  Kayaking?  Inline skating?
Fri, Dec 30:   8 miles including a couple hills (no extra effort…just get over ‘em)…more is fine.
Sat, Dec 31: End the year with long run: 12 miles…New route? Favorite route?
Sun, Jan 1:  Sleep in, then ease through 6 miles pondering about your running in 2011. Try to guess how many miles you ran in 2011.

Mon, Jan 2:  9 miles with 2 x 6:00 at lactate threshold.  8:00 abs.  Rose Bowl, baby!
Tues, Jan 3:  Find a new route…jog 7 miles looking at scenery, enjoying Duck win.
Wed, Jan 4:  am — 4 miles dead-slow.  pm — 4 more miles frisky.
Thur, Jan 5:  Find some hills, enjoy them for 7 miles.
Fri, Jan 6:  Long run day!  Do 12 again…with a friend?
Sat, Jan 7:  Jog 8 miles including 6 x 100m strides, do some abs
Sun, Jan 8:  Do an early morning 4-miler and find your way back to Eugene.

That’s four buildup weeks…40-45-50-55 miles. Practice your arithmetic and adjust this to the numbers that fit your needs.  If it’s too much do a “plateau” week or a “dropback” week.

* * * * *     * * * * *    * * * * *     * * * * *

Make the effort to try one of these plans, but don’t worry about getting everything done.  You can succeed if you strive for excellence, not perfection!



For Club members who want to sprint in the spring, here are my suggestions:

–Try to be active everyday.
–Take advantage of being away from school, at home or traveling.  Do activities that you can’t easily do on campus.
–Soccer, flag football, ultimate, ratball…are all good.  So are surfing and snowboarding.
–Go to the track or a turf field twice each week…

Warmup:  jog 5:00 -10:00 to warm your muscles and connective tissues.

Stretch:  Go slow, be relaxed, work all the major muscle groups.

child skip,
child skip with big arms,
side run,
three-step reach,
A skip,
B skip/paw,
three-step reach,
butt kicks,
eggbeater arms,
leg swings facing wall/fence,
leg swings next to wall.

Strides:  4 x 50m…relaxed, but each one a little faster than previous…walk back

Workout choices:

a)  3-5 x “X” …stride diagonally across turf field to opposite corner, walk or jog across the end of the field (end zone of football field), stride diagonally across again, walk/jog back to start…that’s one “X”.

b)  Buildups:  30m buildup to a fast 30m, then 30m+ ease out.  Walk 2:00 between reps.  Do 4-6.  These should be gradual accelerations to a high speed that you can maintain for 30m without strain, followed by an effortless ease out.

c)  Speed endurance:  8-10 x 100m “on the minute”  …start one every 60 seconds.  It will be easy, then it will be hard.

d)  Hills:  Can you find a hill to do a few reps on?  Don’t run hard.  Just get to the top, then jog/walk back down.  20 minutes total time?

e)  Track:  If you have access to a track, try one of these:

4-5 x 200m (as if you were going to run an 800 time trial) with 200m of walk and jog between…
or, 5 x 150m (relaxed pace, but with a 50m segment of each rep at “down-the-backstraight-of-a-400m” pace).  Walk back to the start…
or, ladder:  100m, 200m, 300m, 200m,100m (all relaxed…75-80%?…800m race pace?). Take as much rest as you want.
or, overdistance ladder:  100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m  (pretend you’re running a hard mile)  Finish before dark!

Try to get into the weightroom once-a-week.  Do some core strength whenever you’re bored!  Relaxed stretching is a good thing.

Come back to campus ready to get the group together and train for races which start in March.  We’re going to break all our relay records next spring, and run some relays we haven’t done before!


Tom Heinonen  (August 30, 2011)

Here is one coach’s thoughts on training for cross country…from June until November.

…beginning with rest and aerobic buildup in June,
…adding quality week-by-week In August,
…starting full workouts in late September,
…racing a two-month season,
…and getting ready for the championship.

The sport is cross country…the concepts apply to the track too.



Any season of preparation begins with rest after the previous season.  A buildup to championship racing is followed by rest…either complete rest or active rest.  The stresses of a full competitive season demand a low-key follow-up of recovery and regeneration.

Some athletes look forward to complete rest.  Getting away from running for a couple weeks can be fun.  Some runners, however, feel that they get hurt when they restart after a complete rest.  Those runners can do very light running which might help them maintain “toughness” in their tendons and ligaments.  It seems that it’s usually connective tissue which causes problems when runners start up again.

Runners who do take complete rest often get itchy to run in a few days. After resting, it’s time for recreational running.  That’s when a racer gets to go out for a run because it’s fun!

After several weeks of recreational running, it’s time to train.  This means a gradual buildup of aerobic, relaxed mileage.  Aerobic running is at conversational pace.  The intensity is low.  If you don’t like to count miles, just get out the door almost every day and do a bit more on occasion over a period of weeks.  Your runs will get faster as you get fitter, even though you’re not trying to go faster.



For those of you who like progressions, here are two crummy ways to do it…and two good ones (this is a test!):

Maintenance method (in miles per week):  30-30-30-30-30-30-30-30-30
–”I’m not preparing for cross country. I’m running because I like it”… Actually, you might find yourself going faster on your runs later in the summer because of the cumulative effect of daily running…You’ll end up fitter and faster with no increase in apparent effort.  What a deal!

Plateau method:  30-30-35-35-41-41-48-48-56-56
–a gradual increase, but with plateaus to “consolidate your gains” and be sure that you’re ready for the next step up.  If just two weeks seems too little, try a three-week plateau.

Dropback method:  30-36-42-36-42-49-42-49-57-49
–you build up two weeks then drop back for one week.  The progress seems slow but the chance of being hurt or worn out is small.

Blowup method:  30-40-50-60-70-80-90-100-110
–a one-way ticket to disaster.

Which would you pick?

Regardless, can you accumulate a slightly greater volume of running this summer than you’ve done before?  That would be good!

Goal:  Build from whatever amount that you do in your recreational phase to some amount that, for you, is a lot.  Hit your high mileage in late August and early September.  Get some work done, and begin the fall season feeling that you’re well prepared…ready to do hard days twice a week in late September, and a long run on the weekend.

If you count miles, try to stairstep your weeks, taking an easy “drop back” week at least once a month. Can you tell which of the methods above I like the best?

Everything in athletics training is cyclic…work hard (or go longer), then go easy (or shorter) in order to recover…do more, then do less, so that you’re recovered and ready to do more again.

If we are looking forward to a cross country season, the aerobic buildup can start on July 1st.  After the first four weeks of aerobic running buildup, a runner can continue those runs and add some quality along the way.  Below is a plan to gradually emphasize faster running while you continue your aerobic buildup. If you try for slow, gradual progress, you can do both. The goal is to be ready for a cross country season in the fall.



Here is the training schedule I recommended to the University of Oregon Running Club for their 2010 buildup to the cross country season.  I hope it serves as a guideline for you in how to very gradually add some quality running to your summer training, and progressively increase the volume of that quality running.
(The UO Running Club is comprised of college students, both males and females, who run because they like it.  Some Club members are very recreational, but the training suggestions below are aimed at the runners who wish to compete.  We race in meets within the state of Oregon, hosted by intercollegiate teams.  Our culminating meet is the championship of NIRCA (National Intercollegiate Running Club Association).  It is our single fund-raised trip of the school year, to the eastern U.S.)

Below is an eight-week summer buildup to prepare runners for full workouts in late September when they arrive at school. The cross country season is just seven weeks from the first week of school in late September until nationals, so runners need to have done some work and be ready to hit the ground running when they arrive in Eugene.

- – - – - Week #1 is below – - – - -

Let’s keep it simple.  Do your regular aerobic runs, aiming at a reasonable volume.

One day this week, as part of a run, do 6-8 relaxed strides on some soft, firm surface (grass, turf, dirt, track…not pavement).  They can be about 100 meters or twenty seconds.  Take as much rest as you want between.  All I’m looking for a speed that’s brisker than your steady run.  Look for a feeling relaxed quickness…it might take several reps or even several sessions to feel good running faster.  That’s fine…the ability to run fast and feel good doing it will come back!

On another day, do a 6:00-8:00 tempo run.  Just go out for your regular run…in the middle of it, speed up a little to a faster pace that you can easily hold for six or eight minutes.  This is somewhere near lactate threshold.  It feels brisk, good, and easy to sustain for several minutes.  It’s not even close to cross country race effort or 10km race effort.  Someone who sees you running at lactate threshold will know that you are not just out for a run, but will not think that you are in a race. [Note:  I learned about tempo runs from Dr. Jack T. Daniels before 1970. Full-length tempo runs are 20-25 minutes.]

Do one longer run that’s, say, two miles longer than any of your others during the week.  That will be where you start your weekly long run.  You can build your weekly long run gradually to 12-16 miles during the fall.

- – - – -  Week #2  - – - – -

One day, in the middle of your relaxed run, do 8-10 easy strides.  Look at Week #1 above for more details.

One another day, after you’ve warmed up with at least two miles easy, do 5-8 one-minute runs at what-feels-like your current cross country race pace.  Do one minute of jogging between reps.  If you are not able to jog the recovery, you’ve run too fast.  This is how I write this workout:

5-8 x 1:00 (XC race pace) with 1:00 jog  [During the autumn the recovery will be just :30.]

One another day, increase your long run by one mile if that seems reasonable.

These workouts will get harder almost every week, but we are starting easy.  Continue with your aerobic runs on the other days.

[Easy aerobic runs are the “extensive” component of your training.  The growing quality in the workouts below is the “intensive” component of your training.  The easy days are the basis your training and also allow you to recover from the quality workouts which will eventually get pretty hard!]

- – - – - – Week#3 – - – - – -

Find a hill and do some reps.  Every hill is different.  After at least a 15-minute warmup run, spend 15-20 minutes running up and jogging down. Just get to the top; the effort will take care of itself.  No attacking!

On another day, do a set of “cruise intervals” which are run at lactate threshold, the same as tempo run pace.  (See Week #1 above, third paragraph, for an explanation of lactate threshold and tempo runs.)  Cruise intervals are a tempo run broken up into repetitions with very short rest [another Daniels training suggestion].  In this workout, do three or four runs of 3:00 at lactate threshold, with just one minute of jogging between them.  If you can’t jog the recovery, you’ve run too fast.  This workout is written:

3-4 x 3:00 (lactate threshold) with 1:00 jog

[Most runners feel that cruise intervals are easier a  tempo run...less scarey.  Some runners, though, feel that cruise intervals just are a way to ruin a tempo run.]

On your long run, do not increase your volume this week.  And…if you’re feeling fried, maybe you should cut the run down by several miles or take a rest day.  Be smart!

Rest is vital.  Planning is inexact.  It’s better to rest and avoid overtraining or injury than to try to blast though.   A plan isn’t right simply because it’s written down.  It might not be right for you in your specific setting, with your unique background.

A good training guideline is:  When in doubt, don’t do it!  If you usually feel ready to work out, but once in awhile you don’t, consider taking an easy day or a day off.   Better to take a day or two off when you need to, rather than taking a week or two off because you have to!

- – - – - -Week #4 – - – - – -

On your steady run one day, do 9-12 strides.  This time, make every third rep faster than the others.  Recovery and emphasis same as in week #1.

On another day, do race-paced repetitions with recoveries of walking and jogging:  4-6 x 2:00 runs with 2:00 jog-walk.  If that doesn’t appeal to you, do a ladder instead: 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00, with 1-2 minutes of jogging and walking between.  The effort is “current cross country race pace.”
On another day, during an easy run, do one mile (or 5:00-7:00) brisk…at about lactate threshold…it should feel good!  [This is a short Jack Daniels tempo run, or what Dr. Lyle Knudson, calls an AT run...anaerobic threshold run.  It’s a useful way to get an occasional bit of extra work done on an easy day.]

Finally, increase your long run by 1-2 miles this week…but only if you feel ready to do it.

- – - – - – - Week #5 – - – - – -

20-25 minutes of hill running.  Just get to the top, don’t attack it.  Jog down (do NOT run hard downhill).  The hardest that you need to go uphill is the same level of effort which you would use in a race.  Try to vary the hills if possible…different steepness, length, surface.  Does anyone only have a freeway overpass? Ouch! (20-25 minutes includes both the run up and the jog down.)

Tempo run:  12:00-16:00.  See Week #1 above for description of effort.

Long run:  same distance as last week (or less if you need the recovery), not longer.

Optional: If you feel a desperate urge to do more, take a nap!  Or, do  6 x 100m (relaxed stride) with 50-100m jog recovery…see how fluid, relaxed, effortless you can make a stride.

- – - – - -Week #6 – - – - – -

4-5 x 3:00 (current XC race pace) with 2-3:00 jog-walk.  Do this on a soft surface, not pavement.  Even a track is better than pavement.  If you run on a track, though, run in the outside lane and don’t try to calculate your pace.  Do this workout based on perceived effort.

On another day, do relaxed strides…10-15, with 1:00 of walk and jog between.  Do every third stride harder than the others.  Again, run this on track, grass or dirt…not pavement.

On another day, during your easy run, do two brisk reps of 4:00…these are at lactate threshold.  They should feel good!

Increase your weekly long run by one mile if that seems reasonable.  The goal is to be able to do 12-16 miles routinely during the season, on the weekend.

- – - – - – Week #7 – - – - – -

Cruise intervals:   3-5 x 4:00 with just 1:00 jog recovery.  See Week #3 for an explanation of cruise intervals and lactate threshold, if you’ve forgotten.

Hill reps:   Do 20-25 minutes of hill running, like two weeks ago.  Run up, jog down.  Don’t run faster or harder than race effort uphill…very easy on the downhill unless the downhill is very gentle.   The 20-25 minutes is total running time including both uphill and downhill, excluding warmup and cooldown.

Long run — same as last week…a much shorter run, for a change, is okay too!

- – - – - – Week #8 – - – - – -

Just one week until school starts and eight until NIRCA nationals in cross country.  These are nearly full workouts:

4-5 x 4:00 (current XC race pace) with 2-3:00 jog-walk.  Do this on a soft surface, not pavement.   If you have a measured kilometer or 3/4 mile, you can substitute that. If it’s easier for you, do cutdowns (do the first rep pretty relaxed, then try do each one faster than the previous).  Regardless, just get some work done!  [Note:  2:30 is usually enough recovery between reps which are run at race pace.]

On another day, do relaxed strides…12-18, with 1:00 of walk and jog between.  Do every third stride harder than the others.  As usual, run this on track, grass or dirt…not pavement.  If you are racing on Saturday, it’s fine to do 9-12, instead of 12-18.

On another day, during your easy run, do two brisk reps of 4:00.  These are at lactate threshold…nowhere near your 4:00 reps done earlier in the week.  Lactate threshold for such a short distance should feel good! If you are racing on the weekend, it’s fine to do this and some of the strides listed above, on the same day.

Long run — you decide… one mile longer is good, but only if you haven’t raced the day before.

There, that’s eight weeks of buildup.  Now you’re ready to begin our seven-week racing season.



[Note: The Club meets on schooldays at 3pm.  Most days are simply aerobic runs with optional strides.  Men and women start off together and split into groups based on how far they want to run, the pace, the route.  Tuesdays, I meet runners for quality workouts anytime that fits their schedules.]

- – - – - – Cross Country Season Week #1 – - – - – -

*Monday, Sept 27:   meet at the “waterfall” in front of the rec center for — relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs on the intramural field.

*Tuesday, Sept 28:  15-minute jog to the Autzen canal footbridge, followed by a cruise interval workout (4-6 x 4:00 at lactate threshold with just 1:00 of jogging between).

*Wednesday, Sept 29:   relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Sept 30:   relaxed run including 6-8 important strides in Washburn Park…uphill, downhill, sidehill..then optional abs.  [a good place to run race pace very gradually downhill ...downhill running fast is dangerous.]

*Friday, Oct 1:  pre-race warmup or easy run to celebrate the end of the first week.
[Note:  pre-race warmup is a  ritual...simply a warmup run plus some relaxed strides and maybe a bit of stretching, then a cooldown jog.  It’s social if the team is together, and if you are on the cross country course, it’s even better.]

*Saturday, Oct 2:  Race at Willamette Invitational…or explore on your own.

*Sunday, Oct 3:  On your own — a good day for a long run, or any kind of run!  Or maybe a long bike ride…or a nap.

- – - – - – Week #2 – - – - – -

*Monday, Oct 4:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Oct 5:   15-minute jog up to Hendricks Park, followed by 20-30 minutes of freelance running in the hills. [Don’t attack hills; run race effort...easy on the downhills]

*Wednesday, Oct 6:   relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Oct 7:  relaxed run including 6-8 important strides in Washburn Park…uphill, downhill, sidehill…then optional abs.

*Friday, Oct 8:  Easy, end-of-the-week run…then ultimate frisbee and ultimate football [fun!].

*Saturday, Oct 9:  15-minute jog to Masonic Cemetery [several bark trails uphill, downhill, sidehill]
3-4 hill runs
Jog to Pioneer Cemetery [flat surface, loop is almost  one km, dirt and gravel]
3-lap tempo run
Jog to intramural field
2 sets of step-down 100s…recovery shorter after each rep…barefoot okay

*Sunday, Oct 10:  On your own — a good day for a long run, or any kind of run!  Or maybe a long bike ride…or a nap.

- – - – - – Week #3 – - – - – -

*Monday, Oct 11:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Oct 12:  15-minute jog to Amazon Trail [flat woodchip loop] for:
3-6 x 1 km (cross country race pace) with 2:00-2:30 rest  [rest: walking and jogging]
5 x 100m (relaxed stride) with 100m jog

*Wednesday, Oct 13:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Oct 14:  pre-race warmup or relaxed run

*Friday, Oct 15:  Race at Mike Hodges Invitational…or easy, end-of-week run.

*Saturday, Oct 16:  On your own, a recovery run or an exploring run.

*Sunday, Oct 17:   Meet at my house for McKenzie day trip.

- – - – - – Week #4 – - – - – -

*Monday, Oct 18:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Oct 19:  15-minute jog to the Autzen canal footbridge, followed by:
Minute Runs…12-18 x 1:00 (XC race pace) with just 30 seconds of jogging between.  If you can’t jog the 30-second recovery, you’ve run too fast.  [This is a great workout brought to Oregon by Eryn Forbes in 1979.  Women athletes have done 24 x 1:00.]

*Wednesday, Oct 20:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Oct 21:  short pre-football game run.

*Friday, Oct 15:  22:  pre-race warmup or end-of-week run.

*Saturday, Oct 23:  Race in the Beaver Classic cross country race or go on an exploring run on your own.  [Racers...we stop at the Mennonite Bakery on the way home!]

*Sunday, Oct 24:  On your own — a good day for a long run, or any kind of run!  Or maybe a long bike ride…or a nap.

- – - – - – Week #5 – - – - – -

*Monday, Oct 25:   relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Oct 26:  15-minute jog to Hendricks Park, followed by:
20-30 minutes of hill running with flat strides at the bottom of the loop. [Flat strides to get some turnover within the workout...if we wait until we get back down to the intramural field to do strides, it seems too late. The runners feel that they’ve already done a cooldown jog.]

*Wednesday, Oct 27:   relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Oct 28:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Friday, Oct 15:  29:  pre-race warmup or jog to Amazon Trail for 3-4 mile tempo run.

*Saturday, Oct 30:  Race or tempo in the Red Lizard 4-mile cross country race, or go on an exploring run on your own.  [I don’t like doing workouts within a race, but we need a hilly race-simulation because our championship meets are always on hill courses much harder than anything we face in Oregon.  Our runners have already raced two consecutive weeks.  This weekend needs to be a training effort for our best athletes who are just two weeks away from nationals.]

*Sunday, Oct 31:  a good day for a long run, or any kind of run!  Or maybe a long bike ride…or a nap, and then trick-or-treating!

- – - – - – Week #6 – - – - – -

*Monday, Nov 1:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Nov 2:  15-minute jog to Amazon Trail, followed by:
3 sets of –
1000m (XC race pace)
Jog to South Eugene track
400m (faster than XC race pace) jog-walk 200m   [rest: walk a little, then jog most of 200m]
200m (faster pace than the 400m) jog-walk to Amazon trail

[It’s time for faster running in order to make race pace feel even easier and more relaxed.  Peaking is all about rest, feeling good, and feeling fast.  This workout gives a mix of race pace on a slow surface and short, fun reps on a fast surface.  It’s a take-off on Ron Warhurst’s “Michigan” workout, which alternates longer, slower reps off-track with shorter, faster reps on the track.  And, it’s fun!]

*Wednesday, Nov 3:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Thursday, Nov 4:   relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Friday, Nov 5:
15-minute jog to Masonic Cemetery at 24th and University.
3 hills in Masonic Cemetery
Jog to Pioneer Cemetery
2-lap tempo run in Pioneer Cemetery
Jog to intramual field
2 sets of 4 x 100m (relaxed stride) with 30 seconds between reps and a jog around the field between sets.

[This workout covers several bases:  hills to prepare for nationals, a lactate threshold run, and some light speedwork.]

*Saturday, Nov 6:  If you didn’t do the Friday workout, find a friend and do it today…or arrange some cars and drive to Mt. Pisgah and do 30 minutes of relaxed hill running and flat strides.  Or, just go for an easy, aerobic run.  Football game is at 12:30pm.

*Sunday, Nov 7:  On your own — a good day for a long run, or any kind of run!  Or maybe a long bike ride…or sleep in and then take a nap!

- – - – - – Week #7: end of season – - – - – -

*Monday, Nov 8:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs.

*Tuesday, Nov 9:  15-minute jog to Pioneer Cemetery followed by:
4 x 300m “between the rows” (XC race pace) with 30-60 seconds rest.  [rest: walk is fine]
Jog to intramural field
6 x 100m diagonal (relaxed stride) with 50m jog-walk
Jog 400m
optional:  800m (lactate threshold) around intramural fields…runners not going to NIRCA can do 2-3 x 800m.

[A very easy, multi-faceted, final workout...”between the rows” is running on slightly uneven grass, like at nationals...strides for fun and to feel fast...the optional lactate run for anyone who feels the need to do more.  “The hay is in the barn!”]

*Wednesday, Nov 10:  relaxed steady run…then optional strides and abs…or do morning run.  Team departs for nationals at 7pm.

*Thursday, Nov 11:  Nationals group — early morning run near Portland airport

*Friday, Nov 12:  Nationals group — jog over NIRCA course in Bloomington, Indiana.

*Saturday, Nov 13:  NIRCA Cross Country Nationals!    [women 2nd, men 10th]

*Sunday, Nov 14:  NIRCA group…light jog…sitesee…drive to Indianapolis…fly home.

[This progression of training included aerobic buildup in the summer, gradual increase in quality running in late summer, a short season of cross country training and racing, with a bit of faster running at the end, and some specific workouts for the hilly course at nationals.  We had fun and got a lot of people into training and racing.]

One Response to Training Tips

  1. Pingback: Steve Prefontaine’s girlfriend Nancy Alleman (3rd from left in the back row) with the 1975 Oregon Women’s Track Team, with Tom Heinonen, coach 1975-2003 | job 4 freelancer

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