A Guide to Summer Running

By Coach Udel

A wise person once said that cross-country running is a summer sport that takes place in the fall. If you want to maximize your potential as a runner, you need to train in the summer. Those who do not train over the summer will be at a distinct disadvantage compared to those who do, as this article explains: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elmhurst/sports/ct-dhd-cross-country-summer-training-tl-0721-20160721-story.html (Please read). Unfortunately, in Massachusetts coaches are not allowed to contact their athletes until the end of August, leaving the training up to you.

The primary purpose of summer training is to build a base level of aerobic fitness before introducing faster workouts in the fall. While cross training (cycling, swimming, etc.) can help to build your aerobic fitness, running also works the running-specific muscles and tendons in ways that cross training activities do not. The goal of summer training is to build the number of miles that you run each week so that you gradually increase your ability to run longer distances and build aerobic strength. By running longer, you increase your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles. Ask a science teacher for more details.

How much you run in the summer is dependent on your current fitness level and experience in the sport. For some of you, your goal should be to work up to running 5 to ten miles per week. For others, your goal may be closer to 30-40 miles per week by the end of the summer. You should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. So, if you run 15 miles one week, do not jump to 30 the next week. If you do too much too fast, your body will take on more stress than it can handle, leading to injury.

If you want, we can create a customized running schedule for you. This schedule should serve as a guide rather than a strict set of instructions. Your work schedule, summer commitments, and how you feel each day can change the schedule. Be smart about your choices. We want you to arrive injury free.

Towards the end of the summer you can begin to introduce a few faster efforts. You can start to incorporate strides (short, sprint accelerations that reach about 90% sprint speed) and tempo runs (85% effort over an extended distance).

This work in the summer will put you in a strong position for harder, faster running in the competitive fall season. We encourage you to support each other by sharing weekly email updates or texts with your teammates and to run together regularly over the summer during captain’s practices or with your friends.

Good luck and happy running!