As September is now in full swing, athletes are either returning to training or setting out the beginnings of a programme that will end in positive results for the cross country championships ahead. Although it can be a long season (October - March), getting things right early on is important. Ideally October and November is used to set the base of training into a strong pattern for the faster work and racing ahead. So establishing a routine is paramount if the early stages are to benefit the future.
A proposed pattern for the cross country athlete
Sun - Long Run 90-150 mins +
Mo - 60-90 mins of running (1 or 2 sessions) + strides
Tu - Strong paced run of 30-60 mins +
Wed - As Monday + strides
Thursday - Grass repetitions challenging the 5k zone of feeling (2 to 5 minute efforts)
Friday - 60 mins
Saturday - Fartlek (efforts at athletes perogative - challenging surfaces/contours of the environment. A free and relaxed way of getting used to pace in different situations which the athlete can create. Longer efforts dispersed by shorter work that challenges leg speed without incurring breakdown.
All in all a programme LIKE the above sets the tone for the future and prepares for specific work that comes later and will often be individual to the athlete taking in to account their strengths and weaknesses.
This type of programme may also be supplemented by mobility and strengthening work. Again this will be individual to the athlete.