Cross Country

11 Dec

Cross Country is an interesting sport. From the outside looking in, it looks as boring as boring can get. If you ask a cross country runner, then they will tell you mixed emotions. At times, cross country may be tough and grueling, but it is also a fantastic time in which you can get in shape and hang with friends and teammates during practices and meets.

Cross Country workouts, when your doing them, can be really tough on the legs and the lungs. Even long runs can be brutal because you are running miles and miles and miles. But just when your tired, you think ‘These runs will really help me in the races and meets’. When you are not running (stretching, waiting for race, on bus…), then XC can be a really great time.

As one anonymous runner said “Cross country was quite fun from beginning to end… the team dinners and hanging with the team were a blast.”

Another runner quoted, “It was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences”.

These two runners were teammates who I have been with during cross country, and even though the workouts may have been very hard, it really paid off and they had lots of fun.

Why should you run cross country?

  • Get in shape… Running many times a day will really give you the time to get active and physically fit. Along with running, many teams may do some ab and upper body work. Plenty of runners also lose weight while running and it is great for gaining a healthy heart!
  • Socialize… While it may not be the social hour some people are looking for, it still provides plenty of time for you to talk and hang out with friends and teammates. As one of the quoted runners said above, “the team dinners…were a blast”, which is 100% true.
  • Personal Records and Experience… Runners will often achieve PR’s every race that they run in. Experiences will also provide you with things you may never forget.
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XC/Distance Track Workouts

9 Dec

Assuming you run a mile or more in track and XC races, there are some workouts that can really help out your speed and overall strength. Some sprinting, some hills, some more! They may not be fun to do all the time, but it will help you get to a time that you wish to achieve while running.

While there may be 100’s of different workouts for runners, some will give you the top results in get you in top form.

200’s, 400’s and 600’s- These three different distances will help you gain speed, but will also keep your endurance where it is. Obviously, the longer it is, the better it is for your endurance and the shorter it is, the better it is for your speed. Either way, your speed will see a huge difference after doing speed workouts for a couple weeks.

Hills- Hills range from dirt hills to roads to sand hills. Sand hills will give you the best workout because it is not flat and you really need to dig your feet into the sand. What I would do at times is get a mixture of the three different hills into my workout. You will have three different surfaces to run on while getting three different hill feelings.

Mile Repeats- This is another workout that can increase your speed and help your endurance. Your getting a feel of a full mile, but since you get a break after it (for a certain amount of time), then you will be able to run it at race pace or faster. The number of mile repeats you do is all up to how advanced of a runner you are.

Interval Training- This has a feeling like the repeats… Get a good and fast pace going for a little while then slow down the run. Depending on what event you may do, your distance and time may be different.

True or False: Running Version #2

8 Dec

This feature will talk about things in the world of running that may be considered true or false. Opinion answers will be given.

 

1) Running is a team sport

True You may not think of this when you are looking at a race, but it is true. The most obvious reason is finishing at the end. Teams win meets… an individual may win a race, but you need many people on your team to finish high if you want a chance of winning. Also, teammates can motivate you in a race to keep up a certain pace. It may not be the teammate-like game that you may play in basketball or football, but a team is needed.

2) Running-related injuries will rise in the next ten years

False At the moment, runners are learning a great amount about what is happening to their bodies while they run. I think better shoes are coming out that will help with foot and leg injuries. Also, doctors and trainers are able to diagnose injuries quicker and that will help prevent major injuries for runners.

3) Running too much in the summer training will tire you out for Cross Country season

True I have seen this with my own two eyes. Runners will sometimes do multiple workouts per week in the summer. Even though they may have great success at the beginning of an XC season, they will burn out and fall down to the middle or back of the pack if they started out at number 1 (or around there). Don’t get me wrong… you do want to get plenty of running done in the summer, but not too much that will end up burning you out.

 

Runner Profile: Tyson Gay

7 Dec

Tyson Gay has always been a good runner and has always had family who have been good runners. From his sister being a high school sprinter to his grandmother being a college runner, you could say that there is speed in his genes. His road went from running as a kid to running in high school to running college to running as a pro

Gay is a USA Olympic Sprinter who is one of the top sprinters in the country, if not the world. He was a top collegiate sprinter and that has translated to great achievement as a pro running for his country.

Personal Records:

100m: 9.69s

200m: 19.58s

400m: 44.89s

His times and his sprinting speed have taken him to many top 3 finishes in races such as the Olympic Games, IAAF World races, World Championships and many other races (both college and pro). In a 2010 race, Tyson Gay upset one of the best runners in world, by the name is Usain Bolt. Gay outran Bolt by .13 seconds. Tyson has also beat many American sprinting running records along his journey.

The American still has plenty in his tank to offer and will look to upset Usain Bolt at future races.

The Future of Running?

5 Dec

Although running will never become a major sport such as basketball or football, it is still growing at a decent pace. There are more marathons, half-marathons, 5k races and all of the other distance races than there were ten years ago. Will there be 5x the amount of races now in ten years?

Some runners are also starting to go with a more minimalist feel. It is thought that running with minimal shoes may help prevent injuries and could help make your feet stronger. What will happen in ten years? Will we all be running barefoot like the caveman use to?

70% of runners I see by themselves are listening to some kind of music playing device. Years ago, you would see almost no one wearing these devices and just listening to nature. Will 100% of people be listening to music while running in 2020?

You get what I am trying to bring up here… running is changing. In fact, in case you didn’t notice, everything in the world is changing. No one is certain what running as a sport and running as a hobby will provide us with in the next 10…20…25 years.

  • National Running Series The National Running Series could be a group of races that partner with each other and provide a sum of money to the winners of certain races. The majority of races in this moment of time are standing independently. If you could combine some races together (it could be marathons, 5k races or anything else), it could go a long way in making running more popular.
  • Vibram Five Fingers If you don’t know what these shoes are, you are missing out. (Here they are). The thought process with these shoes are that they mimic running barefoot, but also protect your foot with a covering. Once everyone starts hearing that barefoot running is good for your legs, they will want to go after it. They also want to protect their feet and these shoes are good. And who knows what advancements will happen in years to come…
  • Less Injuries Because of more barefoot and minimalist running, these techniques may help cause LESS injuries to the feet, ankles and knees. Medical technology is also improving at a crazy rate and will help cure injuries caused to the average runner. I think (knock on wood) that running injuries reached their peak a couple years ago.
  • 100% iPod users iPods have grown over the past couple years thanks to their creator, Apple. People want to listen to music while they run and what is better than a nice and trusty iPod. iPods also have apps in which you can track your running distance and speed and that promises to grow within years.

The next ten years in the running community will be very important. Either they can make some amazing breakthroughs… or fall down.

Strong Abs for Strong Runners

4 Dec

It’s simple, the better abs you have, the better runner you have a chance of being. You may not have the abs that professional athletes have, but your abs can still be strong. Abs support your whole torso and will help prevent back injuries. These abs of yours will also help out with your posture and your hip movement.

It may sound daunting at first, but starting off small is the first thing that everyone does. This includes not just running, but also school work and other sports. There are a great amount of ab workouts that you CAN and SHOULD do if you want to be a quality runner.

  • Sit-ups  Probably the most generic ab workout in the country. When you think of strong abs and how to get them, sit-ups may come first to your mind. It’s a pretty simple exercise: lie down on the ground (get a partner to hold down your feet), bend your knees, cross your arms across your chest (not back of you head, as that will cause stress to neck) and try to elevate your body up to your knees.
  • Planks This is the ab exercise that I find most useful and it is one that can strengthen both your main abs and your side abs. Planks help your abs more than sit-ups and they will also help improve back strength. Lie face down, then elevate yourself on your forearms and hold that position as long as possible. For side planks, lie down on your side and elevate yourself using your forearm that is touching the ground.
  • Bicycle The bicycle exercise will improve both your ab muscles and your hip muscles. This is a pretty simple one to do as you lie down on your back and “pedal” like a bike. Don’t move your legs in a circle while pedaling. Instead, move them forward and back to feel like the real exercise working out your abs.

Other exercises you can do to work out your abs include…

Vertical sit-ups, captains chair, leg lift hold and much more

Interview With U.S. Runner, Tim Nelson

3 Dec

This is our first interview which is pretty sweet. What makes it better is that it happens to be with a pro runner with the name of Tim Nelson. A couple quick facts about Tim Nelson before the interview…

– 2nd place, 5k 2010 USA Outdoor Championships

– 2nd place, 2009 USA Cross Country Championships

– 3rd place, 10k 2009 USA Outdoor Championships

– 1st place, 5k 2007 Big Ten Championships

The Runner’s Voice: How did you start running and when did you figure out that you could run at a competitive level?

Tim Nelson: I started in second grade. The only sport my elementary school offered was cross country so I tried it and found that I was consistently finishing second place behind the same guy. Eventually, with a little training, I began to win all the races I ran. When I was 13 I told my mother that I was going to get a scholarship and run competitively in college and I haven’t looked back since.

TRV: When your running in big races, what thoughts are going through your mind?

TN: I think, focus and rely upon rhythm more than most other elite runners. It’s hard to describe, but I try to get to a place mentally where it seems like my mind and body are working in unison.

TRV: What has been your favorite moment or race as a runner?

TN: Being part of a NCAA winning team in Cross Country back in 2005 was an unforgettable experience, one that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in running. Not even the Olympic Games.

TRV: What does your future hold? What does the future of running as a sport hold?

I suspect I will continue to move more towards the marathon along with a great deal of other elite runners. It seems that the marathon is becoming the most competitive event in running probably because it is the most lucrative. I enjoy the track and am still more comfortable on the track but my coach has been pushing me towards the marathon pretty much since my freshman year in college. It’s only a matter of time before I become more comfortable at the marathon than on the track.