Starting Cross Country--High school Girl-- tips please (Read 127 times)


    Hello there! I'm going to be a junior and I want to start cross country this year. I'm giving up volleyball for this which I've played my whole life and was guaranteed a spot on Varsity. My best friend and favorite teacher have both been nagging me to join. I have always wanted to try it, but it seemed so stupid for me to do so when 1) I'm a volleyball player 2) I'm a sprinter (200m, 400m). Anyways, I have about zero endurance and I NEED to make varsity. I run maybe an 8:00 minute mile and I need to run at least a 24 minute 5k. Please tell me this is possible to do within 10 weeks or so?


    So the last time I ran a mile was in PE last year and I think I got around 8:06 ish which is absolutely terrible. I ran on the treadmill today for a mile and a half and felt pretty good...until I realized I was at a 12 minute pace. Then I went outside and ran. I was out of breath by a half a mile.


    I need to get a 24 minute 5k in 10 weeks. Please tell me how I can do so.

    Feeling the growl again



      I need to get a 24 minute 5k in 10 weeks. Please tell me how I can do so.


      There are no guarantees, and 10 weeks is not a lot of time.


      That said, the best generalized advice I can give is try to run about 6 days a week.  At this point don't worry about how fast you run.  Seriously, pushing yourself hard every day (which most people your age tend to do, if left to their own devices) is counter-productive.  Five of those six days should feel easy.  The one other day, start easy and accelerate slowly as the run goes along.  The last 25% of the run should be fast, but not racing.


      When it comes time to run the 24min 5K, remember not to make the classic mistake of going out too fast.  Your last mile should be about as fast as your first.  If it is not, you went out too fast and could have turned in a better time if you had gone out slower.


      It really is no complicated than that for you at this point.  Most HS runners barely run at all through the summer.  If you run 6 days a week for 10 weeks, you will have a leg up on many of them.


      As for how FAR to run each run, it's hard to dictate with such limited knowledge or where you are at now.  In general, it would be nice to get 3-4 miles a day at the beginning, working up to 5-6 a day towards the end of the 10 weeks.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


      I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


        When I was in high school, I was in a very similar position!  A sprinter/jumper/hurdler who had never run more than 2 miles at once.  The first day of XC practice, I couldn't even finish a mile!  By the end of the 12 week season, I had gotten my 5K time down to 25:04 - not as quick as what you're hoping for, but I started off a lot worse off.  So it can be done with the right work.


        Your mileage will matter more than your speedwork.  To echo spaniel, just get out there and run - EASY most of the time.  As a sprinter, you get used to brutal workouts.  It took me a while to get out of the mentality that I was only working hard if I felt like I might die at the end. Right now, work on getting your mileage up by running at a comfortable pace.  Spaniel's suggestion to do one day a week where you slowly increase your pace is a good one.  You could also do intervals instead (for example, in the middle of a run, run faster for 20 seconds then slow for 40 seconds).


          Hi anna,


          Simple answer is you need to run a 7:44 min/mile pace for 5 kilometers to meet your goal.


          Since you can run already run an 8 minute mile, I would first work on increasing your endurance to run 5K at that pace. Once you can do that, you can then work on getting faster.


          The best way to improve endurance is to run a lot of miles... even if it is at a slower pace. For example, running 10K at a 9 minute mile pace will help you build your endurance to meet your goal.


          Oh, since you're young and recover fast and don't have much time. I would recommend running twice a day... both before and after school. If you feel like you're overtraining, then you need to back off as getting injured won't do you any good.


          Good luck.