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Girls Cross Country

The purpose of your summer training is to prepare you to train during the cross country season. Ideally, you should begin the season strong enough to train hard without risking injury and aim to have your peak performances during the last two weeks of the fall season. Good health, solid mileage base and a foundation in strength training are the keys!

What are your goals for the upcoming Cross Country Season?

Once you know the answer to this question, you can set some goals for the summer. The key is to strike a balance! The Summer Information packet includes a worksheet on goal setting. Please read and complete before you decide on a summer training plan.

The most important aspects of your summer training are to develop a solid mileage base and improve your strength.While doing this, you need to listen to your body and avoid overtraining and injury. The training guidelines below are fairly general.

If you are hoping/planning to score points for the team and be a part of the Interschols Team (7 Varsity, 7 JV, up to 2 alternates), you should move into the August plan earlier in the summer (by mid-July).

If you are just beginning to run (or beginning again after injury or time off), then you should work up to the June and July plans gradually and possibly not get to the August plan until the actual season begins in September. We recommend following the “Start-Up Plan” if you have not been training at all and want to begin.

If you have any questions about what you should be doing, please contact Coach Hession (

Training Logs

The training log is your way of telling us clearly what you’ve done over the summer. It is also a very useful way for you to track your own progress. Training log details were included in the Summer Information packet email. If you did not receive this email, contact Coach Hession (

We’d like you to give us a weekly summary of your training for both June and July. The summary should include your running mileage totals, cross training time totals, and a statement about what kind of strength training you do. We want the detailed daily log for August 1st through 30th. Submit your completed training log by September 1st. No training logs – no hard workouts – no early races – no exceptions!!!!

Training Plan

Note: This training plan is directed toward those with some running experience, primarily at the JV level. Novice runners should refer to the “Start-Up Plan;” returning varsity/preseason runners may be prepared to start with the July schedule.

June/July: Develop a mileage base and build strength

June: Run 3-4 Running days/week,10-15 mi/week, typical run = 30-40 min., 3-4 Recovery days
Strength up to 3min planks/50 sit-ups and 6-10 pushups

Ideal: Strength Training 2-3 days/week

July: 4-5 Running days/week, 15-20 mi./week, typical run = 30-45min., 2-3 Recovery days
Once a week try to run on a hilly terrain
Strength up to 4min planks/75 sit-ups and 10-15 pushups
Ideal: Strength Training 3 days/week

August: Increased mileage, varied pace and build strength
5-6 Running days/week, 20-30 miles/week, 2-3 Recovery days Include one long run (5-8 miles), one hilly run, and one run with pickups (see below) Minimum: up to 5min planks/100 sit-ups and 25 pushups
Ideal: Strength Training 3 days/week


Try to vary your pace a bit in August. Your training pace should not be faster than your 5K (3.1mi) race pace and you should not do more than one mile segments at the increased pace. I do recommend occasional “pickups.” For example, on a 3-6 mile run add some race pace pickups. Each pickup should be in the 100-500 meter range (or 30 seconds to 2 minutes) with plenty of rest in between. A run might have anywhere from 2 to 5 pickups. Try not to imitate workouts we do in-season. One of the reasons our in-season training works is because it is a change to your routine!

Note: “Race pace” is hard to determine, but you should be aiming for the pace you can run for a 5K (3.1mi) race.


Recovery is a key part of your summer training. Your recovery days can be active, but NO running. It’s a great day for an easy hike, a restorative yoga class, swim, bike ride or time completely off your feet. Recovery days are also a great time to reflect on the week in your training log.

We will train hills hard next fall. It is not necessary for you to do many (if any) hill repeats over the summer. Instead, choose some of your runs over hilly terrain and to gain strength and confidence without risking injury. When you are running hills, think “strong and steady” going up and push through the crest of the hill!

I do recommend finding a short, steep hill (grass or road) that you can use for hill sprints (full speed and power!) once or twice per week during August. You should not sprint for more than 7-8 seconds at a time. Start with 2-3 x 7sec hill sprints at the beginning of the month. Gradually increase to 6-8 sprints by the end of the summer. Be sure to take lots of rest between each sprint.


At the very least, do some planks/sit-ups and pushups. I strongly recommend that you do some strength training over the summer. The best thing to do is go to a gym or fitness center, unless you have equipment like a stability ball, weights, resistance bands, and a medicine ball at home. Yoga and/or Pilates classes are also great for core strength and general mobility. Anything you can do to improve your core strength, along with upper body and leg strength - without overdoing it of course – will improve your running. Remember to include information about your strength training in your training log!

Recover! Hydrate! Fuel your body with healthy food! Wear good running shoes! Have fun!