Before you know it, cross country season will be here, which makes now a key time to transition from your running to your training. However, taking on too much all at once can cause injury, so before attempting workouts, complete at least three weeks logging 20 to 30 miles per week at a "conversational pace." With a good foundation like that, you can program the following summer cross-country training exercises into your week. By the time team workouts start, you'll be fully ready for the upcoming season.
Running hills is a great way to build strength and power, which ultimately translates into more speed. Find a hill that you can run up for 35 to 45 seconds at full speed then slowly jog back. Repeat two to three times the first week. Add one hill repeat each week for the next four weeks.
Go to the track, or find a flat section of road and run two miles for time. The purpose is to gauge your current fitness level and gather data for future workouts. Perform this time trial after two weeks of starting hill repeats.
The week following your two-mile time trial, do three or four one-mile repeats with equal time for rest. Run these repeats at the same pace as your two-mile time trial.
For the rest of the summer, once a week, run six or seven half-mile repeats followed by equal time for rest. Run these repeats at the same pace as your two-mile time trial, but add one or two more half-mile repeats each week.
photo credit: UA Athletics