Another Run Bites the Dust

All aspects of Ford Cross Country runners’ daily routines are revealed

Another+Run+Bites+the+Dust

Mikayla Mazza, Junior Writer

Burning lungs, muscle fatigue and pushing oneself to the absolute limit. These are a few of many challenges Cross Country runners go through almost every day. Here is what daily life is like for a runner at our school. 

Daily Diet:

Cross Country runners have diets full of protein, carbs and iron. The protein helps with recovery and gives the body energy. Carbs are a great source of energy and fuel for the body, benefitting many important organs. Iron in foods circulates oxygen in the body and gets it to all of the muscles for quicker recovery.

 Along with fruits, vegetables, grains and the occasional junk food, runners have to keep an eye on what they eat to benefit their performance. 

Hydration: 

Hydration is one of the most important aspects of running and exercise in general. Although a little dehydration is normal, being extremely dehydrated is very dangerous. . 

In runners, extreme dehydration usually occurs from excessive sweating with no replacement of the fluids lost. Always having a water bottle near and trying to drink about 8-10 cups of water a day, with an occasional sports drink such as Gatorade, is the best option for runners. 

Practice:

A usual practice day consists of a meeting at Farmstead park at 3 p.m. after school. After temperature checks and a health questionnaire, it is time to start running. Coach Allmacher tells the team what their mileage for the day will be. 

For the female runners, this is usually somewhere between 4 to 6 miles, and for the male runners, somewhere around 5 to 8 miles is the norm. A usual training week has 3 to 4 training runs, 2 speed workouts and 1 long run. 

A usual training run takes place 3 to 4 times a week. In this run, the focus is getting the correct amount of distance at the correct pace for the individual. The goal is to get through this run at the ideal pace for the entire distance without stopping. 

Speed workouts occur 2 times per week, and are not for the faint of heart. There are many different options for what workouts will be happening that week varying from 200 meter repeats to a 3 mile tempo run, where the runner stays at a consistent hard pace for 3 miles. Workouts have a warm up and a cool down, each about 1 to 2 miles in length. 

The long run is the longest run of the week. It usually takes place on Saturday or Sunday, and makes up approximately ten percent of the runner’s weekly mileage. These runs can vary from about 5 to 12 miles in length depending on the speed, skill and experience of the runner. 

Meets: 

Running 3.1 miles at a Cross Country meet is no easy task. Hills, rocks, roots, and sometimes rivers can be difficult to overcome. However, the biggest obstacle in Cross Country running is the human mind.

 As the muscles tire, the brain keeps sending signals to the body telling it to stop. Breathing gets heavier, muscles fatigue, but runners keep going as fast as they can to get the best place possible for their team. 

They try to pass as many people as possible while working against their own mind. This is due to the fact that Cross Country has placement scoring (first place = one point and so on), so the runner needs to get the best place possible to get the least amount of total points for their team. The team that wins the meet is the one who gets the best places that add up to the lowest amount of points. 

Cross Country runners do a lot more than just running. Every drop of water they drink and what kind of food they eat throughout the day could mean a make or break performance for the runner and their team.