Cross Country Training: How To Peak At Your State Meet?

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Cross Country Training

I have received several emails and texts recently asking me how to peak at the State Cross Country Championships. Because the State Meet is often the defining factor for your entire season, it is important that you have an understanding of what is required to ensure you are at your best in November.

As a college coach, my focus was always on the Conference Championships, Regionals, and the NCAA National Meet. I spent 25+ years trying to perfect the process.

Here a few suggestions that will give you the best chance to be at your best when it matters most.

1.     Maintain your Long Run throughout the season. Do not let this go. Prioritize it through the month of September and keep it in your training schemes through the month of August.

2.     Maintain your mileage. Don’t allow your mileage to drop too much or too often throughout the season. Constantly remind yourself that you are training for the State Meet. Meets in September and early October are ultimately meaningless and quickly forgotten if you don’t run well at States.  

3.     Keep longer intervals in your training deep into the season. Avoid the temptation of running all of your intervals at significantly faster paces over shorter distances. As the season progresses reduce the quality of your longer intervals and utilize them to maintain your strength.

4.     Choose your moments of being “jacked up” wisely. You only have so many times that you are able to dig deep into your emotional well. Don’t waste any of them in September. Don’t waste them on course records or hitting a certain time. Be business like in your approach until it is time to be jacked up!

5.     Similarly limit the times to dig deep into your physical well as well. You only have so many bone crushing, heroic performances in you. Never waste one in practice or at a “donkey” meet no one will ever remember. Choose your Herculean moments wisely.

6.     Realize that if you line up at your State Meet physically, emotionally and mentally ready to compete that you are worlds ahead of the majority of runners lining up next to you who have spent everything they have weeks ago and find themselves completely fried.

I hope this helps and good luck with the remainder of your season.

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