cross country training

High School Cross Country Training: Are you running enough?

Cross Country Training

The discrepancy in high school cross country training is immense. I have coached individuals who maxed out at 30 miles per week in high school and others who exceeded 80 miles per week. There are so many different thoughts on mileage, staying healthy and avoiding burn-out.  The key is to find the optimal volume to ensure you reach your full potential as a runner. You need to identify the proper balance between enough and staying healthy – the edge. Approach it, but don’t cross over it.

I reached out to one of the top high school boy’s cross country coaches in the country, Coach Paul Vandersteen to take at closer look at the type of mileage the boys at Neuqua Valley High Schools are logging over the summer.

Freshman Boys: 35 – 40 miles per week

Sophomore Boys: 50 – 55 miles per week

Junior Boys: 60 – 65 miles per week

Senior Boys: 70  - 75 miles per week

*** However, their weekly mileage rarely exceeds 65 miles per week once school starts.


High school girls who want to follow this program’s volume philosophy should adjust accordingly:

Freshman Girls: 25 – 30 miles per week

Sophomore Girls: 35 – 40 miles per week

Junior Girls: 45 – 50 miles per week

Senior Girls: 50 - 55 miles per week

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What To Do After The Last Cross Country Meet Of The Season

Cross Country Training

Cross Country Training

I have been asked numerous times over the past couple of weeks what to do in regard to training after the cross country season is over. Obviously, you will need some downtime to ensure you physically and mentally recover from the season. However, you need to balance this with not losing the fitness you acquired over the past several months. I used to give our runners two weeks completely off and then would spend the next six weeks ascending to full volume. Over the years, I learned that if we stayed active during the first couple of weeks after the xc season that our runners stayed healthier and maintained greater levels of fitness. It always seemed that our runners would start experiencing pains and/or developing injuries while we were in the middle of complete rest. It just never seemed to work effectively for us. So, I changed the phase name from Rest & Rejuvenation to Active Rest. I would prescribe a small shakeout run the day after the last meet and then have them take 2-3 days off. After that, our runners would run 30-35 every other day to finish out the week – the pace assigned during this period of time was embarrassingly slow. To transition out of light running every other day, we would run two days in a row – then rest one day, run three days – rest one and then start up again. Our first week after our Active Rest phase was typically 50% of their goal volume with two days of easy strides – around 10k pace-ish at the fastest.

Below is our first two weeks after the conclusion of XC


Monday           30 minutes easy

Tuesday          off

Wednesday     30 - 35 minutes easy

Thursday         off

Friday              30 - 35 minutes easy

Saturday          35 minutes easy

Sunday             off


Monday          35 minutes easy

Tuesday         30 minutes easy + 3 x 100m strides

Wednesday    35 minutes easy          

Thursday        off

Friday             35 minutes easy + 4 x 100m strides

Saturday         40 minutes easy

Sunday           35 minutes easy

How They Trained In College

Johnny Gregorek

2017 World Championship 1500m Finalist - USA

Fast Track Recruiting

Cross Country Prep - Sophomore Year

July 2011

Monday - 9 miles at 6:50 pace

Tuesday - 8 miles at 7:15 pace + 4 x 100m strides

Wednesday - 10 miles at 6:30 pace

Thursday - 8 miles @ 6:22 pace

Friday - 2.5 miles easy – 6 sets of 3 minutes on (xc pace) / 2 minutes easy + 2.5 miles easy

Saturday - 10 miles at 7:15 pace

Sunday - 14 miles at 6:15 pace

See other runners I coached here

Johnny Gregorek and NJNYTC