The track season may only just be coming to an end but, if athletes have aspirations of being competitive this winter then thoughts need to shift towards cross country fairly lively!
All Ireland Championships take place at the end of November and December (For masters athletes the trial for the Irish team to compete against England, Scotland and Wales takes place the third weekend in October). It is proposed that we get those interested in competing at these events together for a meeting on 5th September, 8pm at the Westwood, to see who is available to compete for the u18, u20, senior and masters teams and to set out a plan for training.
Jerome has groups in the final stages of marathon preparation so whilst there may be scope for some overlap I will try to co-ordinate preparation for cross country. With such a shortened season due to the major races taking place before Christmas (apart from maybe intervarsity), the training phases need to be condensed more than I would like but the overall work done towards cross country can serve as a base upon which to build a track season or prepare for spring road races.
Suggested Training phases for cross country
• Preparing to train- start to build up volume of running back up towards at least what you managed last year. Initially keep to easy and steady aerobic work, some strides after runs to keep in touch with speed, and start building up your strength and conditioning taking care to address any weaknesses that may have lead to previous injuries.
• Base phase-Supplement your easy and steady runs by starting to incorporate increasing amounts of threshold and tempo work. A-lactic hills can help develop power without lactate loading. Continuous hills can build in endurance whilst still working on aerobic power.
• Event specific training-Lots of tempo work at just faster than cross country pace on grass in spikes is the best way to help translate your fitness into good race performance. More hill work and gradual introduction of some 3km/5km paced work will also be of benefit. Use races as part of your training to prepare for your key race, experimenting with different tactics.
• Pre-competition- Cut the volume slightly in the final 10 days leading into your key race whilst maintaining the pace.
Given you probably want a minimum 8-12 weeks for the base phase and event specific work, which is still less than ideal, you really want to get cracking with the first phase and start building up your steady running a.s.ap.
September will involve some longer tempo and threshold work so we will try to run on trails and pitches to reduce the impact on legs and to take advantage of the last of the longer evenings. So I suggest we meet at 6.15 pm for drills, with a view to starting the session at 6.30pm, for 4 weeks from the 5th September. Jerome's marathon group will continue to meet at the usual time. If anybody can't make the earlier start they should be able to join in with the marathon group. There is likely to be a big group at Tuesday’s sessions in September so this should also help to smooth the integration of new members and students.
Cross country is the sport in its purist form and can benefit any endurance athlete. The All-Ireland cross country is the best race of the year. It’s worth noting that the best of the Irish u20 1500m runners last winter were also some of the best performing cross country runners in their age group this summer, and in recent years the Irish men’s euro cross team has been heavily dependent on the marathon guys. There should be a strong team element and it would be great to see lots of people having a go and our teams making an impact at regional and national level. We can’t let a Mayo club win the Connacht champs!
Jerome's sessions :
Tuesday 7.30 pm -> track in Dangan
Thursday 7.00 pm -> Tempo / Threshold session on the trails (meeting at the pavilion for 3km warm up)
Sunday 9.00 am -> long run from the cathedral