Back in June I posted about having a "relaxing" time while running. Just run. Talk with friends while running, go long, go short, do whatever. There should be no real focus in June other than just logging miles.
July is a different story. It's time to think a bit more about "intensity." Pick one or two days a week where you run "hard." What are some "hard" workouts? Here's a list of possibilities.
1. Tempo run - do an easy warmup of 1-3 miles. Run HARD for 15-20 minutes (NOT all out, not as fast as you can but it should feel "hard" or "uncomfortable") After the hard part of the run do an easy 1-3 mile cool down. For me this is usually a 9 mile day where i go 3 easy 3 hard 3 easy. It make a 9 miler sound better when you break it down. If you are not ready for 9 miles you can go 1 mile easy 18 minutes hard (2.5 miles) and 1 mile easy. That's 4.5 miles and a good workout.
2. HILLS - While at aspen park run the hills hard. Focus on good leg lift, and good arm motion. Or, if you are not at aspen park find a hill. Run it hard, go back down it easy and repeat for 4-8 times.
3. "Fartlek" - defined, fartlek means "speed play" - During your regular run after you've warmed up for 1-3 miles pick up the pace. Run hard for 1 minute or 2 or 3 minutes, then slow down and catch your breath. Repeat as often as you like. I like to use my watch and hit "start" when i go hard and "stop" when i slow down. When I've run a total of 15 minutes hard then i do my cool down.
4. GO LONG. Long runs, no matter how fast you go are "hard days." If your longest run has been 6 miles, go 9. If your longest has been 4 miles, go 6. If your longest has been 8 miles go 12. I'd say 12 miles is a good limit for high school XC runners. Any more than that is getting excessive and could lead to injury/burnout.
5. Race - yes, race. Find a local 10k/10mile/5k/half marathon. The Alpenfest 5k is coming up, do that! Grayling has a 5k the end of July too. Now, do NOT do this all the time. One or two races before the season are a great way to "tune up."
6. Beat the Aspen Park 6 mile loop record - Held by Chris Olds at 36:20 - Girls beat 44:40 by Thereseann Zimmerman.
AND only 34 days from today is the official start to our XC SEASON!!!