Due to the lack of a competitive outlook last season, cross-country coaches have initiated a new training regimen this season, incorporating elements of cross-fit and other sports, such as swimming, into its practices. Such changes were implemented under the discretion of the coaches, Marie Burns, Caitlin Lopez and Cristian Iga, and the team captains, Daniel Kim (12) and Jennifer Huh (11).
The changes include training in the weight room for muscle strength and endurance. According to Kevin Shim (11), cross-country member, the new training system affected the runners positively, by giving them better workout opportunities during their practices.
“I think the new training regimen is more engaging than any previous ones that we’ve had in cross-country during the past two years I’ve been on the team,” Kevin said. “There is [faster] foot coordination and better fitness overall, rather than just in the abs or legs. The changes provide more diversity in our training routine, which is always a nice plus.
The cross-fit training includes workout sessions with Coach Iga in the weights room. The exercises include atomic pushups, which are pushups done with legs suspended in the air, and ladder sprints, which are careful pacing exercises to train foot coordination. In addition to the cross-fit training, the team also receives yoga instruction from Coach Lopez and practices endurance by swimming in the pool.
“I think the inclusion of cross-fit workouts and swimming strengthens the team as athletes,” Coach Lopez said. “The speed training also helps with competing against other teams.”
The new practices also feature elements that were rare in previous seasons, such as longer distances and more intensive workouts that include hill sprints and long-distance runs. Runners now train to compete in races at a higher level, allowing them to catch up with their opponents.
“Because of the competitive training, I find other runners’ footsteps approaching behind me more noticeable,” said Brandon Ra (11), varsity runner. “I also find it easier to make goals like catching up with others and making an extra effort.”
While the practice runs still remain as five km on average, ranging from three to eight km runs, other exercises now take place before and after the main run. Although these measures appear to exhaust cross-country runners momentarily, team members are more likely to be strengthened for their races on the long term.
Photo by Ina Youn (10)