What a strong week of training. Even though we were coming off of Ragnar, Vita Course had a great turnout and people were running hard. Tuesday's 2 mile tempo run at the Lagoon trails was solid and I thought you all looked tough on the hill repeats. And the Kick-off Camp was a success with two very challenging trail runs. I imagine many of you are tired and maybe a little sore at this point. Keep in mind that the work we do now will pay off huge for us in the future.
Up at the camp, Brad and I talked about a few things that we felt would help us be successful this fall:
1) Hard work - our summer mileage, tempo runs, mile repeats, hill repeats, vita course runs, weights, core work, and a bunch of other things combined will turn us into the kind of runners we want to be when we start racing at the end of August. We also stressed the importance of not settling for a certain spot on the TEAM. Don't be afraid to run with a group that might be a little faster than you to start with. The only way you are going to race like a varsity runner is to train with them. The same concept goes from top to bottom on the TEAM - challenge those in front of you and push them to be better along the way. And we talked about not being lazy or finding excuses not to run or not to attend TEAM practices.
2) TEAM work - With any team, there is always a battle to come together and be unified. I like the feeling we have so far with this TEAM, but we have a long summer and season to continue to develop and find our identity. We are going to need strong leaders - typically I am talking about our seniors, but you can be a leader no matter how old or how fast you are. Be a leader by example and by your attitude. Be friendly to each other. I know that some of you are close friends on the TEAM - but please work hard to not have cliques. Instead, let's do our best to make sure that everyone feels encouraged, everyone feels like they belong, and everyone feels like they are a part of our TEAM. (That may be the biggest challenge with a team this size). We also have to continue to warm up together, stretch together, do abs together, and most importantly race together.
3) Humility - basically we have to stay hungry and we have to work for what we are going to accomplish. We cannot get arrogant and assume that because we were good last year that it will just happen. Besides, we want to be even better than we were a year ago.
4) Toughness - I love what Brad said: "You don't have to be fast to be tough." He gave a challenge to each of you to be tougher in the way you train and the way you race. We have got to be a TEAM of fighters. We are going to face challenges and setbacks (injuries, illness, fatigue, bad days, etc) but we have to stay tough through all of it. The hard times we go through will make us stronger as a TEAM and will mold us into champions. Brad Anderson is one of the toughest people I know. In his running, he has overcome more than any of us can really comprehend - both physically and mentally. He runs with a lot of courage, a lot of passion and heart, and a ton of toughness. I don't know if you saw him come off of the Vita Course last week - bloody and scraped up - but he was still smiling, and he was still happy to be running. Learn some toughness from the example of those around you. I know that I see it in Davis runners all the time and it motivates me to dig a little deeper and be a little tougher.
5) Pride in our program - We really do have a good thing going. We have a TEAM full of great people who are willing to sacrifice a lot for our program. We have a great tradition of success. When you train and race for Davis Cross Country - you should have some pride in what you are doing. It should make you work a little harder and dig a little deeper to represent one of the best programs in the country.
We also talked about our TEAM goals. Of course we have a goal to win 2 state championships and we have a goal for our top 7 boys and girls to qualify for NXN (Nike Cross Nationals) - but just as important, we have goals to set a lot of personal pr's (personal records), to come together as a TEAM, and to enjoy the journey without focusing too much on the destination. We really are at the beginning of a Dream Season - we have to make the most of this opportunity.
Monday - Vita Course - 7:00am - We will be making a group effort at the sub 50 and sub 63 clubs
Thursday - Layton Park - 7:00am - We will meet at Layton Park and we will be doing our first mile repeat session. Everyone will do what they are ready for (up to 5 miles).
A lot of running on your own this week - don't be lazy!
*For any of you who may not have started running - the invitation is always open to join us. You have to start sometime - this week is as good as any other.
Keep up the good work. I am very pleased with our start to the summer.
Send me your miles :)
ps. If you haven't already, join the Davis Cross Country Facebook page.
pps. Next week's topic - staying motivated through the month of July.