It took me a while to sit down and write this final email of the 2012 cross country season. It has been an incredible season. We have accomplished so much as a TEAM over the past 6 months. I am ending this season with a feeling of pride and satisfaction. I have been involved in seasons where we wrap things up and there might be a feeling of regret because what might have been if we had worked harder or been more unified or had better leadership, but I feel that 2012 was a very complete season and a very complete TEAM. Once again, I would like to thank each of you for your contributions - not just in the times you ran or the points you scored (or didn't score I guess with cross country) - but more importantly in the contributions you each made in making it a memorable year in the way we worked together and progressed as a group.
We wrapped up our season last week at the Nike Nationals in Portland. As most of you know, our girls finished 12th and our boys finished 13th. As most of you also know, that was not what we were hoping for. However, there was no feeling of regret or disappointment. The 14 runners who represented DXC put everything they had into those races. We raced with toughness, with passion, and with focus. And we raced as a TEAM. At the end of the day, it did not end up being our day or our course - but we gave our best efforts. If you look closely at the results, you will see that both the boys and the girls are incredibly close to being top 5 teams. The team competition was as close and as deep as it has ever been. I believe that on another day - or possibly on a course that is more suited to our strengths - that our boys and girls are among the top 5 teams in the U.S. And finishing in the top 13 on both sides is definitely a great accomplishment and something that we can be proud of.
Congrats to the entire TEAM - because I truly believe that getting to NXN and placing so high at NXN can be attributed to all of you. To your teamwork, to your attitudes, and to the fact that we were pushing each other to be our greatest.
If you have not yet had a chance to check out the pictures Brad and I posted on facebook, you should - especially the pictures of the race. It was by far the muddiest, most challenging cross country race I have ever witnessed.
So, the indoor track season is coming up and it's time to get back to work. I think that a lot of you are motivated to push yourselves to the next level of your running and I think we are going to see some major breakthroughs over the next 6 months of the year. How do you get to the next level? How do you make those breakthroughs? Simple: you set some goals and then put in consistent work. By consistent work, I am talking about months of training not a few days or a few weeks. You have to stay disciplined and you have to stay motivated.
I think that the work we did in the summer and the cross country season is going to make you all stronger when we get on the track, but only if you continue to work hard and push yourselves during the winter. December and January are tricky months. The weather isn't always the easiest to train in and there are not very many track meets to test yourselves. I remember being a high school athlete in those months and I was always trying to work harder than anyone else through the winter because I knew that I could have more motivation and more desire and more mental toughness than the guys I would be racing. After years of thinking this way, the winter has become a time of year when I really look forward to my training.
I want you all to treat the months of December-February very similar to how we treat our summer months. We are building a base that is going to last us through May - and allow us to reach the highest possible peak that we can at the end of April and the first half of May. The main difference is that we will have a few lower mileage weeks because of some important indoor races - and our mileage might not be quite as high because of some higher intensity in our training. Here are the important things to keep in mind for the next 12 weeks:
1) You should be keeping a training log - if it helps to email me at the end of the week, I really like reading your logs and would love to keep you accountable for what you are doing - especially since we are not meeting all of the days through that stretch. I am not going to make it a requirement, but I highly recommend emailing me what you are doing for the next 12 weeks. Those 12 weeks will be December 10 - February 16 (Simplot Games). I am not going to keep a mileage chart like I did during the summer, but I think that you should be comparing yourself to what you did in the summer. And you should set a goal for what you would like to hit over those 12 weeks. 400 miles (33 miles per week) or 500 miles (42 miles per week) or even 600 miles (50 miles per week) would be something to shoot for depending on where you were in the summer and what progress you have made over the xc season. All of you should be shooting for at least 400 miles. A lot of those miles we are going to run as a group, but if you want to get over 500, you are going to need to do some extra on your own (morning runs, evening runs, or a few extra added on at practice).
2) Set some time goals. I think you should set some time goals for both the indoor season and the outdoor season. Again, how do you get to the next level in your running? First you have to decide what that next level is. Each of you are at your own levels of running. For some of you, it might be harder to cut a lot of time off of last year's running because you are at a higher level (and it gets harder to take off time the faster you get), for some of you who are newer to running, you might see some huge improvements from a year ago. If you are a boy who ran 4:50 in the mile a year ago and you would like to run under 4:30 this season - set that as a goal and get after it. If you ran 13:00 in the 2 mile last year, you might go after 12:00 this year. If you are a girl who ran 2:24 in the 800m last year and you want to hit 2:18 this year - that's totally reachable. Each of you have to decide what kind of time you are going to be proud of. Set some goal times you have to really work for; something that will make you proud and that will make you feel accomplished. You should let me know what your goal times are, and you should write them down and keep them in a place that you can see them. Let them be part of your motivation for the next 3 months of training.
3) Listen to your body. If you start to get run down, don't overdo it. It is a phase of your training where it is okay to back off for a few days - especially if it means preventing injury or burnout. However, it is also a phase of your running where it is okay to be tired and push yourself - you just have to be careful.
4) Continue to do the little things that are going to make the difference - take care of your bodies (eat right, sleep, stretch). Be diligent with your ab work, your lifting, your stretching, and your drills. Be better than you ever have been at being disciplined.
*One thing is for certain - don't expect to get to the next level of your running just because a year has gone by. You have to stay hungry. You have to keep focused. You have to push yourself harder and harder if you are going to reach new heights. Don't settle for anything less than your best this season. Don't go through the season satisfied with being the same runner you were a year ago.
I will see you on Monday at 2:40 - meet in my classroom and be ready for a run outside. The indoor team meeting is not until Tuesday, but I would like you to meet for a run on Monday. (I will have parent teacher conference).
The Indoor Track Meeting is Tuesday at 2:40 in the little theater (which is just north of the main office in the school). If you are an 8th or 9th grader, come to that room when you get out of school, and we should still be in there finishing up. We will go for a run after the meeting - so bring your warm clothes.
I think that is about all,