It has been a total of three weeks since the Sam Houston State cross country teams last took action heading into this week’s run at the Crimson Tide Classic in Tuscaloosa, Al.
Both teams are coming off great finishes at the Islander Splash in Corpus Christi but have had an abnormal amount of time between the two meets.
Both teams seem to take the break in a positive way and are using it to their advantage in order to hone their skills.
“The weeks off between meets is actually a nice break for both the athletes and as a coach,” head coach Jesse Parker said. “The time off allows us to refocus on training and build fitness to hopefully improve our times from one race to the next.”
Junior men’s runner J.T. Bounds also agrees with Parker about the off weeks between meets, no matter if the time sometimes has its downs.
“It definitely has pros and cons,” Bounds said. “The good thing is that we can push ourselves to the limit in practice without having to worry about racing, but not racing very often builds up a lot of anticipation, because we don’t have a lot of chances to gauge what we are capable of in an actual race.”
The life of the cross country runners is pretty strenuous as the athletes have little free time.
Mondays typically involve a longer mileage run in the morning with some power and speed activities at the end. The afternoon contains a shorter mileage run and some injury prevention activities.
Turn to Tuesday, where it is typically the hardest, most intense training day of the week outside of races. The runners are often running repetitions on the intramural field, such as last week where the men ran 1600 meters four times with three minutes rest, and the women ran 1000 meters six times with two-and-a-half minutes rest. The afternoons conclude with weightlifting.
The teams only train in the morning Wednesdays and Thursdays with activities being similar to Tuesday’s. Fridays are typically the easiest day of the week.
“I tell people that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a good endurance runner,” Parker said. “The ‘trick’ is to get out the door and run a lot. Typically the more you run the better you’ll be. During our highest mileage weeks, several of the men will run 90-100 miles (13 plus miles a day) and several of the women will run 65-70 miles (nine plus miles a day). The life of an endurance running doesn’t include many days off.”
The Bearkats are continuing the busy training schedule heading into this week’s strong competition.
“Alabama is a really great course with tough competition,” Bounds said. “The course is not too difficult, so everyone tends to have great races and can show the results of our efforts in practice. It is definitely a good chance to put up some good times before Conference and see what last minute adjustments we need to make to better prepare ourselves.”
The meet will take place Friday at the Harry Pritchett Running Course.