Any college track or cross country runners out there?

My son is in middle school and is doing great at cross country. If he keeps it up he’ll at least be a very good high school runner. I’m wondering about how to help him with this and what the future holds.

A couple of questions:

What kind of training should he be doing? His coach is already pushing him to lift weights and has the team doing lots of sprinting. My own WAG about what’s best would be to work up to about 30 miles a week at maybe 7 minutes a mile, maybe slower, maybe faster, till the end of his sophomore year. Then in his last two years crank it up and start the weights and torturous stuff then. But I have almost no knowledge, just what I learned when I was jogging 25 years ago. As I said, it’s just a WAG.

What can we expect in terms of college? Fortunately we don’t need for him to get a scholarship. Financially we’re solid and no one’s living vicariously and needs him to star at USC or anything. But I have heard that being a great HS athlete can help make the difference about admission to most colleges. For instance, I’ve read that the freshman class at Amherst is 2/3 A students and 1/3 B student/athletes who weren’t good enough for Division I sports. What’s the deal in cross country?

Anything else? What should we expect? How can we help him? Is there anything to be said for special summer camps, or is it enough for him to run every day?


Focus on form - if he under or over pronates it will be much easier to correct it now. Go to a running specialty store and spend $80-$100 on the pair of shoes that their specialist recommends.They should analyze his gait and give him 2 or 3 pairs that are right for him and he’ll pick which one he likes best. Get him a new pair every 4-6 months or 500 miles.

Listen to his coach. Don’t try to put him on your own workout or conditioning plan. The coach has a lot more experience than you (at least I assume if you had more experience than his coach you probably would not have started this thread.)

Don’t even bother thinking about college until his sophmore or junior year of high school. That should stand to reason for any kid whether they play sports or not.

I don’t run in college but I ran CC and track (mile and 3,000m) in highschool.
I’ll second what Cisco said about focusing on form and finding a good pair of shoes. Personally I wouldn’t mess with the weights; they provide an explosive power which would benfit a sprinter, but not really a distance runner. If you really wanted him on a set workout I would use resistance band not free weights. Swimming laps or bike riding would help give a sustained core stamina; which is what should be concentrated on at that age.

I was a sprinter, so take my input with that in mind.

30 7min miles per week? That doesn’t sound right. 15 years after graduating, I still do 35+ 6.5-7min miles a week, and distance isn’t my specialty. I don’t know what those crazy distance people used to do, but I think it was more rigorous.

My nephew, a HS junior, just finished in top ten in IL XC. His team won the meet and is going to Nats. I’m interested in seeing what opportunities he has if he stays healthy. Will try to remember to check in next year.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I’ll be looking for the best running shoe store this afternoon.