Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ask the Coach

Now that we are into heading the season is over for most athletes, I am moving up the ever popular "Ask the Coach" to the top of this page. If you have any questions in regards to your past season, winter training, Track & Field season or anything that you want answered, please add your question below in the comment section.

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

For the NCS course at Hayward, what exactly is being renovated? I heard it was the track but I was unsure. Also, how will the course change as a result of the downhill into the track being removed from the race?

Anonymous said...

All this talk about making the track qualifying more fair and a proposal wasn't even submitted and told CCS would shoot it down if it was purposed. What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

@7:39 I believe that the proposal was submitted to the CCS and was on the agenda. It was "tabled" because the league that submitted it did not show up at the CCS meeting. Evidently the meeting date was changed at the last minute and many league reps could not make it. The mystery is why the meeting date was changed in the first place. Can anyone shed light on this series of events?

Coach Tim said...

The meeting date was changed because of a change in the schedule of the CIF Commissioner's meetings (State-level meetings), which Steve and other CCS officials are required to attend. The league reps were notified by email and the website updated to the correct date, but last-minute changes always have some hiccups.

The proposal was discussed by the attendees of the meeting, but it would not have been appropriate to take action either way given the low attendance (also, the presenting sections were not present to speak for the proposal).

There were no shenanigans, and there is no conspiracy to shoot down any proposed changes. Just in the course of business as usual, stuff sometimes doesn't work out. I'm sure the proposal will be addressed at an upcoming meeting.

Anonymous said...

Upcoming meeting bf the next track season (2017) so the kids who would otherwise get screwed by the current bias in the CCS rules will have a chance to compete in their section meet after working hard the entire season and deserving a slot? Or will they have to stuff it an wait at least one more year for a more convenient time for the CCS managers and the CIF officials to schedule their meetings?

Anonymous said...

Coach Tim,

With all due respect, some might find it offensive that the CCS thinks screwing a kid out of a rightful spot in the section meet is "business as usual." If they can't treat this very important issue with the care it deserves, then we need to fire them and install/elect new directors. How does that get done?

Anonymous said...

The Souther section had 25 of the top 35 100M times in the State. Southern section #25 was 10.70, as was CCS #1. Do you feel the same about Southern section kids being screwed out of their rightful spots at State?

Anonymous said...

I was told that the purposal would not be approved by the CCS board of managers even if coaches voted yes. The reason is events have different "last place qualifiers." Some 8 some 12. Are the field events 8 or 12? They won't approve something that is not uniform. Perhaps this gives time to adjust the purposal. Perhaps 12th place from semi's or league finals? Either way it needs to change.

former coach said...

One solution to consider is to consolidate the CCS qualifying meets. Currently, athletes qualify directly from their league meets. However, the SCVAL, MBL, and BVAL have additional "qualifier" meets that combine 2 or 3 sub-leagues into a single meet. In theory, the other leagues could also add (or combine with) "qualifier" meets. For example, consider this set up:

BVAL - stays the same with 8 qualifiers to CCS
SCVAL + WBAL - combined meet with 8 qualifiers to CCS (currently 6+2)
PAL + WCAL - combined meet with 8 qualifiers to CCS (currently 5+2)
MBL + MTAL + SCCAL - combined meet with 8 qualifiers to CCS (currently 5+2+2)

The individual leagues can figure out how to advance from their respective leagues to the qualifier meets (and they could be run like a true qualifying meet with heat winners plus next fastest times moving on). At large marks can also remain.

This way, the CCS doesn't have to change anything (which given the effort required to implement any change is probably a good thing). Remember that the BVAL, SCVAL, and MBL ALREADY has this additional meet, so only one additional meet would be necessary (the combined PAL and WCAL meet). Since these "qualifier" meets would be under the jurisdiction of the leagues, they could even set it up so that FS and JV athletes from the individual league meets have a path to qualify.

Anyways, just a thought.

Hank said...

Nice thought.
The above idea would require all 10 leagues to change their By-Laws for this qualifying style meet to take place (I doubt that would happen). I don't see any league wanting to be liable for any athlete other than their own and if this wasn't governed under CCS who would pick up the Liability Issue? At the SCVAL Qualifier meet (which you want to add the WBAL to) there was an issue with an athlete getting struck in the head with a shot put - think the WBAL would want that can of worms? Some organization has to be legally responsible.

hank

Anonymous said...

@ 12:57 this is too smart and sensible to pass.

Anonymous said...

We all agree that the the CCS managers are either apathetic or outright hostile to XC and track. Why can't we break through their system to get a fair hearing? Do we have to change the system or the players?

Albert Caruana said...

I believe some of the construction is supposed to be around the track area but not sure how that will effect the race. I am assuming the course will be a bit different but the 3.0 distance will be the same.

former coach said...

Hank,
In the old days with the four region meets (hence, combined leagues for qualifying to CCS), were those under the jurisdiction of CCS?

Coach Tim said...

I don't agree that the CCS managers are either apathetic or outright hostile to XC and track. I do believe that they have to consider perspectives on the problems they face that don't occur to parents, coaches, and athletes. I also think that the mechanisms to make changes to the system are in place and make sense, and the changes you want to see can come about through the system, rather than changing the system or the players.

If something in the system seems broken, talk to your coach about it. Either they'll agree, and you can start on a proposal, or they won't and will probably share why. You can always talk to another coach too. But if a single league can't agree on a solution, it's unlikely the assembled leagues of the entire section will.

Let's also remember that mere days before the CCS track meet, SJCC became unusable as a venue. An "apathetic" or "hostile" administration would have cancelled the meet entirely, or run at a dangerous venue. Instead, the CCS rolled up their sleeves and in the span of like two days 1)found a new venue, 2)recruited a new volunteer force, 3)confirmed all of the officials, 4)notified all of the participating athletes and coaches, 5)renegotiated EMS, concessions, parking, etc. (Teams work concessions at SJCC as a fundraiser, which gets awkward when the venue is another high school), and ran the meet without a hitch. That's not apathetic, that's darn near miraculous.

Anonymous said...

Coach Tim, From what I heard there was a league that put forward a proposal (which I think was approved by the coaches in yet another league). My understanding is that the proposal was tabled without discussion because a last-minute meeting change created a situation where most of the league reps could not attend. While I might be able to believe that the meeting was changed to accommodate the CIF, I have a hard time understanding why the CCS, knowing that a league put forth a proposal, would not want to schedule a special meeting to take up the issue. Their unwillingness to address a concern of many in the track community shows a very specific and pronounced antipathy or outright hostility toward our sport and to the kids that get screwed by their current rules. They did a nice job of scrambling after their meet venue fell through. I assume they have a contract with their venders that would allow the CCS to collect on any damages they may have incurred. If not, they are as incompetent as they are spineless in their ability to stand up to the powerful leagues in the CCS. I ask again, how do we fire these people?

Albert Caruana said...

I have said this before and will say it again. CCS follows the recommendations of the coaches who have to follow a protocol in order for changes to take place. Unfortunately potential changes to the Track and Field qualifying process have not gained traction and have remained the same.

Anonymous said...

How do we know that the coaches don't want to make a change? Has anyone done a survey? Anyway, isn't it the job of the CCS to make changes that are good for the sport and the kids, without regard to what the leagues say? They have set up a system where some leagues get more entries and have more power - and (shock) would not vote to take away either. This is where a proactive section will step in (as they did when the adjusted the at-large mark without a vote) and say to the powerful leagues - we are making a change because the current system is fundamentally wrong. That's the difference between a group of meek board members that change the date of the meeting at the last minute to avoid talking about the issue, and real leaders that see a problem and take it head on. I still don't know how we get rid of them. If someone more knowledgable about the process can let us know here, or at least direct us to the governing documents, that would be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled. CCS went to Gilroy, which resulted in a $8,500 savings. There is no way they wanted to deal with the humongous fallout that would result from cancelling the championship of one of the most participated in sports.

Football went to 13 divisions to accommodate the state playoff system. Basketball let's in teams below .500. Track is a complete mess. You say talk to the coach, put forth a proposal but the truth is we've done that. If things don't change I see lawyers getting involved real soon.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until Anonymous 3:29 PM kid does not get into Stanford or an Ivy league college. It won't be good for the kids.

Anonymous said...

@8:02 I'm not sure what you are saying, especially about the college thing or how it "won't be good for the kids." I think 3:29 is echoing the frustrations of a lot of us that see an injustice and an apathetic CCS. While I am not sure that lawyers are the best approach, sometimes that is what it takes to move people past their apathy toward action. I guess that is just a sign of the times.

Anonymous said...

If this is the biggest injustice in your life you are a very lucky person. How about the kid that lives in east side of SJ who cannot afford to go to a WCAL school. Why don't you go fight that injustice. How about the person that come back from the war and cannot get a job. Why don't you go fight that injustice.



Anonymous said...

@3:31 nice try. Nobody said it was the biggest injustice in the world, just an injustice that is easily solved with action from the people we "hired" to look after our kids. The WCAL has nothing to do with the fact that kids are getting screwed by the CCS. If we have to wait for poverty and veteran affairs to be solved before we can handle the easier issues then nothing will ever be resolved. Let's do what we can and leave the political issues for the elites.

Anonymous said...

3:31 nice straw man! Go back to your day job.

Anonymous said...

Were the NCS division changes a good idea? I know a lot of parents that more or less counted on a state meet trip every season (who will now most likely not be going any time in the near future). Call me selfish for my child, but I don't feel bad for them at all. It's far too often been the same damn teams representing NCS, and although this wasn't Coach Williams' focus in his realignment proposal, I find it to be quite the nice side effect. What say you Albert?

Anonymous said...

I know you all love to hate on WCAL but the qualifying system effects all leagues with two qualifiers: SCCAL, WBAL and MTAL as well as the WCAL. A few years ago it was a top ranked King City runner. Good distance runners in SCCAL always have a hard time getting out of league. If you have one or two elite kids in your league it makes it near impossible to advance. There is no major injustice here. No need for "track qualifying matters"'rallies in 880 but with just a semi final and final I think it makes it even more important to advance those with their best marks from the league meet. The CCS title is decided by sometimes a point or two. If 9:32 scores but doesn't make it to the meet that means you are also effecting a team championship.

CCS should do go back to 4 region meets. 25-30 schools & run it like an invite. Top 40 verified entries are in. Top marks advance.

Anonymous said...

7:04 Great idea but with the current leadership it will not see the light of day. We need to remove the CCS members responsible for XC and track and replace them with people who care about fairness and the kids. As far as WCAL goes, I have a hard time understanding the animus from others on this site. Those kids, and the ones from the other leagues you mentioned, have every right to compete on an even playing field and get rewarded accordingly for their efforts.

Albert Caruana said...

I think we will just have to see what happens in regards to the NCS changes. That might take a few years.

Anonymous said...

@9:46 Everything you need to know about the animosity towards the WCAL is hidden in your post. Hint: two words, one rhymes with "Minbratitude" and the other with "Schmivilege"

Coach Tim said...

I have a question for the coaches:

What are y'all doing about Pokemon Go?

hank said...

9:57am (from a few days ago), yes the 4 Region meets (and later the North/South meet) were all put on by CCS.

9:46am (from above) You seem to think that getting a different set of personnel into the CCS office will change things - not so. There is still a process in place that anyone in that role needs to follow. I don't seem to understand where you think they are trying to "rig the system". As far as the meeting change, they did so because of a circumstance beyond their control so they followed the process and tabled the matter. Even if it postpones what you want to happen by one year, they are still following the process. Sure, maybe a next year Senior doesn't get to go on to CCS finals, hopefully the juniors and sophomores of the future will because they followed the process. Now if you want to talk about a conspiracy, lets talk about Pokemon Go and how the aliens are pushing "mind control" over the participants of this next world order (think of Terminator sub-plot) - now this IS a concern of mine.

hank

I do hope you have a sense of humor...

Anonymous said...

1:06 what was "hidden" in the 9:46 post that sounded like ingratitude and privilage (I think)? Examples please. Certainly there are examples of the WCAL kids getting screwed by only getting 2 spots to qualify for CCS. Is that ingratitude? Toward whom? Privilage, give me a break. Are the Paly or Gunn kids more or less "privilaged" - how about the WBAL kids who on average pay 2x what WCAL schools charge. Or would it be their athletic abilities that you object to? Sounds like jealousy, which is not new on this site.

Anonymous said...

Hank, I do. So the leagues get one shot a year to propose a change and this year they really didn't even get that chance. Sorry seniors it just didn't work for our schedule. Good luck next year and in your future endeavors. That's really the joke, isn't it? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'll bet some teams and leagues would be a lot faster and stronger if It was an even playing field and they could draw in kids from outside of school boundaries and or have one of the top JO running clubs funnel most of the best runners their way. Cause that's something to be jealous of.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that some on this site don't care if kids from the smaller leagues get screwed because a few happen to be good runners in middle school. How very magnanimous of you. If you have to game the system so slower kids from larger, mostly public leagues get an advantage then you are most certainly doing it wrong. You have been proving here that the CCS only cares about power and not at all for the kids they presumably serve. How do we fire these obstinate people?

Anonymous said...

6:48 there is the jealousy we all know and love. Those kids that you think you are losing because they "belong" to your government school district, actually get a choice to not go to a government-controlled, union school. It is their choice - I know that is a very hard concept for some but we still have that choice in this country. THEIR CHOICE. Get it? That should not give the idiots at the CCS an excuse to discriminate against them. Understood?

Anonymous said...

This is not the NCAA. The majority of CCS is comprised of public schools is it not? It would stand to reason that the greater good of majority will rule this. Why should CCS cater to the needs of the minority? You had the choice to go to better schools. Now why don't you you just have your own section meet where you won't be persecuted. The public school system and public school sports are not set up like free market capitalism. If it was, you'd call the SS meet the State meet. Perhaps CCS like CIF prefers a bit of balance while still making sure the top kids are in. The 6th miler on a team who might be ranked in the top 15 because he decided to go to school with his friends who have been recruiting him since 6th grade is less important than the greater inclusion of the large leagues. UNDERSTOOD? Maybe the idiot JO coaches and parents who recruit for these schools should do a better job informing people how the system works, and that it's probably not changing anytime soon just for them. I predict if they change this, more kids will be incouraged to join these teams. In 10 years someone else will be whining because some schools 18th 800 runner is getting screwed. Eventually you have a section meet with all WCAL schools and a bunch of kids who moved to Sant Cruz over the summer for the culture. i wonder if maybe CCS is not interested in or just can't change their rules fast enough to keep up with all this fairness.

Anonymous said...

The comments here are disheartening from both sides of the argument and is the REAL reason there is not change. To be honest this is a Bellarmine issue, nothing else. If I am wrong please tell me. It is time to put jealousy aside and do what's right for the sport.

It is also time for the "haves" to help and appreciate the lack of support and resourses that public schools have to work with. All those kids that would be going to their neighborhood school (like the ones in the Alum Rock hills) that go to Bell would no doubt make their public school better. Many parents, like those that choose Bellarmine, would add financial and parental support to a school and transform it for the better.

I'm saddened by the comments here from both sides. I am a teacher, parent, coach and I teach and coach at a public school. I do not think it is appropriate for the Bellarmine hate nor for the hard working public school kids to be called names. You all need to check yourself and grow up.

Albert Caruana said...

I think it's frustrating to see deserving kids not able to complete at CCS in both cross country and track and field. That said, that happens in every section and just think how many top athletes are not able to advance out off their own league in the southern section. I can tell you that CCS (and other sections) are not against change. The issue is you have to have a viable proposal that can get approved by the ADs and the league reps. Trust me that coaches do try to do what is in the best interest of our athletes and sports but sometimes we are not able to make these changes happen.

I also agree that there is no need for the name calling and generalizations of public and private schools. There are great coaches and students at all schools regardless of the type of school and bottom line we are all on the same team.

Anonymous said...

7:03 I went back through the posts and can't find any comments calling the kids names. If so, that is unfortunate and I assume Albert would either not approve the post or would remove it. This is actually a great argument about the CCS qualifying rules and how they should be changed, or not, depending on your take. I think you and 11:11 are correct and it is nice to finally hear someone admit that the current rule is purposely constructed to punish the private schools, and because of that they are not going to change anytime soon. While the vast majority of these kids, including the Bell guys, choose a private school because of the education, I guess the CCS only deals with the sports side and it is within their rights to go with the majority and punish the kids to the best of their ability. Congrats to them on teaching our kids this hard life lesson in HS. Many of us have to wait until college or our first job to find out that rules are sometimes made to punish success and advance those with lesser skill or drive to succeed.

Albert Caruana said...

I think it's frustrating to see deserving kids not able to complete at CCS in both cross country and track and field. That said, that happens in every section and just think how many top athletes are not able to advance out off their own league in the southern section. I can tell you that CCS (and other sections) are not against change. The issue is you have to have a viable proposal that can get approved by the ADs and the league reps. Trust me that coaches do try to do what is in the best interest of our athletes and sports but sometimes we are not able to make these changes happen.

I also agree that there is no need for the name calling and generalizations of public and private schools. There are great coaches and students at all schools regardless of the type of school and bottom line we are all on the same team.

Anonymous said...

I'm running 4-6 miles a day average right now. Where should I be based on the start of the cross season and when should I start adding some speed work?

Albert Caruana said...

It would help to know what grade you are and how long you have been running. Not knowing that, I would say 4-6 miles a day average is solid and you should be ready to go once the official season begins. Make sure you do a weekly long run. Most coaches say that speed should never be neglected and should be part of your training program throughout the year.

Anonymous said...

Remember that drama over who can run on a relay? Check out what NCAA just did:

Another rules change in the sport makes any eligible athlete who is a member of a university’s team eligible to participate as a member of a relay team at any time during all competitions.

Rules committee members said this reflects what is currently occurring at NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field competitions throughout the year, including conference championships. A university is the entrant for a relay event; therefore, the school should be able to run any combination of eligible student-athletes on its relay team in any round at any time during all competitions.


Rules that make sense. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Toro is close to a major fire that will not be contained until after the Early Bird. Any chance toro will not be available? Should coaches start looking for alternate meets and another date to run the CCS course?

Anonymous said...

No way. It's close to multimillion dollar homes in Carmel Valley. No way the fire makes it there. And I doubt it will be an issue in a month and a half.

Anonymous said...

Last weekend they were staging men and equipment at toro. The new date to have it 100% contained is after the early bird. Can someone ask coach Ibarra if he has any info to pass along to the rest of us on status?

Gustavo Ibarra said...

I'm in communication with the Parks Department as we speak and will certainly pass on information as it becomes available. Toro Park is closed at the moment as a base camp for firefighters.
We will look at all options and make the best decisions we can with what matters most.
Thanks!
Coach Ibarra
Earlybird Meet Director

Anonymous said...

Please move it to September 24th. That works best for us!!

Anonymous said...

Some good news on the fire: Sunday's report was 5% controlled, and then this morning the CDF report showed 18% with moderate to minimal fire activity overnight!! Hopefully, that will continue for all the firefighters and the people living in the area.

Anonymous said...

Update on the BIg Sur fire as of 8/17: 60% contained...is Toro Park still being used as a staging ground?

Anonymous said...

Could we add date-stamping to comments along with the time-stamping? It would make threads like this one that keep getting revived easier to follow.

Albert Caruana said...

I will see if it's possible to add the date to each comment. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Any new info on the early bird date? Is toro going to be open and restored by the meet date?

Albert Caruana said...

An update on the Earlybird Invitational is posted on the front page.

Anonymous said...

What percentage of kids at the higher performing programs are having their kids run twice a day? And how many days a week or is this a proprietary knowledge question?

Anonymous said...

My guess is not many will announce what they are doing but doubles are against the rules on consecutive days and most administrations do not support doubles. Personally most xc kids have intense academic schedules and sleep 3-6 hours a night. Not many get the sleep or live the lifestyles that can physically handle that kind of training.

Albert Caruana said...

I don't know the percentage but there are definitely some very good programs and individual runners who do doubles. I don't think anybody can dispute the benefits. There are indeed rules on double practices but that does include students running on their own in the morning. The other aspect that was already mentioned is that the need for sleep. I think some kids are better off getting that extra hour of sleep instead of getting out and doing a morning run.

Anonymous said...

As a parent, how should I talk with my runner about season and long-range goals for XC and track? I don't want to push too hard but want my kid to live up to the potential.

Anonymous said...

Competitive equity on the CIF agenda. If you want to express your opinion there's a time for public comments. So if you want your opinion heard go speak... Otherwise don't say they never gave you an opportunity to give your input.
http://static.psbin.com/c/x/f1qc4ids2tl3qf/EC_Portfolio_August_24_2016_-_One_File.pdf

Anonymous said...

@7:44 It looks like you are referring to item 11 on the 8/24 agenda. It appears they are reviewing a pilot program from SoCal, but XC is not listed. What is the tie to XC or track, and to the establishment of an "open division" which seems to be the thing you alluded to? Further, how is it appropriate to assume anyone could take time off to shlep up to Sac with one day notice and sit in a 10am-5pm meeting to be heard? This is not a speak now or forever hold your peace situation, at least not for me.

Anonymous said...

It is not listed but it doesn't mean it isn't in the works. XC will go open and this is the start. Don't cry when it happens and you say they never asked for input. This is how the system works. They are counting on you not going.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on the results from the "Meeting of the Marauders"?

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on the "Meeting of the Marauders" results?

Anonymous said...

@12:08 Got it. Similar to the CCS board accomplices: they wills schedule a meeting (or not), post inproper info, "ask" for input, claim nobody cares, and then do whatever the F they want to. Democracy is a great way to do business.

Coach Tim said...

I don't think the CIF can mandate the CCS implement competitive equity. They already let us determine how our divisions are structured (our enrollment divisions for XC are different than those at the state meet because we chose to keep similar qty of schools in each division). They might be able to impose an open division, but I'm pretty sure it would be up to the section to decide how it is populated. If you have a strong opinion, or ideas how it could be structured, tell your coach and league rep about it.

Anonymous said...

When do you start cutting down miles and adding speed training for the championship season?

Albert Caruana said...

Speed is something that should have been done all along during the summer and the season. You don't add things now that you have not been doing during the season. As far as cutting mileage, that is very individual. Some kids thrive on cutting mileage and some need to maintain their same workload.

Anonymous said...

What impact does moving the CCS championship to Crystal have on the team and individual predictions.

Anonymous said...

It's also college application season. Any advice for athletes who want to run in college regarding selecting a running program?

Albert Caruana said...

The only impact I see is that some kids enjoy certain courses and some do not. The change of venue might be somewhat of a factor but for the most part, I think the teams that should win, qualify to state etc will not be effected.

Albert Caruana said...

My advice to any student looking at running in college is to find a place/coach that sees you as a valuable member of their team. Also, when you are looking at a college, you have to be realistic about where you can compete. The college you choose academically might not work out well for you as a runner so that is definitely a factor. I think students and parents get caught up with going to a "name" college which for the most part might not be a good fit for them athletically. There are a ton of great colleges out there that might not have the brand value who are both excellent academically and athletically.

Anonymous said...

Albert, great advice. The other thing I would add is that the coach means a lot but you should not pick a school because of the coach, unless you are sure they are going to stay for a long time (typically if they are the head coach and especially if they graduated from that school). Make sure you would stay at the school even if the coach leaves. When my daughter was looking at running programs, there were numerous times when the coach she talked with as a junior was gone the year after. Also, if you are new at evaluating programs and schools, there are websites like NCSA they help you evaluate if a program is a match for you and help you communicate with the coaches. The other thing we learned is to not sit back and wait for letters to come in. If you are interested in a school, sometimes you have to be proactive and make the first contact.

Anonymous said...

What do you think some winning times will be on the "new Hayward" course for NCS? Boys and Girls? we think it's running faster?

Albert Caruana said...

The course is definitely running faster and this year, provided the weather cooperates, we should be able to see quite a few sub 15 and sub 18 efforts for the boys and girls respectively.

Anonymous said...

I have a minor injury and have to take some time (I don't know how much yet...) off of running, according to my coach. It's really frustrating me and making me anxious about the rest of the season. I really want to go to state this year and finish the season strong. I'm worried that I'll lose a lot of my fitness and that my season is basically over! Any advice for when I do start running again / what to do until then?

Albert Caruana said...

If you have a minor injury, the best thing you can do is to take some time off. In the meantime, you can can do cardio work on a stationary bike, elliptical, swimming etc. Basically anything that doesn't aggravate the injury. As for when you can return to running, you are going to be the best judge of that.

Anonymous said...

Re: the running in college question....

Let's be honest, the vast vast vast majority of high school runners will not be good enough to run on a school's intercollegiate team. But rather than look at that as a negative, I recommend looking at the big picture, i.e., students should be looking at how they can continue running for the rest of their lives. A fantastic opportunity to perpetuate that mindset is available at most colleges nowadays, which unfortunately did not exist when I was in college. That is the club running scene. Check out the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA - clubrunning.org). My son runs at the club level at his college, and is having an absolute BLAST! He is a little above the middle of his team, but he gets to run in several meets a year, including the annual National Championships. Last year it was in Kentucky; this year it will be in Hershey, PA. They generally run on the same XC courses that the regular college teams run on. The club running scene spans from some very competitive runners (who could certainly be running at many D1 schools) all the way to runners who are barely interested in competing. My son is in the Mid-Atlantic region, and they just had over 500 runners in their regional. The Pacific regional is this Saturday at Crystal (although, for some strange reason, there will only be a little over 100 runners there?). Anyway, just wanted to point out this option which is applicable to A LOT more high school runners than those who might qualify for the "varsity" level teams in college....

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Good advice on college running. I'm asking on behalf of someone who is being recruited by some D1 schools, but thinks she would be happier with D2 or even D3. We hadn't considered club options, but I'm glad you talked about that experience--sounds like a great option for a lot of runners.

Regarding advice on coaches, we are seeing they do move around a lot. It seems helpful to look at whether the team is cohesive primarily because of the coach, or whether the school has enough staff and culture to keep the program going with coach turn-over.

I like what you say about 'brand name" Albert.

Thanks for the feedback!

Peter Brewer said...

AS per selecting colleges: I have been encouraging my runners to continue in college, and have found that the D-II and D-III route to be a great fit for lots of good HS varsity runners who are not D-I prospects. There is a lot of coaching stability in these divisions, and the schools are often a great academic fit for the typically high-achieving cross country kid. So I've had runners at Redlands, Willamette, Chico, Holy Names, Lewis & Clark, Regis (Denver), Augusta State (Georgia), Oxford (Memphis), Cal State Hayward, University of Chicago, Pomona-Pitzer, and others. Grades are a necessity, and money is always an issue, but at this level a good runner can find a compatible team.

Anonymous said...

Trying to guage the speed of runners I'm up against at NCS D 4. Can you compare the Mt Sac course to Lowell invite? Is one faster, slower or are they comparable in difficulty?

Albert Caruana said...

It looks like the Mt. SAC course is about 30 seconds or so slower than the Lowell Invitational course.

Anonymous said...

Well one is at the start of the season, the other is at the end. Lots can change in that time.

Albert Caruana said...

I think that is used when it comes to the course conversion for the two courses.

Anonymous said...

I am in D2 guys (super stacked division) and am trying to make state. At this point in the season, with league finals coming up, is there any major improvement in terms of training I can make? Or is the level at which I am currently at pretty much the level at which I will be once NCS comes along? I know it is a month out, but at this point, we start going into speed work/taper usually? If not, what kind of workouts should we be doing to get up a notch? And sorry, I know this is vague, but I just want an opinion. Thanks!

Albert Caruana said...

I think there is a certain point in the season when you are as fit as you are going to get. With NCS being one month out, I think there is still room for fitness gains. That said, I think it's also important you don't do anything out of the norm that may lead to an injury. I mentioned this above but don't try to do something you haven't done all season. Continue to do what has worked for you. Once you feel like you are really focusing on your biggest meet of the season, maintain your fitness, get your sleep, eat well and trust your training.

Best of luck at NCS.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a common question at this time of year. Any of the top runners willing to put up a sample of your weekly workouts early in the year vs. those you are doing currently (will do bf section final)? Or are those state secrets?

Coach Small said...

@ 8:37 & 10:26

There is one "secret" tool you all have to get a boost in performance at the end of the year: your bed!

I see a noticeable difference in my athletes who get 8 hours a night sleep on a regular basis and those who do not. And it is possible to get that much sleep and be a successful student. One of my former athletes had all the AP's, extra science stuff, volunteering, etc. and was able to get 10-12 hours a night. He is at USC on a full academic scholarship.

There's no magic workout to get you fast. When you get the recovery you need, only then will your body adapt to the stress it is under. It's biology.

Anonymous said...

I think that along with sleeping, the most important work you can do at this point is also mental. If your training sets you up to make big gains in the last month of the season for instance, get mentally ready to start competing with a different group of athletes at a different pace. We structure our training this way on my team, and there are always a few guys that run similar times to what they did at the start of the season and just feel a lot less tired. Trust your training.

Coach Tim said...

Yup, I agree with the coaches who have posted already. At this point in the season, take care of "the little things": Sleep, nutrition, mindset. You wouldn't save up all your mileage, all your hill work, all your intervals, and then sacrifice sleep to do them on the day before championships, right? So why would you do that with homework, projects, and studying?

And you've got to eat - both to provide fuel for your workouts and races, and to recover afterwards. HS athletes should be able to eat a pretty tremendous amount of calories without worry, yet there are always kids (parents?) who are concerned about eating too much.

@8:37, our workouts the week of section championships wouldn't blow you away - more likely you'd say "That's it?". We'll probably do some kind of threshold workout, maybe 4x1200 with 1-min rest on Wednesday, and distance + strides the rest of the week. As for early season, we'd also do a threshold workout, but a second workout of hills or "speed work", with a higher weekly total. The secret is doing it every day for the full 24 weeks of the training cycle.

Anonymous said...

I came into cross country season this year with very little base milage, and went almost straight into high speed, high intensity workouts, and I feel that I plateaued later in the season because of my undeveloped aerobic capacity. What kind of milage and prep do you think I should get in before track season in the next 4-5 weeks or so? I will be running the 1600 and the 3200 for track season.

Albert Caruana said...

Winter is a great time to build your weekly mileage in preparation for the Track and Field season. You are going to be the best judge of how much you can handle at this point. When did your season end? Have you continued to run since your season ended? It's not unusual for athletes to take a break after each season but some continue to train following the end of their season. From this point, you have about 2 months to build your fitness and it will make a big difference for you. A rule of thumb is not to increase your weekly mileage more than 10% from one week to the next.

Anonymous said...

I raced at state champs, so I've taken the last 3 days off, but haven't decided whether or not to take the rest of the week off. Before taper weeks for state and ncs, I had been doing around 30-35 miles per week.

Albert Caruana said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a little break after the season. You will know when you are ready to start running again. I would say the winter is a time when you can raise your mileage from cross country season. You can lengthen your long run as well as some of your other runs. You can also try to do some short morning runs if you can. Does your coach have a winter plan for you that you can follow? If not, you can come up with your own plan. Have a weekly long run which should be about 20% of your mileage but it can be more if you are doing 30-35 miles a week. You should be doing strides 2-3 times a week. You can add some hills in there during your runs. You should try to lift 2-3 times a week. Think about your current weaknesses and work on improving those during the winter before the start of track season. When in doubt, go run. If you feel good, go a little faster. Include recovery runs during the week.

Best of luck to you during track seasons.

Anonymous said...

All-CCS coming out soon?

Anonymous said...

Anyone find a seeded boys start list for footlocker?

Albert Caruana said...

The All-CCS team has been voted on I believe. It will be released after it's posted in the San Jose Mercury News.

Albert Caruana said...

I don't believe they are posted anywhere online.

Hank said...

I've only heard this 2nd hand but as I understand it, the Mercury News does not plan on selecting an All-Mercury News XC Team this year, that is why we went ahead and published the All-CCS XC Team so early this year.

hank

Hank said...

Footlocker West seeded entries:

http://www.runnerspace.com/download.php?file_id=4485

hank

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