Long time RW editor, Joe Henderson once wrote that cross country is the meeting place of the miler and the marathoner. If you want to be good in either of those events, or those in between, you should run cross country. The savvy cross country runner trains all summer (and in Summer of 2017, we will be ther for you), but it is August 22, and cross country is starting for high schoolers across the U.S. today.

Over 500,000 high school boys and girls will run cross country in the fall of 2016, and over half of them will be starting today. Well, good luck. Cross country is a great discipline in our sport, and it gives back what you give to it.

For the next 20 weeks, Youthrunner.com will provide daily workouts for your use. We will provide daily workouts on FB, twitter and also via newsletter once a week (you can sign up at Youthrunner.com and they will come to you daily).

This year, HOKAONEONE is sponsoring our training programs to support the hokaoneonepostalnationals.com.

We think that postal two miles are great ways to test your teams fitness early season and show how fit they are at the of the season, and the postal is so easy to do. All we ask is that you check out the hokaoneonepostalnationals.com site. We will provide daily training info. Again, the workouts are suggestions, and we hope that they add to your arsenal of workouts. Remember, recovery is as important as graduated, increased training loads. Train, do not strain.

Leo Manzano is a perfect example of an athlete who improved with cross country. Leo ran cross country in high school and college. He has competed in 11 straight U.S. national 1,500 meter champs, and finished in top three ten times, his lowest finish was fourth in 2016. Cross country builds the strength and endurance of middle distance runners. All of the good ones do it! So, enjoy the next 20 weeks.

We provide a daily workout plus workouts for the next week. Read it through, and if you have questions, send us an email training@youthrunner.com


From 1957 through the 1970's at the end of the cross country season Track & Field News and the United States Track & Field Federation jointly held a nationwide competition. At first teams would run 2 miles on the track and mail the results in (hence the name "National Postals"), but then in 1969 when the 3 miles was added, regional races were held, all of which are known as the "National Postal" races. Since cross country courses varied and since there was not going to be a single national meet, the times from the regional races were taken for ranking the competitors nationally. To make the races fair in comparing times, the races were run on the track, but in a cross country type race. Teams of 5 runners were entered as well as individual entries. High school runners ran a 2 mile cross country event in those years. The 2 mile races for the National Postals were done from 1957 through 1982; and the 3 mile races for the National Postals were done from 1969 through 1978 (as in 1979 and after, the Kinney and Footlocker National High School Cross Country Championships were instituted for the 3 mile races). The revival of the Postal 2-Mile is a revival of the spirit of high school distance running, the revival of finding a true national champion and most importantly the revival of a team together. We are proud to reintroduce the running world to the Hoka One One National High School 2-Mile Postal Competition.

HOKA ONE ONE, one of the most innovative brands of running footwear in our sport, has thrown their support behind the hokaoneonepostalnationals.com. They are supporting our 20 week training program, from now, August 22 to the end of December. We thank them for their support and will be sending this to all 16,000 cross country coaches across the U.S. high school system.

Sign up at hokaoneonepostalnationals.com


Before You Begin:

1. Get your gear in order.

If possible, you should have two pairs of good training shoes so you can rotate them. Most training shoes last for 8-10 weeks, depending on your training. Take your time at your local running store when selecting shoes and remember to go at the end of the day as your feet swell during the day. Bring a clean pair of socks and be prepared to check out 5-7 different shoes to find the right one for you. Assess your stash of socks, shorts, tops.

2. Hydrate yourself.

Eight to 10 glasses of water a day plus sports drinks and juice are a good start. Minimize the amount of coffee, tea, and carbonated soda you drink.

3. Fuel your engine with the right food.

Get the proper amounts and types of food into your system. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pasta, and modest amounts of fish, chicken, and beef make sense. For snacks, try apple slices spread with peanut butter. Nuts are also good. Pizza, tacos, and fast food places are fine as infrequent treats.

4. Sleep!

I know that at 17 or 18 you can text all night or check out the newest game on Xbox, but it will affect your training. Get 8-10 hours of sleep and, if you can, try for a nap (yes, a nap) on a few afternoons.

5. Establish your training group.

Though some people prefer to train alone, a group helps with the hard days and long runs. Figure out what works for you and your training style.

6. Inspiration.

Find some good books that support your running goals. Some classics include Once a Runner, The Irishman Who Ran for Britain, The Lonely Breed, A Cold, Clear Day, and Self-Made Olympian. Music can also be a great motivator. Find great additions to your playlist by talking to your friends and searching online, plus we'll post the Shoe Addicts' running music lists. We don't recommend running with earbuds or headphones, however, since they compromise your awareness and possibly your safety. They can also mess with your ability to "tune into" the pace you're running, which is essential come race time.

7. Set your goals.

Do you want to make the top 7? Improve your times at your league and section meets? Race better over the second half of the course? Think about these things now, write them down and prop them in your room where you can read them each day. It will help you stay on track.

8. Calculate your workout amounts.

To run 300 miles over 12 weeks, for example, you'll need to average 25 miles a week, which is very good for freshmen and sophomores. To reach 400 miles over the fall, you need to average 34 miles a week, and to reach 500 miles, it takes a weekly average of 40 miles. Mileage isn't important, efforts are, but you need to be careful adding miles and intensity. We will provide workouts over 20 weeks for you. Those who have trained all summer should consider a morning run of 30-40 minutes. Before you change training, always, always ask your coach. This program is based aroun the complex training program, used by Pat Clohessy and many of the Australians (Chris Wardlaw, Rob De Castella, Steve Moneghetti) in the 1970s-1990s. It is offered as a suggestion, especially for young coaches who are trying to get a program going.

9. Questions?

Email us at training@youthrunner.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.

We recommend, as with all fitness and health issues, you consult with your physician before instituting any changes in your fitness program.