Track and cross country are very, very different animals, so we will address them separately!
While both sports are all about time, clearly the distance and method of achieving it are very different. In track, we are looking for flat out speed: the ability to cover a short distance in a short time. Speed is the backbone of nearly every position in every sport, and competitive track is the pinnacle of the demonstration of that ability!
The ability to be an effective track athlete is based on three phases of running: acceleration, transition and top speed. At Fit Speed, we focus on training all three phases independently, then putting the puzzle pieces together at the end of training to create the best result possible. By using a variety of means, we train top speed and acceleration, and teach the transition phase to bridge the gap between the two. Using this method allows us to get a maximal return in the time allotted.
In order to get our athletes fast, first we get them STRONG. Depending on the age of the athlete determines the level of intensity we apply to create this effect. With younger athletes, strength comes as a byproduct of learning HOW to lift appropriately. With high school and college age athletes, we can lift with more intensity and frequency to make the athlete stronger. As the athlete progresses through the system, we also increase the complexity of the training program to emphasize power and elastic ability.
With top speed, strength becomes less important to run FAST and more important in resisting hamstring and hip flexor injuries. We train our athletes to be as resistant to injury as possible. By emphasizing lower body joint by joint strength, we increase this ability to be resistant to injury, so they can train longer and harder.
A fundamental aspect of training at Fit Speed is the level of intensity we give our athletes is directly dependent on what the athlete needs. This is especially useful for track and cross country athletes!
In cross country, there is thousands or tens of thousands of steps during the race. This short, repetitive motion creates overuse injuries in distance athletes very quickly. While its hard to train for the sport by any means a performance coach uses, we can emphasize joint integrity and short cycle energy systems. By training through full ranges of motions, and attacking every joint in every workout, we can not only cut down on the training times by increasing the force producing muscles of the body, we can make sure to avoid chronic injury.