I could write a novel on my experience running in high school, but I will try to keep it fairly short. This post might be a little all over the place, but hopefully it is semi interesting. I also tried to find a photo from high school running, but I guess those are all on my old computer.
I didn’t even know for sure if I wanted to run in high school. Middle school cross country and track had been somewhat easy and generally unrepresentative of the actual training, until 8th grade when we got new coaches. I knew that the high school girls ran a lot, anywhere from 6 to 10 miles each day. It was a good program, but the mileage and commitment was daunting for myself and many of my friends.
I did end up joining the team, mostly because I was a pretty good runner, I liked running, it was a good way to be involved, and cross country was how I met so many of my friends. Joining the cross country team ended up being a really good decision in most aspects. It gave me a true love for running, taught me commitment and discipline, got me outside and moving, and gave me some of my closest friends.
Here is what a week of training looked like:
Monday: 1 mile warm-up, 4-5 mile run, some sort of strength training
Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 3 or 4 by 1 mile speed workout, 1 mile cool down
Wednesday: 1 mile warm up, 4-5 mile run, some sort of strength training
Thursday: 1 mile warm-up, mile repeats again or a fartlek run for 4-5 miles, 1 mile cool down
Friday: 1 mile warm up, easy 2-3 mile run, ice bath
Saturday if a race: 1 mile warm up, 3.1 mile race, 3.1 mile cool down (we would run the race course backwards)
Saturday if no race: 1 mile warm up, 6-10 mile long run
Sunday: biking or other cross training
Our coaches were very serious. They told you where you stood and let you know when they were proud or disappointed in you. That was pretty motivating for my teammates and I. If you wanted to be good at running and be a leader, a good attitude, hard training, and accountability were very important. The desire to be good and be a leader kept me at every practice, brought me to extra practices, and gave me an interest in running in college.
With the training and my motivation to be successful and a “good runner,” I was decent. We were a fairly large team, with around 130-150 runners, so I was happy to float around the top 30 depending on the day. I think my best time as a high school runner in the 5k was 19:52 or something like that. I didn’t run that time a lot but I was proud to break the 20 minute mark.
High school running was kind of brutal sometimes. Some days I wasn’t in the mood for a speed work out on a hilly course. Some days I wasn’t positive at practice. Some days I was a great leader to the younger runners. Some days I left wanting to run harder and get better. There were ups and downs, but I’m happy I ran cross country in high school.
Did you play sports or participate in any activities in high school? What did you learn from those experiences?