This is a staple of our summer program. It’s a pretty simple workout — it’s a 10-mile run, after all. We revolve our summer program around this workout. It seems crazy simple, I know, but the beauty of it is that it is so adaptable for so many kids.
For our freshmen, it piques their interest. We start at five miles. For them, that’s the most they’ve ever done. So they do it and feel pretty good about themselves. then, we go to six miles, and seven, and eight… Obviously, we end up for the last month of summer doing 10-milers every Monday. The freshmen get to go farther than they ever went before. Sometimes, it’s pretty slow, but it opens their minds to new volumes of what they can accomplish. It’s truly awesome to see our new kids see how much they can do!
For our experienced kids, we preach this as not a feat of length, but of intensity. We encourage our experienced athletes to pay attention to how fast they can run this distance. Can they hold 7:00 pace for 6 miles? 7? 8? Eventually, for 10? This is a wonderful strength builder whether the athlete is simply trying to go farther than ever before, or whether they are trying to go faster. In any case, this simple distance run provides a firm foundation of everything we do. The ability of a freshman to not think three mile races are big deals is as important to our success as our senior leaders’ ability to hold 6:45 pace for 10 miles. Both are building blocks at different levels for the significant aerobic strength necessary for success as a distance runner.
The added benefit is that the entire team — varsity to freshmen — can do it at the same place, on the same out-and-back course. So even though our kids will do it very differently, this one workout works on so many levels for so many kids — we give out t-shirts for having accomplished it, and they are cherished by freshman and senior alike!