Cross-Country: “Death Quest”
This workout is done at a park about 2 miles away from the school on a hilly, grass course. It is a workout steeped in tradition where athletes of the present can compare themselves to athletes of the past (boys that get “around the turn” at the top of the hill typically have been sub 16:00 athletes). After a 2-mile warm-up and muscle activation exercises, it consists of anywhere between 4-6 x 4:00 on with 3:00 of recovery (walk/jog). The goal is to get further on the course with each one (progressive), with a stress placed on listening to your breathing. 2 mile cool-down back to the school, and that is it!
This is just an XC workout. The amount of rest before this workout depends on the time of the season. Early, they might have a steady run Saturday, off, or shake-out on Sunday and then the workout on Monday. Later, the Saturday before is typically easy. I have also added my own variations to the workout, such as 2 x 400 meter hills before the first Death Quest in order to make sure they don’t hammer the first one and regress.
I believe that progressive workouts (done correctly), build fitness as well as confidence, which can be much more important.