Mike Harris – Hopkins (MN)
Coach Harris is completing his 27th year coaching cross country and track/field in North Dakota and Minnesota. In the 90’s he assisted ND hall of fame coach Russ Schmeichel at Jamestown, ND. During this time the Jamestown boys and girls each won 6 North Dakota State Cross Country titles.
In 1998 he moved to Hopkins, MN (10-12 school of 1700 students) teaching high school science and coaching cross country and track/field. At Hopkins, his boys and girls cross country and track/field programs have always operated as a joint program 7-12. Our cross country and track/field coaches work with both genders at all levels.
Since 1998 the joint boys and girls cross country and track/field program highlights:
5 boys and 2 girls MN State Cross Country Team titles
1 footlocker national qualifier,
2 individual NXN qualifiers,
1 NXN team qualifier, (boys placing 7th)
1 girls and 1 boys MN Track/Field AAA True Team State championship titles
2 girls, 1 boys MN AA State Track/Field Championship titles
4 MN State All Time Track/Field Individual Best Performances
5 MN State All Time Track/Field Relay Best Performances
2 girls teams in 2011 & 12 qualified for The Nike Track Nationals (5th, 8th)
1 Brooks PR Track Invite 3200 qualifier
1 Dream Mile qualifier
One of our simple distance routines we employ in cross country and track is a variation to the normal strides done after completing a run. Depending on the time of the season runners complete their last mile on the track. At the 250m mark athletes do a progressive pick-up for 150 meters. I like to use the top of the corner to simulate what we want the body and mind to perform on race day during the track season. This progressive 150 beginning at 60% race pace reaches the 100 start at 80%, at the 350m mark we ask athletes to accelerate up to 90% to the finish of the 400m line. It is a continuous run without stopping for the 4 laps and allows changing gears. Recovery run at conversation pace for 250 meters until the next stride begins.
This drill was suggested by Joe Klecker a Hopkins alumni now attending Colorado. The purpose allows for a speed play event at the end of a recovery run without the normal break leading up to a separate running strides session. We call them “Colorado’s” in our workout plan and they are employed frequently at the start of the season when base miles are the staple for many of our multi-sport athletes who are just coming off a winter nordic season. Focus on the track is relaxed arm and leg drive down the home stretch of the track whereby the coaches can observe the athlete natural form and body mechanics. It provides a workout that gives them time on their feet along with a speed component that our coaches can give direct feedback to all athletes. Using a phone to record individual athletes gives kids focus and a chance for coaches to breakdown and communicate with our young or new runners.
A variation that is used during the cross country season during the weekly long run is ending the session with “trail Colorado’s.” The last 10 min of the long run athletes start a 25 sec progressive run completing the last 10 sec at 90% effort, then a 2 min recovery run. Again the drill is a continuous run.