Running Tips: What I Learned From My XC Team

My cross-country season ended in October, and somehow I haven’t written a post about it yet…well here it is!

As some of you may know, this year was my first season coaching the XC team at the community college I work at. I loved it and am so excited for next season to start. I had a group of hard working students who really showed me what it means to be passionate about running. I learned a few things from them that I wanted to share with you. Perhaps it will inspire you as well!

Running Tips
Commit. 100%. No brainer right? Well, I know that I haven’t committed 100% to my running. I know I have more to give, especially if I want better results. My students showed up to practice every day and worked hard. They pushed their limits and committed to the team. Even though we didn’t have a full team, and couldn’t compete as a team, they were all there each day and pushed each other. Despite having school work, exams, jobs, being tired, etc. they showed up and put in the work. I can certainly take that lesson and apply it to my own life.

Even if you’re a beginner, don’t doubt yourself. I have a couple of runners who had never ran competitively before. One who had never really ran period! And you know what, they were just as committed as those who ran throughout high school. They hung in with the other runners and worked just as hard. Don’t doubt yourself as a runner just because “you just started.” We’re all runners no matter what level. We can all relate to the pain, the daily grind, the muscle fatigue. These students weren’t afraid to ask the others questions about how to get stronger and faster (harder, better, faster, stronger? lol). If you’re just starting out, learn from other runners – don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’re a friendly bunch who love to talk about running…amiright? :)

Strength train. You know what my team loved (and wanted) to do that other teams didn’t? Lift. Other coaches were shocked when I told them my team would ASK me to go to the weight room after practice to lift. You should be doing this too! I know that lifting can fall to the wayside when you’re training for an event…it’s happened to me plenty of times (and I’m paying for it today because I’m SO SORE from Monday’s workout still). You’re passionate about running and getting faster; be just as passionate about strength training to get you even faster.

Don’t be afraid of the rain. Like me :) My runners had no issue running in the rain…some even liked it! As Coach Marc would always say…it’s just water. I just hate my shoes getting wet! But when you have to get the miles in, you gotta do what you gotta do. They ran rain or shine, and we only postponed practice once due to weather because it was lightning out. I’m going to take my own advice and do more running outside this month/winter…yes it’s cold but I need to buck up (and layer up) and just do it!

Know when to stop. One of my runners had a knee and hip issue that would crop up every once in a while. I remember specifically one day we were doing a track workout. He loved “Track Tuesdays” and would always push himself. But after the first rep, his hip got really tight and he could barely walk. I knew that he wanted to continue, but he said, “Coach I’m going to sit out a few reps and stretch.” How many times have you wanted to keep going despite your body saying no? There is a fine line between a little muscle fatigue and injury. If something is bothering you, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Stop the run or workout, stretch, foam roll, and if it doesn’t go away call it a day. Would you rather miss a few miles or a whole season?

My team was awesome…such a great group of students to kick off my inaugural season. I can only hope to continue it next season!

Do you run outside no matter what? How do you motivate yourself to do that?

Did you run XC in middle school/high school/college?


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  1. I’m totally afraid of rain. I will take any weather besides rain to run in. It’s true that as a beginner you can feel not as good or not good enough, but we all have to start somewhere. I love that quote don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. I always try to keep that in mind when I’m looking at other runners.

  2. Well I know now that I should NEVER doubt myself! 7 runs in and I’ve already been easily able to run a 10K distance! I actually even had this crazy thought in my head to look into some running groups/clubs at school :O Haha!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Cinnamon Pear Oat PancakesMy Profile

  3. My entire issue last year was that I wasn’t committed! I trained for a marathon through the Colorado winter a few years ago, but lately I’m a total wimp.
    Kerri Olkjer recently posted…New Year New You Favorites: Must-Haves For Every BudgetMy Profile

  4. I didn’t start really running seriously till I was almost 30. I would have loved to have run cross country! I just had an intern who does and she told me crazy race day stories. So fun! And yes I will run in the rain. I don’t enjoy the pouring, frigid, bone chilling rain but I do it anyway. Just like coach said – it’s only water!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…4 Reasons to Find Running FriendsMy Profile

    • good for you for getting out there! I just hate my socks getting wet and my shoes weighing 10 lbs due to this. If there were waterproof shoes I would do it!

  5. I ran in middle and some of high school and absolutely loved it! I would’ve ran more but my asthma was acting up. I also learned about running in all sorts of weather…I now love running in the rain. Brings back great memories.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Eating Healthy After The HolidaysMy Profile

  6. these are great tips! and i love that you mentioned rain.. haha, that’s so me! but misery loves company and a little rain don’t hurt, right?
    lindsay recently posted…Grain Free Winter Spice Plantain BitesMy Profile

  7. I’m such a baby in the rain and cold. But XC was during the Florida rainy season so I had to suck it up a lot of the time (I choose not to now lol). I was mostly mad about getting my shoes/clothes drenched.
    Emily @MyHealthyishLife recently posted…WIAW: I Actually CookedMy Profile

  8. Great tips!! Thank you for sharing!! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Frustrated: Cookies and the ScaleMy Profile

  9. STRENGTH TRAIN! YES! I love all of these tips, ESPECIALLY knowing when to stop. Sometimes as runners we become so competitive with ourselves that the line between pushing to get better and pushing to injury gets blurred.
    RFC recently posted…Scare Tactics.My Profile

  10. Fun post! I, myself, and a first time competitive athlete. All through highschool I ran road races, but never on a team until now (my second year of college). Since August, my 5k PR has dropped from 20:54 to 19:00. It’s amazing what good coaching and commitment can do:)
    Brenna recently posted…Indoor Track Has Come and GoneMy Profile


  1. […] year, I wrote up a few things I learned from my cross country team and my first season coaching. Now, our second season is about to come to […]

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