What I Learned From My XC Team: Part 2

Last 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 a close. We have our last meet on Sunday, which is our Region Championship meet. If any runners place top 7, they qualify for the National meet. I am hoping at least 2 will but we will see!

When working with students, you learn new things every day, whether it’s new “slang” or new ways to look at life in general. So today I wanted to talk a bit about what I learned this season from them.

If you're a runner, check out these 5 tips from college cross country runners!

Don’t Complain

This was my number one lesson. I think that people don’t realize how much they complain…and when you complain a lot, people get annoyed. If you have a goal, do the work in getting there, and don’t complain about how hard workouts are. I know I will use this tactic in my own life next time I think about complaining about something. Nagging pains? Sure. But complaining and asking to do less reps of a workout? “Come on bro.”

I think complaining is just a natural thing we do to make conversation…such as, “omg it’s so hot out,” “omg it’s so cold out,” “omg this workout is hard!” But after a while, the people you complain you will start getting tired of it, trust me. Just do the work – get it done. You’ll be proud of yourself when you finish a tough workout and push through.

Be Competitive

One of my runners is very competitive, and competitive with himself in practice. He has a great attitude and works hard every day. Now I’m not saying to make every practice a race, but I’ll give him times he needs to hit, and he will push himself hard to hit those times, as opposed to having an “I can’t” mentality. I’ll give him a pace, he will say oh WOW! but then push himself to get it done. We can all do this on our runs and workouts. You will surprise yourself by how you can push yourself. Sometimes my own running coach, Marc, gives me workouts and paces where I really doubt myself. Yet somehow it gets done. Compete with yourself and work to make yourself better every day.

Be Cocky

One of my runners said to me yesterday, “I don’t care if you’re cocky and confident, but just don’t act like people need to bow down to you.” Very true. He is very confident in his abilities, but also supportive of everyone else. There is nothing wrong with being cocky – in fact, it might even pump you up before races! Tell yourself that you’re fast, strong, faster than your competition…change your frame of mind. I love this quote by Ronda Rousey that relates to this:

Some people like to call me cocky or arrogant, but I just think, “How dare you assume I should think less of myself.”

So true, right??

Talent Doesn’t Matter, Attitude Does

This is something new I’ve learned this season. Of course every coach wants a team of all-stars, but we know that everyone has different skill levels. What I learned this year was this: Look, I don’t care if you run a 20 min. 5K or a 30 min. 5K. If you show up to practice every day, and work hard, THAT is what matters and makes an impression on me. Do not complain to me about your race times after a meet when you’re not putting in the effort every practice.

Don’t Judge By Running Form

The first day of practice, this student shows up and I took one look at him and thought he’d be an average runner. His form was not your typical running form. Well, guess what, he is the number one runner on our team and making improvements every race. If you saw him run, you would be surprised too! So I guess the age old adage don’t judge a book by the cover is true in most senses ;)

Overall, it was a great XC season and I am proud of what they have accomplished. I am crossing my fingers some of them qualify at the Region Championships – they really deserve it!

Can you relate to any of these? What do you think about complaining? After this season, I feel like I’ll never complain again :)


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  1. It must be very interesting and CHALLENGING to work with these runners. I love the tips… very different way of looking at things, for me at least.
    Elle recently posted…The Ultimate English Muffin, Gluten Free and Grain FreeMy Profile

  2. The “no complaining” tip is a good one. Training is difficult, and there will definitely be days when there’s physical, emotional, and mental challenges. But you’re right, nobody wants to just hear somebody complain all the time.

  3. I so agree–Attitude is EVERYTHING.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Running Coach Next Steps + Wine Pumpkin Hummus (Vegan, Gluten Free)My Profile

  4. I love talent doesn’t matter, attitude does! Hit home with me. I’m a slow runner and I think it’s safe to say I’ll always be slow, but I still get out there and try. I guess honestly if I pushed every single time, yes I’d improve, but for me there is a fine line between wanting to have fun and being competitive. It must be fun for me at least most of the time or else I won’t want to do it! :)
    Tricia@MissSippipiddlin recently posted…How Do You Hemp Heart – Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  5. I love that tip about cockiness- I never thought about it like that! We should all be confident in our abilities but supportive of others.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies {vegan, gluten free}My Profile

  6. I am not one to judge a runner by their form but my hubby IS since he is a chiro…idk how many times he has told me that I am not built to be a runner but I keep chugging along ;) Great tips!!!
    Annmarie recently posted…Motivation Tips for Early Morning WorkoutsMy Profile

  7. Wouldn’t have ever thought about the cockiness being a good thing.
    Cassi recently posted…Happy Back to the Future DayMy Profile

  8. Such great lessons…and yes, attitude is everything. My almost 11 year old has been on me lately about always being optimistic….it makes such a difference.
    Elena recently posted…Giving In Instead of Giving UpMy Profile

  9. These are awesome lessons! And I TOTALLY know what you mean about complaining just for something to say. I used to do that allll the time! I finally started annoying myself so thankfully I stopped ;)

    Best of luck to your runners!

  10. I definitely agree that attitude is more important than talent. Too often those with talent don’t know how to dig deep when the going gets tough.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Marine Corps Marathon ZenMy Profile

  11. High 5 for don’t judge my running form. Love the book cover analogy there. Have an awesome Friday Patty!
    jill conyers recently posted…7 Ways To Run FasterMy Profile

  12. I like the no complaining tip, nobody wants to be dragged down by constant complaining. And yes do not judge my running form either.
    Toni recently posted…A Training Update plus the #FiveToTheFinishLine Webisode 5 #TeamASICSNYCMMy Profile

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