Summer Preparation Key to Success
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  09/23/2011

Guest Column

Meaghan Harkins

Cross Country Assistant Coach

The Aggie cross country teams posted two big wins at the annual Kachina Classic Invitational, Sept. 17, held at the NMSU Golf Course. Both the men's and women's teams outpaced nationally-ranked rival New Mexico as well as our I-10 rival, UTEP, for the meet championship. Aggie siblings ruled the day with Jonah and Ian Ruybalid leading the men's team, and Camille and Courtney Schultz leading the women. Jonah finished second overall while brother Ian was third in the 8 kilometer race, and Camille placed third overall, just .03 seconds ahead of twin sister, Courtney, who took the fourth-place position in the 5 kilometer race.

The wins are hopefully signs of even better and more exciting things to come later on this season. Both teams have their eye on the WAC Championships and will look to improve upon their finishes from last year. In 2010, the men finished second while the women were third.

Like any team though, there's a lot that goes into postseason preparations, and for cross country teams in particular, much of that preparation starts over the summer months, long before organized practice begins. Summer training runs are truly the base on which a season rests, and the quality and consistency of those runs can largely dictate how well a season will go. On average, the women's Aggie cross country team runs about 60 miles per week, with a 12-mile long run during the summer months, and the men's team averages about 80 miles per week, with a 15-mile long run. Often there is variation with this based on an athlete's maturity and prior experience with high mileage, however.

It is imperative that the team trains hard on its own because a rocky summer with inadequate mileage will generally translate to exhaustion and injury or illness once the competitive season begins. With this in mind, it is also important for cross country athletes to take great care with their bodies. Eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, a healthy diet, proper hydration and adequate stretching will not only ensure one's health, but will enable the body to make training adaptations when workouts increase in intensity.

I often tell my athletes that running in college is not simply something you do from 3-6 p.m. every day. It is lifestyle, and the more dedicated you can be to that lifestyle, the more you will progress in a season, in a year, and over the course of a college career. Based on our early success this season, I'm certain the Aggies worked hard this summer, and it's clear they've been 'living the life,' so to speak. With that said, I think we can expect big things in 2011.

‹ New Mexico State Cross Country

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