For Labor Day weekend, our XC team has 3 days without a scheduled practice. Although we hope this weekend is fun and relaxing for our runners, it is also very important that they use these 3 days well to help their bodies both recover and prepare for next week’s schedule. Even though we will not be practicing as a team, the workouts each runner does individually this weekend are just as important as whole-team workouts. Here is a brief explanation of what these 3 days should look like:
One day should be an active rest day. Active rest does include getting up and moving, but it does not include a workout. Great activities for an active rest days are walking, doing a light hike, skateboarding to a friend’s house, cleaning the whole house for an hour, or doing yard work. For your active rest, your heart should not be racing and you should not be out of breath, but you should be up and moving. This day is very important because it allows muscles to rest, rebuild and recover.
One of the days should be a cross training day. Cross training is any workout other than running. Some good options are biking, swimming, playing basketball, hiking a 14er, or attending a Zumba class. It is a workout that uses your whole body, but that uses it differently than how it is used when running. You should be out of breath with a high heart rate during your workout. Cross training is part of the recovery process, but is also part of the training process because it strengthens your muscles by using them differently.
Since there is an extra weekend day, each runner should schedule one run. The run should not be extra long or extra fast. I recommend running a little longer than the course (about 2 miles), at a moderate pace. A moderate pace is slower than race pace, but faster than conversational pace. If you think about it in gears, a moderate pace is your 3rd gear out of 5 gears. This day is essential in preparing for our short but intense week when we get back together as a team. We have 2 races, back to back, meaning we don’t have the practice time to get these miles in. Running once this weekend will help prepare for our meets.
Of course, doing all the lunges, stretches and general strength routines throughout the weekend will benefit you greatly.
It is important that every team member do each of these workouts. It doesn’t matter which day you do the workout, but when you do them, do them well. As always, it is necessary that you properly fuel your body this weekend with good, healthy food and lots of water. Have fun with your weekend training schedule, and enjoy your 3-day weekend!