Last year, we were allowed to open up the winter track program to 8th graders from Sierra. It was a smashing success, so we are going to do it again this winter. Here are the details that are pertinent to the 8th graders. (Unfortunately, we do not allow 7th graders to train with us. Mixing 7th graders with 12th graders is too big of a range for proper training.)
All athletes will do the same workout, regardless of grade or age. We base our workouts on how fast you are, not how old you are. 8th graders can potentially be in ability groups with 12th graders, if the times set up that way. 8th graders will do the same stretches, the same form drills, the same interval workouts, the same long runs, as the high schoolers. Just like in middle school, your ability dictates your exact training level.
Practice starts at 3:00 at the high school, and usually ends somewhere around 4:30 or so. Some days we will run longer, some days we will run shorter. We will have formal practice on Monday, Wednesday and every other Thursday. Tuesday, Friday and every other Thursday is "captain's practice" which the 8th graders are encouraged to attend. This schedule is not 100% set in stone, but any alterations to it will be clearly communicated to the athletes.
The club does not provide transportation to and from Chaparral track, but last years 8th graders did an awesome job of communicating and carpooling. The final bell at Sierra is a 2:45, if parents leave right form the back parking lot, they can make it to the high school in plenty of time. In the past, 8th graders have changed for practice in the car, they have their workouts clothes under their school clothes, or they have politely asked their teachers if they can get finve minutes to go to the locker room to change out during 7th period. Of course this privilege is the teachers discretion, but it worked out pretty well last year. I figure if I can change out and make it to the HS by 3:00, so can the athletes. The coaches will not leave the track after practice until every 8th graders is picked up, and we check to make sure that we know the person picking the athlete up,. If practice gets done early, the athletes usually dial the cell phone to reach their parents.
Of course, practice is always open, so if anyone wants to stop by to observe, feel free to swing by.
I encourage all 8th graders to work out with the distance kids for the first month. Then, once the sprinting specific workouts begin after Thanksgiving, they can branch off in that direction.
Everything else is the same. Please refer to the previous post, "Winter Track Details" for all the important information. And fo course, email me with any questions you might have. Having the 8th graders train with the high schoolers certainly makes the 8th graders better runners, but more importantly, it builds up the overall Chaparral/Sierra culture of running and fitness, and that is what we are striving for.