Team Handbook

To contact a coach, please e-mail jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com! 

Philosophy

We believe in tailoring training to fit each individual runner and a focus on long-term success through consistent, gradual improvement. Every runner is considered an equal on the team and as such is treated with the same level of high expectations.

We believe in open and honest communication between team members and an open door policy.  Athletes are encouraged to communicate in person, via running log or via email with any questions or concerns.

All team members are expected to be committed to excellence and representing the team to the best of their ability in competitions.

Attendance

Except in the case of absolute emergency, all absences must be submitted via e-mail by the athlete to jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com as soon as you are aware that you'll be missing practice and at least 24 hours prior to the practice. Parents and/or teammates should not communicate absences to the coach; this is the athlete's responsibility. Failure to communicate an absence to the coach in a timely manner will impact meet participation.

No one will be removed from the team for exceeding the absence limit due to illness, but absences due to illness - and illness itself - may impact meet participation. 

Cross Country: 

Athletes may miss up to six practices throughout the cross country season (the first day of official practice through the state meet, as determined by the IHSA 5-year calendar) and returning runners may not miss the first three days of cross country season. Athletes and families are asked to carefully consider the importance of consistency for the entire team prior to making other commitments during practice time. Missing more than six practices (or 5% of practices over a 12 week season) will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. Number of absences from practice will be a factor in coaching decisions such as the postseason roster, participation in Nike Northside/Southside or other special privileges, and level of participation in meets. 

Missing any practice without sufficient notice or for disciplinary reasons will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. 

The first three days of each cross country season will continue to be mandatory for returning runners. For planning purposes, the practice start date for the next 5 years can be found at https://www.ihsa.org/SportsActivities/GirlsCrossCountry/5YearSeasonCalendar.aspx 

Track: 

Athletes may miss up to six practices during the track season. Athletes and families are asked to carefully consider the importance of consistency for the entire team prior to making other commitments during practice time. Missing more than six practices  will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. Number of absences from practice will be a factor in coaching decisions such as the postseason roster, special privileges, and level of participation in meets. 

Meet Attendance Policy:

Attendance at all meets is mandatory for all team members. Absences from meets should be submitted via e-mail to jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com at the beginning of the season. Any absences from meets other than those submitted at the beginning of the season or in case of emergency will impact future meet participation and/or result in removal from the team. Athletes are expected to make meets their top priority during the season and should schedule all other activities around the meet schedule. 

Eligibility

Students must be in good standing with the school both in terms of academics and discipline.  The coaching staff strictly enforces the school policies and will not make exceptions.  JCP XC and T&F team members are student-athletes and must complete their academic requirements first.  In addition to the school policies the coaching staff reserves the right to place students on probation for unsatisfactory grades or behavior and/or remove athletes from the team.  In addition, reports of misbehavior in school may result in disciplinary action on the team, including meet suspensions and team dismissal.  Students who are struggling academically should seek help from the coaching staff, teammates, teachers and other school resources.  The team itself has contained several school valedictorians and contains many straight A and AP students who can help struggling students.  Athletes must also be up to date on their attendance and on running log (see next section) to be eligible for meets.  

Running Log

All athletes are required to complete a running log daily on the team website.  The log allows the coaching staff to better prevent injuries, modify training to achieve better results, identify patterns in running success and plan future goals and training.  Daily logs should include each of the following:

  • The time and distance of the run.  If you do not know the time do not estimate.  If you do not know the distance then try to estimate one but note that it is estimated.
  • Who you ran with and if possible mile splits (mile splits are mandatory when running on the lakefront path)
  • The weather/conditions and how you felt.
  • Make special note of any unusual feelings, injuries, vomiting etc.

In addition to the above, athletes should add the following for logging races.  This will greatly help athletes fine-tune their races and improve their times.  

  • What you ate the night before and morning of the race
  • Your time and place and if possible splits.  
  • How you felt before, during and after the race
  • 1 positive of your race and 1 thing you think you could improve

Failure to complete the running log will result in meet suspensions and/or removal from the varsity team.  

Captains and Mentors

Each year captains are selected by the coaching staff.  Captains can be of any grade and are selected based on their commitment, leadership and communication skills.  The captains speak on behalf of the coaching staff and should be treated as such.  Any questions or issues should be brought to the captains and every member of the team should have the captain's phone number. Athletes should contact captains whenever they are running late or have logistical questions. The 2019 cross country captain is senior Katie Murray. 

In addition, the team has a mentor program in which returning sophomores are invited to mentor new freshmen and sophomores during their first cross country season. The mentors are selected based on the same criteria as captains – commitment, leadership and communication skills. Mentors are expected to be role models and a first point of contact with questions for the newcomers on the team. 

Watches

Athletes must wear watches for every practice to ensure that they are training at the proper level.  Athletes are encouraged to purchase watches with a split function so they may record splits as they run.  It is strongly suggested that athletes buy a few cheap watches in case they lose one.  Athletes who lose or forget a watch should borrow one from a teammate- it is not the coaching staff's responsibility to find athletes a replacement. Watches should be worn to all practices and meets.  

Uniforms/Warmups

Uniforms/warmups are property of the team and should be properly cared for.  Athletes will be responsible for the full cost of a uniform or warmup if they are lost or damaged beyond normal wear and tear.  All uniforms and warmups have a number which is recorded when the uniform is signed out.  Each athlete is responsible for the return of that specific number.  Uniforms must be carefully washed following the proper instructions.

Uniforms and warmups are only to be worn at races by the athletes competing.  They should never be worn to school.  If a meet is held after school they should be put on after school.  They are never to be worn during practice except in the case of an approved time trial. The uniform and warmups should be worn with pride- when you wear them you represent JCP XC and T&F and should behave as such. When getting off a bus or accepting awards the warmups should be fully zipped.  

Athletes are expected to warmup in the full warmups until immediately prior to the race.  On days that are excessively hot athletes may run instead in an approved t-shirt but should never warm up in just the uniform as this indicates that the athlete is currently competing to race officials.  Shirts/singlets must be worn at all times at all competitions.  

At many meets athletes wear stickers with numbers to identify them.  It is imperative that stickers be removed immediately following the race to avoid damage.  

Be sure to follow the washing instructions as many of the uniforms and wamups are delicate and require special washing procedures.

Nutrition/Sleep/Hydration

The Little But EXTREMELY IMPORTANT Things

The little things are the difference between good and great athletes.  JCP XC/TF athletes are expected to take them seriously and focus on them as they are just as important as the actual running aspect of training.  

Nutrition

Proper nutrition is crucial to the success of a runner. Our athletes burn far more calories than the average person and should be eating more to compensate.  A proper diet focuses on balance and providing the body with all of the nutrients it needs.  Athletes should eat plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.  Anemia caused by low iron levels is an extremely common problem in runners, especially in women. Care should be taken to eat iron-rich foods consistently.  Excessive sugary products such as soda/pop should be avoided as it provides no nutritional value.  More specifics on eating will be discussed, but a general rule of thumb is that 80% of the diet should be for nutritional value while the remaining 20% can be for personal enjoyment.

In addition athletes must eat to be prepared for all workouts and races- athletes should figure out schedules and routines that help them feel their best.  This is where it is important to log meals around race day.  Diet should be thought of as a pattern - athletes cannot simply change their diet the night before a meet or the week before a championship race and expect results.  Before a race athletes should eat easily digestable foods.  Avoid fats, large amounts of proteins and fruit (except bananas).

Sleep

Sleep is essential to athletic success and is often ignored by high school athletes.  The most important aspect of sleep is consistency.  Students should aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night and should try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time (within an hour or two) each day, even on weekends.  Loss of sleep during the week cannot be made up by excessive sleep on the weekends.  Sleep, like diet, is about patterns- an athlete who has unusual sleep patterns will not suddenly be able to sleep properly the nights before meets or the week of the championship season.  

See more on the importance of sleep here

Hydration

Athletes should be hydrating consistently before and after runs.  Hydration should begin as soon as the athlete wakes up and continue until going to sleep.  Runners should stay hydrated at all times and should be fully hydrated (not need to drink much water) at least 30 minutes before running.  At that point runners should just need occasional sips of water.  Athletes should be hydrating all the time - not waiting until immediately before a race.     

Inability to complete a workout or run due to diet, sleep or hydration will be considered an unexcused absence. 

Form

Proper running form is essential for success.  Bad form impedes progress and often leads to injury.  While many runners find some success running with bad form- they are not reaching their maximum potential.  Form is something that must be constantly worked on.  Form work should be done properly and seriously before workouts and races and should be focused on during warmups, easy runs and cooldowns especially.  It is too late to try to change form in a race.  Form should be altered gradually to build muscle memory and develop a more efficient strides.  Some basic mistakes in stride that should be focused on:

-Relaxed arms and low arm carriage

-Focusing on more rapid turnover of the legs (cadence) and not over-striding

-Footstrike driving forward and not bouncing

-Landing on the ball of your foot directly under your center of gravity

-Core stability and not bobbling

See here for more details

Injuries and Strength Training

A key aspect of running is avoiding injury.  Strength training is essential to ensure that you are properly prepared to run and should be taken extremely seriously.  Strength training includes leg work, core work (abs and back), arm work and more.  Weakness in any of these areas leads to improper form and very often injuries which are usually avoidable.  

It is essential that you listen to your body and take note of aches and pains.  It is naturally to have some muscle soreness, especially after hard workouts and races.  You must learn to the differentiate between the usually dull soreness of tired muscles and the usually more sharp pain indicating injuries.  Most serious injuries are caused by minor injuries left untreated.  Always take note of any unusual pains in your running log and notify a coach.  Look to Dr. Binder, a resource book containing rehabilitation and strengthening exercises you can use to avoid further injury.  The most important thing is that you speak up to avoid further injury.  

You must learn the difference between being hurt (feeling pain) and being injured (some part of your body is damaged).  You should run through some aches and pains but if you are injured you should focus on treatment and rehabilitation.  Many athletes err too much on either extreme - missing too many days of running to treat non-injuries, or failing to stop and heal injuries and it is important that you talk to your coaches to find a happy medium.   

Mental Strength

Running is only one part what leads to successful cross country and track athletes.  Perhaps even more important than the physical aspects of training is developing mental strength.  First and foremost running should be fun.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt from time to time or that you will have fun every second, but you should avoid putting so much pressure on yourself that you don't enjoy it.  Anxiety, nervousness, frustration and sometimes anger are all common emotions in running that successful athletes must learn to control.  It won't happen overnight, but if you consistently try to fix bad habits you can significantly improve your mental tenacity.  Don't pretend they don't exist or avoid them and certainly don't be embarrassed by them.  Talk to coaches, teammates, counselors or otherwise find the resources you need to gradually improve.  

You will have bad races and bad workouts- learn from them but don't get bogged down by them.  You need to build confidence in yourself, in your coaches and in your teammates.  Find the resources you need to mentally prepare yourself for success.  Try things like this blog has to offer. 

Weather


JCP XC and Track athletes run all year long and as such face a variety of conditions.  The priority is always safety and no athlete will ever be expected to run when conditions are unsafe.  In general, as long as runners are properly equipped, there are very few days when practice must be outright cancelled or runners must stay inside.  

Cold Weather

Outside practice is cancelled when it is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit or when there is a wind chill below 0.  As long as travelling conditions are not affected, practice is usually held indoors (stair workouts etc.) Above those temperatures athletes are permitted to run outside as long as they are properly equipped.  Any athlete choosing not to go outside is expected to do a comparable workout on a treadmill/bike/elliptical.  Some athletes are more sensitive to cold than others and should speak with the coaches if weather is a concern.

The most important gear for cold weather are hats and gloves.  Runners lose far more heat through the head and hands than they do in shins and forearms.  On very cold days sweatshirts and running pants are also recommended.

Hot Weather

On days of extreme heat, practice will usually be moved to early morning or late evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day and runs are usually cut short.  With proper hydration there are very few times when it is too hot to run at all.  Athletes can use the calculator on this page to adjust their times and paces on excessively hot days. 

The best way to stay cool is to wear loose fitting clothes made damp in cold water.  This helps remove heat more than running shirtless. Runners should always run in pairs or packs to keep an eye on each other and should stop in shaded areas if feeling overheated.  It is essential that athletes hydrate properly before running in heat. 

Lightning – We follow the IHSA’s Severe Weather guidelines: http://ihsa.org/Resources/SportsMedicine/HealthWellBeing/SevereWeatherGuidelines.aspx

Mileage

Athletes are assigned weekly mileage and are placed into general pace groups which should be followed.  Both of these are ranges given to athletes to accommodate for days when athletes are or are not "feeling it".  Pacing and milage are carefully determined by the coaching staff to maximize success and avoid under or over-training.  Factors that go in to determining mileage and pace include: previous mileage, race times, patterns in previous years, running styles or strengths and more.  The most common cause of injury in running is over training- many athletes seek a fast-track to success and exceed proper mileage or pace which usually has long-term negative effects.  It is important to understand that the signs of over-training to not appear immediately- an athlete will very often feel good for a few weeks of over-training and think everything is fine, before often succumbing to early peaking, injuries and a feeling of being burnt out.  

There are cases of athletes who have over-trained (sometimes extremely) and found success, but these are the exceptions and not the rule.  The philosophy of this team is to focus on patient, consistent improvement in all athletes.  This is achieved by running at the upper end of your range but avoiding the pitfalls of over-training.  Each year nearly 100% of athletes improve on their times by following this training.

The assigned mileage is a narrow range that should be followed closely- within a mile under or over.  Anytime an athlete misses a day or more of running they should discuss a new mileage plan with coaches.  Mileage is specifically constructed to slowly build early in the season and gradually come down near the end to ensure a peak around championship race season.  Large jumps in mileage nearly always lead to injury. The weekly long run should account for 20-25% of miles.  Athletes should plan out their week so they don't have too many or too few miles left to run when Saturdays roll around. 

Pacing

Athletes should always ensure that the first and last mile are run as warm-ups and cool-downs respectively.  This means that they are run at a more relaxed pace than the rest of the run as to avoid injury.  Conveniently this also allows athletes to run a more relaxed pace while on sidewalks and crossing the streets and to pick up pace on the path.  The warm-up and cool-down miles should be on the lower end of the pace range or slightly slower- but not so slow as to be a jog or a walk.  On workout and race days warm ups and cool downs should always be completed at the instruction of the coaching staff.  It is important that athletes train at the proper pace. Running with a friend at a different fitness level is bad for both of you!

There are specific paces that are used for different areas of development and for different types of workouts.  As such, our training paces are based on very particular physiological guidelines:

1. VDOT Values (VO2Max)  This is a very scientific way of determining the volume of oxygen per minute that is consumed by a runner at a specific pace.

Basically, what is important for you to know is that VDOT is a great reference tool for you: a single number (your VO2 max) that makes it easier to see progress and train properly.  Knowing your VDOT value also helps you know exactly what paces to run in specific workouts to maximize their benefit, which also avoids overtraining or undertraining. The VDOT is based off race performances.  

See the VDOT chart here, which will be referenced throughout your careers.  It is very important to be familiar with this chart and have it for easy reference.  It is your responsibility to know what paces you are supposed to run as your VDOT changes over the course of a season or seasons.

On the VDOT page you will find more information on specific paces for different workouts

2. Race Paces (Goal and Current) are sometimes used to get comfortable at a specific pace and to mirror race conditions.  

See a pace chart here for figuring out specific race paces.  

3. Easy Run Paces or E Pace is based off the VDOT but given to athletes in ranges to allow athletes to vary runs based on how they are feeling, weather conditions etc.  This also allows runners to run in groups with athletes at similar paces.

The assigned pace groups are ranges that are flexible but should be generally followed.  If an athlete is feeling good he or she should take advantage and run towards the fast end of the range or once in a while go slightly faster than the range.  On days when athletes do not feel strong they should run towards the low end of the range.  Continuously running faster than one's assigned range will most often lead to fatigue, injury, or an early peak.  In general runs should start out on the slower end and gradually get faster, but should never turn into all-out or races at the end.  The pace groups are a guideline for what teammates are at a similar training level- not a mandate to run as a group every single day.  On occasion if an athlete is feeling great they may move up a training group or on days when an athlete feels tired or needs a break they may move down a training group.  However, athletes should spend most days running with members of their assigned training group.  Taking easy days to recover is just as important as getting workouts in.

The best way to train and to improve is to run at the proper pace.  It is especially important in workouts that runners hit their pace - if you think that you should go faster- run a faster race.  Races are the only times athletes should be competing and are the only basis for moving up in training groups.   

Season Phases

In general, our training is broken down in to four different phases that each have a very specific purpose and approach. As a comparison, the process can be likened to that of building a house, with each step along the way dependent on the last and done for a particular reason (Phase I being the “foundation” for all other “building” to come, Phase IV being the “interior and exterior finishes,” or finishing touches, and so on). Each phase will stress the body in different ways to prepare athletes for maximum success at the end of the year.  

Phase I:

 This is the first phase of training which is the beginning of the season (often during the winter months for track and summer months for cross country). The main purpose of Phase I will be base mileage, or building a solid aerobic foundation. The staples of this phase will be long, easy (not slow) runs. These runs will be crucial to injury prevention, as they strengthen our body for more intensive training to come, as well as producing much needed cellular benefits, which helps our body prepare for further physiological adaptations to come in later training. 

This phase is also vital in improving our general brain/muscle communication. As in anything, the more you practice a skill, the more automatic it becomes. Running is no exception. As we run, we undergo a constant feedback loop between the brain and muscles. The more you run, the better your mind and body get at this communication, which means less brain and muscle activity is required, which means stronger and more efficient running. The base mileage built in Phase I does just that. 


Core work and strength training is also introduced in this phase as a supplement to improve overall running movement and further prevent injuries. Athletes should focus on training at the proper level and developing good form before workouts begin

Phase II:

 The second phase of training is primarily focused on efficiency. The emphasis throughout these 4-8 weeks is on increasing each runner’s “running economy,” or how efficiently a person uses oxygen while running at a given pace. To use another example, running economy is to a runner what “fuel economy” is to a vehicle. Like a car, running more efficiently allows runners to save "fuel".  By running at paces faster than our goal pace during this phase we are able to “work out the kinks” and run with less effort, wasted energy and unnecessary movement. 

Phase III:

 CAPACITY The emphasis of this phase is on improving the VO2Max of our runners, or, the level of oxygen one can consume/process while running. Like the size of the gas tank in a vehicle, the higher your VO2Max, the farther/faster you can run. As such, mileage will level off and longer interval work will be introduced. 

Phase IV

: The emphasis of this phase is on speed and recovery. This is also when a typical “taper” begins, which is the period where we decrease in weekly mileage and cut back on the duration and intensity of workouts. A renewed focus is on shorter quicker repetitions in order to refresh our legs and focusing on shorter quicker reps to refresh our legs. Likewise, we will be focusing on race day simulations and strategies in preparation for the post-season.

 

Runs

We employ a number of different types of running

1. Normal/Recovery Run A normal or recovery run is run the day after a race, workout or long run and should be run in the pace range.  During the off seasons most days are normal runs.  The pace should generally be in the assigned range but may fluctuate more depending on how the athlete is feeling.  Most importantly, the pace should be comfortable.  As a general guideline athletes should be relaxed enough to carry on conversations with teammates.  

2. Long Runs A long run should almost be thought of as a workout.  These are runs where athletes should be in their training groups, running their assigned paces.  These runs should start out towards the slow end of the pacing and gradually pick up speed, ending at the fast range of the pacing guideline.  It is extremely important athletes do not start out too fast on long runs.  Starting out fast and slowing down on long runs will lead to bad racing habits.  Long runs set the base for everything else and are critical to success.  Every week should have 1 long run that accounts for about 25% of the mileage for the week.

3. Threshold Runs Threshold runs are extended runs (ranging from 1000m to 4 miles) at a pace slightly slower than race pace.  They help improve running economy and increase the lactic acid threshold of runners.  It is extremely important that runners hit their paces- no faster, no slower- thresholds are not a chance to race.  

4. Interval/Repeat/Workout During workouts specific quick paces are assigned, often quicker than race pace.  Workout distances range from 100m to 1600m and vary in pace and intensity.  Runners should focus on hitting their paces- not exceeding them unless approved by coaches on the last few repeats or intervals.  

5. Race Prep Run Race-prep runs are run the day before big meets and are very easy days meant to freshen up the legs in preparation for competition.  These should be short and relaxed- ranging from 3-4 miles early in the season to 20 minutes near the end at a pace slightly slower than the assigned easy pace.  Athletes may run with their complete teams on these days provided the pace is relaxed for everyone.  After running strides should always be run.  The length and number of strides varies throughout the season.

Races

Races are the opportunity to put all the work that athletes do to use.  A race should be something to look forward to- a chance to compete and demonstrate improvement.  Athletes are not expected to win every race, PR in every race or even run well every race- but they are expected to run their hardest every time and execute the strategy assigned to them.  Racing well is a skill that is developed, like most skills, through repetition, determination and focus.  Strategies for races will differ depending on the runner, the distance and the time of year- but every race will have a focus of some sort.  

Races are the only way to move up VDOTs, pacing groups, or to earn spots on championship rosters, so make them count.  

More importantly, however, racing should be fun.  Races are what we train all year for and are the reward for the hard work we put in.  

Intro To Cross Country and Track

Cross Country

Cross country involves distance running on a variety of surfaces.  Races vary from a usual minimum of 2 miles to a maximum of 5k (3.1 miles).  Races are often split into divisions (Varsity, Sophomore, Freshman, Open/JV).  All of the runners start at the same time with the firing of a gun or other signal.  Courses vary greatly but are usually well-marked and easy to follow.  Races often contain hundreds of runners.

Cross country is both an individual and team sport as individuals score points.  The first finisher scores 1 point, the second finisher scores 2 points etc.  The first five runners from a team score points, and the lowest team score wins.  A score of 15 is a perfect score as it means a team took 1st-5th places.  The 6th and 7th runner from a team are displacers- while they do not count towards their own team's score, they may push back the scorers from another team.  In most large, competitive races teams may only enter 7 runners.  If more than 7 are allowed, the extra runners are not a part of the team scoring.  Similarly, if a team enters fewer than 5 runners their athletes are not scored as part of the team competition.  On results sheets there is often a "Place" column and a "Team Place" column that may be different.  All athletes are given a place, whereas only the first 7 runners on each complete team are given a Team Place.  The Team Places are used for scoring.

Example:

Place

Team Place

Runner

Team

1

x

 Runner C1

No team

2

1

 Runner A1

A

3

2

 Runner A2

A

4

3

 Runner B1

B

5

4

 Runner B2

B

6

5

 Runner A3

A

7

6

 Runner B3

B

8

7

 Runner A4

A

9

x

 Runner C2

No team

10

8

 Runner A5

A

11

9

 Runner A6

A

12

10

 Runner A7

A

13

11

 Runner B4

B

14

x (>7 runners)

 Runner A8

A

15

x (>7 runners)

 Runner A9

A

16

x (>7 runners)

 Runner A10

A

17

12

 Runner B5

B

18

x(>7 runners)

 Runner A11

A

In the example above, the winner of the race does not actually score in the team competition, as his or her team does not have 5 runners.  This is actually quite common at top level meets where individuals may qualify without their team.  Team A would win this race with a total of  23 points (1+2+5+7+8).  Team B scores 36 points (3+4+6+11+12) and Team C does not score.

In the event of a tie, the team with the faster 6th place runner wins.

In competitive races there are usually many, many runners within a few seconds of each other, so a few seconds difference can be incredibly important in the team competition.

 

Track

Track is also a combination of a team and individual sport.  Individuals in each event score points, and the team with the most points wins.  Different meets allott different points for each place but usually first place is worth 10 points with the rest of the places receiving slightly less (so if 9 runners score it usually goes 10,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1).   Some meets score only the top 6.  Relay teams also score points.  

In most sanctioned meets a team can enter 2 athletes per event, both of which can score points.  A team can also enter 1 relay team.   The individual events consist of the sprints (100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter dashes), the hurdles (100/110 meter high hurdles and 300 meter low hurdles), the mid-distance/distance (800 meter, 1600 meter and 3200 meter runs) and the field events (shot put, discus throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault).  

We do not have the proper insurance to do pole vault so this event is unavailable to Jones athletes.

 

The Seasons

Cross Country

The official cross country season runs from mid-August to the state championship race in early November.  The first few weeks of official practice are mandatory for returning runners and begin before the school year. During the season practice occurs immediately after school from roughly 3:15 to 5:15 each day.  Some days, especially Mondays sometimes run longer as the team discusses the previous meet and completes the week's long run.  Saturdays are either a race day or a practice.  Sundays are always an off day from running with the exception of the Nike Northside/Southside challenge for a select group of runners that runs prior to the Chicago Marathon.  The regular season runs from the end of August to the Chicago Public League championships in mid-October.  After that only varsity athletes on the championship teams (see below) compete in the IHSA series.  The IHSA series takes place on 3 consecutive weekends: Regionals, Sectionals and the State Championships.  The state championships are usually held the first week of November.  It is important that varsity athletes not miss any part of the state series - DO NOT plan on taking the ACT during this time. A competitive intra-team time trial is usually run for all non-state bound athletes the week before the state meet.  

 

Track

The track season runs from Mid-January to Mid-May and is composed of the indoor season (Mid-January to mid-March) and the outdoor season (Mid-March to late-May).  Track practices follow the same schedule though there are sometimes weekday meets.  Track meets are generally more limited in spots so not all athletes run every meet.  May usually consists of the championship season in which only 2 athletes may compete per event.

 

This website contains season calendars that are kept updated as much as possible.  The calendars contain the names, date and times of meets, a link to directions to the location of the meet and a meet sheet.  The meet sheet is usually posted the night before and contains an approximate schedule of events, who is running what event and more.  Athletes and parents are encouraged to look at the meet sheet regularly and athletes are provided with a paper copy.   

 

Championship Teams

Both track and cross country culminate in a "championship season" which consists of the Chicago Public League Championships, IHSA Regional and/or Sectional Championships and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state championship.  Rosters for championship season are limited and are a coaching decision carefully made by the coaching staff based on a number of factors.  The number one factor will always be the potential for team success.  This itself is based off of previous best times, consistency in races, execution of strategy, quality of workouts, health, diet and sleeping patterns and more. 

 

The Chicago Public League holds Cross Country City Championships at 4 levels: Freshmen only, Frosh/Soph, Varsity and Open for boys and girls.  Each team consists of 7 runners.  The IHSA State Cross Country series is a varsity competition.  A roster of 12 runners of any age is set before the series begins, 7 of whom can race at each event.  All teams are invited to regionals.  The top 6 teams from each regional qualify to the sectional meet.  The top 5 teams from each sectional qualify to the state championships in Peoria.   

 

The Chicago Public League holds Track City Championships at 2 levels: Frosh/Soph and Varsity for boys and girls.  At each meet a team may enter 2 athletes in every individual event and 1 team in each relay event.  The IHSA State Track series is a varsity event.  Teams may enter 2 athletes in every individual event and 1 team in each relay event.  The top 2 in each race qualify for the state championships in Charleston.  In addition there are auto-qualifying standards; if an athlete achieves the standard at the sectional meet they automatically qualify regardless of their place in the event.  

 

 

 

Summer/Winter Running

While summer and winter running are not mandatory they are strongly encouraged.  Success in cross country and track require consistency and runners will not achieve maximum success without training year round.  While athletes will not be removed from the team for not running during the offseason, it may affect coaching decisions such as meet lineups, team awards, and captaincy choices.  Mileage will be assigned for the offseason and informal meet ups with and without the coaching staff will take place as much as possible per IHSA regulations.  Note that Spring Break falls in the middle of the track season and practices will be held.  Runners are still expected to log their runs during the offseason.