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Are Cross Country Courses too Easy

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  • Are Cross Country Courses too Easy

    Front page article explores question, but basically only gives reasons for coaches preferring easy courses.
    One benefit would be higher levels of fitness derived from racing (and training) on hills. Doubt if many teams place much emphasis on hill training if they are not racing on hills.
    Another benefit would be increased mental toughness from racing hard courses. Certainly something US runners have been lacking.
    Our performances at World XC pale to what they were in the 70's.

  • #2
    Re: Are Cross Country Courses to Easy

    Originally posted by Bruce Kritzler
    Front page article explores question, but basically only gives reasons for coaches preferring easy courses.
    One benefit would be higher levels of fitness derived from racing (and training) on hills. Doubt if many teams place much emphasis on hill training if they are not racing on hills.
    Another benefit would be increased mental toughness from racing hard courses. Certainly something US runners have been lacking.
    Our performances at World XC pale to what they were in the 70's.
    Courses may too easy, but our recent performances in the WCC have more to do with the East African juggernaut that didn't exist years ago, than any particular training method.

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    • #3
      Re: Are Cross Country Courses too Easy

      Originally posted by Bruce Kritzler
      Front page article explores question, but basically only gives reasons for coaches preferring easy courses.
      One benefit would be higher levels of fitness derived from racing (and training) on hills. Doubt if many teams place much emphasis on hill training if they are not racing on hills.
      Another benefit would be increased mental toughness from racing hard courses. Certainly something US runners have been lacking.
      Our performances at World XC pale to what they were in the 70's.
      The World Cross courses tend to be pretty mild from what I remember seeing.

      A big deal was made of remembering those really tough high school courses, but high school kids often run 20 different courses and remember the tough ones. One reason that there are not too many big hills is not the tough running up but the damage in racing downhill at 15+mph and safety in a large field in doing so. If one guy goes down on a sharp downhill in a race like the Wisconsin Invite (Friday) with close to 300 running in a pack, it might take down 50 guys and would alter the race significantly in a way that does not reflect the merit of the participants. It might look like finishes at the Tour de France.

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      • #4
        Re: Are Cross Country Courses to Easy

        Originally posted by Conor Dary
        Courses may too easy, but our recent performances in the WCC have more to do with the East African juggernaut that didn't exist years ago, than any particular training method.
        That and the fact that our "best" team almost never runs (on the men's side, especially).

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        • #5
          Re: Are Cross Country Courses too Easy

          Originally posted by Bruce Kritzler
          Front page article explores question, but basically only gives reasons for coaches preferring easy courses.
          At the high school level, cross country is--in part at least--about mass participation, camaraderie, personal growth and improvement, etc. Courses shouldn't be too "easy" but I can assure you that neither coaches or parents want to see half the field finishing bloody and in tears.

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          • #6
            Re: Are Cross Country Courses too Easy

            they should use a Tough Mudder course for XC. With actual athletes running one of those courses, it could have potential for gaining an audience. Running on a golf course, not so much.

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