How Much Rest Do Distance Runners Need After Cross Country?

Posted by Scott Christensen

Your distance runners come out of cross country season and you need a little bit of a break.

This immediately brings up lots of discussion amongst coaches because there are coaches out there that think distance runners don’t need rest after cross country or during the year and there are other coaches that think the break after cross country is much longer than it needs to be.

The facts are this:

In high school, we’re dealing with growing, developing and maturing young men and young women and a lot of energy each day goes into this growth and development.

When we are running hard, designing good workouts for both cross country and track, we’re tapping into that energy.

It does start to wear on the athlete and they just need a break from it.

Plus, let’s face it, psychologically, they’re still immature…

So they need to take a break and do some kid things that kids do, catch up on school work, etc.

You need to schedule into your annual plan, which is a full calendar year of training, broken up into macrocycles.

A macrocycle could be a cross country season…

A macrocycle could be an outdoor track season

And some of you high school coaches out there have the macrocycle of an indoor track season, and I’ll address that later in this presentation.

But, you need to plan in a resting and regeneration phase.

Watch the video above to find out exactly what physiologists recommend, as well as when and how to schedule it into your annual plan.


cross country warmup


Scott Christensen - Scott Christensen’s teams have been ranked in the national top 10 eight times. He won the 1997 High School National Championship and his squads have captured multiple Minnesota State Championships. Scott has coached 13 Minnesota State Championship-winning teams and 27 individual Minnesota State Champions. He was the USTFCCCA Endurance Specialist School junior team leader for the World Cross Country Team in 2003 and the senior team leader in 2008. Scott is a 14-year USATF Level II endurance lead instructor.

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