This Sunday the All RunWashington team will be announced at Georgetown University. The 62 athletes on the team are chosen before and after the cross country season by nine of the top cross country coaches in the DC area. The headliners are the top 10 boys and 10 girls who run for high schools in Northern Virginia, DC, or Montgomery and Princes George’s counties in Maryland. Athletes on the All RunWashington team get a pair of custom spikes designed by New Balance and just between us this years pair is amazing.
What will it take for you to earn your spot on this team and a pair of those spikes? Todd Withington is the coach at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County and he has some advice for incoming as well as returning cross county athletes. There are two keys from his perspective for athletes coming back to practice after the summer.
First, a running base is an important factor. Retuning athletes should be running higher mileage than incoming freshman but everyone should be running. It is preferable to train on trails but depending on where you live in the metro area that may not be a feasible option. If possible vary the terrain and make certain to include some hills. Running on the roads is fine but cross county is off the roads so seek out opportunities to run there whenever it is possible.
Another key factor in training, especially training in the summer, is hydration. Coach Withington say he tell the kids to hydrate all of the time, every day, all day. Adding to that it is also important to get a balance of rest, running, and nutrition. Kids will eat what they want to but they figure out their nutrition especially as it affects their training. Teenagers are typically not going to eat the healthiest but Coach Withington keeps preaching his message of hydration and nutrition with the thought it will sink in.
Students are going to find out if they enjoy running or not and some kids do not realize what to expect until they are out there training with the team. High school sports are all about the allowing students to experience new things and some students realize cross country is a great fit for them. Those that excel in cross country will put in the time to improve. Other students are there to stay in shape, to get in shape, or to socialize. Once school is back in session the racing starts and training now will pay off in the post season. Coach Withington hopes to take his team to the Virginia State Meet in November.
Best of luck to all of the student athletes out there getting their miles in and thank you Coach Withington for your perspective. We will see you at upcoming spike nights, keep your eyes on The Scoop to see when your team will be in or check in with your coaches. We look forward to seeing 62 of you on Sunday night; we have your custom spikes ready for you.