Tuesday, March 30, 2010


"Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run."

I love this! I think we should change it to... Just run... FAST!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good News!

The Spartans will for sure have two cross country meets in which to compete this fall. The coach for Union University in Jackson, TN has said that we can participate in the Union Invitational. This is a meet held the first weekend in October for high school and college... Blue Mountain will be attending also!

Blue Mountain will be hosting a high school meet, and because the coach is so nice, the Spartans will be able to participate in that one as well! :)

I have not talked to any other coaches yet... we will work on that closer to the season!

March 29- April 3 Workouts

This week- quick notes:

Group 1- Ok, I am moving some of you to the next group. If you can run the 30 minutes without walking, move on to group 2. On Tuesday, tell me who you are! If you are just interested in some PE or weekly fitness, or you are still walking a good bit, stick here in group 1.

Groups 3-5: On Tuesday, I will tell you the pace I would like you to do your training runs. You can keep track of this by looking at your watch each time you run a mile. If it says 8 minutes at the first mile, and 17 minutes when you finish the second mile.... you ran 8 minutes one mile and 9 minutes the second mile!

Group 1- 30 minutes
Group 2- 3 miles
Group 3- 4 miles
Group 4- 6 miles
Group 5- 8 miles

Tuesday: Practice 3:30 NAHS Track! We will run and do strength/ab training

Wednesday: Ab workout #2- Everyone!
Groups 1-3: Rest
Groups 4-5: 2 miles recovery run... EASY

Thursday: Strength Training Workout #2
Group 1: 30 minutes
Group 2: 3 miles
Group 3: 3 miles
Group 4: 4 miles
Group 5: 6 miles

Friday: Ab workout #2- Everyone

Saturday: (Optional) Strength Training Workout #2
****We will possibly have a Coffee Shop run on Saturday morning... I will post details later in the week!
Group 1: 30 minutes
Groups 2-3: 3 miles
Group 4: 3 miles tempo run
Group 5: 4 mile tempo run

Ab Workout #2

This is the same as ab workout #1... 25 reps or 30 seconds of each exercise! Some of the exercises overlap...

1. Boat: Pull yourself up into a V shape and hold it there.

2. Scissors: Raise one leg straight into the air. Hold your other leg straight out, barely off the floor. Hold 2 seconds. Switch. Your legs never touch the floor during this exercise.

3. Opposite elbow/ knee crunch: Put one arm straight out to your side. Put the other hand behind your head. Take the elbow that is behind your head and crunch up and over to the opposite knee.

4. Opposite elbow/ knee crunch: Same thing, other elbow to other knee!

5. Crunchy Frog: Pull your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your legs. Open your arms and stretch your legs out. Pull everything back in. Stretch it all out... Open... Shut... Open... shut...

6. V-up, Roll up: Hands reach straight into the air with legs straight out. Lower yourself down, but not all the way. This time, lift again, but lift your legs as well, folding yourself into a V. This one is hard to describe.. ask me if you don't remember it. We will be sure to practice a lot of these on Tuesday!

7. Heels to Heaven: Flat on your back, raise your legs straight into the air. Lift your heels straight up to the sky. This is not a huge movement. Use your lower abs to lift your heels up.

8. Plank with alternating leg lift: On your elbows and toes, make sure your back is straight, flat, and low. Lift one leg for a few seconds. Lower. Raise the other leg. Lower... continue.

9. Super Man: Flat on your stomach, stretch all the way out. Lift arms and legs off the ground and hold for 3 seconds. Lower. Repeat.

10. Hip Dips on Steps: This in no way should make you sore... it is just an exercise to strengthen your hips. Stand with both feet on some kind of step or stool. Allow one foot to step off and drop down below the other. Focus on your hip and use it to pull that foot back up to level on the step. Do this 25 times on one leg and then switch to the other.

Strength Workout #2

Wooo hooo... You just THOUGHT I had run out of ways to make you sore! Here we go with strength workout #2. We will use #1 and #2 on different weeks just to keep things mixed up a little bit.

This workout is done the same way as #1... there are 3 rounds with 3 exercises in each round. You want a good workout, but don't kill yourself.


1. Dive Bomber Push Ups: Remember these? In a wide leg push-up position, go under the fence and then reverse. Nose, chest, legs... legs, chest, nose. Nothing actually touches the ground, but get it really close!

2. Shoulder raises: Grab a light weight or a can of food. Lift your arms straight out in front, lower, lift them straight out to the side, lower.

3. Lunges: Nothin' better to make a bottom sore! Here are a few things to remember: step WAY out. Your knee should not go over your ankle... it should be closer to a right angle. Your back leg should be as close to straight as possible. Keep your back straight, and do NOT keep your hands on your quads. Keep them on your hips or over your head. Push off that front foot back into a standing position. If these don't get ya.... add weight.


1. Decline Push-ups: Put your feet up on a chair and do push ups. Don't forget to breathe!

2. Chair dips: Get two chairs. Put your hands facing your feet on one chair, and prop your feet up on the other. Lower your body down toward the ground, and then using the strength in your triceps, push yourself back up.

3. Chair pose: Feet together, go down into a deep squat (NOT knee bend... sit that bottom back), and keep your hands in the air alongside your ears. Your back and extended arms should be one straight line.


1. Diamond Push-ups: Or heart-to-heart push-ups. Put your hands in the shape of a diamond. Do push-ups, lowering your chest down almost to your hands, and pushing up using your chest muscles.

2. Squatting Concentration Curls: Put your back up against a wall, grab your weight, and squat way down. Put your elbows in the bends of your knees and do bicep curls.

3. Step Back Lunges: Feet together, this time step BACKWARD into a lunge. Remember the points from last time...

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Many of you have not heard my soapbox speech about running shoes... Well, guess what? Now you get to read it! And don't skip over it all, either... I will keep it short!

Running shoes are the one piece of equipment needed for our sport! Keep that in mind when you go shopping for running shoes, because they are an investment. Think of all the money you will save on physical therapy when you do NOT get injured from wearing cheap, worn out shoes!

Really, a runner needs to wear RUNNING shoes. Although the tennis shoes at Shoe Carnival and Payless look like running shoes on the outside, the internal components are different. Please go to a running store and get a good pair of shoes made for RUNNING. You can expect to pay close to $100 for a good pair of adult size running shoes. This can be difficult, especially when you have a large family, but running shoes will help the runner prevent injuries.

Here is the one exception: From what I have read, and even what the guy at Fleet Feet in Memphis told me, younger runners (who are not doing a lot of miles) can get away with a good pair of regular tennis shoes. I would suggest maybe getting a new pair and keeping those reserved only for running in order to make them last a little longer.

When you go to the running store, the sales clerk can help you find shoes that are right for your feet and running style.

This is a sign at Fleet Feet in Memphis! It is important to follow the above rule- get shoes that are best for your style and form!

Finally, running shoes need to be replaced about every 300-500 miles. For advanced runners, this will mean a new pair now, a new pair at the end of June, and a new pair sometime in September or the first of October. Less advanced runners can get away with a new pair now and a new pair at the beginning of cross country in August.

March 22-27 workouts

Monday- Everyone does Core workout #1

Group 1- 30 minutes. If you have been running 30 minutes without walking (or close to it), this week I want you to work on going a little bit more distance in those 30 minutes. There comes a point where we just have to make ourselves a little uncomfortable and work hard. If this sport were easy, it would be called football or something! :) I am only allowed to go there b/c I am married to a fb coach! :) After this week, I will move you up a group... just be sure you remind me.

Group 2- 2 miles easy

Group 3- 4 miles easy

Group 4- 6 miles if I did not tell you your pace on Tuesday, email me. This is important... faster is not always better!

Group 5- 8 miles (8-8:20 pace)

TUESDAY- Practice, 3:30, Ballard Park XC trail


Group 1, 2, 3- Rest

Group 4, 5- easy 2 for recovery

THURSDAY- Strength workout #1

Group 1- 30 min

Group 2- 2 miles

Group 3- 3 miles

Group 4, 5- 4 miles

FRIDAY- Everyone core workout #1

SATURDAY- PONTOTOC RIDGE RUN 5K.... or 3-5 miles at home

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Before I post the spring race schedule, let me remind you that these races are ALL optional. You can run no races, or you can run all races. I hope that you will find a middle ground; It is really not necessary to race every weekend... and it sure can add up!

March 27- Pontotoc Ridge Run Cost: $12 for runners- just sign my name on the form. I think pre-registration needs to be in soon. Contact Lisa Newell if you need a form.

I love this race, and so do my kids. However, there is a fundraiser 5K for my cousin's child the same day in Memphis. I have been obligated to run this one for quite a while now. If you would like to have a day in Memphis, I would love for you to come support Jackson Culley! (He has special needs, but I can't remember the name... the 5K is the Mito What? 5K... I guess other people can't remember either!)

April 10- Children's Mansion 5K or Tupelo Children's Triathlon- I think Roan has forms for the Race, and Yonnea probably has triathlon info

April 17- there is a ladies brunch for homeschool moms--- I hope you take the weekend off and join us! (Yonnea will have the details.) If not, there is a 5K in Amory and one in Holly Springs.

May 1- Coca Cola 10K- This is a 6.2 mile run. I do not feel comfortable encouraging younger and/or beginner runners to do this race. I think 5K is a long enough pounding for their bones and connective tissue. I am not a doctor, nor have I played one on TV, but I ran a lot of miles at a young age... and I feel the effects. (So do all of the members of my h.s. cross country team!)

May 15- Race for Life 5K in New Albany- This is a fundraiser for the New Albany Save a Life. It starts at the fairgrounds, so it can't be as hilly as the Riverfest!

May 22- Tie Dye invitational at Ballard Park. You can register at Healthworks in Tupelo... Race starts at 8:41. Precisely.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Ok, I divided everyone up according to practice last Thursday... THESE ARE NOT SET IN STONE!!! In fact, many of you BETTER be moving up with in the next six weeks! I will tell you when to move up... Be patient, and remember that it is better to take it slowly. We do not want to increase mileage by more than 10% per week! Here are your groups:

Group 1
Shanda Martin, Andy Young, Emily Holder, Miriam Sanders, Margaret Chunn, Nathan Baggett, Mark Chunn, Eryn Sanders, Jonathan Stephens, Carson Mims, Nicholas Massey, Tylan Whitefield, Caleb Cobb, Raeleigh Stephens, Noah Corbin, Macain Chunn, John Nanney, Kelley Crampton, Hannah Gunnells, Richard Gunnells, Becky Payne, Leslie Howe

Group 2
Ashley Holder, Haley Stegall, Claire Newell, Kirsten McAfee, Jessee Nanney, Sarah Gunnells, JP Mims, Tariq Whitefield, Hannah Stegall, Alec McAfee, Mycah Sanders, Scott Stegall, Sarah Duley, Jonathan Crampton, Andrew Snyder

Group 3
Mercy Cobb, Landers Pannell, Logan Chapin, Noelle Cobb, Kendra Sanders, Tyler Cobb, Clay Johnson, Brandon Newell, Cale George

Group 4
Josh Minnis, Olivia Johnson, Julie Johnson, Martha Chunn, Catherine Snyder

Group 5
Forrest Tate

Groups 2-5 will be doing workouts at 80% of current race pace. I will let you know these paces. Each time we race, I will adjust your paces if necessary. For some, this will be speeding up on training runs. For others, this will actually mean slowing down on training runs. THIS IS OK. If you are feeling stubborn or rebellious about slowing down to the pace I specify, please speak to me. I will explain the science behind what we are doing. I am not just making this up... we have a "MASTER PLAN!"

Here are your workouts for the rest of the week:

Wednesday: Everyone does Core Workout #1
Groups 5, 4, and 3- 2 miles easy
Group 2- 1 mile easy
Group 1- no running

Thursday: Everyone does Strength Workout #1
Group 5- 8 miles
Group 4- 6 miles
Groups 3, 2- 2 miles
Group 1- 30 minutes exercise... keep working toward 30 minutes without walking

Friday- OFF

Saturday- Everyone does Core #1
Groups 5, 4, 3- 4 miles
Group 2- 3 miles
Group 1- 30 minutes

Sunday- OFF

Core Workout #1

Core work is a vital part of strength training... do not skip it! Hey, you might even get some nice abs as a result!

I will have core work on the schedule twice per week. The core workouts will involve 10 exercises for 30-45 seconds each. We will start out at 30 seconds and move towards 45. When you do the math, you will realize that we are talking only 5-10 minutes here... you can squeeze it in!

Here we go...

1. Bicycle- Sit on the ground, back upright and hands beside you on the ground. Work your legs like you are pedaling a bike. You will probably feel this in your quads more than your stomach. Be sure you hold your stomach tight while you do this. (Don't forget to breathe!)

2. Crunchy Frog- Sit on your bottom. Lean back a little, open your arms out, and lift your legs off the ground. Pull your knees in and bring your arms to your knees. Open back out, pull everything back in....

3. V-up sit ups, alternating reach. Flat on your back, spread your legs into a narrow V shape. Put one hand behind your head and the other hand straight up in the air. Take the hand in the air and reach straight up into a sit up. Lower yourself slowly, and then switch which hand goes behind your head. Continue torturing yourself in this manner.

4. Plank on Elbows- Put both elbows on ground and stretch out your legs behind you. Here's the trick... YOUR BACK SHOULD BE NICE AND FLAT. Squeeze your stomach and hold this position for 30 seconds.

5. Crunches- Just regular crunches. Keep your face parallel to the sky, and lift with your core. Do not muscle your way off the ground using your shoulders or your neck!

6. Climb your leg- 30 seconds each leg- Lay flat on your back, with one leg straight up in the air. Alternating hands, climb up your leg!

7. Superman- Flop over onto your stomach. Reach your arms straight out in front of you. Lift your arms and legs off the ground. Hold this position about 3 seconds and then lower. Rest one second, and then lift again and hold for 3 seconds.

8. Pike- Switch over to your back. Reach your arms out straight over your head, so they are touching the ground also. Lift your legs and your arms, pulling your shoulders off the ground, and try to meet in the middle. You have to really work that core to do these well! If you can't get all the way up at first, keep working at it!

9. Hip Rock N Raise- Rest flat on your back. Pull your heels in like you are going to do the butterfly stretch. Keep your feet attached together and lift your feet to the sky... your hips will come off the ground as well. This works the lower part of your abs. Squeeze on the way up!

10. Hip dips on steps- Stand on a step of some sort. Lower one leg down toward the ground or step below. Use your hip to raise your foot back up to the step. Do 25 reps on one side, turn around, and do 25 reps on the other side.

Strength Workouts and wkout #1

When the workout plan says "Strength Workout #1," you can refer to this post...

There are 3 rounds of three exercises. Beginners can go through the three rounds and just do each exercise once. Intermediate (or beginners who don't get sore or even feel like they got a workout) runners should do round one through twice. Then move on to round two and do it twice... and finally, round three twice. Advanced runners should do each round three times before moving to the next round. **When I say advanced, I mean really advanced. In fact, it would not be a bad idea for everyone to start going through twice. After 2-3 weeks, move on up. I don't want you do get so sore that you can't move!

Each round of exercises works a different muscle group, ending up in a total body workout. I will ask you to do this workout twice a week, plus practice. That will be 3 strength days per week, and I will add in some core workouts as well. DO NOT POO-POO STRENGTH TRAINING!!!!

Seriously, I want you to consider this as important to your training plan, even if you are a fitness runner. Running alone is not best... strength training will make you a better runner!


1. Push ups- place your arms standard width apart, keep your back flat, and keep that bottom out of the air!!! Do between 10-30, depending on how strong you are. You can also set a timer and do as many as you can in 30-40 seconds. If you need to put your knees down, fine. YOU SHOULD FEEL THIS IN YOUR CHEST AND ARMS. When you finish the set, if you aren't a little shaky and weak, you did not work hard enough!!! You will not get stronger if you take the easy way out!

2. Chair Dips- Place two chairs a few feet apart. Put your feet up on one chair and your hands facing forward on the other chair. Lower your bottom down toward the ground, and then use your arm strength to push yourself back up. This should work the back, often flabby part of your arms. Do as many as you can until you fail... or as many as you can in 30-45 seconds. Older boys, if you have a dip bar, just do regular dips.

3. Squat with Calf Raises- Place your feet shoulder width apart. Sit your bottom down, as if you are hovering over a yucky toilet. Keep your heels on the floor! Squeeze your bottom, press through your heels, and stand back up. As you come into standing position, go into a calf raise. 20 reps.

1. Wide Push Ups- Same as before, but this time place your hands pretty wide. You will feel this more in your chest.

2. Side Tri Rise- This is a little difficult to explain in words... Stretch out on the floor on one side. The arm attached to the shoulder on the ground should come across your body and hold the opposite shoulder. The arm attached to the shoulder in the air should be placed on the floor between hip and elbow level. Use that hand to push your entire body into the air. Do this as many times as you can... then switch sides! You should feel this in your triceps.

3. Wall Squat with alternating Leg Raise- Ooohh... what coach wouldn't include some good ole' wall sits in a strength work out! Keep your legs together and your back against a wall. Slide your back down until your quads are parallel with the floor. Ouch! Count to ten. Lift one leg and count to ten. Lower it and count to ten. Lift the other and count to ten. Lower it and count to ten... You should be shaking and not happy with me when this is over! Don't count as quickly as you can! Add a Mississippi after each number!

1. Decline Push Ups- I love those push ups, don't I? This time, keep your arms standard width apart, but put your feet up on a chair. Yikes!

2. Lying Down Tricep Extensions- For this exercise, you will need some type of weight. If you have done the first two rounds properly, you won't need anything very heavy. You can use some little dumbells if you have them, a can of vegetables from the pantry, or anything handy. If your arms are super shaky, you don't have to use any weight at all. Just be sure to SQUEEEEZE at the top! Stretch out flat on your back. Take a weight in each hand and reach your arms straight up to the sky. KEEP YOUR ELBOWS IN THE SAME PLACE... and lower the weights down to your ears. Do this 10-15 times.

3. Skater Squat Reach- Stand on both feet, but put about 80% of your weight on one leg. Do a squat, keeping weight on one leg and stretching the other leg behind you. As you do this, reach way out in front of you. This works on balance as much as strength. Do about 15-20 on one leg, and then switch to the other. Picture yourself as a speed skater while you are doing these. You should feel it in your bottom and your quadriceps.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Wow! What a great turn out today! I will have more details before the end of the weekend, but here is what I would like for you to do between now and Tuesday:

If your time trial was 30:00 or slower today, I would like you to exercise at least twice before practice on Tuesday afternoon. Each time, use a watch and jog/walk for 30 minutes. Work at pacing yourself so that you do not have to walk! I would rather you jog very, very slowly for a longer time than do a sprint/walk pattern!

If your time was between 25:00 and 30:00, I would like you to run 3 miles twice before Tuesday. Do this at an EASY pace. Today was a hard day, and Tuesday will be a hard day, so these are RECOVERY runs. Please listen to me here!

If your time was under 25:00, I would like you to run twice before Tuesday as well. One easy 3 mile run and one easy 4-5 mile run, depending on how much you have been running. As mentioned above, these are recovery runs, so let your body recover! If you are disappointed in your time, pushing yourself hard every time you run is NOT going to make you faster... You have to keep the hard/easy pattern!

Tuesday we will be doing quite a bit of strength and conditioning. I will post descriptions of the exercises this weekend, and you can become familiar with some of them.

Choosing Your Workout

Each week I am going to be posting 3-4 workouts. You need to be REALISTIC about which workout you pick. Remember, the point of our spring training is to prepare us for summer workouts by building up SLOWLY.

It is NEVER appropriate to play "catch up" by doubling up on workouts or increasing mileage too much!

Before you skip to the groupings, please read this carefully. There are Between 50-100 Spartan runners of all ages and fitness levels. There is no way I can definitively place everyone in one of three or four categories. There will be runners who fall in the middle of these groups. I am giving my permission to adapt the mileage for those runners. HOWEVER, please speak with me before you do this. I will work with you and give you a method for changing around the workouts. I do not want kids to end up injured, overtrained, or running more than I feel comfortable with. Parents make final decisions, but I would like to at least offer my opinion. The groups will be labeled as follows:

Beginners:Runners who are just starting to train for the first time. OR, runners who just want to get some exercise/ PE (who have not been doing any training since last XC season).

Intermediate: Runners who have run in the past, and runners who have done at least a little bit since last XC season. Intermediate runners have the option of starting in the Beginner category and just moving up a little bit quicker, depending on the fitness level. Runners in grades K-5 should be in Beginner or Intermediate.

JV: Runners in grades 6-12 who have actually been following the training plan and running several days per week!

Varsity: Runners in grades 8-12 who have been following the advanced training plan and really consistent in training. This is for those who have a good base of training already.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Welcome to the Spartan training blog! I will be posting workouts each week, so be sure to follow this blog or check for updates regularly!

This spring, we will only be having workouts once per week, so it is important for each runner to complete workouts at home. Fitness runners need to be exercising 3 times per week, and competitive runners need to be running 4-6 times per week.