Fun CC Running Ideas

by Mike
(Akron, Indiana USA )

What are the beet ways to mix up my work outs so the kids don't get bored. I ran high school cross country 20 + years ago. This is my first season as a cross country coach. So I am having trouble setting up my work out program.


- Thanks, Coach Inglehearn

Great questions coach. The first thing to do is make sure you plan workouts around the races. I always try to give my runners at least one easier day of running before a race day, and for the bigger meets, two to three.

I would suggest having a hard workout right away on Monday, a distance run on Tuesday. I like to do a Fartlek workout on a Wed. Then on Thursday and Friday, you can do easy runs and fun activities. On Saturday is usually when our meets are, so that is why we took it easier on Thursday and Friday.

As for the ways to make it fun, I have a ton of ideas. Here are some of the simple ones that aren't totally related to running. After hard workouts, I always tried to have some simple reward. Here are some of the reward ideas. Get a watermelon and cut it up after the workout. Give them all a piece of gum. Get some freezy pops and give them one after they have finished. These are all cheap and easy treats. If anyone has a birthday, encourage them to bring in treats for the whole team.

Here are some simple running ideas that make things much fun. After a distance run, get everyone together and have them run barefoot strides on some nice grass. It's good for your feet, and it feels nice. Do a distance run and end somewhere where there is water. Later in the season, we would run to a local river or lake, and the runners would take their shoes off and go in to their knees. It's a good way to ice and it is exhilarating.

A few other things we did to keep running fun was "the stick race." This is where you have the runners go to a river, pick a stick by the river and then they all have to throw the stick in the river at the same time. The stick that floats down the river to the finish line first wins.

A tough workout idea is the bike-run relay. You break up your team into groups of three and have them do a relay race. Make a course that is about 1/2 mile long. One member of the team rests, one bikes and one runs. When one lap is done, the runner now bikes, the biker rests, and the resting runner has to run.

A couple of other relay ideas are the Banana Relay and the big shoe relay. For the banana relay, you can do any workout you like, but the runners use a banana as the baton. At the end, you can have the slowest groups eat the bananas if you want to be vindictive! The big shoe relay is just a little activity that you do over a very short distance like 20 meters. Get teams of about eight and have the person with the biggest shoes take them off. Every member of the team will have to slip on these big shoes and run their leg of the race. They then take off their shoes and give them to the next runner. The last runner will be the one who donated their big shoes.

These are a few of the things we have done in the past, but there are certainly more that I can't think of at this time. I am thinking I should do an entire section about good team workout ideas. I hope some of these ideas help!

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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Nov 07, 2015
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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for Tips4Running.com. In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

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