Year around running for h.s. runner too much?
My son is a sophomore in h.s. and has been running cross country since 6th grade. Up until his freshman year, he played baseball and basketball in addition to running. However, in his freshman year he dropped those two sports to do Track and ran year around with CC. He really loves to run but has always loved the other sports too.
It was a difficult decision for him but felt he had better opportunities at his highly competitive high school in running. As a freshman, he was All State and ran behind juniors and seniors. This year his coach told us he excelled in work outs and practices sometimes running 2nd or 3rd on the team behind a senior. However, on race days he usually finished anywhere from 5th to 8th for his team. He did have some sinus infections this season, but when he was healthy this happened too. We're not sure if the other kids just caught up with him or if running year around has affected him. Do you have any suggestions on whether he should continue with Track in the winter and spring or maybe consider cross training instead? Thank you so much for your time!Running consistently will pay dividends in the future. As long as he continues to enjoy working out, stick with running. Cross training is always a nice thing to incorporate, but nothing gets you better at running than actually running.
One thing to make sure you are doing is to back off on the intensity from time to time. High school runners have to race a lot. During the off-seasons, get your mileage in, but make sure you aren't going too hard. I suggest one long run a week, but the other runs can be shorter at a decent pace. Don't run too hard then. You don't want to start hating the sport of running.
Running year round is a good thing, and his running can turn into a lifestyle sport that could keep him healthier and happier than his counterparts. You can take a week or two off right after the CC season or track season ends to mend any nagging injuries. After this break, just start getting back into running by doing some distance runs.
Stay positive and keep running. He'll keep improving as he gets bigger and stronger naturally. He'll also have superior endurance as he keeps on logging those miles.
Take care - Coach Tief