Nanook cross country season begins
The Nanook cross country runners laced up their shoes and got to work Tuesday, July 30 with the season’s first day of practice. Coach Jeff Collins gave the team a good introductory talk first and then they headed out of the Rec Center for drills designed to improve their running form. The runners ranged from seventh grade through high school. “I am an advocate of keeping you injury free,” said Coach Collins. “If you did not run over the summer expect to start off slow.” He stressed that the team is what’s important, not any individual. “These runs over the next two weeks will be run at conversation pace. If you cannot have a conversation while you are running you are going too fast. That means your heart rate is up too fast.” Running long slow distance conditions the heart and builds endurance.
The coach stressed the importance of getting plenty of sleep and also talked about consistency of sleep, going to bed and getting up at the same times every day. “The more consistent you can keep things the better off you’re going to be,” he said.
As a number of top runners graduated last year Coach Collins sees the coming season as a time of rebuilding. For both boys and girls it will be a time of development. He likes that he’ll be seeing the runners grow as the season progresses. The plan is to compete within the region, to stay close to home.
“I’ve separated the season into two macro cycles,” he said. “Within those there are two weeks of micro cycles. The first two weeks we’ll be doing basic conditioning and endurance growth. We’ll do basic cardiovascular workouts. From there we’ll be going to VO2, which is volume of oxygen consumption. And then we’ll go into sprints and speed as we near the end of the season.”
Perhaps the coach had some inside information about what weather was cooking up for Nome. “Do we run when it rains?” he asked. “The answer is yes. We run when it snows.” He told the young runners that in 12 years of coaching he’s probably cancelled practice four times. “Weather does not matter. In fact it’s all about being comfortable while being uncomfortable.”
Twenty-five runners turned out for the first day. Coach Collins said in the past as many as 40 have been on the team.