Monday, October 26, 2015


Most people look forward to the weekend.  For many, it's a hard earned and much needed break from the daily grind.  Perhaps they get to sleep in a bit, be a little lazy and maybe even agenda-free for a change.  If you are a runner, this is probably not the case.  You may still look forward to the weekend.  But, in running at least part of the weekend is usually reserved for the long run.  It's a standard workout that runners of all types from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior tend to have in their training plan.  For the majority of us, particularly long distance runners, it's a nice, easy, conversational-pace cruiser that takes about twice as long as our usual runs, if not longer, which is why we tend to save it for the weekend as we need the extra time to get the miles in.  For my high school cross country runners, unless we have a meet, it's no different.  Saturday is our official long run day.  From the start of the season, during those first few sweltering weeks of August, all the way through the chilly days of October, we gather together for a run that's a minimum of an hour for some and as much as two hours for others.  We meet at 9:00am, warm up, get into groups of various sizes depending on desired pace, and then head off to Battle Road, a beautiful, historic dirt trail in Lexington, MA that goes on for miles.  As a coach, I always look forward to this workout.  It gives me a chance to run with a bunch of different groups, to check in with the girls I haven't talked to in a while or simply to relax and enjoy the morning with my team.  For some of the girls, particularly those new to cross country, the long run can be pretty daunting in the beginning of the season.  And by October a lot of those same girls not only feel comfortable with the longer distances and time on the road, but they look forward to it.  It's incredibly rewarding for me to actually see this shift in their mentality as they begin to understand the long term value of running and all that it can do for them.  This past Saturday, our team gathered for our last long run of the 2015 season that we would all be doing together.  After November 2, only 10 of our group of 50+ girls will continue to compete.  So, this particular long run was a little bittersweet.  As many of them, particularly the seniors, had the realization that their cross country season is coming to an end.  I took some time to ask the girls and what they love most about their Saturday long run.  Here's what they told me.


1. The team bonding.
2. Talking to someone without any distractions for a long a period of time.

w/ Paige & Grace on Battle Road

3. The trail and the scenery.  
4. The feeling of accomplishment when you're done.

Megan, Kelly, Kesinia & Lexi all smiles.

5. I like that we're running for a long distance but still having fun.
6. It helps you start the weekend clear headed and refreshed and with a good attitude.

Grace & Sophie warming their hands w/ my coffee

7. Spending time with people that you might not always get to catch up with.
8. Feeling accomplished and productive.

Maya (always happy), Georgia, Lorna, 
Anna (grumpy lately), Becca & Elise

9. I love seeing all our fellow runners (other non-LHS runners) out on the trail.  I love that camaraderie.
10. The long run?  It gets me out of bed on the week-end.  And that's a good thing.

Eleanor & Haley #twins

11. You can start with someone you don't know, learn a ton about them and really feel like you know them by the end.
12. Getting into a rhythm and feeling one with the earth.

Ashley (the photo says it all)

13. I can arrive to practice tired and in a bad mood and by the end of our long run I'm almost always laughing and having a good time.
14. Putting our legs up at the end.  That's the best.

#doneanddone #golex #happyfeet
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Kamikaze - MØ or listen w/   

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