Dover Cross Country

Parent and Athlete’s Guide


Dear Runners and Parents:

Please read over the attached guide.  It contains much of the information on team policies and procedures for the upcoming season.  Feel free to contact Coach Shaffer with any questions you may have. 

I would like to take a minute of your time to deal with a very important matter.  The Dover Athletic Booster Club helps all of the athletic teams at Dover.  Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, a lot of the parents of our team members do not join.  For your son or daughter’s sake, please join and be active in the D.A.B.C. 


Key Names & Phone Numbers

Coach Shaffer



Coach Denoncourt

            High School:     717.292.3671 Extension 227



Our Training Philosophy

Coaching distance runners is both a science and an art.  I am amazed by the amount of information available and the options that are available.  While the art of distance coaching is concerned with implementing workouts that accord with sound physiological principles of training at the proper time, it is also concerned with the psychological impact those workouts have on the runner.


This system works best with the understanding of parents and athletes.  It is very important for there to be communication concerning each runner's physical and mental state.  The coach cannot plan an effective plan for runners involved (unknowingly) in physical activities away from the regular practices.  The coach must know, in advance, about plans to participate in outside activities.  Over-training is very detrimental to the runner's physiological and psychological well being and therefore hinders performance.  It is very easy to over-train.


Our basic goal is for each high school athlete to run 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) and junior high athlete to run 2 miles as fast as possible.  This is a complicated process, which includes a plan for overall fitness.  Each team member should eat three nutritious meals each day.   

Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Practice makes permanent!


Important Things for Parents to Know



·        Make sure you have a current copy of the meet schedule.  Call one of the coaches or visit if you are not sure about meet times or place.


·        Team practices are every weekday except meet days (with few exceptions).  Attendance is mandatory.  As soon as your son or daughter knows they have a conflict with a practice or meet, have them give Coach Sporer or Coach Bahn a brief written note (dated) with the date of the pending conflict, the reason, and a parent's name and home and work phone numbers.  The reason for the note is the coach's need for safety and accountability as well as the runner's commitment and personal responsibility to the coach, team, and the sport.  Runners should make up missed workouts on their own time if they wish to stay with the practice plan.  It is very important that team members run at least six (5) days a week during most of the season.


·        Shoes!  Make sure your son or daughter's shoes fit and are not worn out.  Generally, training shoes only last one season.  The shoes may not look worn out, but the cushioning and support can be.  Check her shoes often.  If you are not sure about buying shoes I highly recommend Flying Feet  (the owner, Greg Baum, is the master at getting your son or daughter in the best shoes for their running style) they have a good selection of shoes and accessories and offers expert assistance (the sales people are runners who know what they are talking about).  This is the only place in the York area that I unequivocally recommend.  Good running shoes will run between $65 - $100 and the above offer a discount if you tell them you are on the Dover Cross Country Team.  Each runner's running style and physical characteristics may dictate a certain type of shoe.  Take old running shoes when looking for new ones.  Be ready to run in the store.  Brand name and cost (high or low) are not important.  Proper fit is the most important thing.  Shoes that are just a little too small can cause problems.


·        Be aware that time and places for events occasionally change with very little notice.  However, it is your son or daughter's responsibility to pass on changes to you as soon as she is so informed. (Runners sometimes forget to pass on information…).  We will also make every attempt to keep the web page up to date


·        If your son or daughter has concerns about anything (team schedule, team members, actions, academics, conflicts, training, etc.) tell her to discuss them with one of the coaches.  Every issue can be dealt with when it is brought to the coach's attention.  If parents have personal questions or concerns, please call Coach Shaffer or Coach Denoncourt respectively.


·        Post Season: There is a Sports Reception at the end of the season to honor all of Dover's Fall athletes.  It is held during the week in the evening at the Dover Community Center on Davidsburg Rd.  Parents are invited.  Athletes are required to dress appropriately.  Every team member who has fulfilled all of her obligations to the team will be recognized at this time. 


Between You and Your Son or Daughter:


·        It is very important to open and/or maintain a dialogue with your son or daughter about their physical (and mental) well being.  Talk to them periodically about how he or she feels, if and where it hurts, how it feels when running, etc.  Frequently new and inexperienced runners do not know what types of pains are minor and which should be monitored or require immediate attention.  They may keep it to themselves.  Should your son or daughter experience an injury or pain, tell them to talk to one of the coaches and see the school's trainer.


·        Talk to your son or daughter about diet, lifestyle choices, rest, proper training, and general health issues.  It will help reduce the risk of injury or minimize any he or she might get.  The coaches will discuss these subjects with the runners. The more experienced runners often influence new team members in a very positive manner when it comes to these matters.  Please reinforce these messages.

It works much better when we communicate and work together.  Call coach Shaffer or coach Denoncourt if you have any questions. 


·        Help your son or daughter perform their best by making sure he or she eats a balanced diet and gets plenty of rest and fluids. 


·        Sleep patterns, which are irregular, are very detrimental to the student athlete’s schoolwork and running.


·        The importance of proper hydration every day must be stressed.  Encourage your son or daughter to drink water and sports drinks (not soft drinks) throughout every day, not just race day and not just when they are thirsty.  Clear (or nearly clear) urine is what is desired.


·        Cross Country running is about constant improvement.  Know your son or daughter's Personal Record (PR) time.  Keep up your support.  Remember that not all courses have the same difficulty or length. 


Race Day:


·        Have your son or daughter check with the coaches for guidance about the amount of time they should allow between their last big meal and race time.


·        Check with your son or daughter to find out in which race they is running.  Their race status can change at anytime, so check frequently. 


·        Make an effort to come to the meets.  Cross Country races are great fun to watch.  The level of commitment and effort put forth by our runners will impress you.  (Wear Dover colors [red and white] or a school T-shirt or sweat shirt.)  If you need a map to a course, have your son or daughter ask for one at least two days before the meet.  Directions are on the web site ( for most schools


·        Younger siblings are encouraged to attend the meets!  There is a lot of space for them to run and have fun.  Remember that once the race starts, they should be close at hand so they don't interfere with the runners. 


·        Allow between 20 to 30 minutes once you arrive at the race site to park your car, find the best observation spots, and to walk to a good place to observe the start.  Give yourself plenty of travel time based on the meet location and where you are coming from.  Almost all races last less than 30 minutes, so try to be on time. 

·        The time before the race is important prep time for the runners and the coach(s).  When you arrive, let your son or daughter know that you are there, and let them get on with their warm up, stretching, and getting in a race mode.  Please do not mingle with the runners before the race.


·        While you don't need to move once the race starts, most people frequently move to different spots to observe the races.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.  Be ready to brave the elements.


·        When your son or daughter crosses the finish line and enters the finish chute, they may be extremely tired.  This is normal.  There will be people there to help them through the chute.  Do not go into the chute area.  This interferes with the scoring of the race and could lead to your son or daughter's disqualification.   


·        We (You & I) will learn whether or not your son or daughter wants to talk about the race (or wants emotional space) after they have finished.  Be positive and upbeat.  Just don't keep them too long because they need to run a cool down and stretch.


·        The team will meet with the coaches after the last race.  This is a very important aspect of our team dynamics so please be patient and wait a few minutes before leaving with your son or daughter.


·        You must talk with one of the coaches before taking your son or daughter with you after a meet.  Also remember that your son or daughter may not leave with any one other than an immediate family member without your prior written permission.  Please help teach your son or daughter to plan ahead.  Communication is very important.


·        Cross Country meets start on time unless one of the teams has transportation problems.  Other than being delayed for lightning, meets are held rain or shine, hot or cold.


·        Make sure your son or daughter has a well packed (large) sports bag.  A list of common items found in most of the runners' bags is attached.


·        Keep a pair of dry shoes and socks for yourself (and your son or daughter) in your car.


·        Please help to make sure that your son or daughter has a clean uniform and warm up suit.  It is best to wash the uniform by hand.


Last but not least:


·        After a few meets, you'll feel like a veteran.  You'll begin to recognize the competitors, their schools, and team names.  You'll also get to know the parents of other runners.  Have fun and cheer as much as you like.


·        We are always looking for help at home meets.  You do not need to know a lot about cross country to be a great help to the team.


·        We are always looking for fundraising ideas.  Bring ideas to us.


Glossary of Running Terms


1 lap around track, also called a "quarter"


5,000 meters; 5 Kilometers; 3.1 miles


Approximately a half-mile; 2 laps around track


With oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of low to moderate intensity

Aerobic Capacity

Also called VO2max; maximum amount of oxygen that can be utilized by the body; also describes a type of training that increases the amount of oxygen that can be utilized, i.e., Aerobic Capacity Intervals

Aerobic Conditioning 

Training that improves endurance


The absence of menstrual periods


Without oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of high to very high intensity

Anaerobic Capacity

Maximum amount of energy that can be produced without requiring oxygen; also describes a type of training that increases the amount of energy that can be produced, i.e., Anaerobic Capacity Intervals

Anaerobic Threshold 

see "Lactate Threshold"

Roger Bannister  - The first person to break 4 minutes for the mile

Bioelectrical Impedance/Infrared

Method of determining percent body fat where an electrical impulse or infrared light are put through the body; easy to use but approximately 3-6% error possible


Study of the function of the body in relation to movement; especially important for repetitive movement sports like running; poor biomechanics can lead to injury

Body Composition

Usually relating to the percent of the body comprised of lean tissue (bone, muscle, water, etc.) or fat tissue; 17% or less body fat is recommended for men; 24% or less body fat is recommended for women


Another term like "hitting the wall"; a state of exhaustion when glycogen stores are depleted, blood glucose (sugar) levels are low and the only exercise that can be performed is slow running; typically occurs at around the 20 mile point in the marathon


The dietary practice of eating a high carbohydrate diet (approximately 60-70% of total calories) for the three days leading up to a race to maximally fill the glycogen stores


Essential nutrient of body found in pastas, breads, fruits, vegetables; should comprise the majority of calories in a runner's diet; stored in the body as glycogen in the muscles and liver; overconsumption is converted to fat


Slow, easy running done after a workout to help you recover more quickly


A high-performance polyester fiber used in athletic apparel for its cotton-like feel, moisture wicking properties and quick dry time; brand name of DuPont®


Activities such as swimming and cycling that are used to increase conditioning and injury prevention for running or as a means of adding variety to workout schedule

Cruise Intervals

Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold; usually repetitions of 800 meters to 2-miles performed at the lactate threshold speed with short recoveries


The ability of a shoe to minimize the shock of running; while all running shoes have cushioning, highly cushioned shoes are usually designed for under-pronators (or supinators) who need additional shock absorption and maximum flexibility

Daniels, Jack

Running coach and exercise physiologist

Decker-Slaney, Mary

Great American middle distance runner; has held many world and American records


Not having enough fluids in the body


Stands for "did not finish" & describes a runner who drops out of a race


See "Muscle Soreness"

Easy Run 

A slow run done at a conversational pace


Minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium that are used for normal bodily functions. These minerals are lost when the body sweats and are replaced through food and fluids.


Chemicals in the brain which create a feeling of euphoria; said to be the cause of the "runner's high"


Your ability to run for long periods of time


Swedish word for speedplay; workout includes faster running mixed with slower running; adds variety to training and can be performed in any setting

Fast Twitch

Type of muscle fiber (cells which compose the muscles) which contract rapidly and powerfully but fatigue quickly

Fat Essential nutrient of body found in oils and meats; should comprise approximately 30% of calories in a runner's diet; overconsumption leads to increases in body fat; can be of three types: saturated, poly-unsaturated, and mono-unsaturated


Used to describe an exercise intensity which burns the most fat; science is still debating the appropriate intensity for maximal fat-burning; note: burning fat at the highest rate does not necessarily correspond to burning calories at the highest rate


Basic sugar; form of sugar into which all carbohydrates are first converted and appear in the blood


The form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body; there are two main stores of glycogen - the liver and the muscles; when glycogen stores are depleted athletes fatigue, "hit the wall", "bonk"; stores can be maximally filled by eating a high carbohydrate diet leading up to an event


804.5 meters; approximately 2 laps around track

Hamstring Strain

Micro-tears of the large muscles of the back of the thigh; can be treated by ice and stretching and strengthening exercises

Heart Rate  - Contraction of the heart usually measured as beats per minute

Heart Rate Monitor

A device that measures the electrical activity of the heart (heart rate); usually consists of a chest strap and watch-like wrist receiver


Workouts where a runner runs up a hill fast and jogs down then runs up again; helps develop leg power and aerobic capacity


The removable inner part of a running shoe that sits on top of the midsole and provides cushioning and arch support


Degree of effort or exertion


Type of workout where a set distance is run repeatedly with a recovery jog between; for ex. 6 times 400 meters with 100 meters recovery jog


International Olympic Committee; world-wide organization which governs the Olympic Games
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee, where the iliotibial band (a muscle on the outside of the thigh) becomes tendinous, and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) as it runs alongside the knee joint.

Junk Miles 

Runs used to reach a weekly or monthly mileage total rather than for a specific benefit


A finishing sprint at the end of a race

Lactate Threshold

The running intensity where lactic acid begins to rapidly accumulate in the blood. Also called anaerobic threshold; lactate threshold speed is your 10K race pace plus 5-20 seconds or a heart rate zone between 85-89% of maximum.

Lactic Acid

A by-product of the body's use of carbohydrates; usually associated with muscle stiffness and burn after a hard workout


Can refer to two different features of a shoe; the first is the construction of the shoe or the way the shoe's upper is attached to the midsole. There are three major types of construction: board lasting, where the upper is glued to a flexible, shoe-length "board"; slip lasting, where the upper is stitched directly to the midsole; and combination lasting, where the forefoot is attached directly to the midsole and the heel is attached to a board. Last can also refer to the shape of the shoe: straight, semi-curved or curved. A curved last turns inward from the heel to toe, a straight last has little or no curve and a semi-curved last is somewhere in between.


Referring to the outer side (or little toe side) of a shoe


A record of your training and running that helps you stay motivated, monitor your progress and spot trends in your running

Long Runs 

Longest run of the week; usually on the weekend


Long, slow distance; slow running designed to improve endurance


26.2 miles; 42.2K

Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax)

The highest number of contractions your heart can make in one minute


The inner side (or arch side) of a shoe

Medial Post

Denser midsole material (often gray) added to the medial (or arch side) of the midsole to provide stability and control excessive pronation


A tightly woven fabric that's extremely lightweight and soft; notable for its wind and water resistance, ability to wick moisture and quick dry time


The part of the running shoe between the upper and outsole that provides cushioning and support. Most midsoles are made of either EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) or polyurethane foam. EVA is lighter and more flexible than polyurethane, but it is not as durable. It can come in various densities with gray-colored EVA being denser than white. The denser, gray EVA is usually placed along the medial side of the shoe to provide stability and motion control and is often referred to as a "medial post." Some midsoles have additional cushioning technology such as air, gel, grids, etc.


1609 meters; approximately 4 laps around track

Mills, Billy

10K Gold Medallist in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics


Essential nutrient of body; must be ingested in the correct amounts in the body; aid in the processes which use the other nutrients and compose some of the structures of the body; may be obtained through diet or supplementation; over consumption can be toxic

Motion Control 

The ability of a shoe to limit overpronation and provide stability

Muscle Soreness

Pain, stiffness, and soreness in a muscle due to microscopic tears of the muscle usually due to doing more work than the muscle is used to (also called DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness)

Negative Splits

Running the second half of a race faster than the first half


Competition held once every 4 years; highest goal for most runners


Inserts placed inside shoes to correct biomechanical problems


The bottom-most layer of most running shoes; the layer that contacts the ground and provides traction


The excessive inward roll of the foot; overpronation can be controlled through the use of motion control shoes and/or orthotics


Condition when runner trains too much too soon and leads to fatigue, injury and/or burn-out

Oxygen Debt

A state where the energy demand is greater than what can be provided by oxygen thus inducing heavy breathing to consume more oxygen


Measure of the speed of running; usually quantified as minutes taken to run a mile; for example a runner may run a 7:00 per mile pace for a marathon

Piriformis Syndrome

Pain in the buttocks resulting from a tight piriformis muscle pressing against the sciatic nerve; can be treated by stretching exercises for the buttocks

Plantar Fasciitis

Foot injury where there are micro-tears of the arch; especially painful in the morning; can be treated by stretching the arch and calves; massage with hands or rubbing foot on golf ball or shaving cream can; if untreated can lead to heel spurs (spur of bone from the heel bone)


Scheduling your training so that your best performance is timed for a goal race or event


Personal Record or Personal Best; fastest time a runner has run for a given distance

Prefontaine, Steve

One the best American distance runners in history; known for his ferocious competitiveness; killed in car crash at the age of 24 in 1975; two movies have been made of his short career


The natural, inward roll of the foot; pronation begins when heel contacts the ground, the foot then rolls inward to absorb shock and transfer weight to the ball of the foot as it prepares to push off. It is a natural and necessary motion for running and walking.


Essential nutrient of body found in meats, eggs, dairy products, beans and nuts; should comprise approximately 15-25% of calories in a runner's diet; converted into the body's structures-bones, muscles, organs, etc.; over consumption is converted to fat


Jargon for a quarter mile or 400 meters; often used when describing workouts where runners run 400-meter (or quarter) repeats

Recovery Runs

Slow to moderate running to recover from hard workouts or races and/or maintain aerobic conditioning


See "Intervals"

Resting Heart Rate

The number of times your heart beats per minute when you are relaxed and still; usually measured first thing in the morning before getting out of bed


An acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation; a procedure for treating certain injuries


A term used to describe a shoe's ability to smoothly transfer a runner's weight from heel-strike to toe-off

Road Races 

Running contests over streets; all runners can participate

Runner's High

Feeling of euphoria some runners feel after a long, hard run or race (see Endorphins)

Runner's Knee

Knee pain usually caused by the kneecap not sliding properly during movement; may be related to muscular imbalances within the thigh muscles; can be treated with strengthening exercises for weak muscles (usually the inner thigh muscle)

Running Economy

The amount of oxygen consumed at a given running speed; a runner who consumes less oxygen at this running speed as compared to another running is said to be more "economical"

Samuelson, Joan

1984 Olympic Gold Medallist in the marathon; American marathon record holder


Pain running from the low back to the toes related to pressure on the large nerve innervating this area—the sciatic nerve; should be evaluated by physician

Second Wind

Feeling of more energy and less effort some runners feel after 15-20 minutes of running

Shin Splints

Lower leg injury where there is pain along the shin bone; usually caused by excessive pronation or weak shin muscles; treat with ice and stretching and strengthening exercises; can lead to stress fractures

Shorter, Frank

1972 Olympic Gold Medallist in the marathon; his victory spurred the running boom of the 1970's


A light weight tank top worn by runners

Skin fold Calipers

Process of determining body composition where several folds of skin are measured for thickness and then used to calculate percent body composition

Slow Twitch

Type of muscle fiber (cells which compose the muscles) which contract slowly but can perform for a long time

Speed Work

Short, fast intervals with recovery jogs between; increases your leg turnover and maximizes your stamina and race confidence

Split Times

Denotes the time it takes to run a portion of a total run (often measured at mile markers or other distinctive points along the way); for example, a runner may run a 7:00 mile split between miles 4 and 5 of a 10K (6.2-mile run)


The ability of a shoe to resist excessive motion; usually used to describe shoes designed for neutral runners or mild over-pronators


Your ability to combine speed and endurance

Strength Training

Movements against resistance to develop muscular strength; usually weight training/lifting weights


Movements designed to increase a muscle's flexibility; best method is still being debated but it appears that consistently stretching is the key to increasing flexibility


Short, fast but controlled runs lasting 15-45 seconds followed by full recovery; benefits include faster leg turnover and improvements in running form


See "Underpronation"


A high-performance nylon fabric common in performance athletic wear and notable for its sturdy, cotton-like feel, moisture wicking abilities and quick dry time; brand name of DuPont®


Reducing your mileage several days to three weeks before an important race to ensure peak performance on race day

Tempo Runs

Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold; usually consists of 15-30 minutes of running at the lactate threshold speed

Toe box 

The front portion of a shoe. Also known as the forefoot

Underpronation or supination

The lack of sufficient inward motion of the foot; highly cushioned, flexible shoes are recommended to absorb shock and allow the foot to pronate naturally

Underwater weighing

Process of determining body composition where a person's weight, while submerged in water, is used to calculate percent body composition; considered the best method for calculating percent body fat


The top portion of the shoe, usually made of leather, synthetic leather or mesh material

USA Track & Field 

National governing body for running in the US


United States Olympic Committee; US organization that governs the Olympic Games


Essential nutrient of body; must be ingested in the correct amounts in the body; aid in the processes which use the other nutrients; may be obtained through diet or supplementation; over consumption can be toxic


Also called maximal aerobic capacity; maximum amount of oxygen that can be utilized by the body; higher V02max generally equals better performance; can be improved with training but has a genetic limit

The Wall or Hitting the Wall

A state of exhaustion when your body runs out of glycogen or energy; usually around the 20 mile point in a marathon (also "Bonk")


Slow, easy running before a workout or race that raises your heart rate and prepares you for more intense activity


Essential nutrient of body; runners should drink enough throughout the day to maintain clear urine and enough after a run to return to their pre-run body weights


The ability of a fiber to move moisture from your skin to the surface of the fabric so that it can evaporate and keep you more comfortable

World Championships

Running and track and field championships held once every 2 years; almost as prestigious as the Olympics


Watching a Cross Country Race

 Support your son or daughter and team by coming to as many races as you can and don't forget to show your school spirit by wearing the school colors.  Each race site will have different vantage points for viewing the race.  Ask a veteran parent about the course and the best places to watch the race.


There are a few important rules that spectators must follow.  First, other than in an emergency, DO NOT TOUCH ANY RUNNER.  It could disqualify them and possibly the team.  Second, WATCH THE COURSE.  As you move from place to place you will have to cross over the course.  LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THE RUNNERS' PATH.  Often runners are strung out along the course and you can accidentally interfere with them as you move.


Types of Meets

There are generally two different categories of meets.  The first is a Dual or Tri (sometimes even Quad) meet.  These meets are races between Dover and one or more other High Schools from the York county area.    Home meets are at the Dover Intermediate School.  Meets usually start at the time listed on the attached schedule.


The second type of meet is called an Invitational.  These meets have 15 or more High School teams participating.  Invitationals often have separate Ninth-grade, Junior Varsity, and Varsity races and are usually held on Saturdays.


Scoring a Race

Seven runners make up a team.  At the Varsity level, times generally determine who the seven runners will be.  The make up of the Varsity team can change as runners improve their times.


The first five runners to cross the finish line contribute to the team score.  The points are determined by their place.  For example, 1st place = 1 point, 8th place = 8 points, etc…  The points are added up and the lowest score wins.  If there is a tie, the 6th runner's place is the tie breaker.  Even though the 6th and 7th place runners for a team are not added, they push up other teams' scores if they beat the 5th runner from one or more teams.


Weekday meets that involve two or more schools are scored one on one.  A team that has three finishers in front of the first runner from another team cannot lose mathematically (if five runners finish the race).  The perfect score is 15 - 50 which includes forfeits (less than five runners finishing a race).


    Team Traditions

      The team has developed a number of traditions over the years. Team dinners are scheduled throughout the season.  The team members organize these, usually one or two nights before meets.  All of the athletes are welcome.  The main purpose is to have a chance for them to get together socially away from practice and it really makes them a closer knit group.  They stay for as long as the hosts wish.  Some stay for a half-hour and some for over an hour.  Kids who come to only of few of these meals never seem to get the true feeling of being part of the team.  They learn more about their team mates, how to set priorities, and how to budget their time.


Other team bonding activities occur.  On meet days the team dress similarly so that other students recognize them as being on the team (Cross Country is seldom highly publicized.  We encourage the kids to get to know team members of all grade levels.


Post High School Running 

A lot of former team members continue to run after high school.  Some enjoy running on their own, others join running groups or clubs, and a number have competed on the college level.  Regardless, they run because they enjoy it and the benefits it brings to them.  Every year a number of graduates come back to run with the team during practices. 


Collegiate running varies a great deal.  Division I schools are very demanding while Division III schools are usually less stressful.  I have discovered that young people often find a college that they start following before getting to high school.  Some set a goal of going to a particular institution before really knowing about it.  I have also discovered that most athletes do not end up going to the college they “loved” when they were younger simply because it was not the right situation for them.  As a result, I encourage the kids to look around and be open-minded.  Administrative decisions and coaching changes can have a huge effect on a program from one year to the next.  A number of our Dover athletes have loved being in Division III programs.  Since there are no scholarships here, these are the true lovers of running.


The NCAA rules on recruiting are extremely complicated.  If you have concerns, or questions, about a college coach who is talking with your son or daughter, contact us and we will find out the proper procedures


Running is often a life-long activity but many former team members have told me that they learned much more.  They learn a lot about themselves including the ability to do much more than they ever thought they could.  Teamwork is a vital part of being on the team.




Why must I drink a lot of water?  Adequate fluid intake is an often-overlooked aspect in athletics.  Failure to maintain the proper level can hinder athletic performance and can be physically harmful.  Your body starts to become open to disruption at temperatures over 75° and a relative humidity over 50 percent.  As your level of exercise increases in very hot weather, your skin and the temperature of the air around you are about the same and the only way you can get rid of body heat is through the evaporation of sweat.  To equal out this loss, a plan for fluid replacement must take place.  You can delay dehydration by consuming extra fluids.  This will give your body a chance to perform at its best level. 


Why water?  Water is the means through which all living processes occur.  Water makes up about 60 percent of the average person’s body weight and about 72 percent of his/her muscle weight.  It must be replaced periodically.  As physical activity rises, so does the body’s need for water.  When the air temperature and humidity levels rise, the same is true.


What happens if I don’t consume enough?  As your loss of fluid goes up, there is a direct effect on how your body functions and on your athletic performance.  A high rate of evaporation cools the body, but it also reduces the amount of water and sodium in your body.  As a result, it reduces blood volume and how much blood the heart can pump.  With less blood circulating, your muscles will get less oxygen (the gas for your engine) and your heart (a muscle) will be profoundly affected. The good news is that you have a fairly effective cooling system as long as you replace lost fluids.  However, if you lose 2 – 3 % of your body water weight, it will adversely affect your performance, influence your body temperature, and impact your muscle cell concentration time (that’s why dehydrated athletes appear to perform in “slow motion”).  Further, if you lose 4 % of your body water weight, your body’s ability to remove heat is disabled.  If this continues without fluid replacement, the body temperature will continue to go up, leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death.

How much is enough?  Your level of fitness, body size, and diet are determining factors.  The harder you work, the harder it is to balance your need for fluids.  You lose water through your skin, breath, urine, and feces.  Water needs to be replaced constantly through fluids and food.  The easiest way to determine if you are getting enough water is to check the color of your urine.  The lighter the color the better.  The saying “Sprite is great but the Dew is not” is a good reference.  If you take vitamin supplements, be aware that they often turn your urine bright yellow within several hours of you taking them.


Yuck, is there another way to know?  You can weigh yourself before and after physical activity and replace the difference with 16 – 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.  At least one study has revealed that this may not be enough to properly hydrate your body. New studies indicate that athletes on high protein diets need much larger amounts of fluids. 


Why can’t I drink when I get thirsty?  By the time you get thirsty, it’s too late.  That’s why you need to drink water throughout the day in small quantities.  Gulping large volumes at a time are not as effective.


Why water, how about other liquids?  The ideal fluid replacement is cool water.  Studies indicate that some commercially produced drinks have a role in rehydration.  When physical activities last more than 2 hours or when two-a-day workouts become a factor, sports drinks, along with water may be considered an improved means of rehydration.  If you consume sports drinks, look for one that is low in sodium with about 6 – 8 % carbohydrates (14 – 20 gm /8 oz.).  Avoid any drinks that exceed the above and that contain caffeine, as they are counterproductive.  Labels can be very deceiving.  Check the number of servings per container (a small container may be 2 servings).



         S Drink small amounts of water frequently

         S Drink cool water upon awakening

         S Drink cold water when you’re hot – it leaves the stomach faster

         S Prehydration is very important

         S Be aware of the heat and humidity 


Sports Drinks Best for Active Kids


But Not All Sports Drinks Contain Sufficient Ingredients


Active kids need good hydration to prevent heat stroke -- it's just that simple. In fact, kids who play sports are likely to sweat a lot and need electrolytes found in the tried-and-true sports drinks. Fruit drinks or soft drinks won't prevent dehydration or heat-related illnesses.


That's the word from the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS), which has set out a few guidelines to help parents and coaches know the best fluids that active kids should drink.


"As a sports nutritionist and mother of active kids, I know there's a lot of misinformation out there and I get all kinds of questions from parents about what drinks are best for kids when playing sports," says Jackie Berning, PhD, RD, a sports nutrition consultant for NAYS, in a news release.


"Parents need to know that all beverages are not created equal when it comes to hydrating kids on the playing field. The best beverages taste good when your child is active and encourage drinking," she says.


The Hydration Report Card outlines the ideal formulation for beverages for active kids. Based on these criteria, beverages for active kids fall into three categories:


1.                  Makes the grade -- Sports drinks qualify because research shows their light flavor and sodium encourage kids to drink up to 90% more than plain water to stay better hydrated.

2.                  OK (if it's the only drink available) -- Water falls in this category because it's a good thirst quencher, but research shows kids find it challenging to drink enough. And water doesn't replace the electrolytes kids lose through sweat.

3.                  Falls short -- Fruit juices, fruit drinks, and soft drinks don't have the right amount of electrolytes and contain too much sugar -- which can upset the stomach and slow a child down.


Also, products that just add "sport" to their name -- or show a sports scene on their label - - are not real sports drinks. Don't be fooled just because the words 'energy' or 'electrolytes' appear on the package. It doesn't mean the beverage is truly supplying the right amounts or types of these ingredients.


The recommended beverage contents, according to the NAYS, for active kids during sports and activities should contain at least 100 mg of sodium and at least 28 mg of potassium per 8 ounces and should be non-carbonated.


Some beverages are fine for mealtime, Berning points out. However, what's good with meals often falls short when kids are active.


Preventing and Treating Common Running Injuries

"Don't run and you'll heal," are the words that every diehard runner dreads hearing.


"Runners don't want to stop running, and the good news is that you can run through most pain without causing permanent damage," says Lewis G. Maharam, MD, medical director of the New York Road Runners Club, the New York City Marathon, NYC Triathlon, the Suzuki Rock 'n' Roll Marathon -- among others. "But," he cautions, "if pain changes your running style, stop and see a sports doctor."


Most common running injuries are due to overuse, over training, or a biomechanical flaw in body structure and motion.


Here's how to prevent and treat the most common running injuries:


1. Runner's knee

Runner's knee is a wearing away of the back of the kneecap, causing pain in the knee. This can occur because of decreased strength of middle quadriceps muscles, or shoes that do not give proper support when you come off of your forefoot on the inside. What to do? Maharam says the condition is typically treated with a full-length sports orthotic and strengthening exercises directed at the middle quad muscle. Talk to a sports medicine doctor about getting into physical therapy and learning about the best stretches to heal runner's knee.


2. Stress fractures

Stress fractures can be caused by over training, a shortage of calcium, or by some basic biomechanical flaw -- either in your running style in or your body structure, says sports podiatrist Stephen Pribut, DPM, clinical assistant professor of surgery at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Common stress fractures in runners occur in the tibia (the inner and larger bone of the leg below the knee), the femur (thigh bone) and in the sacrum (triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the metatarsal (toe) bones in the foot.


"The more the miles, the greater the stress," says Maharam. And this is one injury you should not ignore. "Stress fractures are like a hardboiled egg," he explains. "The shell is cracked and next stop is a full-fledged fracture." See a doctor who specializes in treating running injuries, Maharam advises. "We only tell runners to stop when they have a fracture or a stress fracture and then we put them in a pool for water-running because stopping exercise is unacceptable to (most) runners."


3. Iliotibial band syndrome, a.k.a. ITBS

Marked by a sharp, burning knee or hip pain, ITBS is a very common running injury among marathoners. Indeed, it's responsible for as many as 80% of all overuse pains on marathon day. The ITB is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh -- from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. It stabilizes the knee and hip during running, but when it thickens and rubs over the bone, the area can become inflamed or the band itself may become irritated -- causing pain. "ITBS may be caused by running on a banked surface that causes the downhill leg to bend slightly inward and stretches the band, inadequate warm-up or cool-down, running excessive distances, increasing mileage too quickly or certain physical abnormalities," says Pribit.


The best stretch? Place the injured leg behind the good one. If the left side is sore, cross your left leg behind your right one. Then lean away from the injured side toward your right side. There should be a table or chair that you can hold onto for balance. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds and repeat on each side 7 to 10 times, prescribes Pribut. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (some brand names are Motrin and Aleve) can help get the swelling down, he says.


4. Shin splints

The most common type of shin splints happens on the inside of legs. These medial shin splints are a running injury that results from a biomechanical flaw in your foot (which can be made worse by a shoe that doesn't offer enough support) and/or over training.


"Your best bet is to switch to a motion control or thicker shoe and a make sure to stretch out your calf muscles" before and after running, says Michael Fredericson, MD, doctor for the Stanford Cross Country and Track Team and an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Do this by standing with your rear foot approximately two to three feet away from the wall. Your rear leg should be straight, the front leg bent and your hands touching the wall. Your feet should point ahead with heels on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on each leg. Now do the same thing with your rear leg (that was straight) slightly bent at the knee. You should feel this stretch lower down.


5. Plantar fasciitis

Also known as pain in the middle of arch of the foot, plantar fasciitis is a running injury most frequently caused by an abnormal motion of the foot or too-tight calf muscles. Normally, while walking or during long-distance running, your foot will strike the ground on the heel, and then roll forward toward your toes and inward to the arch, Maharam explains. "Your arch should only dip slightly during this motion but if it lowers too much, you have what is known as excessive pronation." What to do? "It is usually corrected with an orthotic and calf stretches" before and after running, Maharam says.


6. Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a running injury that typically occurs from abnormal foot stroke in push-off and too-tight calf muscles. "If you are pronating to the side and pulling at an improper angle, it becomes stressed and inflamed. That's why getting an orthotic to correct the biomechanics of your foot stroke at push-off is key," Maharam says. Also, he suggests doing the same stretch recommended for shin splints.


7. Muscle pulls

Whether hamstring, quads, or any other muscle, pulls come from not being flexible and/or overexerting specific muscles. "Basically, pulls occur because you haven't stretched or because you are trying to beat your 18-year-old son in a sprint and you are 45," Maharam says. Pulls are basically small muscle tears, and the best way to treat a pull is to do more stretching before and after a run. To prevent hamstring pulls, place one leg on a chair and get your knee straight and bend over. Hold for 15-20 seconds. For an acute injury, ice and anti-inflammatory medication is helpful.


8. Ankle sprains

Ankle sprains occur because runners don't always watch where they are going. "They can step off curb or into pothole," Maharam says. "Pay attention to where you are running or run on a really good, level track where there is less chance of finding a gopher hole." When and if an injury does occur, ibuprofen and ice can help reduce swelling and pain.


9. Dizziness and nausea

"Most runner's drink too much, not too little" water, Maharam says. This can cause over hydration -- also known as diluting -- which lowers sodium levels in the body and stresses the kidneys. Common symptoms of diluting are nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. To avoid these problems, Maharam suggests: "Drink about one-cup (8 oz.) of fluid every 20 minutes while running. This way you will avoid becoming diluted."


10. Blisters

One of the most common sports injuries, blisters on the feet are usually caused by friction combined with excessive moisture. Avoid them by choosing synthetic socks -- such as those by Nike Dryfit -- that wick away moisture," Maharam says.


Remember, Pribut says, that "about 90% of running injuries are due to over training, so a very slow buildup is important, and so are rest days." You'll save yourself pain and reach your goals, Pribut says, if you "avoid the 'terrible toos' -- training too much too soon, too often, and too fast."



Run Away from Injuries         by: Jeff Galloway

Many runners believe that running injuries are like death and taxes: inevitable. But they're not. I'm proud to say I haven't had an overuse injury in more than 23 years. Am I genetically gifted? Hardly. I've just learned a bunch of training techniques that help me avoid what I call the "injury zone." The injury zone is a set of four running conditions that can lead to injuries. Once you know what these four conditions are, it's easy to adjust your training to steer clear of them and run injury-free.


1. Weak Links

Most of us have certain joints, tendons, or muscles that are more injury-prone than others. As runners, we have to be protective of these spots in order to stay injury-free. So be particularly sensitive to any irritation in your weak areas, and back off on your running whenever you suspect an injury. Remember: An extra day or 2 off from running won't put a dent in your fitness level, but can make a world of difference if you're on the verge of an injury.


2. Faulty Running Form

When running at an easy pace, most runners settle into the running form that works best biomechanically for them. But when you push yourself to run longer or faster than your current fitness level, running form often breaks down, which can lead to injury.

For example, at the end of a hard race or long run, many runners begin to overstride to compensate for tired and tight muscles. This can irritate the hamstrings, glutes, and piriformis muscles (located underneath the glutes). To guard against form breakdown, do periodic "form checks" while running and racing, and make adjustments when necessary. Sometimes just backing off the pace will restore your natural running gait.


3. Mileage Mania

The human body is designed to improve its efficiency and capability through repeated bouts of stress and rest. But even reasonable mileage increases of no more than 10 percent per week can increase your risk of injury if they are continual. Periodically, you need to let your body adjust to its new workload for an extended period of 2 to 3 weeks before the next incremental increase. During this period of maintenance, scheduled days off are key.


4. Overstretching

Stretching is a fine preventive measure when performed correctly. But overstretching a fatigued muscle can actually lead to injury. So when you suspect an injury coming on, swap your stretches for a deep-tissue massage.

Many times joint pain is caused by a knot in a muscle above or below the affected joint, which then pulls on a tendon and causes pain where it attaches to the joint. Deep-tissue massage can reduce the tension in the muscle, and over time lessen the joint pain.


Take Action

Injuries are easiest to treat right at the outset. Here's what you need to do if you suspect an injury:


1.                  Take 1 to 3 days off from running.

2.                  For inflammation, and most injuries involve this, ice the area for 15 minutes at a time. Continue icing the area for a full week even if the swelling and pain go away.

3.                  For muscle pain and inflammation, ask your doctor if you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

4.                  Once you're recovered from an injury, keep running at reduced mileage for another 2 to 3 weeks.

For more running info, see Jeff's book, Galloway's Book on Running, second edition, or visit his Web site at


Cruise Control

You have a lot of control over your injury destiny. Here are four training strategies to help you assert that control and keep you running injury-free:


1.                  Run every other day.

2.                  Start each run significantly slower than your regular training pace.

3.                  Don't let faster, fitter running partners coax you into running beyond your speed limit or endurance level.

4.                  Add regular walk breaks to your long runs. Walk breaks reduce the intensity of runs and lessen muscle fatigue during a workout, which lowers your risk of injury.


Running Nutrition - Fuel Your Body for Running!

Eat right and you'll run better. It's that simple. Your body functions best, and you run better, when your diet includes the right kinds of foods in the right amounts at the right times. The following information will enable you to put together your ideal diet, one that will help you achieve your ideal body weight, and get the most out of your running. You'll learn the basics of good sports nutrition. Finally, you'll learn how to hydrate and fuel your body before, during and after your workouts. We'll start with information about the right kinds of foods. Ready? Here goes!


There are four substances that the body requires in large quantities in order to function properly. These four substances are: Carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water. These are called the primary nutrients.



Why are carbohydrates so important? Here's the easy one-word answer: Energy! Carbs, as they're affectionately called, provide a steady stream of energy. So why not just pig out on carbs? Bad idea. The body can store energy from carbs, but only in small amounts (think of a storage unit versus a warehouse). These small amounts are used up quickly during exercise. After a quick jolt, you're running on empty. And you can't overload that storage unit either becasue the body punishes you by turning the excess carbs to fat! The trick is to store energy by eating carbs on a continuous basis. Experienced runners eat the right carbs in the right amounts at the right times! Carbohydrates are also known as sugars. Experts recommend that your diet consist of 50 to 70% carbohydrates. The standard unit for the energy your body uses is the calorie. Each gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories. Got all that? Be ready for a pop quiz at any time! Now, to continue-carbohydrates are either simple or complex.


Simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are the most basic form of sugar. Examples of foods containing simple carbohydrates are candy, fruit and sodas. These foods can provide a quick "shot" of energy-but it's only temporary. For this reason, you should keep those simple carbohydrate snacks, like grandma's homemade fudge, to a minimum. But feel free to enjoy a treat now and then, especially after a good run.


Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates provide energy on a more consistent, long-term basis. That's why experts recommend that the majority of the calories you get from carbohydrates be in the form of complex carbohydrates. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates include cereals, pasta, breads, rice, and potatoes and vegetables. It's important that you maintain a diet high in complex carbohydrates to support your running program.


The "little things" that make a BIG difference

Performing up to your full potential is often a matter of balancing a lot of little things. For runners, the little things include meeting your nutritional needs, working on your strength and flexibility, as well as controlling stress and maintaining mental health. Successful runners set challenging but realistic goals, plan carefully, train patiently, eat and sleep well and cultivate a positive mental outlook. Attending to the little things not only creates athletes, it's a key characteristic of those who achieve excellence, variety and balance in their chosen vocations, relationships and inner lives. Each of us can improve upon a few of the little things that make a big difference.



Fats, in general, get a bum rap. There's a lot of confusion about how much fat is healthy in your diet and the type of fat you should be eating. So here's the scoop-your body needs fat. The problem is that fat is strongly linked to heart disease and other medical problems. More scoop-not all fats are created equal. They're all okay in limited amounts, but some are more okay than others. Fats are classified as (1) saturated, (2) poly-unsaturated and (3) mono-unsaturated.


Saturated fats

Saturated fats are easy to spot because they remain solid at room temperature. Common examples include lard, butter and cheese. These fats are required by the body in small amounts and should be a small part of your overall fat intake.


Poly-unsaturated fat

These fats stay semi-solid at room temperature. Many margarine and butter alternatives are made with poly-unsaturated fats.


Mono-unsaturated fat

Mono-unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Examples include olive oil and most other natural oils. Some foods containing mono-unsaturated fats have been "hydrogenated." Don't ask what that means but it's not good. Just avoid them! Recent studies have shown that diets with a higher proportion of mono-unsaturates seem to reduce risk of heart disease. As a result, you should obtain 20 to 30% of your daily calories from fats-with more from mono-unsaturated than from the other two. All excess fat in your diet is stored in your body as..? You guessed it - fat!


What does "low-fat" mean?

Low-fat foods are foods in which 30% or fewer of the calories in a serving are from fat. Yeah, that's a head-scratcher, huh? To figure it out, read the nutrition label on the package. First, find the total number of calories in a serving. Second, find total number of calories from fat. If the second number is 30% of the first (or less) you've got low-fat! That doesn't mean you can go on a low-fat binge! You lose weight by eating fewer calories than you burn. Fats contain humongous amounts of calories-9 per gram! When you eat less fat, you reduce a risk factor for disease, but it's no guarantee you'll lose weight. The key is to look at your diet as a whole, and find out where those calories are coming from. And don't forget that the amount of exercise you get is just as important as what you eat.



As you exercise and eat right, you'll feel your body getting stronger. Why? Because of the protein you eat. Protein builds strength in your muscles and tendons, and helps them stay healthy. It also provides energy-4 calories per gram. Meats, eggs, beans and nuts are common examples of foods that contain significant amounts of protein. Experts agree that runners need 10 to 20% of their daily calories from protein. However, most people eat two to three times their protein requirement each day! So many burgers, so little time!



Like the surface of planet earth, your body is mostly water-between 60 and 70%. Although water does not provide any energy (or calories), your body requires large amounts of H2O in order to function properly. Water regulates the core temperature of your body. As you run, your working muscles produce large amounts of heat that must be dissipated to prevent the core temperature from rising dangerously. To dissipate this heat, your body perspires, and loses large amounts of water. As a runner, you should consistently hydrate yourself during both warm and cold weather, so that you never become thirsty. By the time your thirst mechanism is activated, your body is already suffE.g from dehydration-hurting your running and putting you at risk. You know you're drinking enough water if you urinate about once an hour and your urine is clear. So-gurgle gurgle-drink lots of water, okay?



Basic "on the run" nutrition and hydration guidelines



Consume 25-50g carbs 1-2 hours before exercise. Try an energy bar, bowl of cereal, bagel, fruit...your usual diet. Drink 8-16 oz. of water or combine with the above in a carbohydrate drink.


During run:

Consume 25g carbs for every 45 minutes of exercise. Go for a gel pack. They typically contain 25-30 grams and are easy to digest. Drink 4-8 oz. water or diluted sports drink for every 15 minutes of exercise.



Consume 25-50g carbs immediately after exercise. This can be a combination of food and drink. Of course, you will need to re-hydrate with water while eating an energy bar, bagel, or some form of carbohydrate. Or, you can drink 25-50 grams of carbohydrates in a sports drink if you have a hard time eating right after a workout. Begin drinking 16 oz. of water for every pound lost during exercise. Continue to drink water throughout the day. Consume another 25-50g carbs 30 minutes after exercise. Consume 50-100g carbs and 20-40g protein 1 hour after exercise. This is a good time to eat a well balanced, sit-down meal. Soup and a sandwich, salads, whatever suits your tastes. Chicken and tuna are great sources of protein. Consume 50-100g carbs per hour and 20-40g protein every 2 hours. Continue to do this for 6 hours after your run. You will find that by following this routine, especially on your long run days, you'll feel refreshed rather than exhausted after your workout.


A note on sports drinks

For exercise lasting more than one hour, try GU20, Powerade or similar sports drinks. When consuming a sports drink during exercise, water it down to half dilution for easier absorption. Higher concentrations of sports drinks are good for after the exercise session when the body is most receptive to absorbing and storing carbohydrates.


K.I.S.S. Nutrition

One of the most overlooked aspects of being a good runner is nutrition.  Everyone knows that you should eat a balanced diet but in today’s world, it is not so easy to achieve this goal. 


Whole grain and high fiber foods are often lacking in many runners’ diets.  Both are very important in keeping your “engine” going strong over an extended time. These foods keep your blood glucose (sugar) at a steady rate, which means that it will be there when you need it.


Many female runners do not consume enough calcium.  Yogurt is a great source of calcium.  Milk is another good source but research seems to indicate that anything less than 2% (like skim) has lost too much of the “good stuff” that we all need. 


Skipping meals (particularly breakfast) is not a good thing to do.  If you skip a meal, your body has to struggle to get the needed energy to perform.  When this happens, you lose most of your efficiency.


Dispelling Some Myths about Food

 Myth  - Starchy foods like bread and pasta are fattening.

Fact    - Most starchy foods are rich in carbohydrate.  This is the main source of energy for the muscles during strenuous exercise.


Myth  - Starches are best for optimum athletic performance.

Fact    - In many instances starchy foods (e.g., potatoes) are too bulky to eat in the quantities needed for active athletes.  Sugars can help increase carbohydrate intake.


Myth  - Diets high in sugar are less nutritious.

Fact    - Studies have shown that diets high in sugar (from a range of sources, including dairy food and fruit) often have higher levels of micronutrients, including calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin C, than low-sugar diets.


Myth  - All fats are bad for you.

Fact    - Not all fats are the same; some are good and some are bad.  Most people know that you should try to limit the amount of saturated fat that you consume.  Reading nutritional labels helps but at the present the worst fat is not labeled.  Trans fatty acids are bad news but you have to look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list to find the source of trans fats.


Stride Rate / Running Cadence

Elite runners tend to stride at about the same rate, almost always 180 or more steps per minute.  This means that they are taking 90 or more steps with each foot each minute, a rate that doesn’t vary much even when not running fast.  The main change that is made as a runner goes faster is in stride length; the faster they go the longer the stride becomes, with little change in rate of leg turnover.


Very few younger runners take as many as 180 steps per minute.  Some turn over as slowly as 160 times per minute.  The main problem associated with a slower turnover is that the slower you take steps, the longer the time you spend in the air, and the more time you are in the air, the higher you displace your body mass and the harder you hit the ground on landing.  When you consider that many running injuries are the result of landing shock, it is not surprising that experienced runners tend to turn over faster than do individuals who are new to the sport.  If a group of beginners were required to start running 100 miles a week, right at the start of their running careers, probably one of two things would happen: there would be a substantial number of injuries, and those who didn’t get hurt would learn to take quicker, lighter steps.


If you count the steps of a good runner during various stages of a race, chances are he or she will not lose the cadence he or she began with.  We often talk about getting into a good running rhythm, and the one you want to get into is one that involves 180 or more steps per minute.


If you count your own stride rate and it is considerably slower than what is suggested, try to work on a shorter, lighter stride.  Imagine that you are running over a field of raw eggs, and you don’t want to break any of them – run over the ground, not into it.  Try to get the feeling that your legs are part of a wheel that just rolls along, not two pogo sticks that bounce along.


If you want to practice improving your stride rate, concentrate on it during easy runs.  Rate usually goes up for slower-turnover people when they race shorter distances, so often you don’t need to think about it during faster quality training.  When practicing turning over faster on easy training runs, don’t let the fact that you are taking quicker steps force you to run faster.  Try to run at your normal training speed, but do it with a shorter, quicker stride rate.  With some practice, you will soon find it becomes quite natural, and probably more comfortable.   



Breathing Rhythms 

Most elite distance runners breathe with what is referred to as a 2 – 2 rhythm   -- taking 2 steps (1 with the right foot, 1 with the left foot) while breathing in, and 2 steps while breathing out.  This gives the runner about 45 breaths per minute (remember that most good runners take about 180 steps per minute, 90 with each foot), because with 4 steps for each respiratory cycle (2 steps breathing in, 2 breathing out), 180 divided by 4 equals 45. This is an ideal rate because it gives the runner adequate time for a substantial amount of air to be moved in and out of the lungs with each breathe.


In the latter stages of a 5K race, 45 breaths per minute may not be enough.  In this case, due to the desire to maintain some regular rhythm of breathing, the tendency is to shift to about 60 breaths per minute, which means either taking 1 step while breathing in and 2 awhile breathing out, or 2 in and 1 out.  These would be referred to as 1 – 2 or 2 – 1 rhythms.  The latter seems to be preferred by most good runners.


When not breathing particularly hard, slower breathing rhythms are sometimes used.  An example is a 3 – 3 rhythm, which is often used during easy runs, but becomes stressful at tempo pace or faster.  A 1 – 1 rhythm leads to very shallow breathing and is not an efficient way to ventilate the lungs (not recommended).


Breathing rate can be used to monitor intensity of effort while running.  You should be comfortable with a 3 – 3 pattern on an easy run, and maybe even a 4 – 4 pattern, if so desired.  However, if 3 – 3 does not provided you with enough air on an easy run, then it’s not an easy run.  Slow down to where 3 – 3 is comfortable.  You may prefer 2 – 2 on an easy run, but be able to go 3 – 3 if necessary. If for no other reason than to prove it is an easy run.  On the other hand, 3 – 3 is not fast enough to meet the demands of a distance race; the recommended rhythm is 2 – 2.


Knowledge of breathing rhythms can assist you in races; by helping you determine how fast to run up hills, for example.  If you are trying to maintain a constant intensity while going up and down hills, focus on adjusting speed so that the 2 – 2 rhythm feels equally demanding (or comfortable) during all terrain changes.  Naturally, this means slowing down on the rough terrain (or up hills) and being able to speed up going down hills.


Another situation when knowledge of breathing rhythm can be useful is when you get a side stitch.  Usually stitches are aggravated by a fast, shallow breathing rate; a slower, deeper pattern can aid or eliminate a side stitch.  Next time you get one of these sharp pains in the side or gut, try going to a 3 – 3 breathing rhythm and see if it helps.


About the only time a 1 – 1 rhythm may not be detrimental is during the final minute or so of a race.  Keeping a 1 – 1 pattern for longer than a couple of minutes is usually counterproductive.  In general, you will use a 2 – 2 rhythm in most races, possibly switching to 2 – 1 the last third of the race.


During all types of training, the same principles apply.  A 2 – 2 breathing rhythm is preferred for most quality training.  Even though a 3 – 3 can be used on easy runs, I suggest using 2 – 2, just to be consistent.  Further, 2 – 1 may be called upon during the latter stages of an interval session in which workouts (the repeated runs that make up a session of intervals) last several minutes each.  It should not be necessary to rely on a 2 – 1 rhythm during tempo pace and race pace work; in fact the ability to avoid this faster pattern can be used to keep you from going too fast at times, particularly on a tempo run.


Uniform Care

Always wash the top (singlet) separate from the shorts.  Please use a mild detergent.  The top will dry quickly by just hanging it up.  The shorts and the top will probably shrink if placed in a dryer.  The uniform must be returned at the end of the season. 


Foot Care

Shoes – Having the proper footwear is extremely important.  Most aches and pains are related to improper shoes.  This guide has already covered where to get good shoes so it will not be dealt again.  Once you get the proper shoes, how you treat them can make a big difference in how they last.  The best way to get them clean is to throw them in the washing machine.  Be careful, hot water and detergent can cause damage.  Throwing them into a clothes dryer is also a bad idea as they may shrink or come apart.  They will dry fairly quickly if you put them in front of an air vent or refrigerator.  Another trick is to ball up toilet paper and push it in your shoes overnight.  An important note is to please be aware that you cannot judge the condition of your shoes by looking at the outside.  The outside materials often still look good after the inner materials have lost their resiliency.


Socks – Most people take socks for granted.  They are not what the used to be.  Cotton socks often absorb water, bunch up, and cause blisters.  New materials like Cool Max™ are a great help.  There are also multi-layered socks designed just for blister prevention.  You should always wear clean socks on each run.  Just like shoes, socks wear out with usage.  


Blisters – If you get blisters, despite doing the above, you must take care of them or possibly face the problem of blood poisoning.  We send people to the trainer to take care of them as soon as possible.  When not running, getting air to the blister is very important.  If the blister pops, the loose skin must be trimmed neatly.  While running, it needs to be protected.  Fresh aloe (from the plant) can be a great help.


Running Rules

·                    Run on side of road facing traffic as often as practical (stay on side)

·                    Watch for turning vehicles at all intersections (MANY DO NOT STOP!)

·                    Only run with 2 abreast (no more!) where is room for more than 1

·                    Use your eyes and ears                      

·                    You must be alert! 


Highly Recommended Sport Bag Contents

          ·        Uniform: singlet (tank top) and shorts

·        Warm up suit or sweats (a cheap rain poncho is a great addition)

·        T-shirt - long sleeve an option

·        Under garments

·        Socks - at least 2 pair

·        Running shoes and/or racing flats - take an extra pair if you have one

·        Towel

·        Safety pins

·        Toilet paper

·        Band aids for after the race

·        Foot powder - a great way to prevent blisters

·        Tums - an aid for "butterflies" before a race

·        Extra feminine hygiene products

·        Snacks - things that will not spoil or get stale quickly

·        Add lightweight gloves, a hat, and running tights for later in the season

·        Plastic trash bags (3) - Use one to line the inside of the sport bag.  Keep another handy for wet and muddy clothes and shoes.  The third is a catchall to throw books and backpacks in if it is wet.