xc/distance lifting question

if i were to do hills and weights (legs), should i do both on same day or on different days? should i even be doing both to begin with?

depends on what you are training for??
hills and legs weights on same day i would, same as if doing speed and weights on same day.

For XC this is a different question…I know people who do both (depending on the time of year). I would look into Vigil’s stuff if you want a good explanation on this.

where can i find “Vigil’s stuff?”

He wrote a book about training for 800-10k. He coached at Adams state. I can’t remember the title (nor find it on amazon). I will ask my former XC coach (who ran for him) and get back to you. I have a sneaky suspicion that the book was self-published…

try the book written from Sebastion Coe 's coach, Better training for Distance Runners.
its a massive book and you will learn heaps.

Coe’s book is awesome as well, especially for middle distance.

what books are you reffering guys??? Martin&Coe, Daniels, Noakes? Enough?
Anyone heard of Marshal Burt’s methods?
Berto, take a look at www.powerrunning.com It is wonderfull, critical, openminded site! Great beggining!

So what are YOUR philosophies regarding the XC distance programs and weight training? Ive done some work with these athletes. Also would you differ the program, and introduce any kind of plyo or olympic work? How about the steeplechase athletes. Thanks


“Better Training For Distance Runners”
thats the name of the book.
Marshal burt = never heard off.

More of a circuit style in the gym. like even supersets, ie, chest and back = one set. ie, bench no rest chins = 1 set, rest 30sec do again. 800m runners could do with plyro’s and perhaps xc runners if there are hills involved.
Without the added strenth weights gives distance runners, the less of a finnishing burst is produced. which means a potential medal v’s finnishing 8th in a close race.
YOur not looking to make them huge, just stronger and and more durable.

boldwarrior, you seem to know abit about distance and weights, what do you know about plyros? i have wandered if I should do plyros on speed days or do them instead of a speed session. what do ya reckon?

as part of your x-country program?
xc programs speed work generally aint that fast and taxing on the CNS as pure speed work is.
You probably only need to do say 300’s or 400’s work at speed, so plyro’s done before them would suit fine. I would do a warm up, active exerciese and drills, and light stretching.
then do some plyro’s then do your 400 speed work.
Tis what i would do.

I would like to point-out in advance, that i haven’t trained too many athletes. Most of these opinions come from my conversations with other coaches and distance athletes (and being a distance athlete in the past). So take this with a grain/cup/ton of salt:

It depends on the distance. XC (5k,10k) runners and middle distance (800-3k) are different beasts (as you know). I am not in favor of OLY lifts for the most part. (400/800 guys might be an exception). Personally, i have yet to see a distance runner do a good clean (especially the 5k+ types) so it appears to me that a more basic approach is needed: Mostly squats and lunges for various high-ish rep ranges (depending on the part of the season). Plyos though are another matter, i like to use the low intensity variations. I don’t think that max strength/power is really important for these guys. For upperbody, i would stick with bodyweight movements (pullups, body rows etc.) as i have known too many “ego bench monster” :slight_smile: distance runners. Of course there should be some ab work…(mostly concentrating on “lower-ab” exercises). Outside of the above, the priority in the weightroom is to fix posture problems and to avoid injury. (not necessarily to improve strength).

As far as organization is concerned a number of total-body sessions is best (2-3 depending on athletic factors…).

As far as distance “programs” i like Vigil’s approach (as i have mentionned above) and Coe’s approach.

For the last speed burst and sprint at the end of each long distance race, you do have to have turnover. where does it come from, usually force prodcution by the fast twitch muscles right? most likely. I beleive that using plyometrics in low volume, and increasing them as the athlete gets comfortable with them, noting changes in fatigue and adjusting if needed. I think this should be played out over a longer period of time (several years) eventually using these plyometric exercises in supplementation to the workout. I beleive that it will help the activate and utilized neural pathways for these fast twitch muscles, and in turn lead to increased force production. What do you think? Does this make sense?


the best thing by far a distance runner (xc) can do, is once per wk of fast 300’s or 400’s done max speed. xc’s range from 4k to 12k. eg, a 5k done in 15min requires a 400m pace of 72sec. So max speed 400m work of say 55sec is possably all he needs to be able to do. Get him used to the lactic acid of high speeds. It will be more than any plyro will ever do. Untill he and yourself are at a stage where winning or medaling at Nationals are a possability, plyros will account for a small % of work and may not even be required.
Wereas ciccuit sessions involving bodyweight exercies would be much more benificial. Perhaps you could add plyros during this time, during the circuit sessions, i would.

I am in complete agreement about the speed work, plyos and bodyweight circuits. One thing, i think the 300s-400s must be done over varied terrain. (Not necessarily hills and broken ground, but at least grass and dirt). This isn’t so important for track, but especially for XC. There are a lot of people who are fast on the track, but slow on the course.

true true, seems a lot of xc courses are done around here on like golf courses or parks and stuff.
Would make it a bit more varied doing out in a park v’s round n round a track.