cross country tips

help... ?

Tell me that every runner goes through it. A stage where you are so terrified of racing when everyone else is fine? Living with a fear that you will never be what you dream to be. That no matter how hard you try, or how much you push in practice the improvement will never show. Is it true that you’re born runners? What if I wasn’t? What if I’m living in this false dream, trying to become something I was never supposed to be? Am I really the outcast of the only group I’ve ever fit into?

Tell me the truth I can bear it. 

anonymous asked:

I just bonked on my run today. I started cramping right away and just and felt so terrible. What do I do?? Xc season starts Monday

Soso many things can cause you to bonk on your run. I freakin DIEDDD on my LR today because it was real feel 100° with absolutely no shade. I sweat a solid 10lbs so it’s easy for me to see why I was literally at deaths door. Thank god for our trainer who drove around giving us water/Gatorade mid-run.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out why you bonked today: What time of day/weather did you run in? Were you adequately hydrated? Did you rehydrate mid run, if it was especially hot? Did you adequately fuel yourself for this run, and this week in general (all carbs are your bff). Have you slept enough throughout the week? If you usually run with company, were you alone today? Do you usually run as far or as fast as you were today (or as you started, if the bonk was later in the run)? Mentally how did you feel about this run, going into it (ex: were you dreading it, excited, etc.)? How much mileage/hard training have you done recently? Have you increased mileage recently (and could you be especially fatigued from that)? When was your last “down” week (I take one every 4th week of running)? When was your last off day (i can run 90mi a week and still have a day off, so anyone can. I think no days off is stupid but at the LEAST you need one day off in every 2 week period)?
I could go on forever and get extra bit picky, but those are the main things that come to mind. Training, post run recovery (especially food), and weather/environment.

And about XC, I am a big believer that the summer is when 75% of the season is determined. One run, not so much. It’s about the mileage, consistency, and quality of workouts you’ve been able to do in summer base phase.


Since I get asked this a lot, I figured why not make this wonderful convinient one-stop shop for all my wonderful and supportive followers? :D This page will be periodically updated.

First of all, everyone is different. I want to stress the importance of sticking what works for you. This is what worked for me, and I hope you find what works for you. :) You can also find everything I did every day since December 2013 when I first made this blog if you go under my “diary” tab on desktop.

I credit all my accomplishments in the year of 2014 to my change in mindset. The most important principle if you want to achieve anything in life is happiness. If you don’t enjoy what you do, then you won’t do it so you won’t improve. Pain is a major barrier for most people. Associate that with happiness because pain is an indication that you’re achieving all that is possible in that given moment and isn’t that just fantastic??

This post is about how I changed my mindset: :)

I also think my post about how to achieve your goals complements my post:

I would also like to stress the importance of sleep and recovery. When I start feeling something, I shut it down and cross train until it’s completely gone. I also take at least one rest day every week. On rest days, I’ll go on a short 20-30 min walk with my mother or lightly cross train.

Part one: Running!

You can find my thoughts/reflection of each season on the “about me” tab if you go on my blog on desktop.

This is so important to me: I love races because I love making friends from other schools. Ever since I started going up to people and introducing myself and warming up/cooling down with them. Now races seem like I’m not running against people, I’m running with my friends and we’re helping each other to achieve our goals. People are no longer intimidating.

This is what I think about during races:

I ended cross country 2013 with a 9th place finish at Junior Olympic Nationals in San Antonio and took a two week break from running. When I take breaks from running, I always cross train. I find it difficult to go through my days without doing anything because exercise feels liberating to me. During this time, I swam almost every day since it was finals week and school ended earlier and winter break, so I had time. I also ellipticalled/went on the strider machine at the YMCA, What I’m doing this year is also relatively the same.

When I got back to running, I started my first week alternating between 2-3 miles each day, and the next two weeks 3-4 and slowly up from there. It’s important to build up slow so you won’t get injured since your body isn’t as used to using those muscles again yet.


For the month of January, it was just mileage and no speedwork. In track, we tend to do more speedwork on the track, rather than hill repeats. We’ve done less than 5 sessions in the hills throughout the whole season. In the beginning of the season, we started with longer workouts, more focused on building a strong base. By April/May, the workouts got shorter and faster.

In January, I also swam on the weekends and cross trained on my stationary bike at home since I wasn’t running as much. Cross training really helps build base without the pounding on the pavement of running.


An example of a workout we did in Febuary would be something like 1600/1200/800/400 twice through. To be honest, I know this might be important, but I never really pay attention control what pace I run, so I always run however I feel like. We would also do hill sometimes and long runs in the hills. I don’t remember any my splits, but if you’re ever curious, everything I do is recorded under my “diary” tab.

Our hill repeat workout is always relatively the same. We use the same 400m hill and run it 5-6 times with 400m recovery jog. I usually run continuously but some people rest in between.


This is when racing season starts. When racing season starts, I stop cross training and only run/blogilates until the end of the season. We did lots of 1200/800/400s and hill repeats here and there. I started with my season with all PR’s! I ran my mile in 5:20 (previously 5:38) and 2 mile in 11:16 (previously 11:48) and I was so happy and pumped about the whole season!!


We also did lots of 1200/800/400 but less hills. During March/April, we typically have a dual meet on Thursday and an invitational on Saturday, so we probably did one or none workout a week. I plataued this month, staying at around 5:20/11:16


Suddenly at league finals I ran 5:08 (8 second PR in one week) and 11:04 (10 second PR) all in one day! I was thinking happy thoughts the whole time during the race! I’ve never doubled 1600/3200 before and this gave me so much confidence. The workout on the Tuesday I did right before CCS Finals on Friday when I ran 10:54 was 8x400 with one min rest in between each one, to kinda simulate the race. I think I averaged around 73-75.


I took two weeks off from running again and swam almost every day. I swam almost every day the whole summer since I had time. I also biked a lot on my stationary bike. I usually attended summer cross country practice in the morning and went swimming in the afternoons for most the days this summer.


I attended a Nike cross country camp at Stanford and met and ran with lots of cool people! I noticed that almost everyone had a garmin, or some kind of watch that measures and times the distance you run. I also attended another camp, Coach Dudley’s summer cross country boot camp, and met lots of runners from the CCS section! I highly recommend that camp to anyone that lives in my area because I had a great time making friends my competitors. Coach Dudley is a really passionate and experienced about distance running and he also sends great information regarding training and nutrition. I can tell he’s doing this from passion.

Lots of people there also owned garmins, and I thought it was so cool how it would beep at every mile and give you a split, I was inspired to get one myself. After getting one, I noticed that I run all my runs a lot faster since it’s so satisfying to see nice numbers. My goal was to get all my runs under 8:00 pace.

During the whole summer, it was just mileage and no track workouts. I also ran in the hills a lot, and I heard that hills are speedwork in disguise, but I never ran them hard. I ran an average of 4-5 miles a day. I cross train for longer than I run because it helps me build up my cardiovascular system without all the pounding on my legs to reduce injury.


I ran a road race for the first time, called the “Dammit Run,” which is a 5 mile hilly and rocky course up a dam and down. I won my age division (2nd female overall) with a 6:43 pace and even ran one of my miles under 6:00 and I thought that was so cool since I didn’t feel like I was in race shape at all and my garmin really motivated me throughout the whole race.

When school and official practice started, we mostly did hill repeats, and I think we only did one track workout for this whole month.


I had to miss my first race because I felt something in my hamstring and decided to be smart about it. I took four days off and a week later, we had a meet at our home course, and I ran close to my PR.

When racing starts, I stop cross training and only run. My mileage is also slightly higher. We mostly did hill repeats and minimal track work this month.


Same as September, but more track work towards the end.


The hill repeats have disappeared and all workout days were all on the flat track. We did long intervals, in contrast to track season. We did 1.5-2 mile tempo runs, (actually the first time I’ve ever done a tempo run), mile repeats (5:35-5:45 avg), and my favorite: 1600/1200/800/400 twice through.

My runs also got slower as the season prolonged, averaging 8:30 pace in contrast to the under 8:00 paces over the summer. I think my coach really likes really distinct easy and hard/quality days and I think it works for me as well.

The week before leagues, I started to feel something on the area behind my left knee, so I decided to be smart and take 4 rest days that week and had to miss another race. Then I ran 17:55 at Crystal Springs, a 15 second PR from a few weeks ago. Crystal Springs is a hilly course comparable to Mt. Sac. This reminds me the importance of rest and recovery.

We did a 1.5 mile tempo the Monday before CCS (saturday) and I felt really flat for the whole week. My legs felt like they were stuck in one speed and I couldn’t make myself go any faster. I was predicted and mentally prepared to earn CCS champion, but lost it in the last 200m. I felt burnt out and so ready for my season to be over as much as I love running.

Sure, I was disappointed at first, but I learned so much from the outcome:

The Wednesday before State (Saturday), I ran the fastest mile I’ve ever ran at practice- 5:26 and it made me happy. I surprised myself with a 10th place finish, running 18:08.56 (yeah they rounded it to 18:09 but that time looks more glamourous).

What I’ve done differently for state is that I took Thursday off and ran the course on Friday. Sweet tomatoes is my favorite place to go for my pre race dinner. I ate three potatoes the night before and one the day of.


After state, my enthusiasm for running was suddenly refilled. I signed up for Footlocker West senior race (I am eternally grateful for my father to convince me to go for the seeded) the second I got home. There was only one week in between state and footlocker, and my workout was 4x800m. I averaged 2:38-2:45 in the wind and rain.

For Footlocker West, I repeated the same thing I did for state- taking Thursday off and ate at sweet tomatoes again. 3 potatoes and night before, and one the day of.

Since school uniforms weren’t allowed, I ran for a club, BB Racing, and got to wear this cool bright pink uniform. It felt nice running with a team, and everyone there was so friendly. :)

During the whole race, I stayed around 15th place or so, and passed 6 people in the last 800m, finishing in 9th, with a spot to adnvance to Footlocker Nationals! This is the biggest accomplishment of my life.

I did the same 4x800m workout again, but this time, I couldn’t run as fast. I think I used up all my energy in that kick because I ended up running my slowest 5k this season there. I still had a great time meeting and running with the fastest high schoolers in the nation and several olympians.

As of now, I took two weeks off from that, and now I’m slowly building up my mileage, and I plan to repeat what I did last track season. :)

PART TWO: Cross training!

  1. Blogilates! I love the weekly videos Cassey puts out on youtube and I really respect her for her passion for wanting to help everyone achieve their goals.

I try to do at least one from each every day! I don’t follow any weekly schedule, I just do what I feel like on that day. I workout for around 30-60 mins every morning, depending on how much time I have! The only days when I don’t are race days, otherwise, this is year-round! Planks are my favorite since they strengthen all those wonderful muscles!! vI try to do at least one from each every day!

total body/core:


lower body:

My favorites:

I’m also a huge fan of FitnessBlender’s plank workout!

2. Cycling!

During this summer, before cross country 2014, I did more cross training on my stationary bike than I did running and it really helped me build an awesome base without the pounding. I finished the season mostly injury free, and could afford more rest days just in case something small was coming up. When I took time off during the season for injury prevention, I cycled to substitute for running. I also used to take cycling class at the YMCA, but I get bored with just music playing, and I always have to be on my phone or reading a book.

3. Swimming/Elliptical

I swim for 30-60 mins non stop of mostly freestyle, and breathstroke for recovery. I breathe after every 5-7 strokes, because I feel like it helps increase my lung capacity which helps with running. I only swim during the off season. I used to be able to swim for longer, but I just can’t stand the mind numbing monotony of the pool floor.

I usually only go on the elliptical if I’m waiting for my mother or feel tired that day. I’m always reading a book as well.

During the off season, I never have training plans. I do whatever I feel like for however long I feel like that day. Only when racing starts is when I make sure I follow a training plan closely.

4. Troubleshooting (Injury alert!)

I stretch at home after I take a shower for around 5 mins. I like doing the splits because it gets my hamstrings and lots calf stretches because I have a history of shin splints. This is pretty much all I do if I’m not sore/injured. Maybe I should add daily foam rolling.

When I’m sore after a hard workout/race, I foam roll and stretch a lot. I also soak my legs in boiled ginger because it’s supposed to have warming phytochemicals that increase your blood circulation according to Chinese medicine. I also get a wonderful massage from my lovely mother afterwards.

When I’m feeling an injury budding, I I’ve for the first 24 hours and heat until it’s over. I’ve never taken an ice bath before. I also go see a Chinese doctor who gives me painful but satisfying deep tissue massage.

Freezing a Dixie cup also helps you get into small areas

During cross country 2013 (first season back from injury) I would also go for acupuncture every few weeks, but I haven’t done that ever since.

More life tips by me!

I hope you found this useful and let me know if you would like me to do anything else like this in the future!! I love giving back to my wonderful supporters because you guys motivate me to be at my best every day <3

5) Healthy foods for runners/anyone!

These are foods that are good for anyone, but I’ll explain why they can be specifically applicable for runners! I believe that food can play a major role in performance so I thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you because running fast is so much fun!!

First, I’ll lay down some ground rules for general healthy eating for performance!

1. Stay with the good carbs.

The carbs that you should aim for should have a low glycemic index (GI). GI is basically a measurement on how fast the carbs are released in your blood, so the slower, the better because it would give you a more steady supply of energy. Low GI foods mostly contain lots of fiber because fiber takes longer to digest. Some examples include fruits, vegetables, beans, and yogurt!

2. Protein!!

Protein digests slower than carbs, so it will also provide you with a steady supply of energy! It will also help you build all those lovely muscles!! It’s recommended that you aim for one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Runners generally need more protein because we’re constantly breaking our muscles down everyday by running. I’m a huge fan of egg whites, fish (especially tuna and salmon!!), and yogurt! Whey protein powder mixed with almond milk tastes great as well!

3. Frequent meals

If you eat more frequently, lets say every 3 hours, then you will be providing your body with a constant supply of energy throughout the day. For me, I usually only do this when I have a race because sometimes I find it inconvenient.

4. Great foods!!!!! Keep in mind that everything in this list is of equal awesomeness.

-Bananas! good for before and after your workout. It’s full of carbs and vitamin b6. Vitamin b6 acts as a cofactor for proteases which helps you digest protein after a workout, so you should eat bananas with protein after a workout!

-Fish! My favorites are tuna and salmon. Fish contain omega 3 fats which help keep the not-so-good fat in your blood (triglycerides) in balance!

-Oatmeal! Oatmeal is a low GI carb so it’s a great pre-race food because it will provide you with a steady supply of energy!

-Yogurt! contains protein, calcium, potassium. Calcium is important for building your bones and potassium is important for initiating muscle contractions! Hence those sodium potassium pumps on your neurons!! It’s also full of good bacteria to live in your large intestine~ i like to eat it in the morning. i tend to stick with nonfat because whole milk makes my stomach extremely upset.

-Energy bars! I don’t consume them often because I’d rather get my energy from real food. But when i do, it’s before a race because it’s quick and densely packed with calories so it doesn’t take much space in my stomach. My favorites include cliff and kind bars.

-Milk! It contains both protein and carbs and it’s a great post workout because you need to refuel your energy stores and you also need that energy for your body to build muscles!

-Almonds! They are full of vitamin E which function as antioxidants which helps protect your cells! They also contain omega 3 fats. I like to sprinkle them on my yogurt in the morning and have them as a snack throughout the day. I also like to munch on almonds in the bus before a race!

-Eggs! Because eggs are animal protein, they contain all the essential amino acids! chose omega 3 enhanced eggs so you get more healthy fat. They also contain vitamin K, which are good for bones, and chloine, which are good for brains eyes. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack for anytime!!

-Sweet potatoes! My favorite pre-race meal!! I always “carb load” on sweet potatoes instead of pasta before races. Containing vitamin C and A, potassium, iron, manganese, and copper, they are packed with way more nutrients than pasta!! I like to microwave/steam slices and eat them plain because they are already full of wonderful flavors so appetizing to my taste buds!

-Beans! Full of lots of wonderful protein and fiber! Also, folate is good for your heart and circulation! Beans and legumes are low GI foods so they are slowly released in the body so you receive a steady supply of energy by having a controlled blood sugar level. I love black beans!

-Fruits and vegetables! This one is a given. Eat the rainbow. All fruits and vegetables are my favorite!!

-Skinned chicken! Great source of protein.

-Green Tea! Basically contains lots of antioxidants which protect your cells from damage! I wake up to a cup of lovely green tea every morning!

There are obviously a lot more, but those are just some of my favorites.

5. Pre-race foods

-Night before: Sweet potatoes, lot of healthy green vegetables, and fish/chicken

-Breakfast (if it’s in the afternoon): Yogurt topped with almonds, berries, and chia seeds plus a banana. (I have this every morning)

-Pre-race meal: Several bananas, almonds, dried fruit (sometimes), pita bread (I specifically looked for the one with the lowest fiber at trader joes so it wouldn’t give me stomach problems)

-Before warming up: A few bites of a cliff bar

-Between races: Any fruit, cliff bar, almonds

How to run in the heat!

The sun is shining, your skin feels like melting, you go outside and feel the temperature, and it makes you feel like going back inside.

The summer is actually a great time to run or chase your fitness goals because you don’t have school and have more time! It’s also a great opportunity to get faster for the cross country season in the fall!

Heat training will prepare you for races in the unavoidable heat! It will also make you feel like running in more comfortable temperatures is easier, which gives you an advantage!

Instead of avoiding the heat, adapt to it. The heat improves the efficiency of blood flowing from your core to your skin, which also gives you an advantage. Your body gets better at adjusting its core temperature and increases its blood volume, and sweating can help you get rid of toxins from your body! Let the advantages motivate you to dive into the sun!

Also, what I love about summer is the long daylight! It opens up more opportunities for you to run outside during the day. Appreciate this!

But if you are not sure if it’s safe to run outside, you can check the weather forecast for the heat and air quality index.

1. Drink water

Not drinking enough water can make your muscles cramp or feel lightheaded or nauseous during your run. I don’t want this to happen to you so I want you to drink water often throughout the day (make sure your pee is a very light shade of yellow!). Other consequences of not drinking enough fluid are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

But don’t drink too much before a run if you don’t want to get a side stitch. I usually like to stop drinking water about 30-60 mins before a run! Sometimes, I also drink water during a run if I’m out for longer than one hour! If you’re running for more than an hour and sweating a lot, then you should also bring along a drink with electrolytes.

When you sweat a lot, you also lose salt and other electrolytes. Don’t avoid salt in your diet because it’s important for your body to maintain fluid and not dehydrate due to osmosis.

Try not to drink drinks with caffeine or alcohol because they are diuretics, which makes you lose more water in your urine. Also, avoid foods high protein because those are harder on your digest, which will produce more heat in your body because those take more energy to digest.

2. Timing

Try running in the morning or evening. Try to avoid running outside between 10am-4pm. Heat training will help you if you’re training for a race, but there comes to a point where it will affect your health, especially if the heat and air quality index is poor. If you don’t have other times to run, try a treadmill, or cross train or pool running!

3. Clothing

The clothes you wear can affect your experience of your run. Try to wear loose and light colored clothes. Dark colors absorb heat which can make you feel like a stove.  I like to run with a T-shirt and running shorts. You can also try dry-fit/tech clothing, which are lighter and help your sweat dry faster.

Try to avoid wearing anything on your head because that’s where your body loses the most heat. If you want to wear a hat to avoid sunburn on your beautiful face, try a visor. Instead, you can try pouring water on your head when you feel extremely warm.

4. Sunscreen

I don’t want you to get skin cancer! Maybe also try sunglasses to also protect your beautiful eyes from the sun!

Sunburnt skin also loses its ability to sweat, which will not help you feel cooler.

5. Plan your route

The asphalt and track absorbs heat, so it’s best to avoid them during the middle of the day. Try trail running and planning your route around water fountains!

Running besides a large body of water will also be cooler. It’s also nice to end your run with a swim or pool running!

6. Seek a buddy!

Also, when it’s hot outside, it’s a good idea to run with a group or someone else so you can watch for each other’s safety! You should also let your family members know your running route just in case.

7. Make adjustments

Try to avoid long and high intensity workouts when the sun is at it’s strongest. If you are not able to run when the sun is not as strong, then try going for an easier run or run another day. I don’t want you to get a heat stroke.

Also, when you run in the heat, it can slow your pace by 1.5-3% for every 10 degrees above 55 Fahrenheit. You can also try running your first mile slower and then negative splits to have your body adjust and your legs won’t be feeling like lead the whole run if you don’t run the first mile hard. Because of this, you can also try running based on effort without a GPS watch.

I hope you found this helpful!

I have more life and running tips:

How to start running

How to deal with a running injury

How to be productive and achieve your goals

How to run in the cold