Cross Country Training
The Whittier system has developed from a tradition of success; incorporating a hybrid of proven systems of training. The foundation of the program is similar to all high level running programs arising from Lydiard’s pyramid system, Bowerman’s Oregon methods, and Daniel’s scientific approach. The Whittier system, when pursued consistently, is designed to function effectively for cross country, long distance, and middle-distance racing. Hard-copy of sample training weeks is available by return-mailing a prospective student-athlete reply-form, submitting an online recruit questionnaire available at the ‘Recruiting’ link above, or contacting Coach Greg Phillips.
(1) Training programs are individualized to serve a diversity of ability levels and muscle-fiber types; however, all individualization exists within a framework of team dynamics and team spirit.
(2) The individual coach-athlete relationship establishes goals and works to develop strengths while minimizing weaknesses. The principles of (a) cardio-respiratory stress adaptation, (b) inherent muscle-fiber type, and (c) biomechanical constraints play a significant role in identifying the most effective program of workouts.
(3) Training is designed to prepare the individual, physiologically and psychologically, to function as close to his/her maximum as possible, with respect to both seasonal and long-term improvement.
(4) Yearly training schedules are divided into two seasons, i.e., cross country and track, with each season sub-divided into five phases, i.e., start-up, base-building, transition, racing, and peak-racing. ‘Variety’ describes an ever-present aspect of the training program; athletes experience ever-changing workouts, and creative running ideas, serving to alleviate plateau, burnout, and/or boredom. This ‘variety’ within the running program provides the necessary stimulus for neuromuscular development, along with the all-important cardio-respiratory and circulatory adaptations. Runners improve their performance with a mixture of distance, tempo, fartlek, hill, and interval workouts. Workouts are performed on soft; forgiving surfaces…we are fortunate to be located in a scenic neighborhood with grassy parks within warm-up distance of campus. Directly behind our athletic fields are more than 50 miles of dirt trails and dirt roads along with the hills of a protected wilderness corridor forming Worsham Canyon. An all-weather track, scheduled for resurfacing in the near future, adds an additional training venue reserved primarily for the track & field season.
Team practices begin with a mountain training camp late August. Camp is always a positive experience with new team members, returning runners, and alumni runners gathering for high altitude runs and social activities. After camp, classes begin and training continues with the first competition scheduled for early September. Two additional meets follow as we transition from the conditioning based workouts of summer to faster paced efforts. One of the two meets is often a prestigious out-of-state invitational. Recent trips have included competitions in Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. Mid-season brings the SCIAC Multi-Duals, a first scoring meet of significance, weighted at 50% of the conference standings. Our ‘peak’ phase begins late October with the SCIAC Championships, accounting for the remaining 50% of conference standings, followed two weeks later by the NCAA West Region Meet. High place-finishes at Regionals qualify for the NCAA Championships hosted the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. In recent history, team members have represented Whittier College at National Cross Country Championships located in various parts of the country including Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia, New York, Indiana, and Ohio.