For Coach Sayles, a teacher who was also a runner, becoming a coach of runners was a natural thing to do. He is so glad he did, for the hours spent working with young people and helping them succeed at running were some of the best hours of his life. His teaching skills helped Coach Sayles provide a clear,
organized and positive vision for his teams.
The 2014 Southern California and Orange County Coach of the Year has coached over 50 individual league and county champions, numerous regional individual champions and took his cross-country teams to six straight California State Championships. His 2017 State Champion won the delayed 2020 PAC-12 conference cross country individual championship.
Coach Sayles believes in a positive, inclusive approach to coaching. Everyone on a team matters and
his workouts were individualized for each member of the team to achieve their own success.
Details on all aspects of coaching a successful high school program are included in his book, Coach, Run, Win.
Coach Sayles loves running! He began running as an adult and became addicted, running over 70,000 miles, much of it alongside the athletes he was lucky enough to coach for over thirty years. He ran twenty-three marathons and qualified for Boston sixteen times. He believes there is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a hard workout or race.
Coach Sayles spent years developing a training system based on sound scientific principles. His workouts are individualized so that each runner and every member of a team can advance and succeed at their own pace. His book, Coach, Run, Win, includes many details of workouts as well as a host of special tricks of the trade to enable individuals and teams to run and race their best.
Read Hydration and Nutrition here (Opens in new tab) for a sample of the kind of invaluable information you’ll find throughout the book!
What is winning? Is it achieving a personal best? Perhaps its winning your age group in a local 5k. Maybe its challenging yourself to go farther on a training run than you ever have. Coach Sayles helped his athletes and teams to win thousands of medals, plaques, and trophies in his thirty plus years of coaching. Regardless of which definition of winning fits you best, Coach Sayles has proven techniques to help you gain the confidence you need to win your individual or team battles. In Chapter 8 of his book Coach, Run, Win, he explains how to develop a winning mindset. Learn to gain confidence and pride from completing something difficult and doing it well, despite how hard it is.
Read Winning Mindset and Building Confidence here (Opens in new tab) for a sample of the kind of invaluable information you’ll find throughout the book!
Ken Sayles has spent over 30 years coaching high school cross country and track athletes. The 2014 Southern California and Orange County Coach of the Year has coached over 50 individual league and county champions, numerous regional individual champions and took his cross-country teams to six straight California State Championships. His 2017 State Champion just won the PAC-12 conference cross country championship as an individual. Ken resides in Laguna Niguel, California.
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Ken Sayles has been the Head Girls Cross Country Coach at Capistrano Valley High School (CVHS) in Mission Viejo, California for more than 3 decades. He was also the Girls Track Distance Coach for 27 years and served as the Head Girls Track and Field Coach for 24 years. Following the 2014 season, in which his team was ranked as high as #8 in the nation, he was named Coach of the Year for Southern California by the California Coaches Association. CVHS competes in the most competitive area in the country, Southern California and the most competitive subregion, Orange County where he was named Coach of the Year by the Orange County Register.
Between 2012 and 2017, Capistrano Valley made the California State Meet six years in a row, a feat achieved by very few schools in California State Meet history. CVHS won the Orange County title twice and finished in the top three, six years in a row. During his tenure, Coach Sayles coached one individual State Cross Country Champion and multiple Southern Section Individual Champions. In all, Coach Sayles coached over 50 individual South Coast League and Orange County Champions at Cross Country and Track and Field. In 2017 he had the unique distinction of having a female athlete qualify for Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) and a separate female athlete qualify for Foot Locker finals. In 2019 Coach Sayles helped a third female athlete compete at Foot Locker finals. As of this writing he has four girls on Division 1 scholarships at universities in the Pac-12 conference, toughest in the nation.
The first cross country and track coach to be honored with the prestigious Southern Section of California, “Coaching with Character Award”, Coach Sayles was commended because of the “Victory with Honor” emphasis he demonstrated in his coaching career. He also served as head of the Southern California Cross Country Coaches Association and was a member of the CIF Southern Section Cross Country Advisory Committee.
Mr. Sayles taught in the Social Science department at Capistrano Valley High for 34 years. He taught Advanced Placement (AP) Government and International Baccalaureate (IB) History of the Americas. He was twice named “Teacher of the Year” and went on to win the Capistrano Unified School District “Teacher of the Year” in 1999. He retired from the classroom in 2014 and stepped down as full time Head Coach in 2018. He now mentors a former star runner who is the new Head Coach.
“Coach” lives in Laguna Niguel California with his wife Melisa, a retired Spanish teacher and former Assistant Coach and their Siberian Husky dog Luna. He serves as the volunteer Race Director for the BRAVE RACE 5k to benefit The Joyful Child Foundation; in memory of Samantha Runnion, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of crimes against children.
Eat Sleep Train Repeat
Coach, Run, Win is about many things. It is certainly about how to coach runners. It is definitely about running and how to excel at it. The winning part is about helping coaches, teams, and individuals through developing positive attitudes and technical training data to accomplish their goals, whether they are winning state championships or improving from a walk to a shuffle to competing in a race for the first time.
Coach Sayles book, Coach, Run, Win, is not an overly technical book, especially in the sections on training. The book was written from his trials, errors, and experiments over the years and focuses on the ones that worked best for his teams. Hopefully, he has saved you as a coach or runner from a lot of work and experimentation.
When I began Coach, Run, Win, my original goal was to create a roadmap for coaches to navigate an entire high school Cross Country season from start to finish. I believe that this book does that in a comprehensive, yet concise way. Yet the book has much more to offer than just a guide for coaches.
The first part of the book is focused on how to run fast. I provide details of training methods, and workouts that I used to help individuals, and teams to achieve nationwide success. This includes details on the workouts that one runner executed to become a California State Champion. The information can be used by any runner, regardless of age, gender, or school affiliation. The advice about cross training, weightlifting, injury prevention and the mental approaches to better racing are essential for success in running for everyone. I have provided several case studies about specific athletes to provide inspiration to all runners. These stories of athletes starting from non-running backgrounds, or overcoming race day anxiety, and the challenges of health conditions, all have universal appeal and application.
The second part of the book takes a coach through the details of the organization and implementation of a championship program for a school or organization. Subjects included are; how to get potential runners to participate, organize parent and community support and how to best work with school administrators. The challenges of establishing a summer program and executing an elite training camp are also addressed. The all-important end of season awards and banquets are deconstructed. Since most coaches, and many parents have to be involved in designing and setting up racecourses and managing races, I have a chapter on that. I conclude with chapters on transitioning from Cross Country to Track and Field, as well as a chapter on virtual coaching. The chapter on virtual coaching has some helpful website resources listed, see them here.
Coach, Run, Win is about many things. It is certainly about how to coach runners. It is definitely about running and how to excel at it. The winning part is about helping coaches, teams and individuals
through developing positive attitudes and technical training data in order to accomplish their goals whether they are winning state championships or improving from a walk to a shuffle to competing in a race for the first time.
Coach, Run, Win -soon to be available from these fine retailers, is currently only available for Pre-Order from them. In the meantime click your favorite retailer to read more (opens in a new tab).
We’ll update you here as soon as it is available to purchase from these retailers. However you can purchase directly from me RIGHT NOW.
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Together Everyone Achieves More T.E.A.M.
This picture is from the 2017 California High School State Cross Country Championships.
Look at how happy these girls are! The sheer joy of achieving this season-long goal is clear on their faces. They did it together, a true team effort, with each playing a part in support of each other and the team.