When planning for the State Meet, a cross country coach needs to do several things. First, study the race results for past years. Note what race times it takes to get to the State Meet from your qualifying races. In California this would be the section finals. In some of the ten California sections there is also a preliminary race. Second, study the race results for each of your seasons scheduled races. You will be working backward, studying each of your races until you arrive at the season opening race. The point of this exercise is to understand what your team must do each week of the season to place themselves in contention for the State Meet. See this spreadsheet for an example I used with my team for the 2018 season. It is based on the results of the 2017 season when we did make the California State Meet for the sixth straight year.

What to consider in setting your goals to get to the state meet?

You as the coach need to be clear about how much you can progress from meet to meet. Each race is different. There may be different terrain and different weather. The weather of course can vary year to year. What you are trying to do is to realistically determine the times your team needs to run at each meet. Look at results of past races. What do they predict about how one week will compare to the next?

Setting up the workouts to achieve your goals of getting to the State Meet

Once you have established your season long, race by race goals, plan the workouts that will get you there. In Chapter 3 of my book, Coach, Run, Win, I explain how to plan your workouts from end of season to beginning. I also provide complete day to day explanations of the workouts used by our team in 2017. In the book, I explain my adaptation of Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT training system. This allows for very accurate, science-based predictions of how workout results translate to race times.

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