Written by: George Varvas, race director, Woodbridge Cross Country Classic (world’s largest high school meet), coach of two former national high school record holders, Christine Babcock at 1600 meters and Bethan Knights at 2 miles, and coach of four California Southern Section Team champions in cross country and track and field.
“This book contains one of the most complete and significant contributions to cross-country training methods for the high school program. Ken’s long tenure and significant success in California high school cross country has been put to work to create a valuable aid to the cross-country coach and runner alike. This aid is a set of individualized season-long training plans, a week-by-week season calendar, and a comprehensive explanation of the role of each stake-holder involved in a high school program (coaches, athletes, and parents), which can be employed to set up custom-designed workouts for runners of all abilities.
A continuing problem for coaches is setting up training schedules that are neither too hard nor too easy for the runners. The information given in this book solves this problem by giving workout schedules designed for each individual runner’s ability. Most of the established forms of distance training are explained and addressed within the workouts listed. This will give the coach and runner a wide choice of workouts for their training programs.
This book should be as valuable an aid to the coach as the stopwatch itself. It clearly explains the science involved in each training method utilized for the development of the distance athlete. It addresses the pre-season (summer preparation phase), the early, the competitive, and the championship phases; it covers and summarizes the governing regulations expected of the student-athletes in a high school cross-country program and thoroughly explains the financial challenges facing high school cross-country coaches as offering solutions to these challenges. The author accomplishes these goals in a simple, enthusiastic, and friendly manner. I recommend this book to the beginning and experienced coach.”
Dennis Kelly, Head Coach, Girls Cross Country, Girls Track and Field—Trabuco Hills High School
Bob Price, Head Coach Girls Cross Country, San Juan Hills High Bob was an alternate to the 1968 Olympic Team in the Steeplechase and a participant in the Jack Daniels Testing Program
Rich Medellin Head Coach Track & Cross Country, Esperanza High School, 2-time CIF SS XC Champions,10-time CIF SS XC Runner-up,15- time California State meet finalist
Traci Maynard Head Coach of Capistrano Valley High School Girls Cross Country and Distance Track Teams
For the 2019 season I had the honor to start as the new girls head cross country coach. I am continuing the legacy of the quality program he has built for over 30 years. Ken has mentored me not only as an athlete over the years, but now as a head coach learning the attributes of how to continue to train athletes to their full potential. I am fascinated with his training philosophies and attention to detail that will continue in our cross country and distance track programs for many years to come.”
Coach Chris Lynch Director - Cross Country/Track & Field Laguna Hills High School Laguna Hills Cross Country Invitational
In my opinion Coach Sayles is the epitome of what a high school coach should be: a knowledgeable and experienced teacher, possessing a passion and love for their sport, competitive but humble, a great communicator, a force of positivity, and a rock in the often-tumultuous life of a young person.
I have the utmost respect for him as a professional and it has been privilege to be his colleague and rival, and an honor to be his friend.”
Melissa Bell, former Capistrano Valley High School runner and attorney-at-law
If you would like a personalized, signed copy, order direct here.
ABOUT COACH, RUN, WIN and Coaching Distance Runners
Coach, Run, Win is about many things. It is certainly about how to coach distance 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. Additonally, technical training data are used to accomplish their goals. That can be winning state championships or improving from a walk to a shuffle to competing in a race for the first time.
My book, Coach, Run, Win, is not an overly technical book, especially in the sections on training. The book was written from my trials, errors, and experiments over the years. It focuses on the methods that worked best for my teams. Hopefully, I have 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 of distance runners.
Organization of the book
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. I believe these case studies can provide direction when coaching distance runners.
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.
Additional material: courses and virtual coaching
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 coaching distance 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 -now available from these fine retailers. Paperbacks and E-books are now available from them.
For Coach Sayles, a teacher who was also a runner, coaching distance 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. He coached 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. 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 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!
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. His runners won 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.
Read More Now
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
Together Everyone Achieves More T.E.A.M.
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.
Coach, Run, Win-e-book
Coach, Run, Win e-book is a comprehensive guide to coaching high school distance runners. However, it is also a wonderful guide for any runner who wants to improve. Both coaches and individual runners can benefit from the years of experience of its author, Coach Ken Sayles. Coach Sayles had many championship level teams in California and had an individual State Champion as well. As a result of his many years of experience, Coach Sayles wrote this book to make clear the workouts and techniques that bring success.
Private Coach’s Consultation
Have your very own private coach’s consultation with Coach Ken Sayles, author of Coach, Run, Win. Coach Sayles will spend up to 45 minutes with you by Zoom or phone call. Ask questions about anything to do with organizing and running a successful high school cross country program.
Webinar Series 1 all 3 episodes for one price
A series of three webinars with presentations and question and answer periods to help a coach set up a season of championship high school cross country.
Webinar Series 1: Episode 1-Getting Started
The first in a series of three webinars based on Coach Sayles book, Coach, Run, Win
Webinar Series 1: Session 2 Championship Mindset and Planning for Success
How to develop a championship mindset and plan workouts for success at high school cross country
Cross Country Team Plan
Coach Ken Sayles, author of Coach Run Win will set up your entire season of cross country with day-to-day workouts built around your teams practice and meet schedule. This system was very successful in achieving six straight California State Meet Finals and an individual California State Champion. This offer includes a one-time establishment of initial pace ranges for every athlete on your team for a variety of workouts.
Private Individual Consultation
private individual consultation for runners
Click here to see more in the Shop Page