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8th grader wondering about distance

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

My dad asked you about running long races. I do like to run longer races (5k or longer) more that the mile. I'm in 8th grade. Will the longer races help me in XC? Last year I ran 5:07, 1500m. My dad said I would lose speed if I run too much long stuff. Is this true? Would I run more 1 mile fun runs? Will it make me faster? Thank you, Jimmy Jr.

Answer

Dear Jimmy Jr, Too many long races can make you slower. My feeling is that a person who is fast can easily become stronger, while a person with strength cannot easily become fast. It is also important to have fun. You might want to think of your long term goals, then develop short term goals which will lead you in the long term direction. 1 mile fun runs are valuable for speed endurance. A good high school cross country runner can run about 5 minute mile pace for 5k. How long can you run at 5 minute mile pace? If possible, give me more specific training info. Fun first, Coach Mick and John

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