Training for the sprint at the start of a XC race

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senior2college
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Training for the sprint at the start of a XC race

Post by senior2college » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Hello coaches and fellow runners!

I am looking for some training advice. I run for a college program that utilizes a lot of tempo and long interval training. We do some 400s/800s a bit before championship season to peak, but other than that there is not a lot of short speed work. It fits my slow twitch style and I feel very strong in the system, however come race day the first 600 or so meter “sprint” does me in. I always feel the pack goes out way too fast, and when I have tried to stick with them I feel the fatigue later in the race and fade. When I hold back at the start, I find myself too far back to make up the distance.

My coaches have never addressed this fast start through training. They just want us to get out quick and get position. Do any teams actually train for handling this initial sprint? I’m wondering if there is anything I can do in my off-season preparation to work on this sprint—>race pace transition at the start of our races. I’m continually working on finding that balance between going out fast enough for position but not too fast. I’m just wondering if there is any training I can do in the off-season to help with this critical part of the race, like starting one or two of my weekly long runs with a sprint—>race pace interval before settling into my easy pace. Stuff like that! What do other teams/runners do?

Thanks for any advice you can share!

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