Parent Guide to Cross Country
Every year about this time a new team takes the field and every year parents ask similar questions. This year we’d like to provide you with a list of a few frequently asked questions and even some answers so that the experience can be a rewarding and memorable one for your student/athlete. This list is by no means conclusive so please do not hesitate to ask Coach Manaseri, Coach Lewis, or Coach Furst that nagging question that really needs answering.
1) What does my runner need as far as clothes and equipment?
At least three tee-shirts, five pairs of socks, two pairs of running shoes, two pairs of sweatpants, two sweatshirts, gloves, two hats, a supply of band aids and last but not least a water bottle. You are encouraged to buy 2 practice t-shirts. (We will be selling team t-shirts as a fundraiser in the next couple weeks. Look for an order form to come home with your athlete.) We also recommend a decent pair of running flats/spikes to use for competition. Check with some of our more experienced upperclassmen for recommendations.
2) What time should I expect for practice to be over?
Most days practice starts at 3:01 and is over by 5:00pm. Sometimes practice is over slightly earlier on Fridays or days before meets. There will also be Saturday practices when meets aren’t scheduled. Athletes may not leave earlier unless they have made arrangements with a coach.
With forty runners on the team it becomes difficult to keep track of everyone if they leave when they think they are finished. No one may leave without looking a coach in the eye and saying good-bye. Also it is important for the team to warm up and cool down together. Often a coach has an important comment to make as practice ends and if you have left early you miss out. No one likes being out of the loop.
4) My runner comes home and falls on the couch everyday and lays there for at least 30 minutes. What should I do about that?
Actually that’s a good sign. It means that your child has put in a good effort and just needs a few minutes to relax. However, 20 minutes should be sufficient. After that, it’s time to get up and shower and eat or eat and then shower. Then sit down and do homework or prepare for the next day.
5) Hot or cold shower?
Good question… After relatively easy days a hot shower is best. After hard days, a cold tub is better for soaking tired legs. The cold water stops the flow of lactic acid into muscles and allows for more rapid recovery. Add all of your average ice trays to a cold tub of water. 50-58* is best. Soak for 10-12 minutes.
6) What kind of foods is best for recovery?
The human body is a bio-machine and proper nutrients are essential for it to function best. “Eat the Rainbow” is a good rule of thumb. So Red = cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, plums etc. Orange = oranges, cantaloupe, carrots, peppers, etc. Yellow = bananas, lemons etc. Green = kiwi, pears, spinach, broccoli etc. Blue = blueberries, (ounce for ounce the best antioxidant), violet = eggplant, grapes etc. Protein is also very important. Yogurt, eggs, fish, chicken, peanut butter, even red meats are good sources. Milk or calcium supplement are essential. Cereals in the morning are very important. Oatmeal, oat or wheat cereals are best. (You know which ones aren’t).
7) Anything that we should try to stay away from?
Glad you asked. Sugar is very bad for the machine. Chocolate however is ok! In fact if It’s very dark chocolate, right after a hard workout, it is beneficial. Greasy foods like potato chips, and dairy like ice cream makes digestion a little more difficult. Pretzels are OK and ice cream once a week in fine also. Cookies and goods baked with white flour, (cupcakes, cake etc) are especially bad; finally avoid soda as much as possible. Why put the sugar and carbon dioxide in when your body just wants to get rid of that?
8) We have too much to do sometimes. How do we keep up our pace and manage to stay healthy?
We have found that establishing a routine is best for the body. Bedtime by 10 o’clock, up around 6:00am. EAT BREAKFAST. Three meals and three snacks a day are needed. (Nutrigrain, power bars etc. Try not to eat after 8:00pm. Massage before bed is ideal.
9) My child gets nervous and cranky before a competition. What can I do?
Just stay calm. Most times parental input seems to make the problem worse. These are issues that each individual must sort out on their own. Just keep complications to a minimum. It’s at this time that little upsets get magnified into major catastrophes.
Obviously some sacrifices are required if you wish to achieve the most from this sport. It’s just like anything else that you want to be really good at. Make it important to you, and you will be successful.
Thanks for becoming part of the great sport of running. See you on the course.
Other nagging questions that you need to have answered. PLEASE ASK!