By: Pat Tyson with Doug Binder
Originally Published in: Coaching Cross Country Successfully - Human Kinetics
This drill, which I also described in chapter 5, was originally devised as a rehab running drill for Oregon athletes coming back from injury, but at Mead I found it was also a great way to work on mechanics. This is a meat-and-potatoes staple that serves several purposes. First, we do it bare-foot on grass. (Form issues tend to become more apparent with shoes off). Second, it's simple to set up. Use cones to designate three running lanes that are about 20 meters wide and 80 meters long. This would be end zone to end zone if it's on a football field. You want one lane alond each side-line and one through the midde (see figure 7.5).
The first lane is for easy pace. The middle lane is for medium, or cross country race pace, and the third lane is for gradual pick-up to closing sprint speed. Runners job slowly the 20 meters between cones to switch lanes. When runners complete the third lane, they jog easily bac to the start and repeat the progression. Run this drill for 30 minutes nonstop. At the end of the season, as we were tuning up for the state championship, we ran this for 20 minutes.
While the athletes are running, watch or even videotape the workout. Break the overall group into smaller packs of five or six. The Oregon drill is free flowing and requires minimal input. Use this time to analyze the form of the runners and take notes about deficiencies you might see. This drill incorporates fartlek with its speed changes, which allows you to analyze form and how it changes from one gear to the next. Review this information with the runners through the video or make critiques as you watch.