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NXR and Footlocker Training Plans

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Here’s what you should do after your last in-season meet to get ready for NXR or Footlocker 

If you’re running a post-season race – either NXR or a Footlocker regional race – you want to do everything you can to race well. 

The problem is most runners try to get back to “normal” training after their last in-season meet. That’s not the best idea.  

Why? Two reasons. 

1. You’re emotionally fatigued from the season 

You started in June or July and trained hard through your last in-season meet. The days following that meet are always an emotional letdown, even if your last race went well. Let’s acknowledge this and give yourself some time to recover mentally and emotionally before we do a hard workout.

2. Your body needs to recover from a long season

In my 20-plus years of coaching, I’ve seen so many athletes get upper respiratory infections in late October and November. Training intensity is high, and in much of the country, the temperatures are dropping quickly. Giving yourself several easy days of running before your next hard workout gives you a better chance of staying healthy. 

Before explaining some of the key points of the six different training plans, I want you to acknowledge a simple idea. 

The post-season is supposed to be fun! 

And you’ll have more fun training when you’re fired up to train. 

Let’s not do a hard workout or progression run until you’ve rested enough that you’re fired up – sound good? 

Here are the keys to the post-season training plans which you can download hereI’ll be referring to the 3-week plan, but each of the following points applies to the 2-week and 4-week plans as well. 

Easy and Strides 

Let’s keep the easy days easy, but you can and should put on your racing shoes and run your strides fast.  

You’ll see that you have two easy days and strides in your first week back. On that second day you can progressively increase the pace of the strides if you’re feeling well. If your last two strides are fast and you felt good, then we know you’re ready for a light workout on Wednesday. But if you feel sluggish on those strides, you might want to skip Wednesday’s workout and move it to Tuesday. 

Progression Runs are Fun Runs 

Simply put, progression runs are fun. 

I’m recommending a 20-minute progression run: 10 minutes steady, 5 minutes a bit faster, then 5 minutes fast but controlled. You should be able to say, “I could have gone 5 more minutes at that last pace.”  

You can learn more about progression runs in my PDF, Four Key Workouts Every Runner Should Do – click here to download it. 

Race Pace Workouts 

You’ve no doubt done race pace workouts since September. You need to do at least one good one before you race...because you’ve got to prepare to run race pace! 

You’ll notice in the second week, I have a race pace workout that is at “full volume.” Choose a workout you and your teammates understand and can execute, and simply do that workout. 

The week of the race you’ll also want to do a race pace workout, but here you want to keep the volume lower. What type of volume? If you did 3 x 800m with short rest, then took 3 minutes of recovery, then did 3 x 400m with short rest you’d have 2400m + 1200m for those two segments. That’s 3600m, and that’s the upper limit of what I’d recommend. Yet if you do that volume of race pace work you have Wed, Thu, Fri for it to be out of your legs so you can run a great race on Saturday. 

Post-Run Work 

I have a very simple system for post-run work, which just means the strength and mobility work you’re likely doing with your team. 

I break days into Hard and Easy. Then we have a progression of colors. Red is the easiest, then Orange is a little bit harder, then Yellow is fairly challenging, then Green is challenging even for juniors and seniors who can do a lot of work.  

So, if you were to do the Yellow post-run work two weeks before your last week, that’s where you left off. In the first week of this training you’ll go “down one color” and do Orange, which is fairly easy for you. Later in the week you’ll go back to Yellow, which is challenging but not overly challenging. 

While you likely aren’t using my system, you get the idea – keep the post run work easy the first week, then the second week you can go back to what you were doing mid-season. In the final week before your last race, go back to doing easy post-run work. 

The bottom line here: Do enough post-run work to maintain the strength you have, but know that you shouldn’t be trying to make any gains in this area now. But after the season... 😊 

48 Hour Workout 

You no doubt have a set pre-race day you’ve done all season. For the coaches and athletes I help, we have a 48 hour workout. 

It’s 500m, 800m, 500m. You can take 45-60 seconds after the 500m, then take just 60 seconds after the 800m. 

The first 500m you do exactly what you’ll do in the race – practice getting out, then settling into race pace. 

For the 800m you “groove race pace,” running as comfortable as you can. 

The last 500m is exactly what you want to do on race day. For most athletes this is 200m at race pace, 200m faster, then 100m hard. 

That’s it! That's the workout. 

Visualization 

At least three times a week, if not four or five, do a quick 10-minute visualization of the race, working in the most important points. 

  • The start line will be massive and there will be a lot of energy. See yourself keeping a calm mind. 
  • The first 400m, 800m, 1600m will likely be “hectic” as there are so many good runners. Again, see yourself keeping a calm mind. 
  • Between the 1600m and 3200m marks there will be a lot people to run with, so see yourself keeping contact with these athletes. 
  • See yourself executing the race plan you and your coach have come up with. 

There are YouTube videos of many of the regional courses that you can watch to help make these visualizations more vivid. 

Check out the testimonials for my Mental Skills for High School Runners course if you want to learn specific visualization techniques. And if you deal with pre-race anxiety, we address that in the course as well. 

Let’s Go! 

I end all of my newsletters to high school coaches and high school runners with, “Let’s go!” 

Running is fun, and racing at a post-season race is the type of experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I wish you the best and I hope these training plans are helpful. 

Click here for the training plans. 

Get FREE Training videos and my Four Workouts Every Runner Should Do pdf here.