XC Training System

PRing Indoors and Outdoors

Here's how you can get an athlete to run fast indoors and outdoors. 

It's hard to strike the right balance of training and racing indoors while setting them up to faster outdoors. Do these three things to help kids PR in both seasons. 

You know athletes need to: 

  1. Build the aerobic engine
  2. Strengthen the chassis
  3. Rev the engine most days 

Here's what you need to do for each of those elements to make sure athletes race well indoors and are set up to race faster outdoors. 

1. Assign two hard aerobic workouts for as long as possible 

If the indoor season spans from December through the end of February, you need to make sure that you have as many challenging aerobic workouts as possible during this time. 

What's challenging is that you also need to give athletes race pace workouts to be prepared to run an indoor PR (which may or may not be a lifetime PR). 

Long runs, fartlek runs, progression runs, aerobic repeats, and a 30-90 fartlek to do this. The long runs have 5 strides in the last 20 minutes of the run, which makes them challenging. 

While there will be weeks when you can't do a long run and another challenging aerobic workout, keep those to a minimum, and remember that April and May PRs are the goal. 

2. Do chassis strengthening 5-6 days a week 

While there's more to keeping athletes injury-free them doing post-run work, the flip side is you need to have post-run work after every run session. 

If you aren't racing and they run six days, that's six days where they do 15-25 minutes of work immediately after their run or workout. 

On a race week, they need to do some mobility work after the race. In both the Track Training System and XC Training System, I have a Race Day post-run routine that athletes do after their race. 

If you've read this far, you likely already have some of this work in your program. But is there an understanding between you and the athletes that this work is "must-do" not "nice-to-do"? 

And if you're wondering what to do, the Strength and Mobility videos are a great place to start. The best post-run progressions are part of my Track and XC training systems. 

The bottom line: Get it done! 

3. Be chasing speed from day one 

This one is simple. 

Get my Progression of Strides document here. 

You need to have your kids follow that progression. 


You need to explain to them that you need to move the progression as fast as possible. 

The strides start at 5k pace on day one. We want to get to strides at 400m rhythm, feeling good, as soon as possible. 

To do this, both you and the athlete need to understand that if they want to be able to close hard in the last 100m and 200m of a race or if they want to be able to make a hard move at 300m or 500m, then speed up again, they have to be able to run lots of reps at 400m PR pace ASAP. 

And this progression is a safe and conservative approach to speed. 

You could do a dedicated speed development day indoors, which I think is a great idea. The problem is many athletes, especially upperclassmen, will be frustrated with the fact that their log book shows only a mile or two run for the day. 

For this reason, most programs should start with my Progression of Strides, then discuss as a program what you want to do with speed development in June. 

"If we do this, they'll PR indoor sand outdoors? It seems too simple." 

Do these three things, and the chance of your athletes PRing is very good. 

You still need intelligent workouts indoors, and you need enough recovery after races to make sure they're ready for their next hard day. 

You should also consider a down week following indoors to allow them to recover mentally from that season. They won't lose fitness that week. 

I can help you help your kids run PRs in both seasons and stay injury-free. My Track Training System also saves you time planning practice, so you can do more of what you love: coach. 

Learn more.