What if there was a way to have the best cross country season your team’s ever had, without athletes getting injured along the way?
If you’ve ever packed up the team tent at the last meet of the year wondering if you could have done more for your athletes, or you’ve left that meet with a slight sinking feeling that your kids didn’t run their best race of the year on the most important day of the year, then you no doubt want 2023 to be different.
To make 2023 different for you, and more importantly, your athletes, consider two simple questions...
First, can you change or adjust your training so that kids will stay injury-free and race their fastest at the end of the season?
If you can, then you’ll have your best seven runners at the starting line of the most important races of the year (rather than having one or two of your best athletes sidelined with an injury).
Second, can you coach your team in such a way that all your athletes have great races at the biggest meets, and a couple of them have A+ races?
If you can do that, you’ll not only finish higher as a team than you did last year, you’ll be able to pack up the team tent with a grin, knowing you did everything in your power to give your athletes the best cross country experience possible.
If you think those are both achievable outcomes, and outcomes that will allow your kids to have a blast training and racing, keep reading...
The only question now is, what are you going to do?
Coach Jay's knowledge of the body and how it performs best leads to his incredible ability to turn a runner into a finely-tuned machine.
His track and strength workouts led me to a national title at the US Cross Country Championships.
- Brent Vaughn, former Nike and University of Colorado Runner
I’m going to share a training system that'll take your program to the next level.
This system works in any environment.
It works in big schools and small schools.
It works for girl’s teams and boy’s teams and combined programs.
“I have coached for 25 years, and have tried to stay current on training and coaching methodology throughout my career.
I can confidently say the XCTS is the best value and input I've received in my coaching career and was effective both as far as results and injury prevention.
My 25 runner freshman program was 100% on the "no prior training" XCTS plan and for the first time in my coaching career no athlete was injured during the entire season!!!
The top runner set the school record for the 3K and 5K and the team overall did well by historical standards.
The training system for my varsity was greatly influenced by the XCTS. The 16:09 team average at our Divisional meet was the fastest in school history and every member of our team had a PR at Divisional or States. Injuries were much less frequent.
Overall, the team was in the trainer's room less and was highly competitive in the most competitive division in the state of MA.” - Seth Kirby
It’s Time to Make a Change
Because you work so hard all summer and fall to help your athletes, and because you care for them deeply, you deserve to leave the course at the last meet of the year knowing your team ran to their potential and that all the work you put in since the first day of summer practice was worth it.
And more than anything you want the kids to leave the course proud of how they ran, and with the satisfaction a runner can only get when they know they raced to their fitness level.
Last year over 300 coaches used the XC Training system to take their program to the next level.
If you think it’s time for you to do the same, and to see where you and the athletes can get to this fall, the XC Training System is for you.
XC Training System (XCTS)
The XC Training System (XCTS) is a comprehensive training system – including warm-ups, thoughtful progressions of workouts, and time-tested post-run routines – that will keep your athletes injury-free and help them run their best races of the year in the last three meets of the year.
This system works in any environment – small school or big school – and works for girl’s teams and boy’s teams, as well as combined programs. And if you’re a coach who works with middle school athletes, there is detailed training for those athletes as well.
Here’s What’s Inside the XCTS...
24 Weeks of Training
24-week training plans for all levels of athletes, from kids who are already running some serious mileage to athletes who are just coming out for the team and will be in the “no prior training” group.
Strength and Mobility Training
Post-run strength and mobility training, which can be done anywhere. This crucial part of every training day will progress to more challenging work throughout the season. You’ll get access to videos of every exercises, and your athletes can get these videos on their phone.
Plans for All of Your Athletes
Daily plans for athletes ranging from "no prior training" up to athletes that will run 90+ min long runs. Kids stay injury-free with these progressive plans.
Priority Email Access
Priority email access with me throughout the year. I’m here to coach you so you can coach your athletes in the best, most thoughtful way possible (...most days I only answer questions from coaches in my training systems and am unable to answer questions from coaches not in the system...).
A thoughtful warm-up, with a detailed video that teaches you how to teach the warm-up. This is more than simply leg swings and the lunge matrix - it's the best warm-up I can offer you in 2023.
Five Live Classes
Five live classes with me where I’ll answer your questions. All the classes are recorded, and the audio of each one is recorded so you can listen to them on your phone like you would a podcast.
You pay once.
You own it forever.
You get lifetime updates.
I’ll Be With You Along The Way
I’ll be with you every week of the cross country season.
I’ll answer your questions during the webinars, and I’ll answer any questions you have during the season. I’ll give you detailed feedback on your training plan this summer so you have time to adjust things before the season starts.
You won’t have to guess if you’ve got the right training, and you won’t be making adjustments on your own in weeks with key races.
In the same way your athletes have a hard-working coach in their corner, I’ll be in yours.
“The XCTS added an element of "armor" to our team.
While all of the post-run work took additional time and our average practice time increased, the athletes were more engaged and we had no injuries (except for what a couple boys got on their summer vacations and lasted into our xc season).
Every single one of our athletes ran PRs, our top boy won at region and ran his race fast, faster, fastest just like we practiced.
The XCTS helped the teams build confidence in their abilities as well as speed, strength and mobility.
I coach at a smaller school and at first I felt the cost for the XCTS was higher than we could afford. Our budget is small and we fundraise for most of what we spend on our program. I have always believed the money was best spent directly on the kids.
If you're a new coach this could save you hundreds of hours of stressing over whether you're implementing the right program for your runners.
If you're experienced, you can see the value in having a professional coach who has spent years coaching coaches and runners putting together a program specifically for multiple levels of high school athletes and you can integrate the best of what you do into this program to make your practices the best possible.
The program is well laid-out with easy to follow printable schedules. Once I learned the program, it was easy to implement some of our favorite routes/games/activities into the scheduled runs so we could make the best of XCTS and the 10 years’ experience of coaching. (HINT: invest in late spring/early summer!! You'll want the time to watch all the videos and begin learning and implementing the new routines.)
We trained our captains on how to do the post-run work and gave them the handouts with QR codes provided in the XCTS and had them lead the new routines and demonstrate how to do the exercises that were new to the team.
If you're on the fence, just do it! Don't wait until summer's mostly over, start your summer training off right away and build those runners you have into their best selves. Use the "down time" you have during summer training to teach new routines and think how this program can integrate into the best of what you already do as a coach.
This program can stand as it is, you don't need anything additional, but if you've got team favorite practices there's room in the program for you to adapt them to fit.
XCTS is a winning program for coaches who want the best for their athletes.” - Holly Walker
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to learn all the information?
How exactly does it keep kids injury-free?
Will this work in my environment?
Will you really answer my emails?
Will you be able to write a custom training plan for me?
What does "lifetime updates" mean?
I can’t decide if this is right for me and my program – any advice?
Can I share the training with my staff?
What if I can’t make the live classes?
Why isn't there a money-back guarantee?
A bit about me...
I’ve coached high school, collegiate, and professional runners for more than two decades, including three USATF champions in cross country, indoor track, and road racing. I studied kinesiology and applied physiology at the University of Colorado, where I was a member of the varsity cross country team featured in Chris Lear's cult-classic Running with the Buffaloes. I earned my M.S. in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from CU in 2000.
Consistency Is Key: 15 Ways to Unlock Your Potential as a High School Runner was published in June 2020 and has sold over 13,000 copies.
I‘ve written for brands such as Nike, sites like PodiumRunner.com, and magazines including the much beloved but defunct Running Times. I’ve been quoted in several publications, including Wired, Outside, and Runner's World.
You can email me at [email protected] if you think I can be helpful, or if you have questions about the XCTS.
I ran modest PRs of 3:49.5 (1500m) 8:20 (3k) 14:20 (5k) and 30:15 (10k) as a collegiate athlete. In cross country I was the slowest guy on some very good teams 😀. I ran 2:00, 4:25 and 9:45 in high school.
Check out the XC Training System in this concise video.
There’s no reason it should take you years to make your program one of your state’s best. While I can’t help you with the challenging work of recruiting talent, I can take the guesswork of training and help you learn a system that works in any environment, one you can own over the coming years.
“When I took over both the men's and women's Varsity XC programs at my school, the team was in a desperate need of a cultural reset. After years of injuries, negative coaching practices, and a nonexistent team culture, morale was extremely low.
Case in point, the women's team won the small school state championships in 2021, and then all but one quit. With a dire need to rebuild confidence, culture, and community, I needed a training program I could rely on so that I could focus my attention fully on reestablishing what distance running could be like at my school. Enter Jay Johnson.
I was exposed to the XCTS and his programs through my high school cross country coach, and I immediately connected with Jay's low-volume approach and philosophy on going fast every day.
The kids really bought into this newer way of training, and having a vetted plan at my disposal allowed me to not stress too hard about giving the kids the right training while simultaneously exerting a lot of effort in building a new cultural foundation for the program.
We finished the season with NO INJURIES, a first in four years, and almost all of the kids PRed or got close to PRs that they had set earlier in their careers prior to injuries.
With Jay's training programs, and our cultural reset, we had a record number of kids come out for the team for next season and they're actually EXCITED to train over the summer to get ready for next fall!
I couldn't have accomplished everything I had to tackle this season without him and the XCTS. What's more is that the kids ENJOYED the training! Granted, not every workout was "fun," but they understood the purpose of each workout and that made it fun for them. They were able to see why they were doing what they were doing, and how the workouts would have direct impacts on their performance in the 5K.
Jay's explanations for each type of workout are excellent, and allowed me to relay purpose to the kids so that they could run their best in each workout. The post-run work was very new to them, but it was something that they looked forward to as an alternative to simply "running more," which lent to very focused work.
All of the resources Jay provides for coaches in the XCTS are high quality, informative, and served to improve my understanding of not just coaching cross country runners, but just on being a better coach in general.
This is an invaluable resource, and any coach regardless of their experience will benefit from what he has to share.
What are you waiting for? LET'S GO!” - Ryan Marklewitz
“We finished our season yesterday. We won both girls and boys 4A and had the girl and boy individual champion.
Your influence on this program has been significant. I have told you of the importance your work had on our Track program in the spring. The same is true for this fall. Where it is true that you have helped redefine how we train: warm ups, cool downs, workouts; you have really influenced the philosophy behind how and why.
I refer to you as my coaching mentor and my kids often ask what does coach Jay say? To listen to my veteran runners tell our young runners, “consistency is the key” is just a small example of how you have impacted Greenville.
Specifically, your frequent statement, “when in doubt do less” was the mantra for this XC season.
All season we faced one setback after another: illness, staff change, inclement weather, etc.
Prior to State we had only been able to have our complete varsity available to race for 2 meets. Time after time I wanted to try and make it up by pushing, but we stayed with the principle of do less and focused on the things that matter.”
- Bob Collins, Greenville High School
Let’s both be honest...
If you've read this far, you’re likely convinced that the XCTS can take your program to the next level.
You’ve read how it’s changed programs, how it’s helped coaches keep their kids injury-free, and how it’s helped some teams win state championships.
The XCTS, coupled with guidance from me, can change your program for the better, and make you a better coach.
Let’s help you have that special moment at the last meet of the year where you leave the course knowing you did everything in your power to give your kids the best experience possible in a sport they love.