Girls Cross Country Program Philosophy
Cross country is a hard sport, especially considering the bulk of the training occurs in the heat of the Houston summer. Any Kinkaid student who is interested in competing is invited to join the team. All she needs is: a desire to run, a positive attitude, and openness to learning. New team members will find the cross country team to be a caring and supportive group, and a hard working team. Team success is measured by individual improvement, self-awareness, risk-taking, learning to race and compete, cooperating and working with teammates toward a common goal, setting and reaching goals, learning to self-advocate, and overall health and happiness. Coaches work to measure team success again by growth, connectedness, improvements in competitiveness, collected joy, working hard, fun, keeping injuries low, and reaching the fullest individaul and team potentials by the end of the season.
The girls cross country team trains on the trails in the Backyard of Kinkaid, at Memorial Park, at Allen Parkway, and at Hershey Park. Runners learn and practice race strategy, proper running form, injury prevention, the importance of healthy nutrition, and form drills. It is important for cross country athletes to complete a wide variety of workouts including long runs, up-tempo runs, intervals, Fartlek, hills, and time trials. Utilizing three or even four workout groups, the goal is to allow athletes to train with the group where they will be challenged without getting injured. About every other week the team will run with the boys cross country team to work on race pace. The variety of training terrain allows runners to be better prepared for the different racing terrains. The girls compete all around Houston, in Texas, and in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The top 12 to 14 runners are considered varsity athletes. On average, the Kinkaid girls cross country team is made up of 30-34 Upper School student athletes.
Coaches create practice plans for the season and each week has a theme, several objectives, and an element of fun. Each week's theme and objectives for the week are thoroughly explained to ensure runners understand the workout and the objective of each workout. The first several weeks of practice are spent on building endurance, working to improve running form, and learning about pace. In the beginning, runners will do intervals at a slower pace with very little rest; as the season progresses, the intervals will get faster and rest will be longer. On recovery days and hard days, team members will talk about the team concept and the “Purple Pack Attack”, which encourages runners to run with the next girl(s) up from her on the team and all runners encourage each other. Girls quickly learn when they run with a teammate, they race faster. Girls will learn about how teammates and competitors make each of us better. During a race it is very common for one teammate to say to another as she passes, “let’s go, come with me”, working to bring out the best in each other.
The varsity cross country team promotes leadership and selects senior mentors. Any senior who is in her second, third, or fourth year of cross country is eligible to be a senior mentor. If an athlete does not want the added responsibility, she does not have to be a senior mentor. Expectations are written and coaches meet with the seniors at the start of the season to make sure season goals and plans are understood. Coaches rely on senior leaders for feedback about workouts and to communicate with the coaches about modifying workouts, if necessary. The seniors lead the daily warm-up and cool down. Senior mentors help plan team dinners and fun activities such as tie-dying, rotate creating inspirational signs for lockers each week, and help coaches choose runner-of-the-week. Each week, senior mentors meet with a group of 4-5 younger athletes to talk about the upcoming meet, goals, and race strategy. Mentor groups are rotated four times during the season in an attempt to have every athlete mentored by several different seniors. Toward the end of the season, senior mentors lead the less-experienced athletes through visualization of the meet. Seniors also play an important role in talking about the culture of the team to parents at the early season parent meeting.
Kinkaid will provide a race uniform, 2 practice shirts and 1 pair of shorts.
Parents will provide running shoes, spikes, a water bottle and black running shorts.
Parents will provide training shoes, spikes, water bottle and black running shorts.
Practice begins August 23rd at 2:30 PM.
The final meet is the HJPC Championship meet the week of October 17th.
Upper School Cross Country preseason training begins with a Running Workshop in Idyllwild, CA.
Regular practices will commence at the Memorial Park Stretching Station on August 8th at 6:30am.
SPC Championship meet is in Austin, TX, November 5th.