Helping your Daughter during the Cross Country Season

As your daughter begins the first few weeks of the season, you may wonder what to expect and how you can assist her in terms of recovery, eating, sleeping, and mental attitude. As a rule, we do not recommend that you change any aspect of your normal routine of home responsibilities, family meal planning, bedtime, and social guidelines. A normal consequence of beginning to train is muscle soreness, which will eventually go away. If your daughter has not participated in sports before, or if she was relatively inactive over the summer, the soreness may persist for up to two weeks.

We will do our best to adjust the training of our team individually for each athlete. To assist in this process, we ask the runners to sign into Google Apps at least once a week to record their training. At the beginning of the season, the girls were asked to find their weekly average and increase their minutes of running by up to 10% each week. Runners who were inactive or did not record their training will be instructed to begin with 10 minutes of running per day – or a total of 70 minutes per week. We want to build strength and prevent injury. Communication is a must in this circumstance!

Any athlete engaged in rigorous training and competition is subject to injury, but we can prevent most injuries by keeping the lines of communication open to prevent over-fatigue. We have many years of competitive running under our belts, and we work with an excellent athletic trainer that can help to identify and treat running injuries. If a problem is caught early enough, we will adjust training, treat the injury, or at last resort, recommend a visit to a sports injury specialist.

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential for all athletes. An optimal diet for runners is based on fruits, whole grains, and a varied selection of vegetables. Meat and dairy products offer much needed protein and calcium. Both chicken/turkey and red meat should be consumed. If your child is vegetarian, make sure she gets the right food combinations of proper vitamins and minerals as well as protein. Due to menstruation, girls need the iron in red meats for nutritional well being. As your daughter’s training intensifies, so will the number of calories burned each day. Our best advice is … eat a lot but make sure you’re eating healthy. Fatty or fried foods, carbonated drinks (pop), and candy should be avoided, especially on race day. Eat these foods in great moderation, if at all. If you have any questions on nutrition, always feel free to ask.

On race days, runners should eat foods that are easily digestible, and these foods should be eaten up to 3 hours before a race. For school day meets, a healthy breakfast and lunch should suffice. Runners should always drink lots of water throughout the day. We recommend carrying a water bottle. Snacks should be packed for every race as a post-race recovery meal. On hard workout days, athletes need to bring a snack for after practice that is high in carbohydrates but low in fat and protein. Nutrition will be further addressed at practice.