The men of Cornell’s cross country team began practice only two weeks ago, but they have been working since the beginning of this blistering summer to prepare for their season. Many of them put in over 100 miles a week of training towards the end of the summer.
At the end of the track season, distance coach Robert Johnson sits down with the athletes intending on running into the next season and individually outlines a mileage plan for each runner. Johnson emphasizes increasing mileage safely as he does not want anyone coming in sick or injured because they worked too hard.
“I really stress listening to their bodies,” he said.
Increasing their mileage by about 10-15 miles more than they have run before is the goal, but most go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Prior to this summer, junior Aaron Arlinghaus had never run more than 75 miles in a given week, but by the end of the summer, he was up to 101. Arlinghaus is joined by a slew of his teammates at the beginning of this season who have also been recording 100-plus mile weeks. Senior captain Bruce Hyde has recorded three weeks of over 120 miles, certainly a large feat.
Recording such numbers often means running twice in a day, which may become monotonous, but the cross country team does so on a daily basis – most of them missing few, if any, days over the course of the summer.
This work must get done during the summer, as the men need a strong base to work with over the season.
“Running so much in the summer is hard because it is really blue-collar work. It’s not really glamorous. Sometimes, it is hard not to make excuses,” Johnson said.
Without the pull of upcoming races or having the motivation of others to run with, summer workouts can become grueling without a light at the end of the tunnel, but the men know they will be rewarded come the beginning of the season.
“Having so much mileage this year will help everyone on the team,” said sophomore Jimmy Wyner. “Extra mileage gives us more confidence going into the season.”
For Arlinghaus, this is the first year that he is coming in with such a strong base and noted that it is certainly going to help.
“Normally, I feel like I have to race myself into shape. I had a full change in the view I had of what I wanted to do with running, and for the first time, I put in the extra effort,” Arlinghaus said.
Johnson was so pleased with the effort of his team that he did not force some of them to compete in a time trial for the first time in his three years as a coach at Cornell. He normally uses this to assess where everyone is in terms of fitness and talent at the start of the season. With 12 men logging more than 100 miles a week by the end of the summer, the team looked strong.
“Cross country is a summer sport played out in the fall,” Johnson said. “The guys should feel like they are just getting going now.”
With their first race only two days away, the Red continue to put in long distances day in and day out, waiting until October to pick up the pace with shorter workouts and more frequent competitions.
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer