PARENT & ATHLETE PREPARATION!
With 10 years of coaching experience, over 160 juniors enrolled across our Term 3 Adventure Running & Adventure Athletics Programs, coach Scarlett shares with you her top tips for supporting junior runners through their school cross-country, with this particular blog focusing on the State Championship race, Thursday the 12th of August.
The School Sport WA Primary XC Championships present your child with a chance to run in large field of runners, it’s an opportunity to get great race experience!
It can be an intimidating experience standing on the start line with 300 other competitors, so this little blog is written for both you and your junior star!
Our DOSE Junior runners undergo preparation in training that includes how to prepare and warm up for an event, how to pace themselves, push themselves, be tactical and race smart such as tucking in behind a competitor when there is a headwind and more.
This blog touches on some helpful last minute preparation tips that you can talk through with your little athlete before race day.
Parents and athletes, this if for you to go through together …
Mentally preparing for the atmosphere
- It’s probably the biggest race you’ve been in (especially if it’s the first time you’ve done this Championships)
- The start is going to be packed, fast & unforgiving (we’re talking 200+ runners in each event).
- Prepare to fall over. If it happens to you at the start of the race it can be a shock. Plan to bounce back up, refocus & run.
Set your own controllable goals
- You can’t control your competitors or the conditions, so setting a goal like ‘I want to win my race’ isn’t the best approach.
- Perhaps try…
- ‘ I want to run my race in this time _______ .
- ‘I want to run the entire way, including the hills and bush at the back’
- ‘I want to improve on ‘this’ section of the race compared to last year when I did it’
If you have done your preparation, such as training consistently, and you cross the finish line giving it everything you have, you’ve got to be happy.
Start line jitters
- Don’t just stand there. You can do your running drills on the spot, just keep gently moving so you don’t get cold.
- Feeling queasy? Got butterfly’s? That’s a great thing. It means the blood is pumping away from your stomach and towards your muscles, your body is getting you ready to perform!
- Take a few deep breaths and trust your training.
Running the race
- When you’re all alone on the back straight and nobody is watching or there to cheer you, it’s easy to slow down or walk. Keep going, pain is temporary!
- Running is just as much mental as it is physical, focus on yourself and remain positive, no matter where you are in the pack.
- Sprint finishes aren’t that commendable. Arguable I know, but too often I see juniors run within their comfort zones for most of the race, only to put on an impressive sprint in the last 50m. This shows me that they had more to give earlier.
12. Someone else winning doesn’t take away from your success. Be a good sport and congratulate both your own team mates and those from other schools.
13. Reflect on your own performance and find at least one part of your run that you’re proud of, and one part of your run that you can improve on for next time.
14. Rehydrate and Re-fuel (Protein, Carbohydrate and healthy Fats) will aid recovery.
The start will look a little like this (see below). On the day it can be a shock to kids especially when they are expecting the event to be similar to their school or inter-school carnival, this video gives them a visual in advance.
See below for the race schedule and course maps.
More information can be found on the School Sport WA website
Want more race tips? Read our Junior Cross-Country Tips on racing & pacing, mental game, nutrition and how to be a constructive supporter here: junior-cross-country-racing-tips
Remember, You learn something from every single race. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a race, be it achieving my expectations or underperforming without learning from it. Race experience is invaluable, it has to be lived. This is a learning opportunity.
I’ll be popping down on race day and wish all our DOSE Junior Runners the very best!
We nurture and enhance running specific skill, endurance strength and technique appropriate to age and key developmental stages of youth.