Summer Training Begins!


Middle School Runners,

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost here!  With the end of the school year fast approaching, I wanted to post an update on our summer training program and an early look at the fall schedule.

Look forward to seeing you at The Running Center at 6:30 PM on Monday, June 2!

Coach Don



Our “summer schedule” will consist of the ten weeks beginning on Monday, June 2.  I will send out an email every week in advance, but in general we will have three group training sessions each week:

  • Monday:  6:30 PM at The Running Center (14308 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618)
  • Wednesday:  6:30 PM at Babe Zaharias Golf Course (11412 N Forest Hills Dr., Tampa, FL 33612)
  • Saturday:  7:30 AM at various fun running paths in the area

The Monday session will start off with a 30 minute running clinic, where the kids will hear speakers talk on subjects such as shoes, diet, training and racing (and we may even have some fun giveaways throughout the summer!).  We will probably also do some Tuesday/Thursday sessions at a local track and/or some other fun runs, so make sure to check the weekly email to see what we’re doing that week.

Also, we will probably do some or all of the following “bonus” workouts:

  • Lutz Independence Day 5K:  July 4
  • “Friday Night Lights” meets at Lecanto Track:  June 27, July 11, July 1


As with our regular season practices, all summer training sessions are completely optional.  That being said, the more summer running the kids do, the more fun they will have in the fall.  They will be used to the heat, more fit, and ready to run fast times.

We always need to keep in mind that each young runner is different.  For some of the beginners, two or three shorter runs a week will be a lot, so just attending the group runs (or doing some short runs at home) will be a great accomplishment.  For some of the older and more experienced kids, five or six runs a week will help them develop a base, so they should definitely log some extra miles at home.  The main point here is that we aren’t going to compare kids, but rather focus on where each runner is at the beginning of the summer and where they can get by the time the season starts.

And summer is a great time for the kids to ignore how fast they are running.  It’s hot!  The point is for them to develop a base of easy running, so I’m more concerned with “fun and frequent” running rather than “hard and fast” running.  To that end, I am going to give out some awards at the end of the summer for the kids who are good about writing down what they did each week and emailing it to me — here are a few of those awards:

  • Ran 3 / 4 / 5+ times in a single week
  • Ran 5 / 10 / 15 / 20+ miles in a single week
  • Did long run of 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8+ miles
  • Attended Saturday run 3 / 4 / 5+ times
  • Most Interesting Run Location
  • Most Practices Attended
  • Most Weekly Mileage Logs Submitted
  • Most Days Run
  • Most Miles Run

As you can see, there’s something there for everyone to shoot for.  Keeping a log like this is good practice for when they get to high school, and it gives them something tangible to review and analyze.  I don’t need to know how fast they ran — just a summary of what days they ran and (approximately) how far.  I’m also interested if they ran in any interesting locale (e.g., on a cruise, on vacation in Alaska, etc.), if they ran a road race, mud run or track meet, or if they did an interesting cross training exercise (e.g., five mile bike ride, swimming race, etc.).  Just tell them to write it all down and email or text it to me every week!

Also, if any runner would like me to help them come up with a training plan to follow, I am more than happy to do that!


We are going to do a couple things differently this year, so I wanted to give you all some advance notice:

  • Rather than collect money from the parents before each meet, we are just going to come up with a flat fee to cover all of the team costs on the front end.  I haven’t figured out the final cost of everything yet, but I anticipate that the team fee will be approximately $70 for each runner.  This fee will cover two important things:  (1) the registration fee for every meet listed below (except Disney and Alachua — details below); and (2) the RRCA (Road Running Clubs of America) club fee, which provides every runner with insurance at practices and meets, and a 10% discount on most purchases at The Running Center.  If we end up collecting more than we spend, the extra funds will be applied against drinks and snacks or future meet costs.
  • I realize that not every person is certain that their child is interested or able to participate on the team, so please do not feel obligated to pay the club fee if your child is only initially interested in coming out to a few summer workouts to see if he or she likes it.  If they like it, you can pay the fee once the season starts in August.  But everyone — whether new, old or just trying it out — must fill out and sign the registration/waiver form so that we can get them into the RRCA system for insurance purposes.
  • Special Note for the Disney and Alachua races:  I am not including the cost of running the Disney meet in the club fee because I’m not sure everyone will be allowed to run the race.  Right now, the race website says that only 6th through 8th graders can run in the middle school race, but we may be able to get the younger kids into the “open” race that follows the middle school race.  Once we figure out who can attend that race, I will collect from each runner who is going — I expect the cost to be anywhere from $10 to $20 per runner.  And I’m not including the Alachua race because I’m not sure we’re even going (see below) — but if we do go, the cost will be between $10 and $15 per runner.  I’ll have more info on all of this in August.
  • Note that the club fee does not cover the cost of our new uniforms — Yes, we are getting real uniforms this year!  We already have a new logo, so I am researching the design and costs of the uniforms now.  I’ll get back to you with costs and how to pay in the next month or so.  If we order in bulk, I’m hopeful that we can keep the prices relatively low.


The below schedule isn’t final, but it looks like we can fill it with a fun meet each week from early September to the first of November!  All of these meets should be a lot of fun, but I understand that not everyone can make every meet, so I have put the meets that are most important to the Harriers from a team perspective in bold text.  These are the meets where we need a huge turnout so that we can show all of the other teams in the region how far we’ve come!

September 6 (Saturday): Holloway Park Jamboree (Lakeland)

September 13 (Saturday):  Florida Horse Park (Ocala)

September 19 (Friday):  Jim Ryun Meet (Lakeland)

September 26 (Friday):  PreHEAT Meet (Brandon)

October 4 (Saturday): (Titusville)

October 10 (Friday):  Disney World XC (Kissimmee) — 6TH, 7TH, 8TH GRADE ONLY

October 18 (Saturday):  Half-Mile Timing Invite (Alachua) — UNDECIDED IF WE WILL GO

October 24 (Friday):  Bay Area MS XC Championships (Brandon) 

November 1 (Saturday):  State Championship: Championship and Open Divisions (Lakeland)

All of that being said, the Ocala, Disney and State meets will also be a lot of fun and full of great competition — so I hope the kids can make most or all of the meets.

The one meet that I’m still on the fence about is the Alachua meet on 10/18.  It’s pretty far away, but it is a state qualifier, so if we have some kids that are close to qualifying for the Championship division of the state meet, we may just bring those kids plus anyone else who is interested in waking up early on a Saturday…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s