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Cross Country Basics-Glossary

Aerobic capacity: how much oxygen your body can deliver to your exercising muscles. Increase the amount of oxygen and you can run faster. Training increases aerobic capacity.

Anaerobic: means "without air", During anaerobic exercise the muscles exercised have insufficient oxygen to meet the demands of the activity. Speed training (fartleks, intervals) take advantage of the body temporarily exceeding the anaerobic threshold and attempts to increase it.

The annual awards ceremony held at the conclusion of the season.

Cross country: Often referred to merely as ‘cross", this is a team sport that involves competing at running over varied terrain.

Cross training: Combining of exercises to work various parts of the body. Weight lifting, bike riding, swimming, eliptical and ultimate frisbee workouts are all examples of cross training to continue to maintain aerobic capacity and strength during recovery days.

Dual meet: A meet involving two teams. A triangular meet involves three teams

Easy run (a.k.a. Recovery run): part of the beginning and ending of all types of training to warm up and cool down the body. Can also be used as a training run to allow the body to recover from a previous days hard effort, typically done at a 1-1:20 minutes over normal mile pace.

Swedish term when literally translated means speed play. A variation of interval training where the runner varies the pace significantly during the run with no predetermined schedule but in response to their own feelings of the work effort. This technique is used to develop speed and pace.

Finish chute: The roped off area immediately after the finish line where the runners’ places are recorded and runners are given their places on the finish cards.

Harrier: Common and traditional nickname for a cross-country runner.

Hill runs: Used to build strength (especially in quadricep muscles). Can involve sprints up and down a specific hill or a training route involving a route with several climbs. Develops anaerobic capacity as well as running economy.

Intervals: Intervals are a series of efforts run at speeds faster than normal pace with a rest interval (usually a walk or slow jog). These workouts are used to develop speed.

A meet involving a number of teams (anywhere from 5 to 50) who have been invited to compete.

Lactic Acid: intense running in practice will cause lactic acid (the by-product of muscle function) to accumulate in the muscles and is a factor in causing pain and fatigue.

Leveling: Assigning how much running an athlete will do each day based on age, previous experience, time of year, and most importantly previous training that athlete had done.

Long run: The longest run of the week, typically for our runners, 4-7 miles. For marathoners long runs increase throughout the training period to acclimate the athlete, both physically and mentally to race day distance. The pace is basically at "easy run" pace. Used to push the endurance barrier.

Logbook: A record that a runner keeps where they will "log" the training they do each day.

Pace: The rate of speed maintained over a certain distance.

Pack: Any group of teammates running close together in a meet or in practice.

Personal Record or PR: Best performance time on a specific course or any course – usually called a PR.

Running economy: the amount of oxygen you consume when running at a steady but less than all-out pace. The less oxygen used, the better your running economy.

Surge: An increase in speed for during a race used as a tactical move.

Tempo run: This is a run that is faster than the usual training pace teaching the body to run at a fast pace for long periods of time. Typically these are 3-4 mile runs. This training is used for speed and pace.

Training shoes: Shoes for daily practice usually with more support and weight than racing flats which are lightweight and worn to race in on smooth courses. Most cross runners compete in spikes which enable them to get a better grip on the grassy or muddy surfaces.

Warmup: The period of easy running, stretching, and sprinting designed to prepare the heart and the muscles for practices or meets. Afterwards, the warmdown is designed to return the body to a "normal state".
XC: Abbreviation for cross country.

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