In late August we concluded the 6th season of the XC Project, a Cross Country training program for ages 11-20. The joint venture with the Merrimack Valley Striders was held every Monday, Wednesday and friday morning from 8:00-9:45 at at Greater Lawrence Vocational School in Andover.
The program is targeted for Middle School, High School and College Cross Country runners preparing for the fall season. Training takes place on the turf field, the trails, 400 meter track, and the school grounds. After a group warmup on the turf, we split the groups up by ability level, not by age or gender. Our philosophy is that a 6:00 miler should train with other 6:00 milers regardless of age or gender. We had 75 runners enrolled with a fairly even gender split (Boys - 39 & Girls - 36). This is pretty consistent with past years, although our numbers were up about 25% over last year.
The groups go off with their individual Coach for the workout. Workouts are varied, since we feel that variety keeps runners fresh and challenged. We don't duplicate any workouts over our 18 sessions. Hills, tempo runs, track work, circuit training, and even a couple of time trials, kept the runners motivated for the XC season. It's always very gratifying to see the progress that the kids make throughout the Summer. View the photo album here. The Whistle Drill and Turn N Burn Runs are always mentioned as their favorite workouts.
Our coaching staff is made up of MVC High School Coaches - Peter Fortunato & Fran Cusick (Tewksbury), Erik Taber (Dracut), and Kevin Alliette (Methuen), as well as 2 College rising senior Track athletes Patrick Carleton (Worcester State) and Tatum Pecci (UMass Lowell). I am the Director and Founder of the XC Project, and am currently coaching at Tewksbury HS, as well as the Director of Special Events for The Massachusetts Track Coaches Association.
Next year we have decided to expand to include an additional segment called the Speed Project. This will be targeted for and winter sport athletes who want to get stronger and faster. We will utilize many aspects of our current program including Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Plyometrics, Mini Bands, Core Work and Hurdle Mobility, and will add more agility ladders, wicket drills, Flying 30's and 10 meter sprint timing. We have had many requests to accommodate siblings who compete in Sports other than Cross Country.
A question we are frequently asked is why do these kids sign up and work so hard during their summer vacation. Our athletes are highly motivated, and understand that the more they do in the summer the better prepared they are for fall. We tell them on the first day that the training won't be easy, but it will be worth it. This fall we have seen many of our XC Project athletes posting outstanding times in early season meets. They all mention how well prepared they were for the season.
On our final training session we spent the last half hour doing our XC Project Fun Relays. Jump Rope, skipping, Bear Crawls, Backwards Runs and Find Your Shoe Relays were all competitive and fun. Teams got to choose from Coach Doyle's Magic box of Tee Shirt samples, Hats and assorted other prizes. We always view the last day with a bit of sadness, but with the anticipation for the new XC season.
The countdown has begun ..... only 9 months until our first day of training for 2022!
| XC Project Director Coach Fred Doyle