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XC Project - Summer 2022

Fred Doyle - | Published on 9/24/2022

On August 15th we concluded our 7th season of the
XC Project, a Cross Country training program for ages 10-20. This year we also offered a program, Speed Project, for fall sport athletes and sprinters looking to get faster.

Our partnership program with the Merrimack Valley Striders was held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 8:00-9:45 at Greater Lawrence Vocational School in Andover. Both programs are targeted for Middle School, High School and College athletes 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. There were about 85 athletes enrolled with a fairly even gender split (Boys - 46 & Girls - 39). This is pretty consistent with past years, although our numbers were up about 18% 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 plyometrics, kept the runners motivated and prepared for the XC season. It’s always very gratifying to see the progress that the kids make throughout the Summer. 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), Jess McCarthy (Burlington), Kevin Alliette (Methuen) and Luis Cruz (Lawrence), as well as 2 recent College graduates and Track athletes Patrick Carleton (Worcester State) & Tatum Pecci (UMass Lowell).

I am the Director and Founder of the XC Project and Speed Project, and have been recently named Head Boys & Girls XC Coach at Bishop Fenwick HS in Peabody, and continue as the Director of Special Events for The Massachusetts Track Coaches Association.

View all photos here: 2022 XC Youth Training 

We utilize many supplemental activities in our programs including Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Plyometrics, Mini Bands, Core Work and Hurdle Mobility, and continue to utilize agility ladders, wicket drills, Flying 30’s and 10-meter sprint Timing. This allows us to attain our summer goal of getting our athletes both stronger and faster.

2022 XC Project - Kids 2

A question we are frequently asked is why 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. We expect this fall to see many of our XC Project athletes posting outstanding times in both their league meets and invitationals. They all mention how well prepared they are for the upcoming 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 10+ months until our first day of training for 2023!


Road Runners Club of America USATF - New England Mill Cities Relay