Point / Counterpoint - Is the XC Season too Long?


The length of the High School XC season is a question that is often discussed.
In a Point / Counterpoint format, our own Kevin M. Byrne Sr. and George Kochman III (GeorgietheK) debate the issue on NJRunners.com
First up is Mr. Byrne supporting the the statement

The Season Does Last Too Long


The immediate argument would be that the summer training is what is fueling indoor and outdoors. To count it as xc training and not as indoor or outdoor who be a misjudgement. Can you really get fit as a distance runner for indoors in the couple of weeks before racing starts or the same for outdoors? Most coaches would say the runners are on a year schedule with summer building the base and then slowly building speed over the three seasons and finishing with their real peak in outdoors.

It’s not the length of the season it’s the length of the championship season that kills the kids.


One point about that, Jim: not everyone runs indoors. In the past couple years and even now, there are kids who either don’t run indoors because of anotehr sport or because their school doesn’t have a program.


Totally agree that Summer training fuels indoors and outdoors, and obviously you can’t get fit in just the two weeks leading up to indoors or outdoors. Agree that runners should be on a year long schedule and we have always approached it that way in my house. How do you think I talked Kevin into running cross country? :). Also strongly agree that kids should slowly build throughout the year, but for the most part I don’t see a “slow build” happening out there. Agree that the championship season is way too long, and in most instances it is really out of the hands of the coaches, e.g. you skip sectionals you are done, but most teams are racing way before the championship season starts, and I didn’t even mention the dual meet schedule that weighs on a lot of programs. I just firmly believe that doing interval workouts from early July through November and racing competitive 5ks from the middle of September through November takes its toll on their end of year performances when it matters most. As I said in the article, I would be looking to give my runners some downtime somewhere in the process, and absent that, I would do a more gradual buildup where there are less interval workouts in the Summer and maybe more straight distance work for a longer period of time, and I wouldn’t open up my racing season until Shore Coaches at the earliest. I think you are starting to see some of that from the elite runners over the past few years (Pearson, maybe the Rosas and I think Tim Ball this year) where they don’t start racing until October, but maybe thats because they know their season will likely stretch into December. Good stuff Coach!


The other side of the argument… “The Season is Just Right”
is presented by George Kochman III


The question was about the length of the season - the structure if you will. It seems to me that what Kevin has a problem with (and it sounds by implication that George agrees) is not the length of the season itself but the way that some coaches manage (or mismange) it. Racing too early/too much, no breaks, interval training too early - those are not about the length of the season but about the wisdom and execution of the training and racing plan.


I was expecting a good SNL skit involving Dan akroyd and Jane Curtin. Now that would be funny. Something like “King you ignorant…”:smiley:
No offense King!
Now I am dating myself

But I love having these two guys take opposite sides of this argument.

I know for us the season doesn’t really begin until the middle of October with our County meet. We are fortunate to not have dual meets any more.


Don’t worry, the SNL skit was referenced during our discussions over email. Thankfully, Pat M kept it civil.

Nice to see that some people have eliminated dual meets. For many teams they add little to the season and take up too much time/effort away from training. I think that dual meets can serve a purpose - again - everything needs to be structured right.


Shocking to read a CBA guy espousing elimination of dual meets!

Getting rid of all dual meets would be a very bad thing for your first and maybe even second groups.


Jarvis was referring to the Olympic Conference’s elimination of duel meets in favor of non-scoring (or more accurately, insignificantly scored) batch meets. The batch meets provide opportunities for young runners and developing teams but do not count toward a championship.


I love the idea of batch races. I, too, was tempted to use the ignorant… from SNL. Thought it would only be funny in my mind. :smiley:


If you noticed, I quoted George’s post, not Jar’s. My comment was in response to George.


Yea, I just thought I’d clarify. I realize that there may be a greater utility for duel meets for school in CBA’s position.


I dunno. Batch meets, dual meets, whatever there has to be something for the tier 2 and 3 athletes (from George’s article).



For teams like CBA, dual meets help build the varsity for the next few years. Obviously, the streak is something in and of itself, but aside from that, it gives young runners a chance to score points and contribute to the larger goals of the team. It is a way of including everyone.

Beyond that though, as Joe mentioned, I think there needs to be a place for young, inexperienced athletes to learn how to race. I think there is benefit in dual meets for that purpose. My sisters and brother went to a high school that had, by all results, a pretty bad XC program. But every few years they would have the opportunity to possibly win their division. It was a pretty motivating goal for them, and certainly changed their outlook. Other years, they had barely enough kids to fill a roster (and sometimes couldn’t even do that), and having dual meets where losing was all but assured - was pointless.