Cross country athletes train hard to get desired results

Ben Grote, Sports Editor

By definition, a Chaparral is a roadrunner, and like the Chaparral, the cross country team members are roadrunners themselves.

Using his own experience in the sport, cross country coach Matt Wilhite pushes his athletes as hard as he can utilizing a training program he developed. He hopes the rigorous training and the athletes’ dedication to the sport will pay off this season, with the eventual goal of winning regionals again this year.

Wilhite’s athletes train on a progressive style of running. The athletes start by running a short distance at each practice in the beginning of the season, and work their way up to farther distances. Each cross country athlete runs approximately sixty miles per week.

Coach Wilhite also makes sure that his athletes hit different forms of exercises, including strength training, in addition to one to two hours of running during practices.

“I look at the body as if it’s a car, you need to take care of the engine and other components for it to work properly,” Wilhite said.

Erik Greenwell, a second year cross country athlete at COD, has followed Wilhite’s diversified training methods.

“We focus much of our training to hit our core body strength, which is crucial in ensuring that our whole body is balanced when running,” Greenwell said.

When the athletes aren’t physically training, they are encouraged to eat a balanced diet to support their active lifestyle, which shows to improve performance.

An important factor of a cross country runner’s diet is making sure that enough carbs are consumed two days before an event, according to Wilhite. This supplies the body with enough energy to perform at its greatest during the meet.

Despite all the hard work that is put into the sport, the cross country athletes still enjoy to live a little, by ending their season off with a feast of junk food and rest.

“The whole team would get together and we would buy loads of old, Halloween candy and just gorge until we couldn’t eat anymore of it,” Greenwell said.