Mansfield cross country runners (Left to Right) Dru Buckner, McKenzie Griffin, Lennon Woods, and Megan Rose make a pass by the Mansfield City Lake during a team training session in July.
Mansfield’s first cross country race of the 2017 season isn’t until early September. However, several members of the team have committed to meeting up threes times a week through the month of July until school starts for group running sessions.
“Our first race is nearly two months away,” commented Mansfield cross country coach John Mackey. “But we have several veteran runners that are committed to making an impact on the season. They have been meeting late in the evening for team running sessions to better prepare for the upcoming campaign.”
Joined by Devon Pyles and Megan Rose, respectively Mansfield’s male and female cross country runners of the year last season, the team meets up every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The sessions begin at 7:30 PM at the Mansfield City Lake Park and are tailored to accommodate the varying levels of fitness of the participating runners.
“We chose the trails around the city lake because of the cooler temperatures there,” stated Mackey. “At that time of night, shade covers nearly the entire trail. With the breeze off the lake I’d guess the temperature is 20 degrees cooler than that on our campus course.”
Running sessions are geared for all returning cross country athletes as well as any newcomers. The team setting encourages the athletes through strength in numbers to get out and exercise.
“It’s tough sometimes when you’re by yourself to just get out and run when the weather is so hot,” continued the coach. “Making an effort to come together provides a real energy boost and makes the workouts more fun as a group.”
The coach was eager to announce that the running sessions are open to any age group. Current athletes, newcomers, and even those boys or girls just now entering the seventh grade can come out and get a feel for the distance training.
The coach says he typically arrives at the Mansfield City Park around 7:15 PM on the Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday sessions. Athletes sign in, do a short warmup together, and then proceed with their specific routine.
“Right now, workouts are strictly catered to each individual’s specific level of fitness. We have some that are going only 1 mile. A few others push at or above the 2 mile mark. Some of the veterans go 4 to 5 miles per session,” said Mackey.
According to the coach, the school website at mansfieldtigers.org has details regarding workout plans and team sessions. Just follow the links to athletics and then the cross country page for individualized workouts. Template workouts for three varying levels of fitness are presented. Individuals are encouraged to follow those plans or modify them to fit their needs.
Workouts are designed so an athlete can follow a plan on their own schedule with parental supervision. Team sessions are an extension of those individualized plans, and a way to monitor a player’s progress through group interaction.
Athletes interested in getting an early start to their cross country or track career can contact the coach on his school phone (479)-252-8600.
Individuals that complete the summer sessions or show evidence of competent endurance will be invited to a team trip before the start of school.