Ben Rosario Show

Northern Arizona Elite coach Ben Rosario is joined by high school coach Dean Ouellette and some of the top big and small high school coaches in the country. They talk culture, training and what it takes to make a winning program.
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Jan 3, 2019

Welcome to the final episode of the Ben Rosario show for season three. Ben is the coach of the professional Northern Arizona Elite team in Flagstaff and Dean Ouellette is a high school coach in Chandler Arizona. Today they welcome Coach Tom Rothenberger of Jesuit high school in Oregon. Tom has coached Jesuit for over 30 years with 26 state titles.


  • Coached for 37 years
  • Played other sports in 70s
  • Father died young so mother raised him and he spent a lot of time outdoors
  • Coach identified talent when Jr in high school
  • Used running to run for Boise St
  • 4 coaches in 4 years - different experiences
  • Found success senior year
  • Was married as a sophomore
  • One of 9 children
  • Applied for a job with Catholic school at Jesuit, 37 years ago, still there
  • 1993 added girls program

Different training based on cycles of 80's-90's

  • We had 10-12 kids on team and now over 150
  • Lydiard background with phases by the book, high volume
  • 9 years to get team to State
  • Work ethic was laid early and building running culture
  • Football was king on campus
  • Late 80's had a few athletes who joined and help build program
  • 9o's went coed
  • 93 first girls team had one individual who went 2nd at Footlocker
  • 4th year girls won State title
  • 80's Lydiard and in 90's different influences different training
  • Had to build 'coolness' for the sport and visibility

Girls Program

  • When started did not treat them any different
  • Early pusher for girls to go 5k in races in Oregon

How have kids changes in 37 years

  • Needs of kids are the same
  • How we meet them has changed
  • White noise/distractions has grown
  • Need to belong to something

Training and how things have changed

  • Don't do things just because you always have
  • Had been top 4 at state for 20 years straight then missed it
  • Stopped using the word easy now building an engine
  • Looked at what Pat Tyson was doing and June/July they were going harder
  • Training runs vs hard/easy runs
  • End of summer test run is 30 minute run on track instead of fast 3k
  • Running better now because quantity and quality of threshold work better
  • Now will do 6xmile with :30 rest threshold run, next week 3x2 miles, then 5mile
    • Repeat that cycle
  • Were giving them too much easy and seemed non-important day
  • Rubbing shoulders with Tyson and Shumaker learned needed more fitness
  • Had to recognize hs setting were participants and athletes on team
  • Really focus on those who will score and training
  • Pour energy into those with potential and those who need to have buy-in from
  • When have smaller group can focus on hitting paces better
  • Have them focus on how they feel and how to close
  • Last 1/3 of a run is most important part of the run
  • Summer long runs begin to put workouts into the run
  • After build volume add in quality
  • Lane 8 tempo run 5k pace for 400, float to start
  • Multiple energy systems in same workout w/ fartlek
  • Build huge engines consistent mileage over time
  • Value in run every day

A week late September

  • Monday 8xK or 6x mile 30-45 seconds rest (every 10-12 days)
  • Will do work after a race if have a race
  • Long runs on Saturday 70-90 minutes build up to

Last few weeks of season

  • Get used to doing hard runs on Saturday's instead of long
Dec 11, 2018

When it comes to qualifying for NXN, Southlake Carrol ranks as the school with the second most combined team appearances, only behind FM. We talk to him about his success


  • Ran as a youth and into college
  • Was lucky with coaches was an 800 guy forced to do cross country


  • 2700 students
  • 150-160 combined boys/girls most year
  • Affluent community and good school
  • Took over the program in 2008
  • Stays plugged into the middle schools

Reed Brown discussion - sub-4:00 senior year

Discussion on how he works with the assistant coach to make sure kids are always progression no matter where they are.

Team building events 

How is it determined who runs the final top 7 for the State meet


  • Summer starts first Monday after school is out
  • New kids start out with a mile run, keep it easy so they come back
  • Meet 5 days a week
  • Summer has long runs, recovery runs and tempo runs (short and long)
  • First meet end of August
  • Monitors kids off how they run on recovery runs, see how they feel
  • 400 progression through the season

How he handles the transition from State to Nike qualifying and Nationals

Southlake Carroll 
Ben Rosario
Dean Ouellette

Nov 26, 2018

Dan Iverson - Naperville North girls head coach. The girl's team won the 2018 Nike Midwest Championship and were runners-up from the 2017 NXN.


  • 25 years coaching
  • Ran North Central College for Al Carius
  • 2500-3000 kids at school and 75 girls on the team
  • Al has had a big impact on Dan

Run for fun and personal bests

  • Enjoy and put in the work
  • Everyone no matter ability contributes to the whole
  • The kids buy in, we teach them you get to run, not have to run
  • A fine balance between putting in work and having fun
  • Should be able to do the things you can do perfectly, perfectly all the time (dills/core)

Summer Training

  • We run by time, but long runs are my miles
  • Freshman come in with the goal to build up to 10 miles, some do, some don't
  • It becomes a challenge and many accept it
  • Veterans will add in tempo type work to their long runs usually 11-12 miles
  • Yoga and strength workout to prevent injury
  • Thursday lots of strength, balance and formwork
    • Three groups
    • Deadlifting, band, pushups, body weight
    • Balance station, core work
    • Run drills, hurdle mobility, wickets 


  • Second week of August start meeting
  • First meet Labor Day weekend
  • 9-day cycle not weekly
    • Long run, Vo2, tempo, speed development workout, Special Endurance 1, Special Endurance 2, Hills, Recovery
    • SE1- 400m Race Pace -150-200-300m race pace, long rest up to 4 minutes. 6-300's 4 minutes of running in between. 
    • SE2-800m Race Pace 300-600m at that pace
    • Speed development Flying 30's 10 accelerate, 30 sprints, 10 decelerate 3:30 rest in between. Body forced to spend time at maximum velocity. Teaching them form by running fast.


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Oct 31, 2018

Dave Van Sickle

  • From Iowa, did track to stay in shape for football
  • DII football and track athlete
  • Moved to Arizona in 1982 to see how fast could run post-college
  • Started coaching in 1983
  • Started middle distance coaching in high school then local community college needed a coach and took over their cross country program, not knowing how to score a cross country meet
  • After 3-4 years there moved around the country for a few years 
  • in 1990, at age of 30, got a full-time job a Xavier High School in Phoenix and been there since
  • Sponge for learning and sat with Arthur Lydiard for 3 hours

Stephanie  Bruce

  • Ran for Dave and Xavier in high school 1998-2002
  • She came on as an unfocused freshman
  • Eating habits were horrible
  • Was stuck at 5:28 for a few years before breaking through as a senior with 4:54 in just a few weeks
  • When asked how that happened, she thought she was running hard, now knew what running hard was
  • Doing the basics, but with super motivation and you can have breakthroughs
  • Things were kept simple


  • Early in career SebCo was a big influence and trained like him with circuits and low miles
  • Mid-distance kids had success but the long distance was not having the success
  • Later in 80's started learning more about aerobic component
  • First-year Xavier only 5 girls and only 5 could run 3 miles
  • Woke me up to the importance of being an aerobic distance coach
  • Late 90's saw an advertisement for Jack Daniels looking for research subjects and volunteered
  • Learned energy systems from Jack and touching on all of them in every phase
  • Had to slow the kids down, they were running too hard

Coaching Girls

  • Girls are easier, generally listen better and loyal and will give it everything they have
  • Girls tougher
  • Girls will go through a year where they don't get better
  • When they become a woman it gets harder for them and they need to get through it
  • Prepare them for it

What does season look like?

  • Start in May 1-2 weeks off after track State meet
  • Long progression start 25 minutes for the first two weeks and then add minutes
  • Start hill sprints early
  • Tempo runs start at 10 minutes
  • If vacation still responsible to run and communicate what they did
  • End of summer camp


  • Monday do about 5 miles progression runs, then hill sprints with long recovery to hit hard
    • Will work up to 16-20 hills with walk down, 30-second hill
    • Total for day around 8 miles
  • Tuesday we get up to 60-minutes recovery
  • Wednesday steady over rolling hills up to 75-minutes probably 9 miles
  • Thursday hard effort day 5xmile 5-6 seconds slower than race pace 400 recovery or something like fast mile, tempo, end 400s
  • Friday OYO
  • Saturday long run up to 100 minutes with tempo work, 10 sets of 10 minutes with last two minutes of each segment tempo
Oct 23, 2018

Dave Frank Central Catholic Introduction

  • Grew up in Oregon, won some state titles in high school
  • Ran at Stanford in early 80's
  • Senior year made Olympic Trials in Steeple
  • Made it again in 88 and in the marathon in 92
  • 11 years coaches at St Francis in California
  • Central Catholic was nothing to speak of when arrived
  • Alberto Salazar hired same year and Galen Rupp was a Freshman
  • 19 years now at Central Catholic

You had a lot of success as a runner, why did you end up coaching high school?

  • Stanford coaches got us interested in coaching
  • There was a need for an assistant cross country coach at the school I was working
  • When moved to Central Catholic thought would be the head coach, but they hired Alberto
  • Enjoyed helping kids get better

How did your training differ between California and Oregon?

  • In California, as an assistant just working on making JV kids Varsity
  • In Oregon worked closer with Alberto on training

What was the team like when you arrived at Central Catholic and how has that changed, and what impact did Galen being there have on it?

  • Was 13 boys and a few less girls
  • School is about 850-900
  • We should be a middle division school by size but compete up
  • Kids and parents at the school are really involved which helps build numbers
  • Grew steadily over the years, no sure Galen had an impact
  • Strong teams may have scared kids off who thought they would never be good enough
  • Up to 50 boys and 35 girls, only coach boys program

You had a unique situation getting to work with Alberto Salazar, what were those years like and how was he with the kids?

  • Rumor is Alberto came here because Galen was here and he coached him as a youth, not true
  • Galen was a kid in my math class, his mother ran so I convinced them to come out
  • Galen was a soccer kid and a soccer fan first
  • Alberto worked out a deal with soccer coach that he could run with us a few times
  • Was obvious he had some talent
  • Alberto was dedicated to kids if a kid was hurt he would throw an exercise bike in the back of his car and drive it to the kid's house
  • Was there every day and cared for the kids
  • Had kids excited to improve and Alberto was good with them
  • Alberto stayed one more season after Galen left

When the report came out on Oregon Project how did that impact the team?

  • For a few years after he left talked to Alberto on a regular basis
  • Galen still stops by to talk to our kids before State and go for a run with our kids
  • Alberto would always try to find any way he could to help our kids get better
  • Would push the envelope, but always staying within rules
  • If ever a question he always asked about the rules to make sure he stayed legal

You have had a lot of success since 2003 being first or second at State every year but one

  • Culture was hard to build at the beginning
  • 3-4 years started having a lot of success and kids bought into the culture
  • Easier to keep it going than get it started

What did you do to get that buy-in in the early years?

  • We had a goal early on to be successful and win a state title
  • When they are excited we ask more of them

What is your summer program?

  • We now meet 4 nights a week in the summer at different locations
  • M/Th are a moderate effort with strides
  • T/F uptempo
  • Sunday's top kids get together for a long run on trails
  • Open it up to anyone even other schools
  • When more good kids, more people at your pace to run with

What does early season training look like?

  • First meet right before Labor Day and State early November
  • When kids are confident they will run well
  • Summer and early fall is to build confidence
  • 5 weeks in the middle of the season we work really hard
  • Last three weeks is confidence again
  • Mid Sept going hard, 5k/3k work
  • Always touching speed some with strides, 200s, 150 accelerations
  • 1k work on trails and 400s

Workout examples

  • Most workouts are made up so not doing them more than once
  • Taylor workout for what right for them that day
  • 2 sets of 4, 8xK where each 4 is progression. A longer break between sets, shorter rest as go in set
  • A lot of progression runs because builds confidence. 
  • 7xK, first one hard like a start of a race, then race pace or slightly slower for 5, then finish last hard
  • If run top kids on Wednesday meet will make it the hardest day of the week so run 3 miles LT, 10 minutes then race at LT for another three miles
  • Or 6-8x400 at 3k pace after the meet
  • 3x 1000, 800, 600, 400
  • Will change workout on fly if see people struggling 
  • Remind them running is hard
  • When we want them to feel good will often do some sort of 400 workout 

As we get to end, the last week, what does the last session look like?

  • We have motto always be closing
  • Pick up lots of spots in the last mile
  • End of workout is the most important part, want to finish well
  • Last week fairly hard Saturday, but not much volume, Sun med-long run so maybe 9-10 miles, Monday 2 sets of 4x200 progression with 30-second jog  36, 35, 34, 33, put on racing flats and run a little faster for next set, Tuesday moderate run at 45-50 minutes, Wednesday a couple 800s slower than race pace then 3 300s, Thurs 35-40 minute run, Friday jog the course, Saturday race

You have built a program from nothing and consistent year after year, so what advice do you have for a young coach who may be taking over a program looking to build something out of it?

  • Figure out what you believe in
  • Stand up for what you believe
  • Minor parts change all the time, philosophy or demands of kids never changes
  • Don't expect kids to immediately get it, takes time
  • Be incremental in expectations every year
  • Use your parents and keep them involved
  • Learn from the best

What is that team philosophy?

  • Everything is your choice, take responsibility
  • To be good at running need to make hard choices
  • Being good is hard sometimes have to make tough choices that friends won't understand


Oct 16, 2018

Introduction to Sal Gonzalez Rio Ranch High in New Mexico

  • Started running in high school to stay in shape for basketball
  • Had more luck and was only 5' 7" so ended up running in college

School demographics

  • 2400 students in school
  • One of higher academic achieving schools in the state
  • 80 kids this year 30 girls and 50 boys
  • First year there was 2008
  • The second year the school split, was 4000 kids the first year
  • The first year with the bigger population was 25 boys and 20 girls
  • When took over with new program lost kids and had to rebuild

What was your previous school like?

  • 50 kids
  • Cultural changes
  • Had to adjust to geography changes to change training
  • Kids at Rio Rancho have more homework and push themselves more academically
  • Kids were stronger at prior school had to do more strength work here at Rio Rancho

When you took over the school split and things changed, did you try to keep the traditions of Rio Ranch like they were before you got there or did things change?

  • Rio Rancho was a bigger school that I was at, but did not make the podium nearly as often as we were. Our boys did not make the podium in 2008 when I arrived, but we have every year but one since then
  • We had to change things up to get different results
  • Team is a reflection of coaches attitude
  • Work ethic had to change, implemented new things
  • Some things did well at Pecos could not get them to work well at Rio Rancho

You talked about the injury rate is different at Rio Ranch, can you talk more about that and what you have had to do?

  • Not super high miles, boys 50-55, but that was more than what they were doing
  • Over a long 4 year period build them up, but we were getting injuries like IT Band
  • Had a couple stress fractures
  • Suburban kids I was with now just were not doing as much when they were kids outside so not as strong
  • Added in strength work as cut down on injuries
  • We do Jay Johnson strength work

How much time do you spend on strength and how long is your practice?

  • 50 minute class in AM 30 minutes of strength ancillary work with 1-3 miles easy
  • Afternoon another 30 minutes 

What is the thinking of doing speed ladder and strides and hurdles before the run?

  • We do both, before and after
  • Access speed when fresh not depleted 

What kids will you work with for dual athlete kids in the same season?

  • Pecos had to with a small school
  • 50/50 practice and 50/50 competitions

What does the summer look like?

  • 2 weeks off after XC and 2 weeks after track
  • Slowly get back into running by 4th week at full mileage 
  • 1st Monday of June will meet for first time every other day
  • July will meet M-F
  • Touch all speeds at all times from week 1
  • Get to max milage by end of June

What is max mileage? 

  • Freshman with experience 35 miles, maybe 40 by mid-season
  • Senior lots of weeks at 60
  • Very individualized depends on the kid

How about boys vs Girls

  • A lot of people do minutes but we do miles
  • Top end senior girl will be 45 miles about same minutes as boys
  • Girls try to get from 25 to 45 miles

You talked about touching on energy systems, how does the structure change going into September and the season?

  • We take a lot from Dr. Jeff Messer
  • Long run, race and one other quality day in
  • 21-day cycle In week 1 short intervals, week 2 long intervals, week 3 tempo workout 
  • Tempos vary a lot 

On long runs how do you structure the 'spice' and monitor

  • Several coaches so have someone with each group
  • Often out and back or big loops 

How often do you race

  • Top varsity 2 weeks on and 1 week off 
  • Occasionally may have 3 in a row
  • District, State, Nike Regional are 3 weeks in a row

When you do race what does your week look like

  • Long runs can change with breaks
  • Interval/tempo day do no change
  • Wednesday Tempo day
  • Thursday aerobic day
  • Friday premeet aerobic day
  • Saturday Invitational

Do your three-week cycles build upon each other so the last cycle is the biggest one?

  • Short interval days speed stays about the same but rest gets shorter as season goes on
  • Long intervals rest stays same but pace gets faster

Is State always the focus and how do you get ready for it the last two weeks?

  • More we talk about it the more stressful it becomes
  • Remember, they are kids
  • For training, yes always State
  • Last big Vo2 workout is 10 days before State
  • Last really long run is the Saturday before that
  • Week of State tempo and snappy 200s 

Dean Ouellette
Ben Rosario
Sal Gonzalez

Oct 9, 2018

Introduction to Coach Timo Mostert

  • Great up in Illinois and ran at BYU
  • 1998 moved to American Fork
  • 8 State Championships over last 9 years
  • 8 NXN trips with an average place 5th and lowest 8th,
  • 2nd place 3 times in the last six years

School demographics

  • 2400 students in 3 grades
  • In our school district 3 other schools who have made it to Nike Cross
  • Team averages 30 boys, 40 this year is the largest ever

When did you decide you wanted to coach?

  • Very early had great coaches
  • After the freshman year in college got into education with hopes of being a coach

What do you want to talk about in this podcast, what is important to building a program?

  • Did coaching clinics the last few years
  • How we changed from a good program to national contender
  • Going back to basics (Lydiard)
  • Develop aerobic engine

How do we develop a good aerobic engine?

  • Good base in summer
  • Need to work on all phases of training all the time, just different emphasis
  • Early in base still doing stride laps
  • Aerobic speed can be developed and can still have a kick

You have a first-year kid where do you start at and develop the newbie

  • June may start out 4 miles a day and build up no more than 10% a week
  • Saturday run do one more mile than the longest run of the week
  • By August can do 10 miles
  • Still hold back daily miles

Do you give them specific paces or do you run by feel for beginners?

  • Do what you can early
  • Friday's do mountain runs in summer to get them in nature

What 2 track workouts do you during the summer?

  • The week before the first race will do 16x400 start 3200 pace and get faster 2:30 rest
  • Rest walk around, jog around, clear legs
  • Newer kids do less than 16
  • Build aerobic engine and less anaerobic work
  • Get them to feel the pace and after 3-mile time trial they get paces to hit

You focus on taking out some of those faster 400 workouts and doing more aerobic. Your goal is to increase the long run

  • Varsity kids coming out of track will pick back up quickly where they were
  • Our goal for veterans are 750 miles from memorial day to labor day with top end about 60
  • Capillary runs are 70-90 minutes for a long run develop more capillaries into the tissue
  • It is the oxygen transportation system
  • Longest run used to be 10 miles but were not getting to 70+ minutes

What else are the veterans doing for a harder workout?

  • Grinder 3 miles to a mountain, 1.3 miles up 500 feet in altitude
  • Awards for under 9 minutes
  • July after camp start incorporating a longer repeat workout like 4x1200 or 3xmile
  • Lydiard called time trials, we call power runs, AT runs not a real time trial in August

For your veterans are you getting more than the one run over an hour?

  • 6-8 miles is a typical day

Do you assign paces on easy and recovery days?

  • Varsity boys know we are trying to hit aerobic threshold pace
  • Varsity boys average 6-6:15 per mile, recovery 8minutes per mile


  • Doubles all year long
  • Double at recovery run pace
  • Morning recovery run helps them get ready for the run later in the day

How much do you talk about things outside of running like sleep and nutrition?

  • Summer camp we have classes
  • We talk about our philosophy and what is expected
  • Day before a meet we will talk again about preparing

On a race day, what does your race day prep look like?

  • We will do a morning run and then we will go through the visualization
  • When we get to meet have boy in charge of warmups and cooldowns in each race
  • 1-mile warmup, do pullouts (working on perfect form), high knees
  • After a race 2 mile cool down and team stretch

Good mix of old school and new school. What do you do about form?

  • Form with pullouts
  • Run a lot of hills
  • Try to land midfoot
  • Heel strikers are usually hips tilted forward and work on that and strong core

A week in mid-September

  • Race Friday
  • Monday 3x1mile with 5:00 rest negative split it start 3-mile race pace and negative
  • 7 miles and strides on Tuesday
  • Wednesday 2 mile warm up and 2-mile power AT run with 2 miles cooldown
  • Thursday 4.5 miles of jogging
  • Friday race
  • Saturday ran 6 miles and easy
  • Plus 30 minutes every morning
  • Total 60 miles

What is your hardest session and when does it fall?

  • 16x400 slight negative splits (12x400 for newer kids)
  • Tough fartlek on mile loop 3 miles of :30/:30 hard easy

You are doing what most coaches are doing, but you have all this success, what do you think you are doing differently?

  • Coaches do too many intervals too fast with too little rest
  • We always preach negative splits even on steady runs out and back
  • Practice over and over again negative splits so second nature in race

To get the job done at a national level there has to be a race strategy, how do you deal with that?

  • You race how you train
  • NXN not a speed course
  • Have to have confidence you will work up when everyone else goes fast
  • Even-keeled first mile, know where you can pass and make moves
  • Teach them to run hills



Oct 2, 2018

Colin Altevogt, the boys XC coach at Carmel High in Indiana. Colin has been coaching in Indiana for the past 11 years, the last six years as a cross country coach at Carmel. The team has captured four state championships and two state runner-up titles with two qualifications for Nike Cross Nationals (2014 and 2017), including a tenth-place finish in 2017.


  • Ran in high school and college
  • Taught at Avon right out of college
  • 2011-2013 moved to Carmel as an assistant
  • 2012 we trained training
  • 2014 became head coach
  • In the 6 years, we have 4 state titles and 2 runner-ups

Why did you get into high school coaching

  • Always wanted to be a teacher and loved track
  • When I was in college did volunteer coaching
  • Always wanted to be a coach since he was in early teens

Speak to cross country and the traditions in the mid-west

  • Our winters are fairly mild with just a few exceptions
  • Summer we meet in the mornings so good running conditions

Summer Program

  • June 2nd was State track meet
  • June 4th was first practice for XC for those who did not run State
  • We call threshold runs PPM's we don't give them a set pace
  • Paces are based off hard threshold workouts we do once a week over summer

What is PPM

  • Pace Per Mile
  • Big difference with us is threshold workout
  • They run it 'all-out' at a pace they can handle well
  • We keep it simple instead of giving paces
  • Need to learn how to run hard

Example 15:30 5k guy runs 5:00/mi what is this PPM workout for him?

  • Varies a little by runner 800 guy may not be as fast as 3200 guy
  • On a good day 5:20-5:30 for 8 miles

Workout structure

  • Pace per mile is what they do is calculated after the workout
  • The structure is to do best you can
  • Senior boys maybe junior are doing 8 miles
  • The freshman does maybe 2 miles hard and builds up to 5
  • We had 2 boys this year build up to 9
  • Week 1 may do 6 at 5:40 pace, then next week 7 at 5:45 pace then the next week maybe 7 again at 5:40
  • They figure it out the hard way how to do these
  • Ok with them going out too fast and adapt over time
  • Paavo training technique 

Thresholds are an important part of your program, once in the season can you give us a weekly schedule?

  • First meet right around Labor Day
  • Up until first meet Long Run Monday, T/W milage, Th PPM, F milage, Sat building up volume
  • July on Tuesday we may do short PPM in the middle maybe 2 miles for veterans
  • Will work in repeat miles in August
  • Once in season 400 intervals are CI, always the same pace for the season.
    • Low set and high set
    • 2-3 cycles.
    • Low set 4 less than high set
    • High set 1/2 distance of PPM so 8-mile PPM is 16x400 w/ recovery 3:00 jog rest to start
      • Find recovery loop and loop time will come down over the season on loop
    • Monday high set, Thursday low set is what do before big meet in season
    • 400 pace 6-8:00/mi is about 1:00/mi faster than that
    • 5:30 is 70second 400 
  • On big race weeks go to the 2 CI and no PPM that week
  • Once get to tournament week go from 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile so same pace for about an extra 25 seconds

Do you get requests for more variety?

  • Not really
  • They buy in
  • Sometimes will do repeat miles or 2k's
  • Report their times for 400s as 0, +2 or -1 not as 79 seconds

Racing during season

  • Will run mileage on race day so can be a long run day
  • Will sit the top 7 rotating at different points
  • Races are already all out
  • Racing is part of training

Carmel team Culture

  • When season over and only 12 left for tournament roster encourages people to keep training
  • Friday night before regional track time trial for those not running regionals
  • 800 one week, 3200 next week, 1600 following week
  • 2/3 stick around for that
  • Not who wants it most, it is who is most prepared
  • Become best-prepared team we can be
  • Team supports each other, will take anyone still training to sectional, regional and state
  • Let kids know they are wanted all the time
  • Team grew 50%, but those taking it seriously grew 200%

Coach closes talking about the outlook of State and NXN

Ben Rosario
Dean Ouellette

Dec 15, 2017

You had an amazing end of season qualifying both boys and girls team for the Nike Nationals. Want to talk about how that went for you?The boys and girls did so well, and they continue to do so year after year, it has to be a program thing. So what is it about what they are doing at Mountain Vista that is making both the boys and girls so good.

  • Get everyone involved
  • Over 40 athletes ran at Nike Qualifying meet

The challenge for many coaches is finishing up at State on an emotional high, qualifying for nationals then running well at nationals. So can you talk about how you planned that physically and emotionally?

  • Both teams had the goal to get back to nationals this year
  • Took goals of a long season into the whole season programming
  • After State took a few days down then by end of next week they were back emotionally.

Do you think the 3 weeks is a little more of an advantage than the teams that need to go two weeks later?

  • This year raced them a little less so they were ready to go

Southwest was extremely difficult, especially on the boy's side. Your goal was Nationals before the season when you saw how tough the SW was did any goals or plans change?

  • We discussed there were no guarantees, but we stayed focused
  • First two weeks were a little less intense, we backed off a little

So many good coaches out there and good programs. On the mental side, once you get there it seems it is easier to get back, is that a psychological aspect of it? Do you notice a change in the kids in their confidence once they have been there?

  • Once you make it you know it is possible, where before seemed like a maybe someday dream.
  • When it becomes a reality it changes the make-up of the team.

Year after year it seems the same coaches and teams are showing up. Is it the kids or is it the coaches who are instilling the belief that they can get there?

If you want more training, check out the earlier episode we did with Jonathan Dalby.

Now that nationals are done, what do you do now to transfer the kids out of cross country and really start thinking about track season?

  • Different kids are in different spots depending on when they ended the season
  • Everyone shuts it down for 2-3 weeks
  • Between mid-Dec and early January, few are going to do more than 30-35 miles

What happens once early January comes with training?

  • Their volume will not go over what they did in summer/fall
  • Volume stays level for about a year before they move up
  • Anyone who had injuries will move down a little
  • January will add in some threshold running
  • Add in hill work
  • Some moderate speed work towards later in the month

How similar is Jan/Feb to your July/August

  • It is similar, then add in race-specific stuff that is where it changes
  • Most of the kids are trained at mile distance which gives them versatility to go up and down
  • When kids are Junior/Senior if they show promise in an event will get them more specific work

Many kids live the team aspect of cross country over track. So many coaches continue to pound that type of work. How do you get the athletes to buy into the need to work on the speed which may be their weakness?

  • We put emphasis on the 4x800
  • Magnus and Marcus talk about the blank slate philosophy if you do the same thing over and over for an athlete who plateaued, where do you go next. What needs to be added to the slate?

One of the big difference between XC and Track is the team aspect. More people think of track as an individual sport. How do you tackle this? 

  • Keep practices the same as it was in XC
  • Team outings
  • Recognize accomplishments and how it helped team
  • Encourage them to watch their teammates compete

Do you lose some of the XC kids in the spring or do you retain them?

  • Our top 50% usually come out for track, we lose some. Maybe 65%.

You said when they are older they may specialize in the 800 or one event, but how many of your kids specialize in one event vs a variety of events?

  • Just a few, and usually the racing part only later in the season

If the mile is the base, what are some good mile specific workouts?

  • We do 3 800’s at 1600 pace with 5-7 minutes rest, usually later in the season after midseason, but build up to it
  • Earlier version may be 3-4 x 4x200 on 30seconds rest at 1600 with 3-minute break between sets.

During the track season if you have a meet on the weekend, how often do you hit on race paced work during the week?

  • Depends on kid, but in a 2 week stretch may do a mile specific workout plus meets
  • If could would have higher end kids race once ever two weeks and during that two weeks would touch 400-800-1600-3200 pace workouts.

For your top kids are they doubling much, and if not on race day what other work are they getting in?

  • With large team hard to double
  • Likes to get as many kids as possible into meet
  • May have a longer 30 minute run after a race
  • Dirty 800’s - If another track close will run 800 race, take a 30-minute break, run to other track and do a 500 and 300 at 800m pace, slightly faster. But need to make sure nothing else coming that is hard for a few days to do it

You have no problem admitting from your mistakes. What is something you did wrong in the past during track season and realize it was a mistake?

  • One workout 10x200 on 30-second rest at mile pace, but did first one at 26 seconds and then 27. Did 5 under 30. Let it go instead of shutting it down
  • You don't need to go to the well often
  • Build up to intensity, ok to do early, but scale it

You have a long invitational meet, do you have everyone show up the same time and do you have them stay or do you let them cut out early?

  • Most will show up on time, but if only race is end of the day then may come later
  • Usually, arrive a couple hours before race
  • For those racing early we pick 2-3 meets that are a big deal. We want everyone to stick around until the end on these meets

How does your XC squad look for 2018?

  • Girls are young so most come back
  • Boys are solid, will need to develop a few towards the back end

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Ben Rosario
Dean Ouellette
Jonathan Dably

Dec 2, 2017

John O’Malley is the longtime coach of Sandburg High School where he has sent two teams and a few individuals to the NXN Championship race.

John took over the program in 2003 and we talk about some of the changes and challenges he has gone through.

John coaches more than 50 boys, we talk about the staff he uses to manage that team size and how Good To Great has helped him build the coaching staff.

Culture is a big piece of the success of Sandburg High School. John talks in detail about building the culture and what that means?

John talks about recruiting and growing the team?

Before we get into training, great coaches develop their own system that works for them, but they all have influences too that have shaped them. Who are some of your coaching influences?

You throw some interesting things into your training. In the course of sound training, how do you switch things up that is specific to your team?What are some of the things you give the kids as they plan the race to set them up for success?

You are doing a lot to set your kids up for success. I’ve heard you stress before that your feet move fast every day, what does that look like for you, how are you working this into your program and is this from week one of summer running?

We talk about Dylan Jacobs who is running at NXN and Footlocker Finals.


Nov 24, 2017

Trina Painter

Won both the boys and girls State Titles for Arizona Division 2. Trina talks about both State meet races for the girls' team and the boys' team.

Trina talks about her running history which included several Olympic Trial qualifiers.

Trina talks about her experiences at the Olympic Trials in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Flagstaff is a D2 school with 1600 students total. They typically have 75-80 total athletes on the cross country team.

With a successful program that wins so many state titles in a row, how hard is it to make sure that fire stays lit and the kids stay motivated to win the next one?

Trina talks about how it has been coaching her own kids.

How much of a benefit is it for the high school students to be training at altitude?

Flagstaff needs to run their state meet in Phoenix, where it is often 100 degrees in the first week of November. How does she get her kids ready for that?

She mentioned that she has club soccer players on her team. How does she balance it with the kids who want to be part of the State team and play club soccer?

As a successful runner in everything from the 3k up to the marathon, how does that translate into a running philosophy as a coach?

What does a training week look like in the middle of the season, what are the workouts?

How they keep summer running interesting and keep participation high with fun activities.

Trina discusses what it is like to train in Flagstaff with all the world-class talent that makes their way there.

Teams down in Phoenix head up to Flagstaff in the summer for team camps, what do Flagstaff teams do for summer camps?

Trina shares her experience of running with the team at Buffalo Park.

Does Flagstaff have a staple workout they do a few times during the season?

How often do varsity race?

What type of race strategy does she have with her athletes and does it differ in a regular meet vs. the State meet?

How often does she run with the kids?

Nov 14, 2017

Chris Hanson - Head Boys Coach Desert Vista Cross Country and Track

Chris has been the head coach at Desert Vista High School since they opened in 1994. DV has 3,000 kids and about 60 boys a year for cross country.

Chris discusses what his coaching staff looks like to handle such a large team and the important role they play.

They had three state titles in a row coming into this year, Chris discusses what the goals were coming into this year.

What the summer looks like with Desert Vista and what their participation was like and we discuss their training schedule and how they deal with the desert heat in Phoenix.

We talk about the mental side of the game and keeping those outside of varsity engaged.

Hanson uses 3 training groups and he talks about how they vary and the importance of morning practice.

We talk to Chris about the State meet and how the meet which resulted in the 4th straight title went for DV.

Chris discusses the training and how they are getting ready for Nike Regional after a big high at State.

We discuss how HIITs have been added to his program over the last year and how he works them into the week.

What is a long run for the Desert Vista varsity boys program?



Oct 26, 2017

Larry Weber was named as a Washington State High School Cross Country coach of the year in 2011, 2012, and 2015 by the Washington State High School Cross Country Coaches Association. He was also named as the Division 2 National Coach of the year for the girls in 2014 and for the boys in 2014, 2015, and 2016. His teams won national cross country championships in 2014 (boys and girls), 2015 and 2016. Coach Weber has served as the head coach of 8 Washington State High School State Championship cross country teams in the last 7 years. In addition, he has coached 3 individual state cross champions during the last 7 years. 


We discuss:

His career as a runner and how it lead into coaching

How at such a small school he recruits and keeps a successful program

How does he use what he learned as running at an elite level and use it in his program

Who did he learn from and what did he read that helped him in his coaching

What does he do to individualize programming to get the maximum out of each kid while not overtraining

How does he break up his team in workout groups

How does training vary year-to-year based on the group

His 30k foot overview of what the training cycle looks like for the season

How does he set pacing for his workouts

How he prescribes recovery workouts and paces

How he works on a mindset where they know they can compete with large schools

How often his athletes race during the season

What specific work he does to get ready for the state meet

Fun traditions he does during the season to build team bonding

He gives advice to coaches on how to build a larger program

His all-time record for the ultimate runner competition

His staple workout for the team

How he structures a week during a race week to get in enough quality

Oct 18, 2017

Coach Joe Porter St Louis University High School

Joe Took over a very successful program and we discussed what it was like taking it over when things were already going so well.

When there is a regime change, sometimes the new coach forces changes, Joe talks about how he built the trust of the team.

Joe talks about the one thing that all successful programs do.

With an average of 3.5 hours of homework a night, plus up to a 45-minute drive to school one way, Joe faces some unique challenges with his school.

Joe discusses how he gets his team to run the best race of the year at the State meet and how that changed over the years.

During the season Joe focuses not on team results, but on what they can learn from that race.

We talk about goal setting and how he keeps his athletes accountable by having a copy of their goals on a notecard.

Joe talks about a bounce week, what is it, when is it used and why do they call it a bounce week?

What is a staple workout that St Louis does, and why is Ben so invested in it?

How is tempo pace determined?


Oct 10, 2017

Adam Kedge Albuquerque Academy

AA won boys and girls state title last year. Kedge has over 20 State Titles at AA and was the 2011 National Boys Coach of the Year. Kedge is a member of the NM Sports Hall of Fame

Only 650 kids at the high school, yet have made Nike five of the first six years.   

Won both the boys and girls state crowns last year, we talk about the expectations this year.

We talk summer structure and how it differs between upperclassman and newer runners.

Coach Kedge discusses how often his kids race and how he works on race strategy with the kids.

“If you don't work recovery into every aspect of your training you will run into a snag somewhere.”

Coach Kedge sets up his weeks so he can have success on the weekend for his races. Monday is usually a workout day with a long run on Wednesday with the race on Saturday which will give them three hard days a week.

“You tell me your Monday, I will tell you a lot about your program.”

Coach Kedge has a running times workout which is a staple workout for his team. 1-mile warmup, 1st 1.5 miles of 5k tempo pace, take 2-3 minutes then next mile of 5k course at race pace. Then 2-3 minutes and last half mile at sub-race pace.

A track workout called finding pace is 90 second repeats. Puts tape on track for 3200 paces. Try to hit the pace every time, 10x90 seconds with 90 seconds rest.

Kedge discusses how he handles State week, what he does different and what he does the same. He discusses what his training looks like and how it differs depending on the team.

Adam on Twitter
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Dean on Twitter

Oct 3, 2017

Mark was the coach of Carmel High School in Indiana for 8 years. 7 of those years his team made the Nike Cross Nationals meet. 


We talk to Mark about culture, his summer program, what it was like taking over an already successful program and we dig deep into his training. 


Ben Rosario
Dean Ouellette
Mark Ellington

Sep 26, 2017

Mark took over the successful Wayzata High School program two years ago and has continued building on what they already had.

Mark gives is his background and how he came into taking over one of the most successful programs in the country.

Mark shares with us some things he added to the program such as strength training, hip mobility and lunge matrix.

Mark also shares with us some ways he is always working on recruiting and growing the program.

We then walk through what Mark’s training looks like from summer build up through the championship season and how he works yoga, speed training and strength into his training.

Dec 21, 2016

You have coached at every level you could coach at and recently retired from Team USA MN. Can you talk about that decision and recapping your time there?

You had a lot of success with Team USA MN. What do you think lead to the amount of success you had? Was it team atmosphere, Minnesota or what were the factors?

Where do you see the future of these post-collegiate groups in the next 5-10 years?

You mentioned the loneliness of the long distance runner. You recently wrote a book The River Road, a novel during the runner boom of the early 70’s. Can you talk about the premise of the book?

How was the training different for kids in the 70’s? - Jim Ryun trained like a swimmer.

Talking about the 70’s and kids runners not getting injured like they do today.

You are coaching 7-12th graders now. What has it been like to switch back from the post-collegiates to kids?

You have some really young kids, how do you get the kids started and keep them healthy?

Can you touch on your marathon philosophies and what worked where you had success?

Dec 8, 2016

We wanted to get the co-coaches of Coe Brown, Tim Cox and Brent Tkaczyk, on because we wanted to talk to some small school coaches who are having success. Some of the issues smaller schools of 700 kids have a much bigger difference than a coach at a school with 3000 kids and huge teams You also have a unique coaching situation there and that is where I wanted to start.


If you could both introduce yourself, give us the 2-3 minute background on your personal running history and how you ended up coaching together.


You have a unique program with two coaches, who deals with more of the handling of the kids and pep talks?


When you took over the program it was smaller, how did you start building it?


You talk about doing a lot of fun running games. Can you give us some examples?


At a small school what do you do with recruiting to make sure you maintain a big enough team?


Last year in 2015 you tied for second at regionals of NXR, but were passed over for at-large. Did you use that as a motivator over the summer?


You have shown that small schools can compete at the highest level. What advice would you have for small school coaches?


You are doing something right, when does your training start over the summer and what does it look like?


We have a lot of different training philosophies in these podcasts. You seem to really like to build and be on that upswing late in the season, is that your strategy?


What does your hardest 3-week cycle look like during the season?

Nov 29, 2016

Marist, a smaller school in Georgia in the last 9 years on the girls have won 9 state titles and boys 6 with a few 2nd place finishes, we want to dig into what you are doing to have this much success… first let's start out if you could give us a background of how you got involved in running and how you ended up the coach of Marist?


Is this your first coaching gig, or did you coach before Marist?


You have a small kid with under 1000 kids, and you have 80 girl runners on your team and 140 total. How has recruiting played a roll in what you are building there?


You also coach adults, how much is getting kids hooked on running the same as getting adults hooked on it.


You have a huge team for a school your size. You talk about the girl trying to earn their varsity letter and the girl trying to win state.. but I’m sure you also have the other, as head coach what do you do to make a connection to each of those kids vs just working with the better runners?


Being in Atlanta what training challenges do you have?


One of the great things about these episodes is hearing from different programs. You mention you have very tough academics, and are at a smalls school. Small school kids may be in the band, year book club and want to do cross country. How do you balance the athletes that want to do multiple activities?


What did you think the results were for this year with getting rid of weights, and will you go back next year?


Let’s jump into the training and your training philosophy. What are your expectations over the summer on what your athletes should be doing?


During midseason, what does a typical week in maybe late Sept look like?


You mentioned some of the things you changed over the years. What is the biggest thing that has changed since you started?


You mentioned the miles are higher than they used to be, is that because other teams are doing more work so you do it to stay ahead of the other schools or why do you think the reason the change happened?


You mentioned you do more core than you used to, where do you work that in and what does that look like?


What are your plans for NXR this week?


During that period between State and NXR do you hit the reset button or coach it as more of the same?


One more training question, after NXR when your season is done, what do you focus on during the winter to get ready for track?





Nov 22, 2016

State results and between 2000-2010 the girls team had qualified for state exactly 0 times. Then you take over in 2011 and in 2011 your team was 8th at state and since then they had a 3rd, 2nd, and now two firsts. Also I looked at the team size, and it wasn’t like they had a small squad in 2010, so what was the thing that really changed between 2010 and 2011 that allowed the team to make such a huge improvement and remain so consistent.


What changed in the culture?


What is threshold to Matt and how does he use it in his training and off seasons?


What is his pace book?


What does a week look like during the summer?   


How has his past running experiences as an elite runner effected his coaching?


You don’t seem to be reinventing the wheel, you seem to be doing the basics and doing it all year around.


How do you take what you know and apply it to a 14-year old girl who maybe had never run before?


Matt talks about how the school system is supportive of all the teams including cross country and how they expect champions.


You are getting over 80 girls, what does a mid-season week look like and how do you break that up with such large numbers?


What do things look like from right before the State meet until the national meet because of the long time period?


What does the taper look like going into the national championship meet?


Minnesota is a great cross country state right now, what makes them so great right now? 


Discuss the upcoming trip to NXN

Nov 18, 2016

On this call with Coach Soles we had some early phone problems where his phone kept cutting out, so we lost the beginning of the first question in the recording. We were talking about how he took over the program that was a brand new program and how he had ambitious goals from day one. People called him crazy, but he stay determined. The first you hear Doug here he is talking about how he grew as a coach in building the program. 


Topics discussed in this episode include things such as how he uses ladder drills and hit training. How often his team doubles. How he structures his week of training. How he build the program from scratch and the future of the team.

Oct 25, 2016

Coach you won 6 state titles in a row in Arizona with the Xavier girls xc team then the next two years, you won back to back titles at Desert Vista. Last year you just missed your 9th state title in a row, but you are back on top this year ranked 3rd by Flotrack. How does the team look this year?


With the girls used to winning state titles and falling a little short last year, what did you need to do differently this year to get them ready?


How do you balance the science that you know with teaching the kids but not overwhelming them?


What does your HIIT training look like?


How often are you doing HIIT’s and how many do you do? 6x150 with full recovery 3x in a 22-weektraining cycle. After a moderate intensity or recovery distance run. One key is full recovery. You need full recovery so you can recruit more muscle fiber.


As soon as any coach becomes successful the peanut gallery starts talking about how the team is overtraining, recruiting or any other excuse for a teams success. In a few selected cases that may be true, but Ive talked to you enough about training to know that is not the case with you, can you talk about the type of volume your athletes are doing?


You have had a lot of runners who went on and had a lot of success at the next level and as professionals. How rewarding is it to see them go on and have success?


We are coming toward the end of the season where you just had City, getting ready for sectionals, then state and then two weeks later Nike Cross Regionals. How do you manage peaking and maintaining it for that long?


If you have a 20-week training cycle, how do you space out your workouts and how varied are your workouts over those 20 weeks? 2-week cycle will try to get in a tempo run, a progression run, two long runs and 2 repetition sessions. If we get in five, that is fine. At most six. in the Phoenix summer it may be 2-4.


What pace is your repetition workouts at? 7+7=7 workout, 7x800 plus 7x200 is 7,000m of work. Those 800s will be cut down pacing and the average may be 2:43 for a varsity girl. And 200s may be 34-35.5. Somewhere around goal race pace average on the 800s and faster on the 200s. 5600m of the 7k will be mostly aerobic.


On the 800s will cut down pace and cut down race so may start with 3:00 and end up 1:45-2:00 rest.


Compare your reasoning to what Tinman does with the CV pacing. - Early in the summer we spend a lot of time close to that CV range, the faster stuff will be later and we get there with the cutdown start 2:52 and end 2:35


Does this workout play into your race strategy of negative splits and how does a race strategy change for someone who is a mid-pack runner who’s strategy may not change based on who is leading the race? - Last mile, best mile, fastest mile.


How has it worked over the years when you get to a big race where position becomes so important and you may need to be more aggressive?


How big is your team?


Can you talk to us about the structure of your program and how you deal with those many athletes?


Talking to the coaches over the last few weeks what we notice is the coaches and the programs that work hard and have high goals and love to win and do hard workouts are the ones that end up with big teams, not the ones who relax and always only focus on fun. The kids seem to want to work hard, what are your thoughts?


You mentioned warm up routines. Most teams have a set of drills that they do, you have multiple sets, why do you change it up so much?


No one I know reads as many research studies as you do. You do it for your career as well as for your coaching. what have you learned in the last 6-12 months. that is new  you have incorporated?


We all learn from each other, so talk about some of your influences in the coaching world.


















Oct 18, 2016

Interview with Gaylerd Quigley, coach of Nerinx High School in St. Louis Mo. We talk about his daughter running in the Olympics and the coaching philosophy that has lead to three straight podiums in the Missouri State Race.

Tell us about this summer and Colleen’s Olympic experience.

What was it like as a parent watching your kid at the Trials?

At what point in that race did you realize that she was going to make the team?

What went into the decision to not coach your son Dan in high school, but you did coach daughter Colleen?

What was it like when your daughter went to college and your parent/coach relationship with her college coach?

How do you handle calls from your daughter or prior runners who have questions after they are in college?

You coached at an all boys school and an all girls school. What did you find the differences in strength training?

What specific exercises are you doing with these girls to help with injury prevention and shin issues?

When you have injury issues, what is your go to cross training exercise?

You use Jack Daniels training, if you could give us a basic outline of your training philosophy.

How do you work the long run into that system?

What have you taken from Colleen and how she has been training, have you changed anything with your system?

What are you doing besides workouts to get the kids to really peak well at the state meet?

We talk about low Ferritin levels. 





Oct 4, 2016

Coach of Loudon Valley in Virginia. Drew Hunters mom. Her and her husband Marc coach the team. Took over cross country program in 2014 so going into third year. Never had a state title in 50 years of school, won last year and second on girls side. School about 1200, have 120 kids now on team.

We know you as a successful coach and the mother of some successful runners. How did you get started in running?

You mentioned you used to be high intensity, low mileage. When did that change?

You had a lot of success as a masters runner, tell us about your achievements with this training.

You took over the XC program at Loudon Valley in 2014. What lead you to wanting to get into coaching? 

How was it taking over with Drew on the team, was he on board with it?

You took over a program and turned it around quickly, what were some of the things you changed when you took over the program?

One of the things we are seeing from doing this podcast, in people taking over programs you are getting a good bump in the number of kids coming out, tell us about your numbers?

120 kids is a lot to deal with, can you tell us how you structure your workouts with that many kids?

Last year your boys won the first ever state title for the school and the girls were second at state. For those wondering if all that success was just because of Drew you opened this year at Great meadows invitational which had 28 teams this year your boys won and to compare that you were a distant third last year. Walk us through what your team did this summer to get ready to defend the title.

What type of mileage did your boys and girls get up to over the summer?

Can you walk us through what a typical week may look like?

Were you happy with your Great American meet results from last week?

When you are #1 in the state, you have your eyes on the Nike Regional meet, how do you structure training for what will hopefully be a long season.

You mentioned critical velocity, can you explain it a little bit as it is the backbone of your training plan?

You mention you are doing them most of the year, what is changing, is it volume or duration? And what does your add on speed look like?

Do you run CV workouts on a track or a course?

So Drew decided to not run at college and turn pro, what is he up to right now?

Talk about how Adidas has handled the decision for him to go pro and how they are supporting him.

Going forward will he remain with Tom Schwartz and maintain the same coach?

You coached Alan Webb at one point and remained friends with him. He has served as a mentor with Drew. Was he an influence at all in making this decision?

When you were working with Alan and Drew, what was the moment you knew they would be really good?

Having 120 kids on the team is a lot. And then you have 9 of your own kids. How do you work on that time balance?

Where do you see Drew’s future, more of 800-1500 or more 15/5k?

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