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Watchung Hills Regional High School


Team Policies


WHRHS welcomes all runners to our Cross Country Team. No one will be cut based on their ability and any runner will remain on the team as long as they participate, follow guidelines, and team rules. Please make certain that you are willing to follow all guidelines before joining our team

The main goals of our program are to work hard, always put forth our best effort, and represent WHRHS with good sportsmanship and conduct. We hope athletes will come to appreciate the benefits that running creates and that it stays with you the rest of your life. Of course, running fast to win races is always a fun goal, and one that can be achieved by adhering to the main goals as stated. Keep in mind that your coaches strive to make each and every one of you a winner. This is accomplished by setting and working towards personal goals that are agreed upon by both you and your coach. You do not have to run the fastest to be a winner. That you have given it your best effort is all we can ask. And, in most cases, you will meet your personal goals by doing so.

The WHRHS Cross Country program will also provide you with the opportunity to develop a broad base of training. For every athlete there will be a focus on weight training, plyometrics, and drill work. The base that you build here will greatly benefit you for the following seasons.



  • Lead all runners in stretching and exercise sessions.
  • Aide coaches in enforcing the team rules and guidelines. And enforce them in the event that the coaches are not present.
  • Help recruit new athletes
  • Create a positive environment, encourage teamwork, and serve as a role model.
  • Contact athletes in the event circumstances change for any reason.


Team members are encouraged not compete in club sports or other school sports during the season without the permission of the coaches. With a full-time schedule of running workouts, weight training, exercises, and drills, the addition of organized outside athletic activity increases the risk of injury. Schedule conflicts are also a major concern of ours, and one that we usually end up yielding to when these conflicts arise. Also, outside coaching is not permitted for obvious reasons. It will create confusion and disrupt normal progression in a runner锟絪 season because or different approaches to coaching.


Each runner should have suitable training shoes. Training shoes are what most people think of as sneakers. However, they are more than just sneakers. It is important that running shoes are fitted by someone who understands your foot type so that you are fitted with the correct running shoe. A qualified sales person will evaluate your arches and determine if they are flat, normal, or high, and watch you run. If a salesperson does not do this, leave the store and go elsewhere. Racing shoes, or spikes, are optional, but highly recommended for racing at your best. All WHRHS cross country athletes receive a 10% discount at the Sneaker factory.


As a member of the team you are a representative of WHRHS. As such, athletes should follow all school guidelines regarding behavior.

Team members are expected to conduct themselves with class and humility at all times. Don't do anything that will reflect negatively on you, our team, our coaches, and our school.

The use of tobacco (in any form), alcohol, and/or drugs is not only illegal it is inconsistent with success in athletics and will not be tolerated.
Avoid behavior that reflects negatively on your school, team, teammates, or yourself.
Integrity counts. By its nature, running is a sport in which athletes are not always directly within sight of the coaches. There will also be days where you will be assigned workouts to do on your own. If you are intentionally dishonest about following rules or running workouts, then you risk being suspended from the team or other consequences.
Any behavioral problems will be addressed on an individual basis and can lead to anything from a simple discussion to being suspended or dropped from the team. If the situation warrants, you may also be subject to consequences from the school.

There will be portions of workouts during which you are not under the direct supervision of the coaches. In order to ensure your safety, and to avoid injury, athletes should follow these guidelines with regard to your workouts:

The coaches should be consulted with regard to all workouts. Athletes should not do extra workouts on your own without consulting the coaches. We cannot effectively plan your training锟絜specially as it pertains to progression锟絯ithout knowing exactly what workouts you are doing. Athletes training plans are designed to provide you with the appropriate amount of training and stress for your body. Furthermore, extra workouts may result in overtraining and/or injury.

While the coaches determine all workouts and events for all athletes, we will defer to parental judgment when it comes to withholding an athlete from practice and/or meets for personal reasons. Communication between athlete, parents, and the coaches is crucial.

Make every effort to stay with a group when running where the coaches cannot directly see you.

Each runner is required to check out with a coach prior to leaving practices or meets.

Our training program is designed to be progressive. In other words, runners will run more miles, and with more intensity, as they progress through the program and become older and stronger. On school days practice will typically run from 2:30-5:00/5:15pm. Plan to have practice on Saturdays as well.

No athlete can practice with the team until he/she has turned in a completed physical and all other required forms. These forms are good for one calendar year.

We run in the heat, rain, snow, and cold. We will only cancel practice in situations where weather conditions are clearly hazardous, or when bad weather is not expected to end in a reasonable amount of time, or we cannot practice inside. Exception: If school is cancelled or dismissed early due to weather, then practice is cancelled. Watch the weather report and plan your dress accordingly for practice. Always be prepared for the worst.


Don't bundle up excessively. After a few minutes of running your body will warm up. It is just as uncomfortable to get overheated, as it is to be too cold.

Layer for cold weather running. There are three important layers when it comes to cold weather running.

  1. A base layer or snug wicking material (such as polypropylene, polyester, Thermax, or wool).
  2. A mid layer of looser material that insulates and carries moisture from the base layer (such as down, polyester, or fleece).
  3. An outer layer to block wind and allow moisture to escape (such as Gore-Tex).

Finally, three more important items to wear, gloves, (preferably mittens), hat, and socks with a content of wool in them. Most specialty running stores will carry these items.


Stay hydrated. This is more important than you think. Athletes should drink plenty of water before, during, and after runs. If you become dehydrated your body has trouble regulating your temperature, your immune system is lowered, and you can faint, among other things. Our body is 66% water, so stay hydrated.

It is necessary to maintain a proper diet to provide energy for training and recovery. A healthy diet includes eating fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. Avoid dairy products before meets and workouts. Eat and drink in moderation cake, candy, ice cream, sugary drinks, fried food and white bread.

The best proteins include grilled lean beef or chicken, eggs, seafood, seeds, and nuts and nut butters. All athletes should include foods in their diet that contain calcium for proper bone development.

Simple rule for your diet: 锟絇otato chips in, potato chips out.锟� If you put junk food into your body, expect to put out junk performances in your races.


Any athlete on the team is eligible to earn a varsity letter. The top ten athletes on the team are considered varsity. Athletes can earn a spot in the varsity line up any time during the season. To earn a varsity letter in Cross Country an athlete must finish a race in top 10 for at least 3 meets during the season. If an athlete breaks into the varsity line up during the County, Conference or State meet they will receive their varsity letter. In championship races, only the top 7 at count as varsity, while in dual meets 12 athletes can be part of the varsity line up. To earn a varsity letter, athletes must have an attendance rate of 90% or better for all practices and meets.

In addition, all senior runners who have competed for more than one season will receive a varsity letter. The coaches reserve the right to award varsity letters based on other factors such as injury, exceptional contribution to the team, etc.


Membership on the team requires regular attendance at practices and races. The time commitment associated with cross-country can be significant and is something you should carefully consider prior to joining the team. Success in any event begins with, and is highly dependent upon, consistency in training, and therefore regular attendance at practice is essential.

Attendance is required at all practices and meets unless the coaches give prior approval not to be there. Every athlete will have the coaches锟� email and cell phone numbers. It is your responsibility锟絥ot your teammates锟� and not your parents锟� responsibility锟絫o notify the coaches as soon as you know you will be unable to attend a practice or meet, and make sure we write it down! Giving us a note is the best bet. Remember that you are asking to miss practice, not telling us you will be gone. Whether an absence is excused or not is at the discretion of the coaches.
All athletes must dress for every practice unless you are absent from school or are attending an alternate workout or therapy due to an injury. If you are injured, ill, or have a written excuse from your parents, you will still dress for practice but you and the coaches and the trainer will determine the extent of your participation.

The only absence that is excused without prior communication is absence from school. If you are at school, you are expected to be at practice.

Be punctual for the start of practice and have a ride ready at the end of practice. You will be considered late for practice if you are not present when attendance is taken. Please know that we are working very close with the weight room and that we have to comply to their time schedule as well. Sessions need to be on time in order to accommodate the number of athletes that we have.

If a teacher, counselor, or administrator detains you, a note from the person that detained you is required to excuse the tardy. Note: Getting academic help or making up a test excuses the tardy. A detention does not.
Be punctual to meet the bus to leave for meets. If you are not on the bus when it is time to go, you will be left.

If you need to schedule something on a weekday afternoon (e.g. doctor/dentist appointment) check with the coaches ahead of time as to the best days according to the schedule. It锟絪 always preferable to make such appointments on easy or distance days since it is easier to do your workout on your own.
The bus will leave for practice at 2:30 sharp. The bus will pick up and drop off athletes at the gazebo in the back of the school.

Unless the reason for missing practice is illness or injury, it is expected that you will do your scheduled workout on your own on the days you miss. Coaches will check with you to make certain that the workout was completed. Athletes must have an attendance rate of 90% or better for all practices and meets to receive either a varsity letter or junior varsity certificate.

Travel to and from meets:

The school rule is you travel to the meet on the bus & you return to school on the bus. I actually like this rule because I think the time we spend together on the bus is good for team bonding & chemistry. It's good for the new runners to be able to talk to & get advice from the upperclassmen veterans.

Your parents will pick you up from WHRHS after we return from the meet. Please plan on returning to school on the bus. Under special circumstances, if there's a real need, your parents can contact the athletic director's office in advance and fill out the travel release form for permission to take you home directly from the meet.

Running Terms

* Distance Run: Generic term for an easy run of a prescribed length or time. Our easy/rest/recovery days at practice will commonly be referred to as distance runs.

* Intervals: This is a workout of specific distances with different recovery times depending on time of the season.

* Repeats: The same as intervals, but commonly used with much longer interval distances.

* Strides: A series of short accelerations or sprints done to work on speed and form.

* Fartlek: This is a Swedish word that means, 锟絪peed play.锟� A fartlek run is a distance run with surges or varying pace thrown in. Fartlek is a medium-hard workout..

* Progression Run: A distance run where the pace becomes faster as the run goes along.

* Tempo/Cruise intervals: Runs that make up threshold training. Threshold training is done between 83 and 87% of maximum heart rate. The difference between tempo and cruise are the length of the runs and the recovery times. Tempo is longer distances and cruise are shorter. Both should be done at an even pace.

* Spikes: These are the spiked shoes that we race in.

* Flats: Spikeless racing shoes.

* Trainers: Your every day running shoes.

* PR: Personal record. This is a runner best time for a given distance, course, event etc.

We look forward to cross country season.

Thank you for joining WHRHS Cross Country. Lets make this a fun and rewarding experience.