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Watchung Hills Regional High School


Team Policies

Welcome to Watchung Hills Cross Country Team

Overall Philosophy

We at WHRHS welcome all runners to our Cross Country Team. Please understand that no one will be cut based on their ability, and any runner will remain on the team as long as they participate and 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 your best effort, and represent WHRHS with good sportsmanship and conduct.We hope you will come to appreciate the benefits that running creates and that it stays with you the rest of your life.Of course, winning meets is always an important 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 everyone of you a winner. This is accomplished by setting personal goals that are agreed upon by both you and your coach. By our standards, you do not have to run the fastest to be a winner.As long as you have given it your best effort that 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 continuance into winter track or other sports of your choosing.


Being a captain requires a great deal of responsibility, commitment, and time, beyond practice when required.Captains will be responsible for the following:

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.

Club Sports and other School- Sponsored Sports

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’s 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.


As a member of the team you are a representative of WHRHS. As such, you should follow all school guidelines regarding behavior. Team members are expected to conduct themselves with class and humility at all times, improper behavior reflects on your team, coach, and school.

In particular:

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. The coaches will trust you until such time as you prove unworthy of trust. If you are intentionally dishonest about following rules, running workouts, etc., then you risk being suspended from the team.

Any behavioral problems will be addressed on an individual basis and can lead to anything from a simple discussion to being suspended/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, you should follow these guidelines with regard to your workouts:

The coaches should be consulted with regard to all workouts. You should not do extra workouts on your own without consulting the coaches. We cannot effectively plan your training—especially as it pertains to progression—without knowing exactly what workouts you are doing. Your training plans are designed to provide you with the appropriate amount of training and stress for your body. And, 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.

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 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.

Clothing for cold weather running

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.

A base layer or snug wicking material (such as polypropylene, polyester, Thermax, or wool).

A mid layer of looser material that insulates and carries moisture from the base layer (such as down, polyester, or fleece).

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 then you think. You should drink plenty of water before, during, and after you run. 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.

Letter Requirement

Any athlete on the team is eligible to earn a varsity letter. The criteria for earning a varsity letter in Cross Country is scoring in the top 7 in 5 dual meets or qulaifiying for a varsity spot in the County, Conference or State Sectional meet.

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.

In particular:

Attendance is required at all practices and meets unless the coaches give prior approval not to be there. Every athlete will have the coaches’ email and cell phone numbers. It is your responsibility—not your teammates’ and not your parents’ responsibility—to 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.

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’s always preferable to make such appointments on easy or distance days since it is easier to do your workout on your own.

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.

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, “speed play.” 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’s best time for a given distance, course, event etc.