General Cross Country Terms and Information


Cross Country Terms


§  PR—Personal Record.  Running your fastest time on a distance, course, or at an age (for those of us older runners).  “Jeremy McClung ran a PR at Region.”

§  Loop course—a course that basically follows a large circle.  Some courses are 2 or 3 loop courses.  Carrollton is a double loop course.

§  Strides—gradual acceleration to a sprint then a deceleration.  These should be 75-100 meters in length and should be completed after a long run.  They help with form and with speed.

§  Hydration—ensuring your body has enough water so that you can perform at your  best.

§  V-DotThis is a number that helps the coaches determine your fitness level and workout pace.

§  Drills—Form drills that help athletes with proper form.   Other drills are for injury prevention.

§  Rowbury—our warm-up routine based on Shannon Rowbury’s routine.


How to score a Cross Country Meet.


Cross Country is a unique sport in that you can have individual winners and team winners.  Individual winners are obvious.  Team scoring is a bit more complicated.  In a typical meet seven runners will race and the top five runners score.  To get the team score, you will add up the finish places for the top five runners.  For example, a perfect score is a 15.  The team with the lowest score wins.  If there is a tie then you go to the 6th place finisher.  Also the 7th runner is important in bumping other teams back a spot in the scoring.  It is important to remember that each runner is important and that your spot could be the one to determine how the team finishes.


Equipment:  Shoes and Socks and a Watch


Cross Country is a sport that require very little in the way of equipment.  Other than apparel there are 3 essential pieces of equipment each Hoya runner MUST have.

  • ShoesMake sure you have RUNNING shoes.  You must take care of your feet.  Cross-trainers or other non-running shoes will lead to injuries.  A general rule of thumb for running shoes is they last about 5-6 months and about 400 miles (whichever comes first).
    • Spikes—some runners prefer to have racing spikes for their races.  These offer lighter shoes as well as better traction in a race.  They are not to be used for training.
  • Socks—Socks are also important especially to prevent blisters.  Use socks that have proper cushioning and help with moisture control.  Socks come in shoe cut, ankle cut, and then normal length.  We recommend ankle cut socks as we have seen numerous painful blisters arise with the shoe cut style.
  • WatchOur workouts require each athlete to have a watch with a chronometer (stopwatch).  The Timex Ironman watches have everything you need and are inexpensive.


Injury Treatment


Stretching is the most common form of injury protection.  It is important to stretch both before and after running.  Listed below are the most common injuries and how to treat them.

§  Sore muscles are the most common injury runners face.  Ice and Ibuprofen are the best remedies.

§  Blisters are another common injury.  Drain the blister (but don’t peel away the skin) then use a gel type skin to treat the blister.  Ideally you want them to become a callous.  Coach Scott is the blister guru and will help any athlete who has blisters.

§  Shin Splints are one of many overuse injuries.  Shin splints are the inflammation of the muscles around the shin.  Exercise by pointing your toes on the affected leg and draw the alphabet.  Ice also helps reduce the pain.

§  Stress Fractures are typically the result of too much too fast.  Be patient with your body and pay attention to your sore spots.  Proper training in the off-season is the best way to avoid stress fractures.

§  Dehydration or heat exhaustion can be avoided by proper hydration.  Pay attention to the warning signs such as dizziness, cold sweats, and nausea.

§  Overhydration/Hyponatria can occur by drinking simply water.  Your body needs electrolytes to provide energy so we recommend that you mix or alternate water with a sports drink.  Look at the label for sodium/salt content.  Pedialyte, Accelerade, Gatorade, Powerade all provide electrolytes.

§  Anemia is a common problem for cross country athletes.  The symptoms are general fatigue and listlessness.  Typically females are susceptible to anemia but males can experience it also.  It is caused by a lack of iron in the diet.  Make sure you eat some red meat each week and/or taking a vitamin supplement with iron in it.

§  Plantar Fasciatis is general foot soreness that is related to either overuse or improper shoes.  Make sure your shoes support your feet properly.  A general rule is 300-500 miles or 5-6 months.

§  Sore Knees typically occur when you have new shoes.  Please make sure you get shoes that properly fit your feet and that match your running style.

§  Other Overuse injuries are sore knees, joints, and stress fractures.  It is important to communicate with the coaches about any soreness or injuries you may be experiencing.

§  TALK TO YOUR COACHES ABOUT INJURIES:  Keep us informed about what is hurting you so we can adjust your workouts accordingly.


How to be a spectator


§  Bring a comfortable chair.  Find a spot where the athletes run by numerous times.

§  Yell like crazy when they pass.  They love all the cheering and hoopla.

§  Get a watch and time splits.  You can see how well an athlete is doing by looking at their splits.

§  Do not run beside the athletes.  This is considered pacing and can result in the disqualification of the athlete from the competition.

§  Do not touch the athletes during a race.  (Obviously someone in need of medical attention is already out of the race so it is ok to help at that point.)




 A proper diet it critical to the success of a cross country athlete.  It is important that you provide your body with the proper type of fuel it will need for our workouts.  Carbohydrates are ideal for the cross country athlete.  It helps you reserve water.

Good items:  Fruits—especially bananas, bagels, red meat (to avoid anemia), pasta, vegetables, water, chickpeas, spinach (another good iron source).

Try to avoid:  Soft drinks, candy, junk foods, fried foods.




Uniforms are the responsibility of the athlete.  A uniform can be purchased for $50, which includes a singlet and a pair of shorts.  We will be selling them in time for the first meet.


Cross Country on the WEB  The HHS Cross Country and Track and Field Website  our facebook fan page  The website for the Run Cobb organization.  Georgia Track and Field and Cross Country Website.  The Internet home of high school track and cross country  Great website with information, videos, and tips.  Information about the world running scene


Parents Guide to HHS Cross Country

HOT Weather at practices and at meets.  It is HOT in Atlanta in August and September so we do our best to take precautions regarding the heat.  At practice, we use a Wet Bulb according to the guidelines established by the Cobb County BOE.  If necessary, we will either cancel practice or adjust the workout according to the conditions.  The athletes need to also be aware of their own hydration and how their body is reacting to the heat.  We practice in the heat so the athletes are prepared for the competition in the heat.  We do provide water and Gatorade at practice and the meets.


There are to be no private coaches of our athletes during the season.


The athletes must conform to GHSA rules regarding uniforms, sportsmanship, and fair competition.


The booster club provides funds that help support the HHS XC program in many ways.  The booster club funds team shirts, incentive shirts, the banquet, Gatorade, supplements the coaches, supplements the out of town trips, and numerous other social activities and functions.  Please join ASAP.


We encourage you to take photos of the athletes in action.  If you are interested in being the team photographer, please contact Trisha Isaacs.


HHS XC has a reputation for exhibiting good sportsmanship.  As you watch a meet, encourage ALL Hoya runners and respect our opponents.  XC runners generally have a mutual respect for each other and focus more on encouraging each other.  If there is a problem or concern with the officials or other competitors at the meet then direct your concerns to the coaching staff and we will address it with the officials.


Pre-Race—The coaching staff requests that 20 minutes prior to a race is considered “coaches” time.  Please do not come to the start line with your athlete.  Allow the coaches to offer any last minute tips.


Please respect the decisions of the coaching staff regarding strategy for a particular race.  We sometimes my try a different strategy or move people into different races in order to prepare us for our region or state competition.  If you have any concerns about our strategy, then please direct your concerns to us.


Out of town trips.  There is an additional cost for these trips.

·         The entire team will travel to Pensacola, FL to compete in the Wildcat Invitational on Sept 16-17.

·         The top 8 (as determined by the coaches) varsity athletes will travel to the Great American XC Festival in Cary, NC on the weekend of Sept 30-Oct 1.  This will give them an opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the USA.


Coach Scott and Coach Simmons have been working together for 16 years.  We are proud of our program and believe that it represents the best student-athletes at Harrison High School and in the state of Georgia.  Our athletes are leaders on the field of competition and in the classroom.  Being a member of the team is truly an honor.