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Without Limits Summer XC Conditioning 2023
Without Limits XC Conditioning 2023 registration is now open
Summer conditioning will begin May 29, 6:30 AM Monday through Friday at SOAR Athletic Fields (5637 Bush River Rd). All practices should wrap up by 8:30 AM. Some will finish sooner. Some will finish later. Being done by 8:20 is the goal. Starting on week 4, Saturday practices will be held at alternative locations such as Harbison State Foreset, Mungo Park, and Saluda River Walk. The conditioning period will conclude on July 29 at Mt Sassafras in the Upstate. This year's conditioning will have a theme: Goliath was the underdog, based on the story of David vs Goliath.

Cost will be $120 for the first month and $100 for the second month. I will be ordering shirts for the runners this year. That is why the first month is going to be a little more.

What you can expect

Expect to run and workout. This program is designed to set athletes up to have a successful cross country season in the fall. It is open to any athlete from any school interested in cross country and looking to make an impact for his or her team. Each morning will start with a dynamic warm-up before heading out on the daily run. There will be a specific strength routine following the runs. Afterwards there will be lessons on scripture, physiology, and training methodologies. Many lessons will relate to running and life.

Not everything will be work and lessons. There will be time for games and other fun stuff I have planned. Time for goofing off as well.

What to bring

1) A solid pair of running shoes. I suggest going to Fleet Feet or Strictly Running to get fitted properly. The wrong pair of shoes can mess up your feet. FF has two locations (Lake Murray Blvd and Forest Dr) and Strictly Running is located on Divine St near Five Points. For now, avoid what is known as super shoes. These are Nike Alphafly, Nike Vaporfly, Saucony Endorphin, Adidas Adizero, Altra Vanish Carbon, Asics Metaspeed Sky, Asics Metaspeed Edge, Brooks Hyperion Elite, Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite, and Under Armor Flo Varciti Elite.

The reason for avoiding these shoes comes down to muscle development. They take some of the work off of the runner due to their design and can prevent muscles, the calf specifically, from fully developing in growing athletes. That aside, to get any benefit from them a runner must be strong enough to apply enough force into the ground for the carbon and nylon plates to give back the energy they promise. If you're not strong enough, you just have a nice pair of expensive shoes with none of the promised benefits.

2) Proper running clothes. We will be meeting early in the mornings before the sun and humidity rise and generally cooler than the rest of the day.

3) We will practice in the rain. Cross Country is an all-weather sport. Unless there is lightning in the area, we will run. On days with rain, it is good to bring a towel and change of clothes. We will have access to restrooms with stalls so changing will not be difficult.

4) A willingness to embrace the process. Running is not like baseball or basketball in the sense a person can pick up the skills of throwing or dibbling a ball in a short period of time. Our sport embraces discipline and the concept of delayed gratification. It takes time to develop good form, an aerobic base, and the muscular strength to become decent runners. We work on fitness to prepare for races.

5) A watch of some kind. A watch with GPS, capable of tracking distance, time, and pace is preferable but not required. A regular watch with a stopwatch function can work just fine. If you don't have a smartwatch and plan to get one, Garmin is my recommendation for running. You can find these watches at The previously mentioned running stores, Dicks, Academy Sports, and Best Buy.

If you're an older runner (9th and up) and have a Garmin watch, you must download Garmin Connect and Garmin Clipboard. You must accept the invitation to my Clipboard coaching account. Doing so makes my job much easier as I can load your runs and workouts directly to your watch from my phone and check your stats. Younger runners with restrictions on phone use set by parents are exempt from this. I'm looking into whether or not Apple watches will work with Clipboard
6) A water bottle with water or preferred sports beverage. Due to the amount of sugar I discourage Gatorade and Powerade. Good alternatives are Tailwind, Nuun, and Skratch Labs.

7) Make sure to put something on your stomach before showing up. Avoid dairy.

What you should know about Cross Country as a sport

Cross Country is first and foremost a team sport. Every person on the team influences not just the outcome of his or her own team, but also the outcome of other teams. Each runner in the top 5 is assigned a point corresponding to where they finish in the race. First place gets 1 point. 2nd place gets 2 points and so on. The team with the lowest score wins. Though the top 5 runners are the scorers on the team, a varsity squad is made up of 7 runners. At the high school level runners 6 and 7 are tie breakers should one be necessary. However, they also affect the scores of other teams by displacing the runners on those teams at high finishing spots. If the winning team scores a perfect 15 points but also gets the 6th and 7th spots, the next scorer cant go lower than 8 points.

Though XC is a team sport, there is a significant emphasis on individual ability. Everyone is different in terms of fitness and ability. My job as the coach is to meet the individual where he or she is and build up from there. This is how strong teams and confident athletes are coached. Our aim is to run good times while having good times.

Most races are 5k (3.1 miles). Middle school races are between 1.5 and 2 miles. If you've never run either distance, there are number of local 5k road races you can sign up for. Check the columbiarunningclub.com calendar or strictlyrunning.com calendar. I will also be putting on races at Harbison State Forest this summer.

Running isn't the only thing we do. We work on core, agility, and strength. Special instructors will be invited out to teach us about injury prevention and proper technique when lifting. Two instructors coming out will be Brad Yeargin of Drayer PT and Donnie Bigham, the USC ROTC program strength instructor.

Final Rule

Absolutely no airpods or headphones are to be worn when running. No music is to be played from any device. There are two primary reasons for this.

1) You're not allowed to run races with music. It is important you become accustomed to long periods of exercise without entertainment aside from the conversation you have with friends.

2) Running with music takes attention off of the surrounding environment, creating a safety issue. Even in a group setting. Runners need to have situational awareness 100% of the time. This will also allow the runner's mind to be more in sync with what the body is doing and how the body is feeling.

I will go over this document again on the first day of conditioning
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