Below are some frequently asked questions
and answers that may help
you in your decision to sign up for the program
Would this program be suitable for my children
who play sports, but have no experience in distance running?
A: Yes, it would. No
prior experience is required to join the club. The kids get that
experience step by step as they go through the program, and in the end
they really start thinking of themselves as runners. Besides running,
a lot of core fitness and agility training as well as many fun
What activities does a typical practice include?
We normally start with ~5 min easy jog for a warmup, some stretches and agility drills. After that, we either go on a group
run or do a workout. In the end, we play running games, do some core
exercises, and finish with another set of stretches. The length of runs
and intensity of workouts progress gradually through the season.
long are the runs? Will my child be able to endure them?
Coaches gauge the ability of athletes attending and form several
groups. The beginner group may go for 10-15 at first at an
pace. More advanced group may run for 25-30 min. We include
breaks and develop necessary endurance gradually - nobody has to go
over limits. Our regular group runs are done on trail loops within the
Tudek Park. We have coaches running in the front and in the back of the
pack to make sure no one is left behind.
big is the group and what ages do usually participate?
A: Usually, the fall program gathers 50-60 kids
(approximately equal boys and girls) of various ages, with majority
being 5-8 graders. At practice we warm-up together and may
split into groups for runs or workouts.
Q: How many days per week do you have practice?
A: During cross country season we
typically hold practice 5 times a week
- Monday through Thursday and on Sunday afternoons, when we
local parks around State College. Different coaches may be in charge of
practice on different days.
Q: Is attendance on all days mandatory?
A: No. It is quite common that the kids are
involved in many different activities in the fall, so feel flexible and
choose the days that fit best into your schedule.
many days is preferable to be at practice?
A: It depends on your goals. If you want to
see progress in
endurance, fitness, get faster, or if you have competitive goals, at
least 3 practices per week are recommended. Athletes who choose to be
on the travel squads for USATF Junior Olympics should try to commit for
3 practices per
week. If you are not there yet - just want to try it, hang
out, and do it just for fun - even
would be fine.
we try it out before deciding to
A: Yes - everyone is allowed to join the practice
and check it out for a week or so. Please fill out the waiver form, but
you can hold the fee payment until you are sure that your kids want to
stay in the club.
- parents are welcome to stay for practice (especially if they
accompany young kids who are trying it), and participate in our runs
and workouts. If you plan coming regularly and can help coaching,
please inform Coach Mark who coordinates volunteer schedule.
it possible to sign up later in the season after the soccer practice is
There is no restriction or deadline, so join any time. But it would be
better to mail the registration form earlier to be on the e-mail list
and to ensure that we order a shirt for your athlete.
Q: Are there any cross country meets and how do we
sign up for those?
There are a few local all-comers meets, which are run in
September-October. The Junior Olympic Mid-Atlantic and
Regional meets are in
November, and those are travel meets. Information on meets and
races will be sent
by e-mail to all club members and posted on the Club's website. For the
local all-comers meets, you can sign up on the race day. For the Junior
Olympic meets, there is on-line registration
that should be done in advance through the Club. NTF pays all athletes
meet registration fees.
Q: What distances do athletes run at the meets?
A: The youngest group
8 and under run 2k (1.25 mile), 9-10 and 11-12 groups run 3k (1.75
mile), 13-14 athletes run 4 k (2.5 mile), and older athletes run 5k
(3.1 mile), the same as high school.
participation in meets mandatory?
Not at all. Although we always encourage our athletes to try
competition, there is no pressure about this matter, especially if this
is the first year of them participating in cross country. It is up to
parents and athletes themselves to decide when they are ready
to race. Every year, there are quite a few competitive kids on the team
who train for racing goals and represent NTF at the Regional and
What is required for joining the Club's travel teams for
A: Each team will include 5 to 8 runners from the same age/gender
category. Anyone who is ready to commit to training and travel to the
meet can join - it does not depend on your running times or ability.
Every runner is valuable. Quite a few first-timers participated in
such teams last year and got great experience!
What should athletes wear or bring to practice?
Well-fitting running shoes, water bottle, warm-up clothes (pants and
hoodie for cool weather). Please do not bring other sport equipment
(like soccer balls etc.)
Does practice get canceled because of rain (or snow)?
Light rain is usually not a problem. As cross country runners, we dress
accordingly and run through it. In case of strong, cold or freezing
rain, or thunder, the practice may be cancelled. Then, a notification
will be sent to all participants via e-mail before 5 pm.
more questions: e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org