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?
Yes, it would. No prior experience is
required to join the team. 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, this program includes
strength and speed training that would help
kids perform in other sports as well.
What activities does a typical practice
We normally start with ~5 min easy jog for a
warmup, some dynamic stretches and
agility drills. After that, we either go on
a group run or do a workout. At the end of
practice, 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.
How 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 use a mix of walking and
running and go for 10-15 min at first,
gradually increasing the volume as season
goes. More advanced group may run for 25-30
min. We include walking breaks and let the
kids build their endurance and confidence
step by step - 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.
How big is the group and what ages do
A: The fall program usually
enrolls 80-100 kids (approximately equal
boys and girls) of various ages, with majority
being 4-8 graders. For warmups, we break
into two cohorts: 10 and under and and
11+, which have their own coaches. For
workouts we may split into smaller groups
by age or ability.
How many days per week do you have
A: During cross country
season we typically hold practice 5
times a week - Monday through Thursday at
Tudek, and on Sunday afternoons we meet at
other parks and trails for a long run.
Different coaches may be in charge of
practice on different days.
Is attendance on all days mandatory?
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.
How many days is preferable to be at
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 Championship meets should try to
commit for 3 practices per week. If you are
not there yet - just want to try it
out or do it just for fun - even
1-2 days would be fine.
Can we try it out before deciding to
We have a try-out period (usually until
Labor Day) when you can check out our
practice and request a refund if for some
reason your child does not want to continue.
We still require registration and signed
waiver for joining practice. Check with
Coach Mark for other arrangements.
Can parents participate?
We welcome parent volunteers (especially if
they accompany young kids who are new to
running and may need help). Perhaps ask your
kids if they like that idea though :) If you
plan on coming regularly and can help
coaching, please inform Coach Mark who
coordinates volunteer schedule.
Is there a deadline for registration? Is
it possible to sign up later in the season
after the soccer season is over?
The official registration deadline is
September 10th. So even if you plan joining
practice later in the season, we still
encourage you to register early to get a
spot on the team and to be included in the
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. Those
are free and open to athletes of
all levels and ages. Then
there are travel invitational and
championship meets in late October and
November. For those, registration
should be done in advance through the Club.
We will set up Google forms to
collect sign-ups for cross country meets,
and the information will be sent by e-mail
to all team members and posted on the NTF
website. NTF pays the meet registration fees
for all club athletes.
What distances do athletes run at the
The athletes in 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
4k (2.5 mile), and older athletes run 5k (3.1
mile), the same as high school.
Is participation in meets mandatory?
Not at all. Although we always encourage our
athletes to try racing, there is no pressure
about it, 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 National meets.
What is required for joining the
Club's travel teams for the Championships?
To form a cross country team for championship,
we need 5 to 8 runners in the same age/gender
group. 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 in
previous years and got a great experience!
What should athletes wear or bring to
Well-fitting running shoes, water bottle,
warm-up clothes (pants and hoodie for cool
weather). Please do not bring other sport
equipment (like footballs, etc.)
Does practice get canceled because of rain
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 at
least one hour before practice.
Are there any Covid safety measures?
We encourage athletes to watch their
symptoms and not to attend practice when
sick. If tested positive, athletes are
required to quarantine for 5 days and clear
symptoms before joining practice. Masks or
physical distancing are not currently
required at practice.
With more questions:
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
REGISTRATION opens on
the 1st of August