The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

September 22, 2013

Fairmont Senior hopes to run down the competition

FAIRMONT — So you want to run faster, huh? Simple. You run. And you run. Then you run some more.

Right?

Well, yes and no. As Fairmont Senior cross country coach Chris Neptune explained, getting runners to reach their full potential at the right part of the season is more complicated than what it might initially seem.

Cross country courses at the high school level are typically five kilometers. For those unfamiliar with the metric system, that’s roughly 3.1 miles. (3.10686 if you want to be exact.)

At practice, Neptune doesn’t simply blow a whistle and have his team sprint through their fastest 5K and call it a day. In fact, Neptune might not want to have his runners go all out even during regular-season meets.

“I’ve seen guys kill themselves early in the year,” Neptune said. “Then at the end of the year people are saying, ‘What happened to that guy.’ Well, he overdid it.”

“You’re trying to keep your guys fresh. Over-racing really isn’t the way to do it.”

Instead, the Polar Bears employ a sophisticated training regimen with different phases and cycles aimed at improving different aspects of running.

Right now the Polar Bears are finishing up the last couple weeks of the first phase known as “strength building.”

The name implies bulging biceps and protein powders, but it’s actually very different than what muscle-bound body builders would consider strength.

A sample workout would be six-miles “repeats.” As this name implies, it’s six miles followed by a short rest. Then: wash, rinse and repeat.

“It’s not terribly fast, but the volume makes it tough,” Neptune said. “That’s generally strength work.”

The strength phase also includes, among other things, “fartlek” training, a Swedish word that means waves. Basically it’s interval training with periods of high-intensity work followed by periods of lower-intensity running.

“Strength we base on effort,” junior Matt Strand said. “If you go out and give it what you got, you’ll get stronger, tougher and you’ll get better.”

Around early to mid-October, Fairmont Senior runners will switch to put more emphasis on track-style workouts or “speed” training.

“Fast, short-distance stuff to get your legs accustomed to running at a quicker pace,” Neptune said.

An example of this would be 800-meter cut downs. Runners start at a certain time then get faster (cut down) until the last one is the fastest. “It’s short,” Strand said. “But it hurts.”

Other speed workouts might have fast 400-meter runs. Or at the end of a moderately-long run, Neptune may add a couple 200-meter runs at near maximum effort to work on an athlete’s final kick.

“The speed work usually sharpens the guys up,” Neptune said. “They can drop some significant times from what they’ve been running. That’s the plan anyway.”

You don’t have to look far to see that the Polar Bears’ training regimen is paying off. Just last year, Fairmont Senior’s Nick Trefz ran a sub 16-minute race to claim the A-AA class state championship. As a team, the Polar Bears had five runners place in the top 30 to win the team component, as well.

This season the Polar Bears are ranked second in the state behind Bridgeport, according to runwv.com.

“I’m taking the perspective that they’re the team to beat,” Neptune said. “We’re working hard, and we need to track them down by the end of the season.”

Neptune’s goal is to have five runners place in the top 25 at the state meet on Nov. 2. Right now he isn’t far from it. Runwv.com ranks Jakeb Van Horn, the brother of last year’s state champion, as the state’s 11th fastest runner. He is followed closely behind by Strand in 13th.

 “I expect that (Van Horn) and Matt will be battling it out for the number one spot (on the team),” Neptune said.

Justin Oken (25), Drew Trefz (25), Gage Clemens (51), Zach Linger (53) and Jonah Freeland (68) are also in the top 100 for the Polar Bears. Still, it won’t be easy to catch the Indians, especially since the team boasts the top runner in the state in Abe Merinar. But Neptune is optimistic.

“We’re confident that we train a lot better and smarter than they do.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

1
Text Only
Prep Sports
  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

  • University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins

    The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
    Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.

    April 17, 2014

  • EFHS Softball - CB.jpg East can’t overcome No. 7 Lincoln, falls, 4-0

    Thunder clouds weren’t the only thing looming over the East Fairmont (6-6) softball team Monday when the Lady Bees hosed No. 7 Lincoln. Joining the ominous clouds was a sense of urgency for energy that never showed up as Lincoln was able to shut out East Fairmont, 4-0.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • FSHS #20-UHS  #1, 6-TS.jpg Kesling’s bat powers Polar Bears

    When Fairmont Senior’s Johnny Kesling stepped into the batter’s box this past week, it was game over.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Marion’s rally falls short

    North Marion had all the pieces in place for a thrilling come-from-behind victory Saturday afternoon.
    The four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The tying runner on third and the Huskies’ fastest player on second. Even the clear-blue sky on the mid-70s afternoon was the perfect stage for a comeback.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
Prep Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos