Decided to join the running program?

Now what do you do? How do you implement your plan? Who do you talk to? And the most important, what is your first step to accomplishing this awesome decision?

  • Start researching by checking out the VHS website (see link below)
  • Contact VHS to find out your next steps
  • Start getting physically ready, see below
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To Learn More About Valencia High School!

Check out everything on the website. VHS really is amazing. The highest level in academics (IB), technology edge in Val Tech, AVID program with incredible ratio of in getting students to college, more AP classes, etc. and an amazing number of teachers that graduated from VHS and returned to teach!

Preparing Physically


Sixth Grade and Prior:

  1. Have fun and play! Try any sport you have interest in and try not to focus on just one sport. Don’t forget the playground! Enjoy all kinds of activities like hiking, swimming, biking, skate boarding (if okay with your parents/guardians), running, playing tag, jumping, climbing (there are actually leagues to compete in climbing!), etc. Don’t be afraid to have fun and compete with your friends! Race each other, try to outdo each other, and then afterwards, give each other hugs or “high fives”. Keep growing your self confidence. Don’t be afraid to try new things and go all out.
  2. Pick friends you have fun with and who help you be better in athletics and academics. Friends support you, help you, pick you up and give you a hug when you are down, encourage you, and are happy when you succeed! Don’t hang out with “friends” that say you can’t do things, tell you to not try, want you to sit on the sidelines with them, are unhappy when you are successful, and who tell you things to make you sad. Those are not “friends”!
Seventh Grade: (Read “Sixth Grade and Prior”)

  1. The key to any sport, including running, is your strength, mobility, coordination, and flexibility. More important than even running, at this point, is improving your core in the items mentioned. In the Running Program “Core” is defined from your shoulders down to your toes. It is not having a “six pack stomach”! Later on links, etc will be provided to make it easier but for now you can do a bit of internet research and find some exercises that you enjoy. Several things to thing about are: 1) Start slowly when building up your exercising especially if you have not been doing this. 2) Have fun with it! 3) Do it between one and three times a week. 4) Set goals for yourself in time or number of repetitions and make those goals difficult but potentially doable. Particular areas to focus on are listed below.
    1. Toes / Feet / Ankles / Achilles Tendon (potential exercises: jump rope, bleacher jumps, toe crawls, “on toes”, “on heels”, toe work with bands, going barefoot, wearing very flexible sandals, wearing minimalist shoes (if you are used to them!), bunny hops, etc.)
    2. Calfs / Shins (potential exercises: see #1, calf raises, calf raises on stair, etc)
    3. IT Band / Knee / Hips / Hip Flexors (potential exercises: hip raises on a step, crab crawls with elastic band, side leg lift with elastic band, medicine ball squeeze between the knees, etc.)
    4. Glutes / Hamstrings (potential exercises: forward lean lunges, butt kickers, strengthen type exercises, etc)
    5. Quads (potential exercises: straight up lunge, strengthen type exercises, etc.)
    6. Mid Section / Lower Back (potential exercises: dolphin (super woman), planks, bridges (including side), crunches, etc.)
    7. Chest / Shoulders / Arms / Upper Back (potential exercise: setups, military press pushups, crunches, tricep dips, etc)
    8. General stuff (potential exercises: core videos, cross training gym / classes (great!), battle ropes, medicine balls, etc)
  2. Speed ladders are fun and great for foot speed development (potential exercises: forward and sideway hops, runs, single leg hops, etc)
  3. Form … and Form … and Form … You probably get the idea! A GREAT resource is This is from the New You Road Runners who provide a ton of material that is largely spot on. The very first form item is simple: pelvis should be in a neutral position (for most of us that means move it forward!) and allow yourself to “stand tall”. No bending at the waist. There are a million or so (just an estimate) other form items but remember, all runners, even the best and most accomplished, are always working and re-working on form.
  4. Consider joining a local running club. It can be a lot more fun to run with others than run by yourself. Join with your parents/guardians! Remember to start slowly both in pace and distance. Generally don’t run more than 10 to 20 miles a week. Your body is very busy in growing and your muscles, tendons, bones, etc are just not ready for a heavy mileage load. Don’t just either sprint or do long slow distance. Do both and everything in between! If you are already developing into being exclusively a sprinter, focus on sprinting and middle distance type runs. Everyone can have different daily/weekly mileages. It is more important to tailor the mileage to you, the individual runner, than everyone run the same mileage. This can be due to a variety of things including how fast you are growing, coordination, strength, mobility, flexibility, desire, time in your schedule, etc.
  5. The club may or may not focus enough on your core items mentioned in #1, so you may have to do that at home. Challenge your parents / guardians and/or friends to compete in pushups, sit-ups, tricep dips, toe crawl races, etc.
  6. HAVE FUN!
  • Eighth Grade: (Read “Sixth Grade and Prior” and “Seventh Grade”)
    • Follow the Seventh Grade and Sixth Grade and Prior recommendations.
    • Do the core exercises between 2 to 4 times a week. Increase the difficulty, band strengths, number of repetitions, number of sets, etc. Be prudent! Do NOT over do your exercising.
    • Speed ladders: put two or more of them together to make your speed work last a bit longer.
    • Run 3 to 4 times a week. Tailor your mileage to how you feel but generally between 15 to 25 miles a week. If you are convinced you are a sprinter exclusively (100 and 200 meters) keep the mileage between 5 to 10 miles and focus on sprints and middle distance type work. There are private coaches available to help with form, starts, components of the sprint race, strength, blocks execution, etc. Do NOT overwork!
    • Possibly with the club or by yourself (or drag your parents / guardians along!) run some races. Preferably 5 K’s and shorter but if your comfortable with it and only do it once in a while, a 10 K is okay. Enjoy the competition which can help motivate you for the workouts. Make some friendships.
    • HAVE FUN! If it becomes a drudge, either reduce your workouts or stop for a while.
    • Toward the end of your eighth grade, sign up online at PYLUSD for the Girl’s Cross Country Running Camp. It will start sometime the beginning of July and run up to when your freshman year begins at Valencia. You will develop some awesome friendships which will make the beginning of school even more fun.
    • Find others who want to run and “recruit” them! Valencia really is an OUTSTANDING school and academically is one of the top 5% in the nation. It has the renowned IB and Val Tech programs. Research where Valencia’s graduates go to college! It is incredible!
Already in High School: (Read “Sixth Grade and Prior”, “Seventh Grade”, and “Eighth Grade” … but don’t get discouraged! You can catch up!)

  1. There are three seasons of running:
    1. Fall: Cross Country
    2. Winter: Pre Season (Track and Field) training and possibly Winter Indoor Season
    3. Spring: Track and Field
  2. Running can be coordinated with other athletic sports. There have been many athletes that have accomplished three sports in a year (Cross Country, Soccer (a winter sport), and Track and Field for example). However this can diminish the effectiveness of the athlete when they are competing. For example it is tough to come over to Track and Field sometime mid to late February (when soccer season ends) and compete against athletes that have been training since the end of Cross Country season and who may have run in the indoor winter season.
  3. The running team generally meets on the Valencia track starting at 2 pm every day, beginning of sixth period, and 7 am on most Saturday’s. Come out and introduce yourself to one of the coaches (Head Coach Ed Garcia and/or Coach Roy). You can learn a LOT more about the program and ask questions that are important to you. You will also be able to see the girls already on the team many of whom you may already know.
  4. When you join, the coaches will create a personalized program to begin your development that will be heavily dependent on your current physical conditioning and athletic skills.
  5. Be prepared for the time commitment! The practices run from 2 to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 7 to 10 am on most Saturdays. In addition, especially after the first year of running, there will be some light homework that you probably accomplish while studying academic subjects.

Special Notes

  • Recommendation: No matter where you are in the timeline, read everything!
  • Do NOT worry if you are starting “later” than other runners! Some Olympic, International, NCAA, and High School Champions did not run a step before high school.
  • We are ALL sprinters! This does not mean we will all compete in the 100 meters and beat Usian Bolt! This means that all of us must work, every day, on our speed so as to become better runners and increase our competitiveness.
  • Not all of us can win a race but we all can achieve amazing things by setting goals, believing, and working hard. The only thing that holds us back is ourselves. Don’t hold back! Running really can positively change your life and how you perceive yourself. Take a chance and go for it!