The Little Things . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Early October 2020 || issue #95
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Sports in a Pandemic

The risk of transmitting the coronavirus stopped high school and college sports competition this year.

The winter season was shortened, and the spring season delayed and then cancelled. Fall sports are delayed or postponed for most high schools and cancelled for most colleges.

What Does This Mean for the Athletes?

For many seniors it meant they lost their last season of competition. For all athletes it meant asking this question – why do I train? If there’s no game coming up or no race to run, why should I do workouts?

There were (and are) two answers: (1) we may have games and races and want to be ready, and (2) I love the athletic conditioning process.

GTD – 25 Week Program

In the middle of March we knew we could not magically make the games and track meets happen. But we could offer the athletes a program to support their love of conditioning, and the chance that the games and meets would happen.

We made two quick decisions:
(1) since we were offering a conditioning program that replaced the athlete’s delayed (and later cancelled) school program, the GTD program would be free;
(2) the weekly program with daily conditioning guidelines would be sent to athletes via email. There would be no onsite sessions with a GTD coach. The athlete was responsible for executing the program.
The weekly program included detailed circuit drills covering stationary warm-up, dynamic warm-up, core/strength, and plyometrics. Each drill had a link to a video that demonstrated how to do it.

This free spring program ran for 12 weeks, beginning March 30 and ending June 21. We had over 75 college, high school, and middle school athletes in the program.

We spent months planning for a summer onsite program. But we did not receive the green light to hold onsite sessions until the Friday before the first onsite week, the week of July 6. Before that we offered 2 weeks of emailed programs (similar to the spring program) with the hope that onsite sessions would be possible. In addition, we began offering twice-weekly coaching sessions via Zoom with Coach Braz. At these sessions, Coach Braz reviewed the upcoming week’s program and answered questions. For the xc sessions, coaches Peter Cirafice and Sue Kiley joined the call to discuss nutrition and other concerns.

The summer session ran for 8 weeks, from June 22 to August 16.

For details on the safety guidelines for the program and reports from 9 of the athletes, please visit our website at these links:

Here’s a sampling of what the athletes thought about the GTD summer program.

This year there were a lot less people onsite than there normally are, so the groups were much smaller. That often meant you had time to do more reps and that the workouts were a little more focused for everyone.” Read Ryenne Feeney’s full report at this link.

I started camp expecting we would run this fall. I was extremely disappointed when XC was postponed, but Coach Braz reminded me to stay focused on what I can control, my own training.” Read Caroline Johnson’s full report at this link.

Coming into the program this year it was obvious that there would have to be changes made due to the pandemic, but the coaches and athletes both made it work. Every day we were required to wear a mask to and from the camp and were to bring in a paper confirming that we had no symptoms of the virus. To assure that we would be socially distant when we arrived and on our breaks, we sat at cones that were set up 6 feet away from one another.” Read Mckayla Fisher’s full report at this link.

I think my favorite part is all of the drills that we do after. Coach Braz is really good at making difficult core and band sessions that leave me feeling like I just got a really good workout in. It definitely hurts in the moment, but they make me work harder than I would on my own.” Read Shannon O’Connell’s full report at this link.

This year's camp was different because social distancing was enforced heavily, setting up cones for everyone both on and off the field, and taking the necessary precautions to slow down the spread.” Read Nicole Ruggiero’s full report at this link.

I began to think of my summer training as an investment -- the work that I did this summer will help me in the long term when I eventually get back to competition.” Read Victoria Lombardi’s full report at this link.

Due to CDC regulations, less athletes were able to attend the camp itself as well as the fact there were social distancing guidelines in place. Other than that, the structure of the camp and the workouts we performed were similar to previous years.” Read Deanna Ruggiero’s full report at this link.

This year was different because we all had to wear masks before and after running and socially distance during runs. This is definitely different from past years and at first was weird but it became the new normal.” Read Emily Ernst’s full report at this link.

Even though there were fewer people at camp this year, I felt that this was helpful because everyone who chose to come was ready to work hard and get ready for the season this year. We also did a lot more band work this year which was very hard but I can tell that the extra strength work will be very helpful during the upcoming season.” Read Rachel Brennan’s full report at this link.

Extended Summer
As the summer session was ending, many schools were delaying opening and the fall sports seasons were being delayed. So we added a 4-week Extended program, with onsite sessions. We then added a 5th week.

Athletes Taking the Challenge
We have great respect for the athletes who participated in the GTD conditioning program over its 25 week journey, beginning at the end of March. Some were with us for all 25 weeks, some for 12, or 8, or 5. They all met the challenge. We hope to see everyone back next summer.

We welcome more reports from athletes and parents on their experience with the GTD program this summer. To contribute, please contact Dave at dave@liveandrun.com.


What Was Missing this Summer?

For many athletes, the time right after the 90+ minute session is the reward. It is a time to stretch but also to talk with friends and make new friends.

This summer, after the 90 minutes, it was time to put the mask back on, get your hands spritzed with sanitizer, and leave.

We hope to extend the post-workout time and socializing again next summer. And get back to this post-workout scene from 2019 --

summer19 postA

Post workout, 2019 -- stretching, yoga (downward dog!), foam roller. And whatever Victoria Lombardi is doing.


Personal Coaching

Coach Braz provides personal coaching for runners at all levels who want to improve their performance or want a guided maintenance program.

Registration Form

The program is designed for runners who have a specific racing goal, or a series of races to prepare for, or want to build or maintain their running fitness.

Program details
Sign-up Steps


Previous Issues of The Little Things

Please go to this link for previous issues of The Little Things.


Going the Distance is a coaching service for runners at all levels.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Going the Distance program,
tell them about us, and forward The Little Things to them.
Visit our website -- Going the Distance
Head Coach -- Fernando Braz
Webmaster and Director -- Dave Smith
For more information, contact Dave at dave@goingthedistancefb.com

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