The Little Things . . . a Going the Distance newsletter Late Mid December 2015 || issue #38 Share on Facebook Snow Cancelled, Run instead - 1st on


The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Late Mid December 2015 || issue #38
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Snow Cancelled, Run instead - 1st onsite session: January 5, registration form

Reports from Sydney Packard and Griffin Barriss

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Fernando sends the snow away.

Braz Cancels Snow This Winter

Sorry skiers.
Coach Braz has decided to NOT let it snow this winter. It will be a winter to run.
First GTD onsite session is January 5.

Maintenance Training

Not running a marathon? No big races on your schedule? Winter is the perfect time to establish a fitness level that will be your foundation for all of 2016. With good running ahead, give yourself a maintenance program and goal with either Fernando's Seasonal Program or the One-on-One coaching model.

Marathon Training

All marathon training programs use the One-on-One coaching model. If you are running a marathon in April or earlier, you should begin training now. If you have questions on which program to choose, contact Dave.

Coaching Options

Sign-up Steps

Registration Form

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Sydney Packard

[Sydney is a dynamic track runner who led her Bishop Fenwick xc team this fall. She ran 19:35 to capture 5th in the Division 6 meet, and followed with a 19:30 at All States.]

GTD: This was your 3rd summer training in Coach Braz’s program. Has the program changed over the years?
Sydney: Since my first season of Braz Camp as a rising sophomore, I've noticed how much I've grown as a runner and how much the camp has grown. Just by mere size, the program is much larger now than it was during my first two years. As a sophomore and junior, athletes were divided into four groups, whereas this year I was surprised to hear that there were six groups due to the size of the cross country camp.
This growth changed the demeanor of camp in a positive way. There have been so many opportunities to make and keep connections with runners who quickly become friends.
Over the years, I have been able to train with some of the most talented runners in the state and get advice from the most knowledgeable and caring coaches. Even though Coach Braz has added and altered the workouts each summer, the one central constant has been his, the coaching staff's and the athlete's commitment to hard work and personal development.
From the first day I met Coach Braz, Pete, Colette, Ginny and Fred Doyle, I knew how much they cared about me as an individual, and that has helped so much with my mindset toward running. Also being surrounded by a group of runners who are all devoted to improvement helped me be more focused during training.


Sydney writes: "the start of All-States at Stanley Park in Westfield- I'm out front (but not for long) in the yellow!"

GTD: What was different for you as you trained to compete for your senior year vs. getting ready for you sophomore and junior years?
Sydney: My sophomore year was definitely an experiment with cross country, as I had never run it before- I only knew about track. I worked hard and got used to the mileage.

As a junior, I was physically able to handle the mileage for cross country, but I still had a hard time with the mental aspect. I convinced myself that I was a mid-distance runner (as my main track event is the 800m). My times from the previous year improved, but they weren't close to my goals.

Finally senior year, both Coach Braz and my Bishop Fenwick Coach, Coach Czarnecki, helped me match my physical strength with mental strength.

The last day of Braz camp, Coach Braz talked to me about how to be mentally strong by saving my mental energy for the big meets (Divisionals and All-States). I should use the regular season meets as preparation for these meets. I kept this with me the entire season, working through unsatisfying times until I got to states.

At the division 6 meet, I felt confident and ready. I ended up running what I consider my best cross country race. I reached my three year goal of breaking 20 minutes in a 5k and ran a 55 second personal record.

Coach Czarnecki told me I came into the season in "collegiate shape" and I think this is because of all the preparation, both mentally and physically, I had over the summer.


Sydney on her senior night.

GTD: The last phase of each training session this past summer was devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength. Tell us about it.
Sydney: A huge player in what helped be in "collegiate shape" was the core work, flexibility work, strength training and plyometrics. At the end of an exhausting hill workout or tempo run, core and strength work are much more challenging.

While the additional activities were painful and I do admit to complaining during the workouts, I am so glad they were incorporated. Not only did they make me a more balanced and physically stronger runner, they also helped me be more mentally tough. During the cross country season, I tried to keep all the summer exercises in mind and incorporate them into my workouts.

GTD: What are your winter plans for running?
Sydney: For the winter I hope to run in meets offering the 800m, try to run a fast time, and hopefully qualify for New Balance Nationals. For the regular season, my coach and I are going to experiment with the 600m and 1000m, to see which would be better to compete in for states. Right now our team looks very strong and I hope we can earn a league title for a third year.

GTD: College plans?
Sydney: Right now I my heart is set on pursuing chemical engineering and running in college. I have applied to WPI, RPI, Umass Lowell and UNH. I would prefer to run at a Division 3 school because chemical engineering is such a demanding major and also because I would have more opportunities to compete at high level meets.

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Griffin Barriss

[As Griffin describes below, he was joined by 2 Melrose teammates this summer in the GTD xc program. Marblehead sent 9 runners to the program. At the Divisional meet on November 14, these were the top 2 teams in Division 4. At All States on November 21, they were the top 2 teams in Division 2.
Is it possible that teams that train in the GTD xc program enjoy great end-of-season success? Let Griffin explain it.]

GTD: Griffin, this was your 2nd summer training in Coach Braz’s program. What do you look for in the program each summer?
Griffin: Every summer I look for a program that will give me the opportunity to be trained under a different coach's philosophy and style, as well as getting quality workouts in with runners outside of my team to push me. I found all of this and more at the GTD training sessions this summer. The program gave me lots of guidance on how to train and race properly as well as exposing me to workouts and training elements that we normally do not do on my team in the regular season.

GTD: Each onsite conditioning session this summer had phases, and each of the 18 sessions was a bit different. What drills did you look forward to? Were there ones you would like to forget about it?
Griffin: One of my favorite drills we did over the summer was the timed pick-up runs around the field complex. The Melrose team often runs interval workouts and speed drills, but we never did it GTD style, where we would run at a normal pace for a set amount of time and then pick it up to close to our race pace for a different period of time. This got me used to kicking in speed while in the middle of a race and helped me control my pace and surges much better during the season. The "Jesus Hill" hill repeats were probably the most beneficial, yet most agonizing, drill we did at GTD. It consisted of running up a very steep hill about 100-150m long, then continuing across the top at the same pace before going back down, doing core drills at the bottom, and then repeating up the hill again. This workout really taught me how to push through pain in races and improve my hill running abilities, but my legs get sore just thinking about it.

GTD: The last phase of each training session this past summer was devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength. Tell us about it.
Griffin: The flexibility and core session of GTD was extremely beneficial to my performance this year. I became a much stronger and more flexible runner than I had ever been in the past, especially because of the Hurdle Mobility drills we often did before core (a personal favorite of mine). The core sessions were more intense than anything we ever did on our team, pushing our bodies and minds to the limit and leaving us as stronger mental and physical runners.

GTD: When you race, do you have routines that you always do to prepare, leading right up to the start?
Griffin: Before I race, I always make sure to drink lots of water in the 4 hours leading up to the race to avoid cramps and dry mouth at all costs. I also do our team's routine dynamic stretches right at the line before taking my sweats off, as well as quadruple knotting my spikes, mostly for mental reassurance that they won't come undone. It has also become a team tradition that we sport white headbands in the race, so I make sure to secure it to a comfortable tightness around my head before heading over to the line.


GTD: You were joined by two of your Melrose teammates this summer, and your team had a great fall xc season. Tell us about it.
Griffin: This summer I was joined by our 4th runner on the team, Sean Conlan, and our number 1 runner, Kevin Wheelock at the GTD sessions. We all had lots of fun and really benefited from training with our late-season competition and focusing on our speed and hill running abilities throughout the summer. We ended securing our second consecutive undefeated Middlesex Freedom League Title, as well as finishing 1st at the Big Wave Invitational, 3rd at the Catholic Memorial Invitational (#1 MA team at the meet, lost to 2 New Hampshire teams), 2nd at the MIAA D4 meet, and surprising many by finishing 2nd at the Division 2 All-State Championships. Both Sean, Kevin, and I improved our times tremendously and overall had great seasons. We all surprised ourselves at the end of the season and managed to pull off an unforgettable ending to our season.

GTD: What were some of the highlights of your own xc season?
Griffin: My season went exponentially well compared to last year’s cross country season. I maintained a spot as the 5th man on our team and managed to improve my 5K PR by 1:07 from the previous year. I managed to mentally improve my race and become a more experienced, faster runner because of it.

GTD: What are your winter/spring plans for running?
Griffin: This winter I hope improve my 600m PR by 4 seconds and place in the top 5 at our league championships. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend our state meet due to an exchange trip to France, but I hope to make the most out of my shortened season. I also hope to send a Distance Medley Relay team to the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet and place well at the State Relay Meet. In the outdoor season, I hope to improve my 400m PR to under 51 seconds and qualify for the D3 championship meet, as well as sending a Distance Medley Relay team to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet.


Previous Issues of The Little Things

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