(Updated: Friday, October 2nd, 2015)
Park Cities XC is a Dallas-based Youth Running Club that is open to anyone regardless of their ability or residence. Just remember,
“Speed is not required… that is what we BUILD. However, Mental Toughness, and GUTS are!”
But don’t concern yourself too much if your kid is lacking in any of the latter. We certainly try to help build those too!
We now have several examples of kids who formerly would not have been perceived as being “runners”, who now look like they’ve been running their entire lives!
On the other end of the spectrum, if you come to the club already with experience and speed, the club can be just the thing needed to take you to the next step, both developmentally, and in terms of national exposure toward recruiting purposes.
The Park Cities XC year is divided into three seasons as follows. Depending on the year and where holiday breaks fall, there is between a one and two week break between each season providing for 15 to 16 week seasons.
Spring Season: January, February, March, and into April
Focus on track distances: 100M, 200M, 400M, 800M, 1600M (mile), 2400M (1.5 mile), 3200M (2 mile – high school)
Summer Season: May, June, July, and into August
Focus on longer distance “base” training and general “core” conditioning for fall. We also continue with “speed” training throughout.
Fall Season: September, October, November, and into December
The “sharpening phase” of distance training for cross country. The later part of the season we begin work on preparing for spring track.
Modified Seasons for HS Athletes
High school athletes are allowed to train with the Park Cities XC team year round as a supplement to their high school programs, even during high school “in-season” times. Often this can work very well and allow the more advanced runners to excel even further than they would in a more “one size fits all” high school setting. We can work hand-in-hand with high school coaches to supplement their athletes with just want they need.
However, in certain cases, an athlete (or their high school coach) may wish to have their full attention set on their own high school cross country or track programs. In this case, we have made available a modified season schedule as follows:
Summer Season: May, June, July
Longer distance “base” training and general “core” conditioning for fall.
Winter Season: November, December
Focus on form, running mechanics, and race strategy. Workouts aimed at building speed for track season.
If due to scheduling difficulties, an athlete is not able to commit to the high school cross country or track programs, they are welcome to work out full time with the club.
Number of Days/Week
Formal practices are held 3 or 4 days/week, depending on the type of workouts we are doing and the age and level of experience of each runner.
Tentatively, practice days will be Monday & Tuesday, and Thursday & Friday for our Elite level runners. For our beginners and intermediate runners, practices are tentatively scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This schedule may be dependent on our athletes schedules for the upcoming season.
A short 1-Mile or 8-Minute fartlek (which I promise to explain) is expected of all members on non-practice days.
Time of Day
The time of day varies upon the seasonal temperature and available daylight. The exact times for a particular season will also be decided upon by athlete availability.
Katy Trail – North map
Located at the north end of the Katy Trail where it meets Airline (about a block from Central Expressway). We use this location to run our 3-Mile Goal Pace practices.
Katy Trail – South map
Parking is at Reverchon Park. Location is at the top of the hill where the old Baby Does restaurant used to be. There is a big “waterfall sign” at the top that you can see from IH-35. These are the steepest hills we have been able to find anywhere in Dallas.
SMU Morrison-Bell Track (Wescott Field) map
Located just to the north of the football stadium, this is our primary practice location during spring track season.
UP John Roach Track (Germany Park) map
Just south of University on Lomo Alto, this is our summer track workout location.
Norbuck Park (White Rock Lake area) map
Just north of White Rock Lake between Mockingbird and Northwest Hwy. on Buckner. This is used as one of our “hill” locations during spring track training and “cross country” course during summer and fall training.
BSA Hill (White Rock Lake) map
Just off of Mockingbird, this location is our starting point for our 9.3 mile loops around the lake. Usually once/week during the summer.
Hackberry Creek Park (Highland Park) map
Just a block south of Mockingbird off Bryon, this is the location of our “day after the lake” recovery runs that run south along Drexel and around Prather and Davis parks and back. Very nice run. Common for parents to join us for this one.
Curtis Park (University Park) map
This is the park right next to the U.P. Pool on Lovers, halfway between Preston and Hillcrest. This is the location of our summer “chip competition” runs. The location also provides us with a nice long grassy, non-track area to run drills on.
General Practice Structure
Although the actual practice schedule can vary significantly at times depending on season, upcoming competitions, previous workouts, etc., a typical practice session usually runs as follows:
- 1. Warm-up Run (easy)
- 2. Educational Discussion(Physiology, nutrition, running terms, knowing good pain from bad pain, and much more.)
- 3. Static Stretching
- 4. Dynamic Stretching
- 5. Form and Running Mechanics Drills
- 6. 80% Pre-Run Fartlek (“varying speed” warm-up)
- 7. Park Cities XC Structured Running Program(Detailed logs are used for coaching analysis and athlete progress review.)
- 8. “Core” Strength Exercises
- 9. Static Stretching (To be done at home, approximately 1 hour after practice.
The club generally participates in an average of one race a month of varying length and difficulty. We try to mix it up quite a bit and doing so keeps it very exciting from race to race. For example…
- – Race entry numbers can vary from a few hundred to many thousands of participants.
- – Terrain can vary from relatively flat to VERY hilly!
- – Competition can range from primarily amongst ourselves to some of the toughest club competition in Texas.
- – We also enter several “fun runs” (still timed) but are more about the experience. Several highlights last year were the Prairie Lights 5K which runs through a HUGE public display of holiday lights in Grand Prairie, The Color Run (our photos on our Shutterfly Photo Page say it all), and the Firefly Run (LED-illuminated night run).
Please note that participation in club races, in particular our more competitive races, is an expectation of club membership and with the exception of schedule conflicts, athletes should make every effort to attend.
Spring Season: The primary focus of our spring season is for our athletes to compete in middle school Track competitions culminating in a District Championship for your school and high athlete placement by all our participating runners in all running events.
Summer Season: The summer is focused on preparing to start the middle school or high school cross country season with top speed and form.
Fall Season: Putting together all the hard work of the previous 2 seasons, our competitive goal for the fall season is the AAU Cross Country National Championships or the USATF Cross Country Junior Olympics. This includes our former middle school athletes that are now in high school, after the high school season is completed.
We do our best to set aside a portion of most practices to cover the academic areas listed below. Some of it can get fairly in-depth and as noticed by one of our freshmen runners, can even help prepare for later high school work.
Just don’t be surprised if your son or daughter comes home one day complaining about a “pain in their medial collateral ligament near the proximal end of their tibia.” We have already had a report just like that from a parent! (Yes, they had to write it down!)
|Running Terminology||Rules of the Track & Trail|
|Running Mechanics & Form||Nutrition|
|Purpose and Techniques of Stretching||Physiology – Atomic Structure|
|Shoe Technology||Physiology – Organic Chemistry|
|Concepts of Core Strength||Physiology – Cell Structure|
|Concepts of Stretching||Physiology – Nucleic Acids and More|
|Training Philosophies||Anatomy – General|
|Good Pain vs. Bad Pain||Anatomy – Bones|
|Mind Tricks||Anatomy – Muscles|
|Guts: What it is, what it’s not.||Anatomy – Tendons and Ligaments|
|Race Strategies||Dealing with Heat|
|Competitions: The High School Level||Dealing with Cold|
|Competitions: The Collegiate Level||Common Injuries|
|Competitions: The Professional Level||Preventing Injuries|
|Pros You Should Know||Managing Injuries|
|Running for Fun||Sportsmanship: Unity & Teamwork!|
We encourage all parents to join their kids in any of our workouts or “open class” races. In the past we had over half the parents participating in practices, some just occasionally and others just about every night.
What the Membership is Saying
“Can’t thank you enough for all you are doing for our son. So impressed with his progress!! Your commitment and enthusiasm is inspirational! I have never seen a coach in any sport, and I have seen a lot, more supportive of his team. Your confidence and high expectations assure our boys that they have what it takes to reach their goals.”
” Just want you to know that we registered our boy to learn how to run, we ended up with a young man who now understands the meaning of heart and determination… oh, yes, and he also flies now!
“Colin was THRILLED with his run today. He said it really helped having you push him the entire way. He continues to claim, “Joining this club is the BEST thing I ever did”. I can’t ever express enough to you how thankful we are for your passion and commitment.”
“You are a gift for my son, and all of us. You are an excellent coach, and inspirational to all.”
“You are the best coach we have ever had work with our kids, it’s amazing what they can accomplish when coached well.”
“I have to say, he is getting more and more addicted to the sport and gaining confidence every practice. I asked him the other day if he wanted a new video game that his brother and I have been playing and he said that he didn’t, because he didn’t want any distraction from track…never heard anything like that before!”
“Thank you for all of this, I love seeing the improvement and hearing your thoughts about Chase. I am very proud of him and how far he has already come, not just with running but the character he is building running as well.”
“[Coach] Aurek is pure coaching genius!” (freshman athlete)
“Just wanted to send you a quick note . . . I want you to know that these boys that are running [high school] cross country have you to thank for their success. I know I’ve told you before that I/we appreciate you and all that you did. Just wanted to remind you that we have not forgotten and to say again how much we appreciate what you did for these boys. Thanks again for all of your time and hard work!” (freshman runner’s mom)
“Did u tell coach what time I got and that he is the inspiration. And I could not have done it without him? Tell coach my Achilles tendon still herts.” (7th grader’s text messages to his mom after a successful school competition.)
Request for Volunteers
Being only around two years old, our organization is currently still in its own development stages and we need parents to help. While the training aspect of the club may be in great form, it is our goal to also create a successfully functioning well run club. A club that can support the running program with a structure that can be handed down to new parents for generations within the community. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to help out as you can.