Run Blog: A Bat In The Shower, Progression Run & A Bid Adieu

It could be an epic final season -- and calendar year -- ahead for Brayden Marshall, the high school senior from Winfield High School in West Virginia. The Big Ice Track Club co-founder is coming off a junior campaign where he won his second straight West Virginia Class 2A state cross country title, qualified for Champs Sports Nationals and then went on to set PRs in every outdoor distance he competed in this past spring, including performances of 4:13.82 in the 1,600m and 8:56.62 in the 3,200m. He went on to claim the distance double outdoors in the 1,600m and 3,200m. Now all that's left is his senior season, which Marshall hopes to capitalize on. He's tracking four weeks of preseason training for MileSplit in August and September. We hope you enjoy. You can follow Brayden on Instagram @braydencmarshall.

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4

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WEEK 4 (August 28 - September 3) 


Everyone, there are a few things I want to talk about before disclosing some of my training to you.

First, know that no one training plan is going to work for everyone. Just because it works for me doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work for you. The wonderful thing about running is there's multiple ways to accomplish the same thing, so try different training methods until you find one that works for you.

That's what I've done over the past several years. I've optimized my training to a point where I'm very confident in it, though I'm sure in the coming years there are things I'll have to change to improve myself further. Thats what I love about running. You're constantly progressing in terms of fitness and strength, as well as your knowledge of the sport.

Second, I'd like to let everyone know that this is not where I started my training. What I'm doing now is the culmination of over six years of hard work and dedication to the sport. I have slowly increased my mileage and intensity each year to be where I am now. I largely attribute my success to this progression because it has allowed me to train healthily and consistently while avoiding injury and burnout for most of my high school career.

With all that said, let's get into week two of my training blog.

Monday August 28: 9 miles


After a long weekend of a racing and a long run, the whole team was ready for a recovery day. We met at a local park shortly after school and got straight into our plyometrics and run. Lots of fun conversations and banter made the leisurely run go by quick. I find days like this to be great opportunities to unwind after a long day of school. On our run we found quite possibly the LARGEST caterpillar I have seen in my entire life. It's bright blue and orange color deterred us from picking it up, but that didn't stop us from taking a break to admire it. This thing was the closest thing to a Pokémon I have ever seen, literally a real life Caterpie.

Here's a picture from Wikipedia (while trying to find this picture I got really invested in researching the Hickory Horned Devil Caterpillar and now I might start collecting them)

9 miles - 7:09 avg

Tuesday, August 29: 10 miles

Threshold Miles/ Hill Sprints

Two sides of any media day:

Today we had to adapt our plan a little due to inclement weather. There were some massive storms in the middle of the day, with more predicted in the evening. So we scrapped our plan to go to a lake 20 minutes away for some hill training and make due with what we had local to the school.

With that being said, we went to one of the biggest hills in town to get some 15-second hill sprints in. Most of the team had 5x hill sprints; I did eight. We try to make these really aggressive, with our only rest being the jog from the top to bottom before we hit the next one hard. Once we finished those we went back to the track for more mile repeats at threshold pace. The only rest for these was a 1-lap jog. My legs were absolutely shot after the hill sprints and it took me a few minutes to dial back into my 5:10 wonderland. My paces were as follows:




After that, I had a 2-mile cooldown to get to 10 miles, and then I finished out a great day of training and school.

2-mile warmup

1-mile of hill sprints

2-miles back to track

3-mile repeats with jog rest

2-mile cooldown

Wednesday, August 30: 9 miles


This morning we had quite the unorthodox wake-up call. My younger sister marched downstairs in the middle of the night and told my parents that there was a "frog" jumping around in her shower, keeping her up. This "frog" ended up being a live bat, who had found it's way into the house and into her bathroom and sadly couldn't find its way back out.

We're no strangers to unusual situations, but this was definitely a big surprise.

The hills that we tried to replace yesterday returned today. Today's workout was a light fartlek on hills with some hill sprints afterward at the lake we skipped out on the day prior. The intense fatigue we all anticipated today was looming over us on our warmup and throughout drills at the beginning of practice, but once we got into the workout, the bursts felt just as smooth and usual and the hills were their normal amount of exhausting. By then, the heaviness in our legs faded away. It turns out that sometimes when you're tired a workout is the answer (but very rarely). By the time we got to the hill sprints, we were loosened up and hit them hard. The team is looking REALLY strong for their race this Saturday; I'm excited to see how they all do on the course that we will race for our state championships later this fall.

Once I got home, I inhaled a bowl of Spaghetti and hit the hay extra early. Tomorrow I've got to knock out my run before school since we are traveling for a college visit in the afternoon.

9 miles

10-minute warmup

20-minute fartlek (10x 20 second burst)

Hill sprints

30-minute cooldown

Thursday, August 31: 9 miles


Today was a day for building mental toughness. The combination of a 4:45 alarm followed by nine miles on the treadmill is devious and certainly makes many young (and old) men doubt their dedication. I find runs like these to be pretty fun, though. I get to plug in my pace, turn on some YouTube and grind it out. I felt surprisingly good after the double-workout, and enjoyed my hour of solitude. 

There's certainly something satisfying about finishing your run at the same time you'd wake up on a typical day. Plus, feeling so awake at the start of the day is always great. The only disadvantage to these morning treadmill runs is waking up my family unceremoniously by the sound of feet pounding on the rotating belt. Also, shoutout to my mom who sacrifices the entryway of our house to the treadmill so I can have these runs. 

9 miles - treadmill 7:07 avg

Friday, September 1: 8 miles + strides


Back-to-back workout days warrants back-to-back recovery days, right? Today I was able to find some soft surface trails to run on and take the impact off the legs as much as possible. I was still pretty worn out and sore from the work earlier this week, but felt better after the run was over. Strides feel like I was walking through quick sand per usual, but the research says it'll make me faster so I roll with it. I'm feeling ready for my long run tomorrow and I am excited to get to rip one after several weeks of racing.

8 miles - 6:52 avg.

Saturday, September 2: 15 miles

Progression long run

After several weeks my favorite workout of all time -- the progression long run -- has finally returned. Today I was on a really nice dirt road with a consistent roll to it. These rhythmic hills kept us on our toes the entire time and provided a great challenge in the later portions of the progression. The goal progression was:

First 4 miles - 7:00-6:30

Second 4 miles - 6:30-6:00

Third 4 miles - 6:00-5:40

Final 2 miles - 5:40>

1.5 mile cooldown @ 7:00

Actual splits ^

We followed this pretty closely, sticking at the bottom of the range for pretty much the entire run. I love runs like this where you just lock into an aggressive mindset and are able to click away on the miles. I'm convinced some days that these 15 mile long runs go by quicker than a nine mile recovery because I get so focused and disassociate from the normal world until my watch rings with the mile split from the last six minutes.

After the run we had snacks and chocolate milk waiting for us as we stretched. If someone had told 8-year-old me that the key to training like an elite runner was drinking chocolate milk and eating gummies, I would have gone crazy. The key to nutrition is trying to get something to eat within 20 minutes of working out, then getting a really good, nutritious meal once you get home. With running, calories are calories, but it's important to put healthy calories in for your body, too. There's a time and place for sugars like chocolate milk and gummies -- after a long run for instance -- but you have to follow that up with a quality carbs, protein and other crucial fuel for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

15.5 miles - 6:10 avg. - 876 ft of elevation gain 

Sunday, September 2: 5 miles


Last night, my team raced at the St. Mary's XC Classic and had some incredible results. While I was away on a college visit, the team stepped up and ran amazingly. Again, we pulled through and won the meet to start our season off with three great victories in a row. I cannot wait to see how we continue to progress.

I was tired going into the run, but my legs felt surprisingly good afterward. Again, I elected to hop on the treadmill to keep the heart rate lower by avoiding the heat/hills. The five miles today felt like they took longer than the entire 15.5 yesterday, but I didn't feel very sore at all.

5 miles - 7:30 avg. 

Total weekly mileage: 65 miles

I would like to thank MileSplit and Cory Mull for allowing me the opportunity to make this series of training blogs over the last four weeks. I have truly enjoyed this series and hope you all have as well. I would also like to thank YOU and everyone else who has read any of these blogs for taking time out of your day to peek into mine. Finally, I would like to thank the guys that constantly support and motivate me: My teammates and coach at Winfield High School. Running is so much easier when you enjoy it and because of the wonderful people that surround me, it is almost impossible not to love every minute of practice, workouts and races. My coach, Shawn Anderson, has been a huge part of my success in running and continues to help me improve not only as an athlete but as a person.

Now, allow me to leave you all with a final piece of advice I've learned over the past year.

As we like to say in the Big Ice Track Club, STAY FROSTY.

This is one of several training blogs written by various athletes as the 2023 cross country season begins to ramp up. Check out our training blog series page for more content.