Make Yourself Great This Summer With MileSplit's Official 5K Training Plan

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I was once a passion-driven high school runner, just good enough to earn a Division I scholarship. I never won a state title (I came awfully close my Senior year. Yeah, it still stings a little). I was passionate, driven, and fully committed to running. However, I didn't have world class coaching at a young age, and I wasn't part of a high school powerhouse. I did believe in what I was doing, without a doubt. More on this later. If I could go back and do some things differently, I would; That's for sure. Now, I'm a coach. I have worked with some of the best in this sport, and have gained a great deal of experience.

With this Series, I want to share my insights with others who, like the high school version of myself, dreamed big, and worked hard to chase their goals. The new season begins before you even lace up your shoes.

Reflection is Key

With the track season coming to a close, you should take a moment and reflect on the past season. With my Elites, I sit them down at the end of the season and debrief. What was good? What wasn't good? Where can we make changes? Did we have any injuries last season or major illnesses? If yes, why? How can we prevent unwanted interruptions in training/racing from reoccurring? It's important to reflect on, learn, and bring closure to last season before moving on to the next. Then, take your break and do just that, break. My Elites take 2-4 weeks off completely from running. This is also a good time to set goals for next season.

Goal Setting: Establish Your Target, Be Persistent

What do you want to accomplish next season? Set a new PR? Make Varsity? Crack the top 5 in your XC team? Win a State title? Earn a Division I scholarship? Great. How are you going to accomplish this? Do you have a plan? Mileage, Workouts, General Strength exercises, drills etc.? It's up to you, and it starts this summer. Start with your big, end goal, then work your way down to the details of training that will get you there. Ideally, this should be done with your Coach. This is also something I offer on my own site.


Back in high school, I had a great relationship with my coach, and that was an important part of my success. However, my talents and passion were in middle distance, but my coach's expertise was more in the sprints. I probably averaged only 12 - 18 miles per week. If I knew then what I know now, I should have been running more, specifically about 35 miles per week. Nevertheless, I trusted his guidance, and I believed in our process. This trust and belief was key to my success. If you don't have a knowledgeable coach to guide you, I hope these training plans can help guide you down a good path. Beyond that, be sure to surround yourself with a strong network to support your goals. Your family, friends, coaches and teammates are there for you. Believe in the process. Believe in yourself.

No Excuses

You may be fortunate enough to have the optimal high school support and infrastructure with a team of 100+ athletes, or you could be the only member on your XC team and coach-less. Regardless, running allows you the opportunity to compete all the same, no matter your situation. If you dedicate yourself to your goals and work hard, you can still thrive and succeed in this sport. That's the beauty of running.

Now, let's talk training! You'll find a general training guide to prepare you for the upcoming XC Season. If you want more specifics, or training personalized for you, learn more here.

Summer Training Overview

Volume: This depends on the individual athlete. I have known many High School cross country runners who were regularly running 35-50 miles/week and others who were above 75 miles/week. Without knowing more about you and your running history, I recommend you find the range that feels best for you. If you need to increase your mileage, do so conservatively after several weeks of running at your previous base. Then, increase by only a few miles a week. Your mileage volume during summer training will benefit you throughout the rest of the year. Be consistent and patient with your mileage.

Pace: You'd be surprised at how many young athletes get fixated on pace. During this portion of the summer, it's better to run at comfortable pace. I call it "easy running" for a reason. It should be manageable at this point. Long Runs can be a little bit faster, but still within control. My recommendation for your long runs right now is to go get lost in the woods running, and build up to 70-90mins.

Core and Supplementary work: Developing tensile strength is good for a couple of reasons. It will make you stronger and minimize your risk of injury. I recommend you spend 6-12 minutes a day doing some type of continuous core work. (I really like Core routines of 20-40sec each exercise done continuously) and medicine ball exercises are great too. Get into the gym 1-2 days a week. Keep the routine basic and avoid heavy lifting.

Now, Let's build your mileage base. I have provided the first 4 weeks of your summer cross country running. Print out the calendar below, and you can log your daily and weekly mileage for the month. If you have questions or want more specific training programs tailored to you or your team, contact me directly at

Go get em' and make this your summer of greatness.

Then toe the line this fall with confidence, knowing you've done everything possible to prepare yourself.


Coach Ponsonby has been working with world-class middle distance and distance athletes for over a decade now. Ponsonby has overseen the success of multiple NCAA, World and Olympic champions, including Silver Medalist Leo Manzano.

After a successful collegiate career at The University of Texas, where he garnered All-American honors, Ponsonby signed on as a Volunteer Assistant Coach. During that time, Ponsonby helped oversee NCAA Champions, Collegiate Records, and even a World Record.

This unique experience in the sport has allowed him to connect with runners from all over the world. MileSplit has teamed up with Coach Ponsonby to deliver a unique Summer training program exclusively for High School Cross Country runner's summer build up.

Learn more about or contact Olympic Coach Ryan Ponsonby at