#### Information/Policies for our teams.
Athletes should ALWAYS bring water with them to practice and meets. An athlete never has to ask if they can get water - if they need it, they should drink it. It’s important to note that hydration is an ongoing process - and not just before a practice or meet. Athletes should be drinking water all during the school day. A great practice is a glass of water beside their bed - with the athlete drinking half before they go to bed and half when they get up. Sports drinks should not be a replacement for daily water intake and should not be the drink of choice during the school day or weekends. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association:
- Water is best for pre-practice hydration and re-hydration after practice, and water is appropriate during practices and games.
- Sports drinks can be useful DURING or AFTER practice or meets to replenish carbohydrates and sodium and might help avoid cramping.
- Avoid beverages with caffeine or carbonation, you should not need energy or power drinks!
- Drink 16 ounces two hours before exercise.
- Drink 8-16 ounces 15 minutes before exercise.
- Drink 4-20 ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 24 ounces after exercise for every pound lost during exercise.
#### Nutrition Information:
Carbonated and sugary drinks, candy, sugary snacks and cereal, white bread and white rice
- Nutritional shakes, etc, should NOT replace full, healthy meals. The best nutrition is regular, complete, well-balanced meals. Just like in practice or competitions, taking a shortcut is cheating. Don't cheat yourself!
- Water - hydrate well all day everyday, not just before and after running.
- Wheat or whole grain breads, cereals, bagels, pasta.
- Brown rice (Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Ready Rice).
- Sweet and red potatoes.
- Nuts, trail mix (Planters Breakfast Blends and Energy Mix).
- Lean protein such as fish – salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. Research found that omega-3’s reduce inflammation, joint pain, and can increase oxygen delivery during exercise.
- Fruit – especially blueberries, tart cherries, pomegranates, and purple grapes. These are responsible for reducing muscle soreness.
- Vegetables (need we say more?!)
##### Regarding carbs:
**_Runners need carbs for energy and protein for recovery._** Protein bars are good for recovery but should not be used as daily snacks.
A great deal has been written about carb loading. Here are our thoughts. A steady, healthy, appropriate diet takes care of everything. The night before a race is not a good time to change your diet or your routine, or to try and load up to be ready for the next day. A normal healthy routine meal is best. If you want to have a "special" carb dinner with whole grain or wheat pasta, then 2 nights before a race is better. During our season, you will need carbs all the time for energy, so an unusual amount is not necessary.
Ideally, runners should replenish after a practice or race within 45 minutes of the activity.
Athletes should also be consuming healthy calories all during the day, preferably every couple of hours - which means bring healthy snack bags to school. Eat a good breakfast( a key component of healthy eating), have a snack mid morning, eat a healthy lunch, and have a snack 1-2 hours before practice. Have a snack after practice if dinner is going to be later in the evening. You may find that you want a healthy snack before bed as well. Always, always, always bring healthy snacks to competitions.
##### Before a race:
**The night before a morning race** have a dinner that's high in carbohydrates and moderate in fat and protein. Fat and protein will slow the digestion of the meal and allow your glycogen stores to fill up throughout the night. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, lentils and beans, and whole fruits and vegetables. Avoid fried or greasy foods and fast foods. If you have a morning race and can’t eat enough calories 3-4 hours before, be sure to eat a complex carb snack before bed. Don’t overdo the carbs! Water retention is often associated with carbohydrate loading. This may cause stiffness in muscles and sluggishness early during race.
We have a 10 PM curfew the night before a race.
**A pre-race meal** of 700-800 calories (minimum of 500) should be eaten 3-4 hours before race time. A complex carbohydrate meal is best.
**Morning Race Suggestions:** dry cereal, whole-wheat bread/bagel, pasta, fruit (without skin), and vegetables.
A sample lunch: a sandwich with lean meat, a small plate of pasta with sauce or a baked potato or sweet potato, fruit, and a granola bar. Pay attention to the time between your lunch and your race. If it's longer than three hours, be sure to have a pre-race snack planned out that you can have 1½ to 2 hours before race.
Eating sugar before a race won’t give you extra energy. It takes about 30 minutes for sugar to enter blood stream. It may also lead to dehydration because water is needed to absorb sugar. It also triggers a surge of insulin causing a drop in blood sugar that can lead to fatigue, nausea, and dehydration.
Don’t try something new on race day. You should have already figured out what works for you prior to the competition season.
Avoid protein/amino acid powders and supplements. These can cause dehydration and put stress on kidneys and liver.
##### Post Race:
Eat post-exercise meals as soon as possible, preferably in the first 20-30 minutes. You need to replenish glycogen stores and repair muscles. In addition to replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat, focus on consuming foods high in carbohydrates and moderate in protein. Chocolate milk is a great example of a recovery food because it has a 3:1 carbohydrate- to-protein ratio and is a good source of both. Other examples include a turkey sandwich, yogurt, PBJ sandwich.
##### Snack Packs to keep on hand:
- Apple or banana
- Granola bar
- Graham or wheat crackers
- Dry cereal (nothing sugary)
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (wheat bread)
- Planter’s Energy Mix or other trail mix
- String Cheese
- Yogurt (word of caution: some people cannot tolerate dairy before races)
- Bagel and cream cheese or peanut butter
- Whole-wheat pretzels
- Fig Newtons
- Grapes, red is preferable
#### Race day routine:
Athletes should be in bed by 10:30 on nights before competitions. Violation may result in removal from the meet, or from the team. On race day, Athletes should pay attention to start times of races, and be ready to warm up 45 minutes prior to the start of a race. They should not have to be reminded. Athletes should also remember to do at least a 15 minute cool down run, stretch, and replenish after the race. We almost ALWAYS have an additional workout on race days, so athletes should check with the coaches to make sure they know what is expected of them. Race days are busy times, and athletes must take responsibility for their individual health and safety. Athletes should never warm up or cool down by themselves, and should always be within sight of our team tent or meet officials.
#### Bus travel:
It is recommended that athletes not bring expensive items to meets in case of theft, vandalism, or damage. Athletes should always bring water, healthy snacks, and appropriate clothing for the conditions. Athletes should be at the bus 15 minutes prior to published Bus Leaves times. We will do our best to be back from a meet at the scheduled time, but will ask athletes to contact you if there is a change in our time. Please pick up your athlete no later than 10 minutes after we return. We will share a bus with both teams, but male and female athletes may not sit together. Please remind your athlete to contact you BEFORE we arrive at school, to avoid coaches having to stay late waiting on athletes to be picked up.
#### Away meets:
We will do our best to always provide directions to away meets, usually having the information available with our schedule on http://dutchforkrunners.com/Calendar/ or via a link at the top that says "Our next meet". Some groups charge for parking, so please be ready just in case. Family members are not allowed to ride on the bus to competitions. Athletes on injured reserve, or not able to run should not ride the bus. Athletes are expected to stay at a competition until the coach releases the team at the end.
#### Uniforms and dress code:
During travel and at competitions, athletes should always have on something in school colors, or with our logo. We should always be proud of our school and teams. We want all athletes to wear either our team shirt, or something else with Cross Country represented on it on meet days, or the last school day before a meet. All athletes must have on a shirt while in the competition area at meets.
Athletes will be issued uniforms as needed. Every effort should be made to take care of these uniforms, as they are always the property of Dutch Fork High. When washing, please wash in cold water, and DO NOT DRY them - just hang them up - and they will dry quickly. No part of the uniform should be worn to school, or used to practice in - they are for Cross Country competitions and special events only as designated by the coach or captains. Athletes should return the uniforms no later than two days after their last competition, clean, dry, and in a zip-loc bag with their complete name on it. Athletes should give the uniform to the designated Coach only, and should not leave them in a classroom, the front office, any other Coach, or another athlete. The charge for a missing or damaged uniform can be up to $100, and may include Saturday detention from the school for not turning it in. Please take care of the uniform, and return it promptly.
Athletes must be at practice and competitions, on time, the full time, every time. Please try to schedule other appointments outside of practice time. Arriving late, and leaving early is dangerous to the athlete ( as they miss the proper warm-ups, and appropriate cool downs and stretching which are vital components to safe and effective training). Athletes are allowed 3 unexecused absences from practice and/or competitions. Communication with the Coach is the best policy. Excused absences include illness requiring a doctor's visit ( bring a note to the next practice ), death or serious illness/accident in immediate family, or Academic Assistance ( bring a signed pass from the teacher showing start and end time of assistance). Be careful with Academic Assistance - if the assistance is to make up a test or missed work, please try to schedule that assistance some other time, or utilizing our ALEC ( Academic Learning and Enrichment Center ), which allows early morning test/quiz makeups. Unexcused tardies and leaving early counts at least 1/3 of an absence. Missing more than half of a practice counts as a full absence. Athletes are expected to remain at all meets and events until the Coach says we are finished. Athletes must be prepared for practice, including shoes, socks, watch, and water. Coming to practice unprepared may count as an unexcused absence, and the athlete may be asked to leave the stadium area if not prepared. Attendance at the last 2 practices before a meet is required to participate in that meet. If athletes are not present at school, they are not allowed at practice, and the absence is excused. Athletes are expected to be on time to competitions and stay until the coach releases the team at the end of the competition. If an athlete is going to miss a competition that is on our calendar, more than one week's notice, in writing, is needed for the absence to be considered an excused absence.
#### Season restrictions:
During our season, athletes should not participate in other races such as the Mud Run, Dam Run, etc. We are working hard towards Championships and a strong state finish. These other activities add to body stress, affect recovery times, and increase the chance of injury. Working together as a team is a 24 hour responsibility which includes the weekends. Over training is dangerous and other outside events often cause problems.
#### Picking up athletes:
Athletes should be off school property no later than 15 minutes after practice ends. Pick up will always be in the parking lot in front of the stadium or in the bus loop during inclement weather. Athletes should not be picked up in front of the school, and should not go back into the building except for specific school related functions. Athletes should never be alone at school after school. If an athlete finds themselves unsupervised, they should move to a supervised area.
#### Riding with others:
Athletes may only ride home with others if specific signed and dated permission by parents/guardians of athletes involved is given to the Coach. Athletes may not drive themselves to or from meets - they must ride with a parent/guardian. If riding with a parent/guardian, athletes are expected to remain until the meet is over and we start to board the bus. The athlete must confirm with the Coach that their parents are on site and they are leaving.
#### Inclement weather:
We will have practice as scheduled, every day, unless school is cancelled. It is recommended that athletes always be prepared for inclement weather, by having a large trash bag to protect their belongings, a large zip-loc bag for cell phones, keys, and wallets, and appropriate clothing for during and after practice. We may practice inside the building, so athlete pick up will be in the bus loop.
Academic success is a primary focus of all activities at Dutch Fork. Academics come first. All athletes are expected to perform in the classroom to the best of their ability. We encourage our athletes to take advantage of Academic Assistance provided by their individual teachers, and our ALEC program, which offers tutoring before, during, and after school, with an appointment. We do want our athletes at practice, but if no scheduling alternative exists, Academics come first. Coaches reserve the right to ask any athlete to not participate until certain grades are acceptable.
#### Cell phones and other electronics:
Cell phone use at practice should only be to confirm a ride home. Cell phones are not to be with the athletes on the practice area, warm up area, or stretching area. Use of any other electronics (iPods, etc) at meets or practices during any exercise(s) or on the practice or competition area is prohibited due to safety concerns. Violations may result in confiscation of the cell phone or device per school policy, removal from the event, or removal from the team.
We make every effort to focus on the safety and long-term well being of the athlete. We ask that athletes give the same effort and focus when involved with other activities and sports. During practice and at meets, it is always the athlete's decision whether they should participate. They are their own best doctors. If an athlete is injured, they should communicate with the Coach right away, and should see our Athletic Trainer as soon as possible. Missing practice is only excused if our Athletic Trainer or a doctor says the athlete should not participate. We always want our athletes doing their best, but never want them to push through injuries. Good, common sense, should always take precedence. If an athlete is unable to practice due to injury or illness, they should not attend practice.
#### Minimum standards:
Because we do not have a C team, athletes must meet some minimum standards to be a part of the JV or Varsity teams. We will have either a time trial, or have the athlete demonstrate these standards at practice or a competition to remain a part of the team. These standards do change as needed. Currently, our standards are:
1. Any first time runner in grades 7-9 and any returning 8th graders, who adhere to the team's Absence Policy and can run 60 minutes non-stop, will make the team automatically
2. Any returning member in grades 9-12, and any first time athlete in grades 10-12 must run in a try-out race to be announced. To make the team, a runner must meet the following time standards in the 5k race:
##### Boys times
9th grade - **Under 23:30**
10th grade - **Under 22:00**
11th grade - **Under 21:30**
12th grade - **Under 21:00**
##### Girls times
9th grade - **Under 27:00**
10th grade - **Under 25:00**
11th grade - **Under 24:00**
12th grade - **Under 23:30**
Encourage your athlete to pay attention to team announcements and relay that information to you. Important information is given at practices and its it the athlete's responsibility to keep up to date. Athletes should check with their captains first for any questions. Please keep in touch with the Coach. Email is best. I may not be able to return a phone call quickly, but usually can reply to an email. Our primary form of communication is email and our website ([dutchforkrunners.com](http://dutchforkrunners.com)) Please make sure you subscribe to our email list, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our emergency text alerts.
#### Tips from experienced parents:
**How are competitions scored?**
Low score wins! Teams are awarded points based on the overall finish of the top five athletes. 2 additional athletes are placed, but do not receive points - their placement helps to “push down” the competition, giving them more points. For example, we have runners place in positions 1-4-6-8-9-10-11-12, we would have a score of (1+4+6+8+9 = 28). If the other team finishes 2-3-5-7-13-14, they would have a score of ( 2+3+5+7+13 = 30). We win 28-30, but would have lost had our #6 runner not come in 10th place. Had our runner not “displaced” the other team’s 5th runner, they would have won with a score of 28-27. Each position in the top 7 is important! Multi-teams competitions are scored the same way.
Parents may wish to bring chairs and hydration to the away meets. Our first competitions will be hot and you can be in the direct sun for a while! Beware of fire ants, sand spurs, and wet grass, especially at the Saturday morning invitational meets. Wearing a hat and closed toe shoes will add to your comfort at the meets. Another tip, your runner doesn't really need a $25 t-shirt from every invitational - there are often long lines and high prices.
Every time you go to Sandhills for an invitational meet there will be a parking fee, usually $5. Other invitational meets may also charge a parking fee. If we know about a parking fee in advance it will be posted on our website, but you might want to have parking cash just in case when we travel.
Photos are cheaper than t-shirts, and we have plenty of photos on our website! Photos can be printed or downloaded to your computer.
**Change in schedule due to weather or other stuff:**
Always check twitter, facebook, and our website if there is a question about weather affecting a meet. Coach will send out changes as soon as he is notified. Remember that our Coaches are teaching all day and cannot respond to phone calls and texts during class. Email is another way to ask a question, but the coach may not be able to respond immediately. It is a very good idea to check the team schedule on our live calendar often for bus times, changes/updates, and results. We also ask you sign up for our Text Alerts for any last minute changes. We also post ot Facebook and Twitter. We will post any change of information as soon as possible. Make sure you enrolled as a parent to receive emails and that you read the emails from Dutch Fork Runners.
It is okay to wash those stinky running shoes, but do not put them in the dryer. Stuff the wet shoes with wadded up sheets of newspaper overnight. The shoes will be dry and ready the next morning.
If you think of other parent tips please let us know.