Your XC Season At a Glance
Over the course of your XC season the focus of your workouts should shift. The goals of your workouts at the beginning of the season will be different from your workouts during the last part of the season. Your season is roughly divided into three phases.
Phase #1: The priority during this phase of training is primarily on gaining strength through building your overall weekly mileage, the length of your long run, and core/strength work.
Phase #2: During this phase your focus will shift from increasing mileage to increasing speed. You will be working on maintaining good, consistent mileage with workouts below race pace (speed work).
Phase #3: Your weekly mileage will begin to drop as you taper off maintenance miles and include more critical work at race pace and just below it. During this phase, the goal is to transition all that nice efficiency you gained during phase 2 to your goal race-pace and threshold workouts.