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HPW Podcasts

On Coaching Podcast | #61 : NAU Head Coach Mike Smith, Part II

Head Coach Mike Smith (far left) & the Northern Arizona University Men's Cross Country celebrate their 2nd consecutive national title after winning the 2017 NCAA National XC Championship with a dominate 74 point run. Photo Credit: Mike Scott

Head Coach Mike Smith (far left) & the Northern Arizona University Men's Cross Country celebrate their 2nd consecutive national title after winning the 2017 NCAA National XC Championship with a dominate 74 point run.

Photo Credit: Mike Scott

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Content below reprinted with permission from Scienceofrunning.com by Steve Magness

As promised, we’ve brought back NAU coach Mike Smith to give us insight on how his team won the NCAA Cross-Country Championships. As he did in our previous episode, Mike delivers numerous pearls of wisdom and shows how he has grown and evolved as a coach. He walks us through the week leading up to nationals, discussing the training and emotions, as well as taking us inside the team meetings.

Some of the insights Mike covers are:

  • The Importance of Recharging throughout the season and at the end of the year.
  • “If you can’t be great, be good”- Why his runners don’t shoot for perfection.
  • Listen for silence- How silence tells you the emotional pulse of the team
  • Riding the Line- The importance of knowing where your limits are.
  • Why he doesn’t do big team meetings the night before the race
  • Why his runners did 10 miles two days out from the big meet.
  • “Make it about the work”
  • The importance of Muscle Tension and neuromuscular work in getting ready for a race.

We’d like to thank Mike for his openness and willing to share.

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Jonathan Marcus