12 Days of XC-Mas (continued)
6 Geese a Laying
The important thing to take away from this verse isn’t the geese, it’s the laying. And I’m not talking about laying eggs, I’m talking bout laying down. (I know lying is actual the grammatically correct word, but I’m trying to make a point.) And what do you do when you lay down? You Sleep. That’s right, the six geese a laying verse is really about the importance of sleep to training.
The amount of sleep you get is probably one of the easiest aspects of training to control. Find a schedule that will allow you to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and stick to it. The younger you are the more important sleep is. Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t just affect performance, it also aids recovery. So if you’re serious about your training, find a way to get more sleep.
5 Gold Rings
This one’s about the Olympics, duh. 5 rings… 5 olympic rings. Gold … gold medal. Clearly the verse 5 gold rings represents every runners dream of qualifying for the Olympics (the 5 rings) and then winning gold. Who hasn’t spent an afternoon watching the Olympics and then went on a run and dreamed up a scenario where its August 2016 and with one lap to go in the 5k you, Galen Rupp, and Chris Derrick have moved clear of the rest of the field. Of course you then out kick Rupp to get the gold, leading the Americans to their first ever sweep of the Olympic 5k. (ok that’s a pretty specific scenario, but you get the point)
(one ring to rule them all)
4 Colly Birds
According to Wikipedia, the 4th verse of the song is actually about Colly Birds. What the heck is a colly bird? I dunno. Whenever I’ve heard the 12 days of Christmas song I always hear 4 Calling Burds, so that’s what I’m going to write about. To me Calling Burd represents something specific, calling the burd-man (my college coach) down from his nest to talk after practice. So clearly the hidden meaning of the 4th verse is that it’s important to communicate with your coach. If a coach knows how you are feeling after each and every workout, he can adjust your training for the better. If you are self-coached, communication is even more important. You need to listen to your body and make sure you are properly recovering from training. In sum, 4 colly birds= 4 calling birds= calling the burd=communicate with your coach.
(oh thats a colly bird)
3 French Hens
What you know about French Hens??? What up Faverolles! A Faverolles is a popular breed of French Hen that is a great multi-purpose chicken: it is an excellent layer (up to 4 eggs a week) and a fine meat chicken as well. Trust me…. I know from experience.
What does a multi-purpose chicken have to do with running? Why everything of course. To be a great runner you need to be multi-dimensional. Yes aerobic running is important, but if you want to be a great runner to need to be a good athlete, so strength, speed, quickness, flexibility, and agility are all important. Many of these things can be trained without running, plyometric drills, hurdle drills, agility ladders, lifting weights, and juggling a soccer ball are all ways you can train fast twitch muscle fibers without exposing them trauma of hard running. So to be a good runner, you need to be a more than a pair of lungs and legs, you need to be a multi-purpose athlete, just like a French Hen.
Check out this video to see Olympic medalists work at becoming great all around athletes:
(Galen Rupp reminds me of a French hen a little.)
2 Turtle Doves
There’s one word you need to focus on in this verse, turtle. What’s very similar to a turtle? A tortoise. Who did the tortoise race? A hare. Who won? The tortoise. What does any of this have to do with running? Van Cortlandt Park.
Van Cortlandt Park is the mecca of north east cross country running. Each year thousands of high school and college runners make the pilgrimage to Van Cortland to run in some of the country’s most competitive races. The Manhattan Invitational, Foot Locker Regionals, IC4A’s, NCAA regionals: All of these high profile meets are run over the famous tortoise and the hare themed course at Van Cortlandt Park. (Oh, so that’s where I’m going with this.) At the finish line of the Van Cortlandt Park course is the iconic tortoise and the hare statue. If you are a fan of cross country, make your way up to the Bronx next fall.
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
I’ve been thinking about this a while and I’m stumped. Wait a second. Eureka… I’ve got it. A pear tree has a stump when its cut down. Stump town is sometimes used as a nickname for Portland, Oregon. Many of America’s best runners train and live in Portland. So basically the message of the 12 days of Christmas is that if you follow the tips given in the first eleven verses, you might just find yourself in Portland.
Merry XC-Mas and a Happy GU Year!