One of the well documented challenges that our Northbridge International School Cambodia students have faced over the last 12-months is the near-complete absence of organised sport opportunities.
Northbridge traditionally is a hive of activity when it comes to sports, with our school teams training most evenings and with regular inter-school fixtures and international tournaments on the calendar. But COVID has meant that all of these extracurricular sports activities have been called off.
However, during the pandemic our Cross Country team has developed a model that has allowed for regular training and competition to take place, even throughout some of the months with the heaviest restrictions.
Cross Country athletes at NISC regularly participate in time trials over set distances (3km or 5km). The coaches will then organise athletes into one of four groups, with a tailor-made training plan that matches their fitness level.
Coach Jack and Coach James often emphasise the importance of regular training for running fitness and students have seen the benefit of consistent training through excellent recent race results. While many other sports may involve running and a lot of our students have natural fitness already, distance running does require specific training and strategy that may be underestimated by newcomers to the sport.
Our Cross Country athletes can complete their training sessions either at school during one of the three weekly Cross Country training sessions, or from home using their GPS watches or other fitness trackers like Strava to track their training.
A typical week of training for our Cross Country athletes will involve around 18-25km of total running, broken up into various types of workouts:
Easy Running: Key to building aerobic endurance, slow, easy runs with a focus on distance.
Progression: Runs that start off slow and gradually get faster, this helps runners develop strong finishing speed (also known as a kick) for races.
Intervals/Speedwork: These workouts involve doing repeats of short distances with a quick rest break in between, focussing on running at faster speeds.
Our team has experienced a lot of growth this year. In 2019 we had 14 regularly participating athletes, while last week during the House Cross Country Championships, we had 45 athletes participating, of which 35 are regular members of our Cross Country team. Our Cross Country team, unsurprisingly, dominated the podium in all categories.
We are very proud of the progress we have made in Cross Country this year and congratulate our student athletes on their improvement, whether they are taking out the podium spots, or just getting out there and completing their first ever 5K run!
We believe that through Cross Country we are not only providing students an exciting and fulfilling competitive experience, but also skills that they can use throughout their life to maintain health and wellbeing.