Giving oneself a break twice a year is just as important as the buildup and hard work. If your athletes have just finished cross country, give them two weeks off to unwind.
During the last six years that I coached, Joe Mangan was my head coach at Foothill. Joe was great about understanding that he had about twelve weeks to get our cross country runners in shape for racing and about the same for our outdoor season.
A time for long runs, a time for fartlek, a time for core work, a time for everything.
During this time of rituals, remember to take a moment to slow down, and relish in the rituals of our lives.