Meet Day Preparations
Here is some useful information to prepare for middle school, developmental and USATF Junior Olympic meets.
Before the meet
Be sure to sign up for the meet using your Meet Entry URL - for each meet and for each event.
Most of the meet organization is automated so we must submit our athletes and what events they run the week of the event. You’ll see why when you arrive; these are large events with 400-1100 athletes!!!
What events to participate in?
In Track, athletes can run multiple events and try whatever event they want. Our clubs trains for the 1500m/1600m and 3000m/3200m distance but the developmental meets are the place to try whatever you like.
In Cross County, the event distance is based on age division.
Any doubts, any questions, ask a coach!
What to wear?
Athletes should wear their uniform singlet to all meets with black shorts. (Tip: pack your bag the night before!) Be sure to wear your Alpha Crush t-shirt over your singlet to keep your body temperature up (always good to be a little sweaty around race time). Wearing our t-shirts also makes us look like a team! We’ll sit together and in some cases have our team tent up.
Early in the season you may not have a uniform, and that's OK! This is especially true for Cross Country, where we certain middle school meets are contested soon after we start
We try to maintain a small stock of uniform singlets. We place an order in advance based on athlete registrations. Historically, though, 25%+ of the athletes choose a singlet size different from what they order. So, we may run out of some sizes and have to place another order.
Please make sure that your athlete does not show up to the meet wearing only their uniform and their spikes or racing shoes.
In cool weather, they should have the team warm-up or, at minimum, another t-shirt or shorts to wear over their uniform.
They should also have their racing shoes along with their (optional) spikes.
They should warm up in their running shoes and then put their (optional) spikes on when they’re ready to race.
Once the race is over, remove their spikes (if wearing) and put on their regular training shoes.
Day of the meet
You’ll want to arrive about an hour before your estimated start time.
It’s fun to watch the other events.
You certainly don’t want to be late as athlete check in can open well before each event runs.
Take into account the time it takes to park and walk to the team area. We want you in the team area (tent, grand stands, etc.) an hour before your estimated start time. At some meets parking can be a mess and it may take you a little while to get into the venue and find us.
There will be an Schedule of Events for each meet on our meet information page.
In track the meet will typically run on a “rolling schedule.” This means the next event will start as soon as the previous one ends. In other words we can only estimate when your event will start. That’s how youth track meets are run, as well as high school meets.
In Cross Country, the event estimates are usually much closer to reality. Each race takes 10-45 minutes, depending on age division and distance.
Some families will arrive for their event and leave right afterwards. Other families stay and cheer for their teammates.
Some families will arrive late for their event and rush like crazy to get their athlete ready and to the starting line (sometimes wondering why the coaches don't drop everything to help them.) Don't be that family.
Prepare to hit the roads early to arrive on time. Please arrive 1-hour before your first event to give yourself time to find the team tent or flag, get your packet/bib# and to give your athlete time to warm up.
Parents can help by listening for the calls for each event and making sure their athletes are where they need to be
See our web site for meet location, directions and details
Be prepared for organized chaos (especially in the developmental meets for Track; Cross Country is less hectic).
Find your coaches when you arrive. A coach will almost always be at the meet to guide athletes and get them checked in.
Check-in with the coaches to get your bib # and timing chip (if applicable for the event/meet). The coaches will pick up the team packet of bib #'s. Find the team tent, team banner, or a coach, to get your bib #.
Find the team tent. Look for the Alpha Crush flag. Look for your teammates. In Track, you can find us in somewhere in the stadium stands. In Cross Country, there is usually a "team tent area" where you can find us. Sometimes we have a team tent, sometimes we don't.
Bring an extra chair or two just in case
If you are participating in multiple bring something to do (read a book, listen to music, or other quiet activities)
Bring sun screen, water, snacks. Remember of course to bring sunscreen, some money for concessions, and bleacher seats if you have them.
Check in occurs before each event to ensure the athlete is there, to get them to a staging area, and then to make sure they are at the start line at the right time. A PA announcer will call out when event is to check in so it is important to pay attention. Generally there is a 1st call, 2nd call, and final call for each event.
Parents generally are not allowed to go onto the field.
Events start at different places on the track and again may have multiple heats so the meet organizers will be following a system to keep things going and accurate.
All the events are great to watch. There’s nothing like the sound of the home stretch when athletes are finishing!
Athletes need to warm up before they race, jump or throw. They should have little beads of sweat on their heads before they actually race if they want to have their best performance.
Perform the same warm up that we do in practice. You don't have to do all the drills we do; do the ones that make you feel ready to run fast!
Coaches, if available, will gather the athletes prior to their event to help them warm up. Ultimately, athletes should learn how to warm up on their own. This warm up starts 30-45 minutes before the scheduled start of their event.
Upper torso - sky reach, forward arm swing, backward arm swing, hip rotation
Ankle - dorsiflexion, extension, rotation
Walking, alternating knee to chest (every 3 steps)
Walking, alternating leg lifts
Lunges (5 reps each leg) - Front, Front with twist, Side, Back and to the Side, Back
5-10 minute run
lateral leg swing x 10, quiet upper body
linear leg swing x 10, straight leg
hurdle leg swing x 10; forward / backward
Running high knees
Athletes should also start hydrating the day before the event. Make sure they drink plenty of fluids and please(!) no energy drinks like Red Bull! Athletes should be sure to hydrate the week of a meet but not overdo it the day of a meet. A small bottle of water the day of a race is adequate (and more afterwards). Athletes should eat their last meal a couple hours before a race and only have healthy snacks up to race time.
Meet days can be long. Bring snacks and drinks. There may not be a concession stand at every meet.
When not competing, athletes should be resting (in the shade!) for their next event.
Cross Country Nutrition
Answers to questions you might have about fueling for the season
By Emily Brown
As featured in the October 2010 issue of Running Times Magazine
Nutrition is one of the most modifiable and controllable factors in athletic success, but too often it's also the most ignored. Paying special attention to good sports nutrition, especially starting at a young age, may be the key to reaching new heights. The following are some of the questions that I've been asked, and have asked myself, through my years of training.
What should I eat before I race?
How much do I need to drink?
Will drinking coffee or an energy drink like Red Bull give me a boost in a race?
What kinds of snacks should I keep in my locker and/or gym bag?
What should I eat after I race?
How many calories should I eat?