Get to Know Your Running Clubs - Lake Cities Cross Country
In this edition of Get To Know Your Running Club we spoke with Brad Lutz, head coach of the Lake Cities Cross Country Running Club. You’ll find the Lake Cities XC Running Club most often running around Unity Park in Highland Village.
Want to learn more about them? Read on!
Tell us a bit about your club history, how long has the club been around?
We started in 2004 after being involved with summer track. It got to August and summer track was over and the distance runners didn't have anywhere to go. We begged to be able to race in some middle school cross country meets and then we got into the AAU and USATF races. Over time, we added a spring season (5K and 10K road racing) and then a summer season (mileage build and some distance track work).
We now have 3 distinct seasons with periodized rest between each.
- Spring runs early January thru the end of April
- Summer runs from mid-May thru the end of July
- Fall runs from mid-August thru mid-December
Tell us a bit about your membership? What level of runners do you cater to?
We start runners at age 7 if they'll be turning 8 that year. We don't have tryouts; anyone can join. We aren't an elite or select program, however we do develop youth runners to those levels. We've produced 20 top 5 teams nationally thru AAU and USATF, including the 2009 AAU Boys 13-14 national championship team. We've also developed over 50 Junior Olympic All-Americans, including 8 at last years 2016 AAU XC National Championships in Tallahassee, FL. I also serve on two national committees for AAU.
After training for a few years, I realized there were a number of high schools that didn't have a good distance running program. I began getting calls from former Lake Cities runners asking if I could continue to train them. A long time ago, I made the decision that if an alumni ever called asking for help, I'd never say "no". I started another business to help former runners and it wasn't long before I started getting calls from runners that I hadn't trained before. That's when Lutz Running started.
I started summer distance camps to help runners with summer mileage plans. Two years ago, we added an elevation camp in Flagstaff at NAU. We train and develop distance runners and prepare them to be able to run at college. As we get closer to the NCAA signing day for Track and Field and Cross Country, it's likely that we'll have another 5 or more signee's this fall and that's how I evaluate our success. It's great winning races and I'm very proud of every runner that PR's or has a great workout. But watching a runner progress from a skinny kid in elementary school to a skinny college runner is a great feeling!
Where/when does your club usually meet/run?
We have been training at Unity Park in Highland Village since 2005. We train Monday thru Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday morning at 8 a.m., approximately 46 weeks a year.
Any cost to be a member/join?
We have an average season fee of $375. The cost is a bit more if you are approved for the 10K training and competition season in the spring or if you want to run distance track in the summer, along with mileage build. Uniforms and gear are an additional expense.
Is your group affiliated with any events?
We compete locally (the Dallas/Ft. Worth area), regionally (Texas) and nationally (wherever the AAU or USATF XC national championships are at that fall and wherever the AAU or USATF Junior Olympic Track and Field National Championships are held). In addition, we travel to The Woodlands every fall to compete in the Nike South Middle School XC Championships. We also compete in the Capitol 10000, the 4th largest 10K in the US held every April in Austin, TX. Last year, there were over 22,000 runners and we placed 7 runners in the top 55 overall. Our runners were ages 12 thru 16.
Any cool routes/ favourite areas to run in your city that you would like to recommend to other runners? Why do you like those?
Highland Village is pretty hilly and there are some excellent hill workouts that we do. With the Capitol 10K having some monster hills in miles 2 and 3, we like doing hill work on a couple streets called Excalibur and Castlewood. It's not for the beginner!
Do you have any favourite local races? Outside of anything that you're affiliated with of course :)
The kickoff fall XC race for us is always the Greenhill Relays at Norbuck Park in Dallas. It's a 4 person team, each going 1.5 miles and it's a really fun way to kick off the season. We have to compete against high school runners and it's a great way to get a gauge on how the season might go. We compete well there.
Anything else that we should know?
If you're looking for a youth running group you'll love Lake Cities XC. We have runners of all abilities and we have a great coaching staff. We don't just run, we teach. From nutrition and hydration, body maintenance and proper warm up and cool downs. We have a strength program designed for distance runners. We have recovery workouts, long runs, interval work, grass workouts, and more. Runners get a weekly schedule with their runs and workouts.
Looking for runs in and around Dallas?
You can find a full list of Dallas area runs and races at www.runguides.com/dallas/runs