Practice Information and Weather Policy
Practices will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday afternoons will either be a practice in the early afternoon hours or a home/away meet once the meet schedule begins. Some away meets are on Saturday. Please see the schedule.
All age groups practice at the same time. If there are certain athletes in age groups that are strong runners for their age, they may be allowed to run up with an older group to provide them with a workout more suited to their ability. By doing this, our coaching staff will be able to focus on a group of similar athletes, making for a more productive workout for all.
Tuesday at Van Dyck Park (trails, grass fields, hills)
Thursday at Providence Park (trails, grass field, single track on wooded trails
Tuesday at Lake Accotink Park (meet under the train trestle and running is on the trail)
Thursday at Lake Accotink Park (meet at Kings Glen ES and running is on the trail)
Familes may choose either location. In past history, the majority of runners will be at the Fairfax locations. Families may choose to go to one location on Tuesday and another on Thursday. ie. Fairfax on Tues. and Accotink on Thurs. We do ask families to let us know at the beginning of the season if they plan to practice at Accotink. This is just to let the coaches get a general idea of how many runners to expect. The Accotink option is provided based on coach availability and has been offered to allow runners who live closer to that location an opportunity to run there instead of making the trip into Fairfax.
Our first Cross Country (XC) practice is typically at the Fairfax High School Track Staidium to allow seating space for our team meeting at the start of the season. No additional XC practices are at the track.
Track & Field:
Tuesday at Van Dyck Park (trails, grass fields, hills)
Thursday at Lanier MS (gravel track, trails, older runners may use neighborhood streets behind the school)
Lake Accotink (dirt trails, paved trails, hills, uneven terrain) Tuesday and Thursday
Sunday at Fairfax High School track
Field Events are not offered at Accotink during the track and field season.
For a listing of dates and times, please review the schedule.
WHAT TO EXPECT at PRACTICES
All runners must be members of FPYC running and have paid the registration fees to participate in practices and meets. Everyone MUST wear their bib number during practices. Parents can write a phone number on the back of the bib in case of emergency although we also keep a parent contact list at practice. The bib number at practices allows us to identify your child as a member of FPYC running. If we see them not participating or wandering off, we know that they are part of our group. If an injury occurs to your child, and they do not have their bib number on, and we do not know their name and they are too scared or unable to tell us their name, this can cause a delay in us being able to contact the parents.
BIBS: Every athlete is assigned a bib number. This is a number to pin on their shirt with their name and age group on it that we use at practices and meets to identify the athlete. We distribute and collect these numbers at each practice and meet. Initially these bibs help the coaches learn the names of the athletes. At meets, these numbers are used to identify their finish position and time. It is helpful for athletes to arrive early to practices to get their bib number and be ready on time. This process is a little challenging early in the season but the athletes do get the hang of finding their bib numbers in the bins, and will be helped by volunteers early in the season. All athletes should turn them in at the end of practices and meets.
ATTENDANCE: We do not take attendance at practices or meets. We do not need families to email us to let us know that their child is unable to attend practices or meets. We understand that children get sick, have family events, and have other sports and activities that may sometimes interfere with running. If they are able to attend, that is great. If not, we look forward to seeing them next time.
PARENTS AT PRACTICE: We do not require parents to stay at practice. Parents may drop off and pick up at the end of practice. For parents of younger runners, runners that are new to the team, or runners that may be anxious to be left without a parent nearby, it may be helpful initially for parents to be available. Please be aware of the weather policy (see below) and be prepared to pick up your child if the weather changes suddenly. No child will be left at alone at the end of practice, but we do ask that parents pick up their children on time so that our coaches and volunteers can return home when practice ends.
Sample (evening) Practice Schedule
Please Pick Up Your Children on Time.
Each athlete has a diverse set of goals and expectations. Some come to meet new friends, others want to improve their fitness for another sport, while a more serious group may attempt to qualify for the National Junior Olympics.
It is our policy to cancel practices when thunder is heard or lightning seen 30 minutes prior to the scheduled practice time. We typically run in the rain, but cancel when there is ANY confirmed or high probability of thunder or electrical activity, or extremely hard downpours, etc.) recent or imminent thunder and/or electrical activity. If thunder or lightning occurs during practice, then practice is immediately cancelled.
When considering cancellations, we look for the HOURLY forecast at accuweather.com or the local news for the time of the practice or meet. Often downpours and electrical activity earlier in the day are long gone by the time we are to convene. Practices and meets can be canceled if park authorities deem conditions dangerous or damaging to the fields/trails.
Please do NOT expect a message confirming that a scheduled practice or meet is still on. We will only send out a message with a CHANGE to the schedule (via e-mail) – by 5:00-5:30 pm on a weekday or by 12:00 on a Sunday. We like to hold off as long as possible as the weather here does change quickly and we try not to cancel practices if we don't need to. Sometimes we get it completely wrong – we cancel and it ends up being fine, or we don’t cancel and families make the trip only to be sent back home. But most of the time we look at the available information and we guess right (albeit maybe we get a little wet). We are only able to send out a mass email about practice cancellations if we are home and have access to the computer with the team database. Once we are on the way to practice, we are unable to notify families about a change. If you are on your way to practice and see lightning or hear thunder, then practice is cancelled.
We stress that if your child will be miserable or doesn’t do well with uncertainty or rain, or is vulnerable to getting sick, then use your discretion to allow them to stay home and either take the day off or run in your neighborhood. We don’t want anyone to have a bad experience.