Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physical Education


The present-day athletes who engage in cross country and distance running must dedicate themselves to running many miles in training to prepare for a season of competition. Distance running coaches employ various training methods for their athletes, knowing they need to increase cardiovascular endurance in order for performance improvement to take place. Many coaches are aware of the research which shows the effects of training on the cardiovascular system as related to running proficiency. Research involving well-trained athletes has shown the tremendous cardiovascular capacities that can be developed. This knowledge has helped the coach in training and developing his athletes--particularly the long-distance runners. Cross country running is an activity that is primarily of an aerobic nature. The intensity of the training is left up to the coach, but he must try to get the runner ready to perform at his best. As the cross-country season is completed, these same runners often will be competing in various events during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. Their training for regular track competition is likely to change somewhat as these runners will probably be participating in events of varying distances. Studies involving the cardiovascular fitness and body composition of an athletic team throughout a season have been few. Cross country athletes who also compete in track and field are involved in a season that is as long as the school year, and many physiological changes are likely to occur in runners. The changes that do occur would be of interest to a coach in improving the training and performance of his athletes. It was felt that such information may be of assistance in developing better training methods and to provide data relative to the year-round physiological changes which take place in the cross-country runner. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a nine-month school year of varsity cross country and track and field training on cardiovascular fitness, leg power, and body measurements of distance runners. The selected measurements taken included: maximal oxygen uptake, oxygen pulse, maximal pulmonary ventilation, ventilation equivalence for oxygen, leg power, maximal heart rate, resting heart rate, and percent body fat.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Exercise -- Physiological aspects
Sports -- Physiological aspects
Runners (Sports)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University