How do you train for cross country running?

How to Train for Cross Country Running

Cross country running is a great sport that has you running through the bush, up hills, around farmer fields and through trails by rivers, lakes or streams.  It is a very rewarding sport having you feel healthy and free.

How do you train for cross country running?

It's best to train with a team and practice every other day or at least 4x per week.
Running too much in your week is tiring for your body and can negatively effect your races

Over training could bog you down with an injury. 
Injuries are common when cross country running because of obstacles in wooded areas, dips in grassy areas and the stress of running on clay, sand or gravel. 
Cross county running is a wonderful sport, but you have to be careful and cautious because the places that you run are not always groomed!

The Interval Training for Cross country Running.

You practice on a track doing 400m, 600m , or 800m intervals.
  • Running for 400m 4X around the track with 1 to 1.5 minute walk or jog breaks/ 1st week
  • 600m 3X around the track with 1to 1.5 minute walk or jog breaks /the following week
  • 800m 2X with a 400m interval 1X with 1 to 1.5 minute walk or jog breaks in-between/third week

Each of interval deserves a 1 minute walk or jog break from running at speeds that are almost as fast as you can go, so do not leave this step out.
Practicing doing the 400m one week and increase your training to 600m the next week and so on.... is great for building your muscles and increasing lung capacity. It's best to do this gradually so your body adapts to the demands of the sport and your lungs and muscles work together.

Tempo Cross country Training

Most cross country runs are off road.
This is the time to work on a good pace and take to the trails. What you have learned in your interval training will transfer to your tempo runs. 
The tempo training doesn't require you to run as fast as interval training, because you are only running at a moderate pace.  
Run for about 10 minutes easy and do a pace you can hold for at least 15 minutes then slow down for 10 minutes of easy running.
This is great for running faster for longer periods of time.

The long Run or LSD Long Slow Distance

This is an enjoyable run where you are adding more distance to your run. 
Usually I like to do this at the end of a week training off road. 
Try to surround this day with a break day before or after. 
Start by running 10% longer than your usual runs and add 10% each week. 
The last week of the month training, you pull back your distance to the 2 week mark...
This serves to adapt your body to the demands of the distance. Your body will thank you for that nice break when you increase your run the following week by 10%.

Where do I train?
  • outside 
  •  running hills
  • in woods
  • trails
  • in the heat
  • in the cold 
  • city streets
  • playgrounds
  • schools
  • parks
Try to limit using a treadmill, because it often doesn't simulate the outdoors.

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