10 Cross Country Running Training Tips
Check out these 10 cross country running training tips to make the most out of your running experience. Most cross country runners are training for competitive reasons and many continue with their training even after the races are over. No matter what your level of experience, these ten helpful cross country running tips can add a little edge to your training.
- Wear good sneakers. Never underestimate the power of well-suited running sneakers. They will not necessarily make you run faster, but they will help prevent injury and support your body during intense training. This is one of the most overlooked, but basic running tips. Determine your foot type and accommodate to its size. During cross country running training be sure to buy a new pair of sneakers every three to four months.
- Alternate sneakers. What is better than one pair of awesome running sneakers? Two pairs! Alternate between two different pairs of sneakers, both suited for your foot type, but don't purchase the same shoe. Why? Because alternating shoes relieves the specific stress to muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones from each shoe.
- Stretch and warm up. Stretching is important before any type of physical activity, but it is particularly essential for cross country running. With all those creeks and puddles to jump over, protruding roots and rocks, gritty hills and uneven terrain, it is really important to have loose, warm muscles so you don't sprain your ankle or pull a muscle within the first couple of miles.
- Do LSDs. Towards the beginning of your cross country training it is important to cover a lot of mileage, so do a few LSD (long slow distance) runs. Pick two or three days a week (not in a row) for five, seven,or ten mile runs, depending on your ability. Do not run fast during these runs; save the speed for speed workouts.
- Run on hills, repeat. One of the most essential cross country running training tips is to embrace, take advantage of and conquer the hills. Find a hill that will take you about 90 seconds to run up at a fast pace. Then run up the hill four, six or eight times at least once a week.
- Do speed work. Make sure you integrate speed workouts into your training regiment. At the beginning while you are focusing on building distance, do less speed work. One day of 400 meter repeats and another day for a fartlek run. The closer you get to race time, however, the more speed work you should be doing. This might even mean hitting the pavement once in awhile.
- Know where you are going. This is a crucial tip for cross country runners who are training solo. Don't venture off into the great unknown without knowing how far your run is and how to get back. Stick to trails and dirt roads and if possible, find someone to run with.
- Eat and drink more. The more you run, the more you need to eat. Make a healthy diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy sources of protein a priority. Drink more than the eight glasses a day minimum of water. Cross country training can be intense so give your body the proper fuel.
- Listen to your body. Pushing your body to its limits is certainly a part of cross country training, but be aware of your body's needs. Cut back training if you have to. Start out running twenty miles a week and build up to 50, 60 and 70 miles. If you try to start out at 50, you may never get there.
- Love your run. The final and least practical of the ten cross country running training tips: enjoy it. Make running fun and enjoyable because it is also difficult and both physically and mentally challenging. If you need a day off, take it. If you need a new run, find it. Make it an adventure, whether training with others of alone. Good running is all about the love of it.