Cross country running is a tough form of running. Energy sapping running at it’s best (or worst!!) often in muddy or sandy conditions, up small mounds or big hills. Sometimes the weather conditions are cold or wet and generally just all round challenging.
To train for this form of running, you need to spend time running on the hills and end up becoming a stronger runner physically as a result. Additional strength leads to greater stride length and better running economy or in other words, you spend less energy running the same distance.
In addition to making you stronger physically, the mental toughness involved with running cross country is also a challenge. You need to continually assess how hard to attack the hills and how much you should let yourself freely flow on the downhills.
So why should you do cross country training?
- It gives you a chance to do some running off road
- It’s something different from the normal
- The physical strength improvements lead to greater stride length and better running economy
- The mental toughness makes you a better runner able to withstand the challenges of other race types
If you have available a cross country race event, give it a try, it’s worth the effort!!