Developing a good cross country running workout is the key to becoming a great cross country runner. Cross country running involves running on a variety of different surfaces and often requires cross country runners to train in a variety of different ways in order to achieve success. Because of this, you need to take the proper steps to become a good cross country runner. Here are the steps you should take in order to get the best cross country running workout available:
Start Cross Country Training Early
In general, if you are joining a cross country team or simply looking to improve your cross country time, you need to train well in advance of any meets you have coming up. You should start six weeks before the start of a cross country season in order to get your body in shape to run a cross country race. In fact, many cross country runners run year-round to keep themselves in shape for cross country season.
Train with a Group of Cross Country Runners
Running cross country by yourself may not be the best way to train. Rather, you should try to train with other cross country runners in order to make the most of your workouts. This will allow you to keep a steady pace during your cross country runs.
Run Consistent Mileage during Cross Country Runs
When you start cross country training, you should be running between two and four miles about five days per week. In addition to running on sidewalks and roads, you should also consider running on dirt paths, sand, grass and other surfaces to simulate the typical cross country course.
Increase Your Cross Country Mileage after Three Weeks
After three weeks of cross country training, increase the distance you're running by 10 percent. However, you should not run more than six miles of cross country during training. This is more than enough to finish a cross country race. You may get burned out quickly if you run more than six miles.
Use Cross Country Speed Work
In addition to running five times per week, incorporate some speed work into your routine in order to work other muscles in your legs. Do this by running 50 to 100 meters about four to eight times. Don't sprint but keep a healthy pace. You can do these exercises with others, too, in order to push yourself.
Use Hill Workouts for Cross Country Success
Maybe the best thing you can do during a cross country training session is run hills. Try incorporating three miles of your daily run onto a hilly surface or find a hill that's about 50 meters high and run up it about 12 times during a single session. Again, don't sprint but run fast enough to work your legs. Jog down the hilly surface, too, to give your quadriceps a good workout.
Get Plenty of Rest before a Cross Country Meet
If you follow all of these steps, you'll do great during your first cross country meet of the season. Just be sure to get plenty of rest before and after you run cross country to allow your muscles time to heal. This is the best cross country running workout you can get.