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How to Crossover into Cross Country Running

Fitday Editor

By watching a cross country race, you might not think that cross country running is that difficult. But the truth is that, unlike running on a track or jogging on the sidewalk, cross country running requires you to be able to run long distances across a variety of surfaces and terrains. Because of this, you cannot simply wake up tomorrow and start cross country running. Rather, you have to force your body to adapt to a new style of running first. In order to do this, there are some simple steps that you can take to get your body ready to handle the struggles of cross country running. Here is how you can do it.

Walk Before You Start Cross Country Running

Cross country running requires a lot of muscles in your legs that you might not use otherwise--regardless of how many miles you put in on the track. From the small muscles that surround your ankles to the quadriceps muscle in the top portion of your leg, there are muscles that don't get exercised when you run on a normal surface. As a result, if you desire to start cross country running, you should start to work some of these muscle by walking on the surfaces that make up a cross country running course. Start by walking uphill to get a sense of what it feels like to move your body up a hill. You will feel the burn in your legs. Try this for a week or two to get a hang of what it takes to partake in cross country running.

Jog a Cross Country Course

Once your legs get used to walking uphill, it's time for you to start jogging across cross country terrains. In addition to lightly jogging up hills, you have to get used to jogging across grass, dirt, gravel, clay, sand and other surfaces. Your feet move differently depending on what type of surface you're jogging across. You may feel stress of different bones, joints and muscles in your legs. Take it easy to prevent hurting yourself on the cross country surfaces.

Start Cross Country Running Slowly

Once you've masted walking and jogging on a cross country course, you can begin cross country running. This will be a totally new experience for you so you've got to be careful to avoid hurting yourself. For one, cross country courses usually weave in and out of different surfaces. You will run up against a variety of obstacles, so you should always stay alert. You also shouldn't go too hard on your first cross country session because you don't want to completely exhaust your legs. Rather, get the hang of it and, as you get better, increase your distance and begin to run more quickly when you're cross country running.

Cross country running can be extremely beneficial to your body if you know how to do it. Just be sure you start off slowly and gradually progress from walking to jogging to running. Your body will be better off for it and should respond nicely to this approach.

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