Cross Country Training

  • What is Cross Country?
    Cross country is a team running sport that takes place in the fall on a measured course over varied surfaces and terrain. In Texas high school boys run 5,000 meters, also referred to as "5K" which is approximately 3.1 miles.
    History of Cross Country
    Cross country began in Britain. There is actually evidence that English school boys ran cross county as early as the 1830's. The first English cross country championship took place in 1876. However, since all 32 runners went off the course the race was declared void! In 1898 England and France got together for the first international championship. The international cross country championship steadily grew in popularity and by the 1950's most US high schools and colleges were participating in cross country.
    What it takes to be successful?
    Dedication, Commitment, Hard Work, and a desire to have fun while improving yourself
    Runners are strongly encouraged to be on some sort of a training regime during the summer. Pre-season summer training is essential to build a fitness base for intensive workouts and races during the season.
    What is a Fartlek?
    A Fartlek (Swedish for "speed play") is simply sprinting and jogging off and on during a run. For example, a normal fartlek workout would be a 30-45 minute training run. However, instead of keeping the same pace through the whole workout, you sprint, then jog whenever you feel like it. You can customize the fartlek workout to how you feel. If you feel sluggish, limit the number of sprints you do, and take more time to recover. If you feel great, run the sprints hard, and sprint again maybe when you don't feel totally recovered. One good way to run this workout is to pick out objects ahead of you, like a telephone pole and sprint from that pole to the next then jog. One reason that the fartlek workout is so popular is that it is so flexible.
    What is a Tempo Run?
    A consists of a 10-15 minute easy warm-up jog, followed by a run at about your 10k pace. Which would probably fit in between 5:30-7:00 mile pace for the excellent high school runner. After that, 10-15 minute jog to cool down is also important. The distance of a tempo run should be from 4-6 miles.
    Conquer the Hills!
    I've found that hill workouts are one of the best workouts you can do for cross country Not only does hill work prepare for running hills in a race, it also builds muscle, and teaches you body to run fast when you're struggling for oxygen. It is an essential part of any cross country program. Here are a few pointers about hill work.
    What are Track Intervals?
    Track intervals are essentially hill repeats on the track. One day you might do an 8 X 200 workout. This would mean do 8 repeats of 200 meters (half a lap). Or you could do 12 X 400, which is 12 repeats of 400 meters (a full lap).