Cross Country

11 Nov 2006, Berkeley, California, USA --- Jogger Splashing Through Mud While Trail Running --- Image by © Corey Rich/Aurora Photos/Corbis

Cross–country running is a type of running sport where participants compete in teams. It’s a race that takes place in open country and uneven lands, usually held in winter or autumn. The mere thought of running while getting in touch with nature is enough reason to persuade some runners to give cross-country running a try. In addition to the opportunity of running on beautiful, challenging terrains, running on different types of lands can help enhance muscle endurance and strength of cross-country runners.

Like many of the popular sports we have today, cross-country running originated in England in the 19th century. Now, cross-country is becoming more and more popular.

If running on flat surfaces is not easy, imagine running uphill, downhill, on muddy surfaces, and rocky surfaces in one long run. Just like preparing to join marathons, preparation for cross-country running is easier said than done. Cross-country running calls for strength and skill.

For runners who are used to running on tracks and roads, adjustment is necessary to be able to engage in cross-country running. Skills on running on uneven lands are harder to master so it’s better to start training even before the cross-country running season begins.

Since you’ll run on natural terrains on the race itself, it’s sensible to include practicing to run on hills in your training. You have to experience cross-country running first hand.

With running races on flat roads, speed and pace are the most important aspects to improve; with cross-country, effort, endurance and strength are also vital. Therefore, strength training will help a lot in preparation for cross-country running.

Being able to change your pace, technique and balance is also essential for cross-country running. You must learn how to adjust to different terrains quickly, especially that the sport requires being ready for changes in weather because unlike running on tracks, dry lands will change to muddy surfaces once it starts to rain. Cross-country runners should be set to run on mud, grass, asphalt, gravel, and even rocky roads.

Many months of extensive training, mental preparation, and dedication are needed for cross-country running. The sport can produce strong, agile athletes because of its level of difficulty. Since cross-country running is one of the most challenging types of running, finishing cross-country races can be truly rewarding.

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