Home > General Country Sports > A Guide to Cross Country Running

A Guide to Cross Country Running

By: Kate Simpson BA, MA - Updated: 9 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Cross Country Running Trainers Runners

Cross country running is the ideal sport to enjoy in the British countryside. Making the most of hills, woodlands, grass, mud and puddles, runners compete to complete a long distance course over varied terrain. Events typically take place in the autumn and winter, when the grass, fields and woodland are soft under foot. Whilst cross country running is traditionally a competitive sport, it can be enjoyed at leisure by anyone who is keen on both running and the countryside. Indeed, it is useful for prospective cross country runners to practise in rural areas before entering a race.

Equipment

Runners will need to be equipped with a quality pair of trainers or running shoes. Many brands sell shoes specifically designed for cross country running, in styles which offer a good level of support, whilst being lightweight and breathable. Some styles are also fitted with spikes. Even in freezing conditions, runners typically wear a vest and shorts in a breathable sports fabric. Runners pin their race numbers, printed on paper, to the front of their vests. When racing, it is always advisable to take along five or six small safety pins for this purpose. Traditionally, thick woollen running socks were worn for cross country races. Nowadays, sports socks are often preferred. Female runners will need to invest in a well-fitting sports bra. Some retailers advise runners to opt for a sports bra one cup size smaller than usual, to ensure maximum support.

Safety

Whether racing or not, it is of vital importance that cross country runners pay close attention to the terrain they are crossing. Uneven, slippery surfaces can prove hazardous and it is important to tread carefully in order to avoid accidents. Indeed, falling will also slow a runner’s race progress. Runners can receive cuts and bruises from vegetation or from falling on hard ground. Be sure to attend to all such injuries carefully at the end of the race. Take along a first aid kit for this purpose. Runners should be particularly careful on rainy or snowy days. Remember that these weather conditions can obstruct your vision. Frozen terrain can be a safety hazard too, so stay alert on cold days.

Training

Whilst it is possible to compete in cross country running purely for fun, training regularly will help you to get the most out of the sport. Running a distance of 5 km to 10 km twice a week is a good start. Opt for uneven, hilled terrain if possible. Fartlek or interval training will also be of use. This involves mixing up short periods of sprinting, running, jogging and walking over one session, working towards longer periods of sprinting and shorter periods of walking and jogging by the end of the session. Maximise interval training sessions by incorporating hills and slopes into your workout. Runners can also benefit from strength training exercises. Squat jumps are a great example of this. Squat, legs bent, then jump up and land tall. Initially, repeat this exercise around 15 times and aim for 2 or 3 sets in one session. Aim to increase the numbers of repetitions and sets over time.

Races

Races are started in masses, with a gun or a horn. Each individual runner is responsible for staying within a path marked out by flags, chalk, ribbons, paint or cones. Runners are not permitted physical contact with each other whilst running. Courses end at a finish line, which closes with a funnel or chute. This is a marked walkway that keeps runners in single-file, so that their finishing places can be accurately documented.

Cross country running is a truly exhilarating sport and one that makes thorough use of the rural landscape. Whilst all runners compete to finish first, running for a team can prove a motivating and memorable experience. Put your endurance to the test, face the mud and give cross country running a go.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • diggy
    Re: Arguments Against Hunting
    it is fine to hunt because it is there choise and don't put your own opinion on other people when they have grown up with that and…
    26 March 2018
  • sylvester
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    Is it true that the hounds are horribly treated? There are a lot of reports that seem to indicate that the life of a foxhound is horrible.
    9 March 2018
  • AnthonyJ
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    Addressing the comment below..raising animals to be killed is far more disgusting that going out and hunting. Somethings whole existence,…
    13 February 2018
  • Not the Same
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    @Hepster. It's not quite the same though is it. Running after a terrified fox with hounds isn't the same as a humane rearing and killing of…
    2 January 2018
  • Hepster
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    Never been hunting and lived in city all mylife. Still it was a shameful day this ban was introduced. This is part of our culter, law…
    24 December 2017
  • RuralSports
    Re: Game & Grouse Shooting
    Keith48 - Your Question:A party of rough shooters entered the grounds of an equestrian centre and moved into fields with grazing…
    20 November 2017
  • Keith48
    Re: Game & Grouse Shooting
    A party of rough shooters entered the grounds of an equestrian centre and moved into fields with grazing horses. My Daughter had a…
    19 November 2017
  • Iknowmorethanyou
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    i disagree fully. the animal suffers. end of
    15 September 2017
  • T H
    Re: Shooting Seasons
    rita , if you don't agree with country life and its sport , then why move there in the first place , I f he didn't shout and control what is about…
    7 September 2017
  • mrschips
    Re: Arguments For Hunting
    Why do you use 'bagged foxes' then? Why do some Hunts breed their own foxes in order to hunt them? Why do some Hunts breed foxes in order…
    20 July 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the RuralSports website. Please read our Disclaimer.