Cross Country Running is an Olympic discipline with distances between 4 and 12km, in many ways similar to mountain running or short trail running races. With the cross-country running training you get the same benefits of short-distance road running sessions and you develop useful skills to manage pace changes, slopes and balance. In addition, there is the possibility of continuing to run “off-road”.
What are the main benefits for the Trail Runner who decides to run Cross-Country races? With cross-country running the ultra trail runners, used to running long distances at low intensity and pace, will get a significant improvement in aerobic power, intramuscular coordination and greater proprioceptive sensitivity. At the end of the Winter Season, you will be ready to face short trail running races in your best physical shape. Furthermore, you will also have carried out an important injury prevention plan that will be very useful for your ultra trails.
How to train for a cross-country race? The type of specific training involves sprints and uphill resp at high-intensity, fartlek sessions (i.e. 1 ‘/ 1′, 1’/2’), long slow distance sessions (8km-20Km at 10”-25” less than your 10Km race pace), long runs on undulated path (12km-15km at 10”-25” less than your 10Km race pace) possibly on grassy or hilly terrain, as for the first short trail running races at the beginning of the competitive season.
In conclusion, thanks to the participation in Cross-Country competition every 2 or 3 weeks, for 4 months, you will be able to improve in those aspects that you necessarily had to overlook during the ultra trail racing season. You will find yourself stronger, reactive and psychologically motivated to compete.
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