Cross country running, according to Stephen Varanko III is one of the toughest sports around but also the one that gives the most satisfaction. The weather right now is perfect for those who want to start with it, which is also why there are so many races now. So how do you get ready, mind, body, and soul, for such a race?
Stephen Varanko III’s Advice for Cross Country Racers
- If this is the first time you run cross country, make sure you pick a surface that you are used to otherwise run on. Moving from road to uneven terrains can be quite challenging. Gradually increase the bumpiness of the terrain.
- Cross country running is not about a consistent pace. Sometimes more effort is required, other times less. Hence, you must learn to measure effort in a unit other tha time.
Workouts for Cross Country Racers
Pace change and fartlek workouts are definitely the best ones. Interval training is also very important. Using different paces on different surfaces helps runners to understand how much effort they have to put into different tracks. Increasing the length of time of each interval slowly is a great way to improve overall condition and fitness level.
Doing proper interval workouts is very important to boost a runner’s VO2 max, which is the biggest amount of oxygen that the body is able to absorb and use. Additionally, working at intervals improves economy, teaching the body to become faster while using less oxygen at the same time. It also slows down the production of lactic acid while helping to clear the acid that is produced.
The workouts also prepare runners mentally. It teaches them how cross country is different from running on the road. It also helps them break through the inevitable mental discomfort they will experience and to keep going despite extensive fatigue. Furthermore, it teaches runner to move away from the concept of consistent times.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Cross Country Running
- Enjoy the fact that you don’t have to watch your watch. Instead, it is about you, the course, and the competition.
- Focus on your strengths and make sure you take advantage of the things you are good at.
- Surge whenever you run. Learn to become a slingshot at the starting point.
- Run over the top of every hill. Don’t relax as soon as you reach the top but keep the pace up.
- Challenge yourself. Catch up with those ahead and keep going even if you don’t win every race.
- Warm up on the toughest terrains. Keep your body fresh to avoid early fatigued.
- Focus on your pace. Instead, it is about the effort you put in.
- Go too quickly. Be aggressive but be cautious. You need to keep some energy behind for the last few legs of the race.
- Give up. You won’t win every race and that is fine. Keep going and, sooner or later, you will win your first.