The second and concluding part of our blog on how to prepare for a cross country race looks at how you can train specifically for a marathon of running, and how you can protect your equipment during such a grueling race.
No matter if you are preparing for a sprint race or a distance race you have to prepare specifically for the distance you are going to run. Obviously, in sprints you have to have explosive power off the line and be able to keep the throttle open for 100 meters. When you are preparing for cross country, it is important that you train on a course similar to what you will be racing on. This means that if there are hilly areas, you need to be ready for this and practice on hills near your home.
If you have access to the course, make notes of areas that will test you physically, then during your training you can replicate them and learn how to overcome them. Bring in weather training also and train in rain, sun and wind, and see how this affects both you and the course.
Prepare Your Kit
The terrain of a cross country race can be treacherous, it can sometimes even resemble a quagmire. One of the biggest fears a runner has is losing his shoe in a mud bath, not only will precious time be lost but the shoe will be full of mud and slippy when it is put back on the foot.
If it is particularly bad weather on the morning of your race, then prepare for mud. When you have laced up your shoes a good tip is to hold them in place with gaffer tape. Simply wrap it around the laces and under the shoe tightly so it cannot come off. Not only will it hold the shoe in position, it will form a waterproof barrier for the laces and they will be a lot less likely to come undone.
Don’t Worry About Pace
Once you have prepared yourself and you are confident that your body is prepared, don’t be worried if the race starts off at a hectic pace. Long distance running, and in particular cross country, is designed to test endurance as well as speed.
If the runners are too good in a particular race, then race the course, your challenge will be the terrain and the time you run it at. As long as you keep improving on your last time then you should be pleased with your effort. Remember, only one person can actually win a race, does that mean all the others are losers? The answer is no, keep on improving and eventually you will be the one who crosses the finish line first.
Enjoy your sport, prepare yourself body and mind and always remember to properly warm up and cool down. This will prevent injuries and help your body recover better and faster. Involve some of the tactics we have highlighted and soon that first win will not be too far away and you will never look back.