6 Cross Country Tips to Maximize Training

If you’re new to the sport of cross country running, or if you are simply looking for some tips to help you improve the quality of your training here’s a list of things you can do to increase your or your athlete’s output.

6 Cross Country Training Tips

1. Start Training Early

The sooner you begin training the better. If you know that your cross country championship season is at the end of October, beginning of November, then you should start your training program at least 4 months in advance so that you have enough time to get the base needed to support cross country style racing.

I recommend starting your or your athlete’s training at the end of June, depending on the level of fitness. I recommend your starting mileage follow the following formula:

If your last training period ended < 2 weeks ago, start at 50% of the peak mileage reached during that period. If your last training period ended > 2 weeks ago, start at 25% of the peak mileage reached in your previous training period.

2. Build Mileage Gradually

Building your mileage slowly is important to decrease your risk of injury and burnout.

I recommend no more than a 15% increase in mileage week to week in the first 6 weeks of training and then no more than 10% increase thereafter until you reach your peak mileage.

An example mileage plan could be:

  • Week 1 – 20 miles
  • Week 2 – 23 miles
  • Week 3 – 26 miles
  • Week 4 – 30 miles
  • Week 5 – 34 miles
  • Week 6 – 39 miles
  • Week 7 – 45 miles
  • Week 8 – 50 miles
  • Week 9 – 55 miles
  • Week 10 – 61 miles

Reaching peak mileage in your tenth week of training is ideal, this should be just in time for runners to maintain volume and start to incorporate more quality days into their training, like tempo runs and interval workouts.

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