How Do You Train For Cross Country Running

When it comes to training for cross country running, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is to find a training plan that works for you and your goals. As a long-time cross country runner myself, I have tried various training methods and have learned what works best for me. In this article, I will share my personal insights and tips on how to train effectively for cross country running.

Setting Goals and Planning

Before diving into training, it’s important to set goals for yourself and create a training plan. Start by determining what you want to achieve in your cross country running journey. Is it to improve your speed, increase endurance, or simply enjoy the sport? Once you have a clear goal in mind, you can tailor your training accordingly.

When planning your training schedule, it’s crucial to include a combination of different types of runs, such as long runs, tempo runs, and intervals. This helps build endurance, speed, and overall fitness. Additionally, incorporating cross training activities like cycling or swimming can help prevent overuse injuries and improve overall fitness.

Building Endurance

Endurance is a vital component in cross country running. To build endurance, focus on increasing your mileage gradually. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase the length of your runs over time. Make sure to include at least one long run each week to train your body to run for an extended period. During these long runs, focus on maintaining a conversational pace, where you can comfortably hold a conversation while running.

Speed and Tempo Workouts

To improve your speed and race pace, incorporate tempo runs and interval training into your training plan. Tempo runs involve running at a comfortably hard pace for a sustained period. This helps improve lactate threshold and teaches your body to run faster for longer. Interval training, on the other hand, involves running at a high intensity for short distances, followed by a recovery period. This helps improve your anaerobic capacity and running efficiency.

Strength Training and Cross Training

Strength training plays a crucial role in cross country running. Incorporate exercises that target the muscles used in running, such as squats, lunges, and calf raises. This helps improve power, stability, and prevent injuries. Additionally, cross training activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga can help improve overall fitness, flexibility, and prevent burnout.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as training itself. Make sure to include rest days in your training schedule to allow your body to recover and adapt. Listen to your body and take rest days when needed. Additionally, incorporating activities like foam rolling, stretching, and adequate sleep can help speed up recovery and prevent injuries.


Training for cross country running requires dedication, consistency, and a well-rounded approach. By setting goals, planning your training, incorporating various types of runs, incorporating strength and cross training, and prioritizing rest and recovery, you can improve your performance and enjoy the sport to the fullest. Remember, everyone is different, so it’s essential to find what works best for you and adjust your training plan accordingly. Lace up your running shoes, hit the trails, and embrace the journey of cross country running!