If you’re like me, there may have been times in high school when you’ve conflated cross-country running with track running. So, what is cross-country running?
Cross-country running is a sport in which teams or individual people run a race on an open-air course. This race is done over natural terrains such as dirt or grass. The course is typically anywhere from 2.5 to 7.5 miles long, and most formal competitions separate the competitions by gender.
What Does Cross-Country Running Entail?
Cross-country running almost always includes surfaces such as grass and dirt, but courses may also pass through woodlands, open country, hills, flat ground, and even gravel roads or minor obstacles such as fallen tree branches. Competitions typically take place in spring and fall, although it is now more common to see year-round cross-country races.
Weather conditions are largely not considered in cross-country races unless there is immediate danger to the runners. This means that it is common to hold competitions in rain, snow, and even hail storms. Individual runners are judged on total run time, while teams are judged by a points-scoring method.
How Is Cross-Country Different From Other Types Of Running?
While plenty of people are like me and assume that cross-country and track are the same sport, there are a few differences. Cross-country is defined as running in varied terrain. This means that races occur outside of a standard track.
While track running typically has a lot of rules regarding the surface that runners will compete on, cross-country tends to have fewer restrictions. You might also be interested in learning about Chi running.
Training And Preparing For Cross-Country
One of the great things about cross-country running is that it has a relatively low barrier to entering the sport. Anyone with some kind of sneaker can start the sport, although most people choose to invest in high-quality running shoes if they get serious.
The varied terrain in cross-country running makes it difficult to recommend a particular type of shoe to everyone. Selection is usually based on local terrain and weather conditions as well as the runner’s personal preference. You might also be wondering is watching TV on a treadmill safe.
While most cross-country races are several miles long, it isn’t necessary to start the sport by running a long distance. In fact, many cross-country runners start by running short distances and gradually build up to the point that they can run several miles at a time. The amount of time it takes to prepare for a race will depend a lot on an individual’s physical condition and training regimen.