Cross Country Running Tips

I am always looking for more Cross Country Running Tips to share with you.  Why?  It's the best sport there is.  I am biased because I ran cross country in high school and college.  Now, I coach the sport.  Can you think of a more challenging and more rewarding thing to be a part of?  I can't.

There isn't any other sport out there where all the competitors and teams line up at the same time to find one winning runner and one winning team.  

No time-outs.  No substitutions.  No different specialized positions.  Everyone does the same thing at the same time.  Also, there are no flukes.  You can't just happen to win a race by accident.  You need to work hard, be smart, and push yourself.

For XC tips in a video format, you can check the Tips4Running Cross Country playlist on YouTube right below.

There isn't any other sport out there where all the competitors and teams line up at the same time to find one winning runner and one winning team.

No time-outs. No substitutions. No different specialized positions. Everyone does the same thing at the same time. Also, there are no flukes. You can't just happen to win a race by accident. You need to work hard, be smart, and push yourself.


The race is a simple test, but the preparation for racing is extensive. This section is loaded with information about how to become a better cross country runner. Check the short cross country running tips list first, and keep on reading for more details on each item.

Cross Country Running Tips.

1. Train during the preseason.
2. Learn how to run the hills.
3. Develop different race strategies.
4. Prepare Mentally for workouts and races.
5. Run relaxed and fast.
6. Run as a pack.
7. Know your pace.
8. If you are an excellent high school runner, find out how you could earn a College Running Scholarship.
9. Learn more about the History of Cross Country.

Want the details? Awesome. Knowledge is power. Here are the best cross country running tips.

1. First of all, you should be training in the off season. If you are serious about improving, then the season doesn't last only for three months. Make yourself better by making yourself a true runner. Maybe you participate in different sports in the winter, spring, or summer. You still need to work a run in at least once a week even during your other sports activities. If you aren't in another sport, you should keep yourself in shape. The great ones are running. What are you doing the other nine months of the year?

2. A huge part of XC involves running up and down hills. Learn how to run the hills the right way. You can beat runners with your ability, or even more ability than you if you dominate the hills. Fly down the down hills, and stay strong and steady going up. Make sure to incorporate running hills on your training runs when you can.

3. Develop race strategies. for every race. Look at the course map, outline your plan and execute it. There are a few things every runner should do. First, don't go out too hard. Second, plan a place on the course where you are going to make a big move. Finally, plan to finish strong. Every runner should have a race plan. If you don't, you aren't racing. You are just out there running.

4. Be mentally prepared for workouts and races. Have your race plan and mentally visualize executing your race plan. Make sure you are running fast but relaxed so you use all your energy correctly.

5. Run relaxed and fast. One huge element of racing and running tough workouts is being able to handle the fatigue and discomfort. Staying relaxed can make your times even faster. Straining your upper body and face slows you down. You need to stay fluid and smooth when running. Don't confuse running relaxed with running slow. Relaxed means you are in control instead of straining against the pain of racing fast.

6. Run as a pack. The best way to move up through the crowd of runners that went out too hard is to run with your teammates. As the rest of the runners pace slackens, stay fast and move up as a team. A group of teammates passing people demoralizes the competition and energizes your team.

7. Determine your proper pace. If you can run 3 miles in 18 minutes, you shouldn't run the first mile in 5 minutes flat. Be smart and maximize your efforts by running a great pace. Pass people in the middle and the end. Don't get passed. Remember, they hand out the ribbons and medals at the finish line, not at the first turn.

8. Are you a good runner? I mean are you so fast that other teams talk about you? Maybe you are scholarship material. Find out how you could get a running scholarship. Running fast is the first step. Finding college coaches who can pay for part or all of your tuition is the next step.

9. The History of Cross Country is fascinating stuff. First, it centered around chasing another group. Then it involved racing from one point to another, but not on a fixed course. Learn more about CC and how it got started here.

There you have it. My top cross country running tips. XC might be the toughest sport out there, but now you have an edge over your competition. Help your teammates by sharing this knowledge. Now get out there and start running!

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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Leave the Cross Country Running Tips article and return to the Tips4Running homepage. This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

You can follow David on Twitter @Tiefsa or visit his blog


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