Tips on Cross Country Tryouts
Cross country is a challenging, rewarding sport that involves coping with varying train, from grass, asphalt, gravel, mud and dirt to streams, hills, prairies and forests. The sport requires endurance and perseverance, as well as teamwork and individual effort. If you want to land a spot on your school's cross country team, try these tips.
Build Your Stamina
Most cross country races are 5 km, or 3.1 miles, long -- a distance that requires endurance and stamina. To build your endurance and prepare for the season, run consistently in the off-season. Increase your base mileage by running at least five times a week at a relaxed pace. Aim to run at least 2 miles in each workout. Do one long run per week and add a mile a week for 3 weeks. On the fourth week, subtract a mile and then start adding a mile a week again. Long runs increase your body's oxygen efficiency and your ability to perform while fatigued.
Prepare your body by running over different terrains. Practice running hills once a week. For a hill workout, run at a fast pace up the hill and then jog down. Do four to eight hill repeats, depending on your fitness level and the slope and length of the hill. Prepare your body for running over rough ground by doing trail runs through wooded areas and on hiking paths. Allow your body to adjust to running on uneven ground.
Cross country is a mentally challenging sport that requires persistence and dedication. The more you learn to relax your mind, the easier it will be for your body to run fast for long distances. Prepare by reciting mantras such as, "I am strong, I run fast, I go long," on your training runs. Also practice relaxation techniques such as meditation. Try deep breathing and visualize how you feel during tryouts. Imagine feeling strong, powerful, fast and able to handle challenges well. When tryout day comes, your body will be able to execute what your mind already has.
Choose the Proper Gear
Wear the right running shoes and comfortable clothes. Search for shoes that fit your foot type. If you have low arches or flat feet, for instance, seek shoes with stability and motion control features. For high arches, wear shoes with extra cushioning. If you will be doing a lot of trail running on your cross country team, look for trail running shoes, which offer more support and stability than regular running shoes and will help your ankles and feet navigate rough terrain. Use climate-appropriate layers you can add or remove as the weather changes.
Marnie Kunz has been an award-winning writer covering fitness, pets, lifestyle, entertainment and health since 2003. Her articles have been published in "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Alive," "The Marietta Daily Journal" and other publications. Kunz holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Knox College and is a Road Runners Club of America-certified running coach and a certified pole dance instructor.