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Cross Country Running

Do you love running and being in the outdoors? Then cross country running might be the sport for you this fall!

The Goods

Cross country running is a team sport, where runners compete in a long-distance outdoor race over rough terrain. A cross country course can be run on grass, mud, hills, woodlands and in some cases even water! Typically, this sport runs in the fall. Teams are made up of four to 12 runners. The best part of cross country is you basically need three things - a shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of shoes. Although the shoes cost some money, at least you don't have to buy helmets, sticks and pads, right?

Technique

Like most distance races, runners often try to run even splits (the same pace throughout the race) in order to pace themselves and conserve energy. Another strategy is gradually increasing your pace as the race goes on. A lot of teams opt to run in packs because it lessens the mental strain of each individual. Most runners try to conserve a little energy, so that they can use that reserve strength for the final 100 meters and finish the race in a full on sprint.

Health Benefits

Participating in cross country will definitely get you in excellent cardio shape and running on rough terrain and hills will strengthen your legs. Cross country will also make you a stronger person on the inside. Even when your body feels like quitting, the determination to push yourself and finish the race will teach you discipline.

Getting Involved

As you might have noticed, most elementary schools do not have cross country teams. But there are plenty of club teams out there for runners not in high school yet. Typically, a course for kids 12 years old and younger is three kilometers or 1.9 miles. For middle school kids, the length of the race increases to four kilometers or 2.5 miles. Most high school courses are five kilometers or 3.1 miles.

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