The Cross Country season is almost upon us and it will no doubt be the poor relation of the running family again this year. Over the past number of years as the popularity of the road running scene has grown there has been a trend in the opposite direction in relation to cross country races. The road running scene in Munster and in particular in Tipperary is quite strong, especially this year where we had record entries in nearly every race promoted in the County. The image that most people have of Cross Country is of muddy and ploughed fields, too tough for the average Club runner to participate in. However this year the first two events takes place in Powerstown Racecourse and at the Turnpike, two very good running courses. So it is worth considering what benefits Cross Country can have for one’s running, such as
1. It is a welcome change from training on the hard road surface. It is recommended that athletes and runners train regularly on grass as such training can be very beneficial to help the body recover from the hard running on the road, even one session a week can help the body to recover as well as help prevent injury.
2. After a decent season of cross country behind you, you’ll feel re-invigorated and fresh for another Spring and Summer on the roads and no doubt a few PBs will be in the offing. It also offers something different to the sport of running.
3. Cross Country is a welcome change if you feel you are becoming a little stale or even bored with the road running scene, especially after a long summer racing and training on the road. A change is as good as a rest as they say!
4. If you’ve made the effort to run on the road then why not try the cross country, it will offer a welcome alternative to the roads.
5. The likes of Dick Hooper and Jerry Kiernan, two of our most successful and best known names from the past would be strong advocates of a decent cross country season and the benefits to be gained from it. “The strength built up in the winter will stand you in good stead for the summer”, a common mantra from middle and long distance athletics coaches the world over.
Why not try and participate in a Cross Country race this year, You will be competing along with the majority of people that you have met over the summer months at the local races be it in Ballingarry, Thurles, Ballynonty, Dundrum, Clonmel or Carrick on Suir.
In Cross Country the distances are shorter, so anyone who competed over 10k in the Summer will be able to participate over the Novice Cross Country distances where it is 3K for Ladies and 6K for Men, this would be an ideal opportunity for those with no previous experience of the Cross Country scene. In Tipperary the Cross Country season gets underway in Powerstown racecourse on Sunday, October 7 with the County Novice Men 6k and Ladies 3k Championships which are held with the County Juvenile under 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 Cross Country Championships. The County Intermediate Men 8K and Ladies 4k will be held at the Turnpike on Sunday, October 28.
So why not over the next couple of weeks try and get in a few training runs on grass. It will be hard at first adjusting to running on grass but persevere and soon you will develop a more economical running style that will benefit you. For the first few training session, run for 20 to 30 minutes and if possible, try and train close to a hill as this will add variety to your training. Definitely Cross Country will benefit you in the long run!!