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Cross Country Race Strategy

Cross Country Race Strategy

Hey, it’s Coach Tief with
with some race strategy tips for cross country races. The first thing that we have to talk about
is, well, the start of the race. Don’t go out too fast. You can’t go out too fast in the race, otherwise
you’re going to sabotage the rest of the race. A great example of this is at state meets
a lot of the times the best runners will go out in a minute for the first four hundred. Unless, you’re going ot run a four minute
mile for your first mile, you should not be going out that fast. Try and stay calm. You will be able to pass those people later. My second tip is run at an even pace. This is much easier said than done. You’ll have a lot of adrenaline at the start
of the race, but you kind of have to hold that back. In order to run an even pace, you actually
have to feel like you’re picking up the pace later in the race. So, when you get into that second mile, feel
like you’re pushing it a little bit. You should actually probably be passing people
in the second to third mile, because that way you’re ensuring that you’re picking up
the pace or holding it, while other people are slowing down. Running the hills effectively is very important
in cross country. Let’s look at uphills first. When you are going up a hill, don’t sprint
up it. It’s way more important to keep an even pace,
and then at the top of the hill, crest the hill, and get back to your regular pace as
fast as you can. You’ll pass more people that way. Now, going down a hill, you want to go down
as fast as you can, but in control, so you don’t fall or something. But, I love this tip. Extend the hill. When you get to the bottom of the hill, try
and keep that momentum going as long as you can. It won’t feel hard and you’ll be going fast. A big thing for cross country is you’ve got
to know the course. Know where you are going, and if you see any
tricky spots, be prepared. Right here is a big curve. Make sure you are going around the curve,
keeping your momentum. So, know the course. My final tip is be physically ready and mentally
ready for a race. Running cross country is very tough. You have to prepare yourself for that kind
of a struggle. You know it’s going to hurt later in the race,
so just try and hang in there if you are hurting. Stay positive, and push it all the way to
the finish line.

Reader Comments

  1. Whenever I was at a race,I always felt like people where running at the beginning,and I'd just be jogging.then I'd be last.then I'd past people.

  2. man..good tips..this will help me and im in the 7th grade!! i love cross time, i got 60 out of 135 xD
    cross country is my kind of sport 🙂 thanks for the tips!! 😀

  3. My 5k time 16:45 and I always go out hard, lol but my kick is not so good, so that's why I do it. But I have been working on it.

  4. I had a cross country race hosted by my school today, I started out bad (spinted when I really shouldn't) I don't have that much stamina but I followed your advice and I made it! Thanks for the tip

  5. last year i saw this kid that started out walking like he was on the beach and believe it or not he came out first.

  6. Thank you so much, this video helped me alot. Hopefully these strategies helps me get a good place in my school cross country tomorrow. Wish me luck! 😊

  7. Thx alot I have to run 800m and I need help I have alot of stamina but I like too be first right at the start buf now I know what to do

  8. Im new to cross country. Im 15 and I can run the first mile and halfway to my second but at a steady and fast pace.

  9. well in our state meet, if you go out to slow youll get stuck at the back and wont catch up. we have way too many peole running that course. (This is in Oregon btw)

  10. Hey, im going to run the mile next week…my current time is 6:02 but i'm trying to get a faster time…do you have any tips to keep a fast and steady paste?

  11. Yesterday I ran a 5k on one of the toughest courses in my state, and I was expected to win, and I went out really fast and was an early leader and ennded up coming in 8th place. I am not an armature either, I went to states last year and run a 16:45 5k but I just like to run out fast, I am a front runner

  12. you have to work the hill at a much faster pace than usual, not at a slower pace and try to catch up when you run down. You work the hill the whole way up, going faster than normal, and go very fast down the hill. You will not lose all your energy that way. Trust me. My coach is nationally ranked and that is what she tells us.

  13. My only problem is the cold weather because at the end of the season it is late fall In upstate ny. Do you have anny tips for ice cold water most of the trail and mud. Beacuse keeping pace in that isn't the easiest in that.

  14. 1. 7 second start @ the beginning going out as fast as possible, settle into your pace shortly there after. 2. Tackling hills is pretty tough sometimes, take it consistently and don't push the pace on them as it'll leave you in an oxygen debt unless you are very accustomed to doing so like me. 3. Pacing is KEY. You need to also though learn how you run. It normally ends with your 1st mile being your fastest with you 3 mile being second fastest and your 2nd mile being the slowest unless you are able to run very even splits. If you run like that, really focus on mid-race pace and try to make some surges to try and keep the time down and maybe build confidence as you will most likely pass people with the surges. 4. Know when to kick. Kicking is something that people do at different times from the finish. Some do it @ the last 200 of the race, others who don't feel they have they speed for that will most likely compensate with going harder at around 400-800m to really distance themselves before those with the kick really come down on them. For me i start to drive @ 800m and then start to build up to top speed @ around 400m and then throw whatever i have @ 200m. The main thing you need to understand about racing strategy is that your strategy may sound good but you're unable to execute whilst a strategy that you just naturally go with will fit the best with you. I'm in the latter quarry but i still input these 4 steps to help me achieve my goals in XC. And no, i'm not that slow, i run about 15:30 for 3 miles. Roughly 16-16:10 for 5k.

  15. Tomorrow i have a cross country. Last year i got 22nd place out of 1,770. This year my teachers expect me to get 1-10th place. Hope this tips help!! 🙂 btw i am 13.


  17. Nerves are my problem, i have a 3mile race tommorow and people from my year expect me to come in the top 3!!!How can I achieve that, effectively(BTW its a very veery very very very very very hilly course)And what are the key things that can inch me a few places

  18. yes knowing the course is a really helpful tip I had a meet today and placed almost last cuz I took a wrong turn and I had to come back and couldn't keep up with the people in front of me

  19. A lot of people walked in my cross country meet which is like stupid. Especially when they about to start a race when u not suppose out really fast.

  20. Thanks this helps me a lot. I'm 10 years old and last year in cross country I didn't know the corse. Right at the beginning I tripped over somebody done half a flip and landed on my back. I'm in year 6 and I was able to get a place. It's today and now I have more confidence


  22. yesterday was my last day of the season. I went from running a mile and a half in 30:00 at the beginning of last season and I ran my best time ever in my 2 years yesterday. 22:43. My best 2 miles is 29 something and I ran my best mile today 14:53. I've used your tips as well as my coach's tips and my teammates to run as well as I do now. I still walk quite a bit but I run more 🙂

  23. Do you have a "How to" video about how to walk or pre-run the course?
    Should a runner worry about wearing himself/herself out by walking or running the course before the race?
    What sorts of things should you look for and make note of?
    Should you take notes to help remember? Maybe jot notes onto a course map and read the notes a few times while waiting for the race?

    My son is doing XC for the first time (He's a junior in HS).
    Sometimes I do the adult run if there is one (usually after the schools finish the races)
    I try to walk some of the course, but being old, I have to be careful to to use up all my energy by walking the course.
    I usually am exhausted by the time the adult race gets there… from running around and cheering for the kids.

    But I also wonder how the young runners are affected by doing too much before a race.
    Last week I saw a coach from another school yelling at a kid for bringing a football to a meet.
    I don't know the whole story, but I think he didn't want the team playing football before their race.
    Maybe because they would waste a lot of energy, or he just wanted them to focus on the XC meet.
    Maybe he was mad because they weren't cheering on the runners in other heats or something.

    I'd ask him… but he was pretty upset, and probably wouldn't want to talk about it.

  24. You don't need to run at the same pace all the time. If there's a hill you can show down as long as the effort is the same.

  25. thx man, im a sprinter with a decent pace and I want to run in high school, heres another tip, don't focus on how tired you are, it helps a lot

  26. My mother used to always come first in these she would sprint as far as she could do she was far ahead and then walked until she heard breathing and running of people behind her and she sprinted again and kept doing that until the finish

  27. i tried the strategy before where i stay calm in the beggining and then try to pass a lot of people later but i dont think it works on people naturally faster than you and more good tips and strategies?

  28. Thanks man I am a sophomore in high school and this is my first year in cc and I needed the held. I am a sprinter but I convinced myself that cc would help with my track as well.

  29. thanks for the tips I will need it when I do my cross country meets 🙂 tomorrow iam running 4 miles in cross country practice any tips ? I heard when your at a turn I heard if you lean your body while your running to do a turn it will help you keep your pace while your running.

  30. well this is useless and im 11 you forgot about switching gears and having a breathing pattern on steps you take and try stomping as in doing but kicks and raising your legs in the front and stomp a little when you run normally you put on your breaks on witch will cause your legs to shut down

  31. now this is just me since i have done this over time but going out fast in some races can help you just need to know what is too fast as going out at a race with over 500 people if you don't get out near the front at first it is a hard time catching the guys in 1st place

  32. I the first and last time I went out to fast I had a 5:37 mile, witch is my mile PR so far. I keeped that pace for about half the race but the last mile was rough. I was dying at the end.

  33. Good day. Excellent video. Liked it a lot. I also play similar games and like them. Yours seems a little bit different though. Anyways, keep it up. Thanks a lot!

  34. hmmmm…. hey I aint that fit gonna put it out there. I strong, very fit when it comes to gym stuff but crosscountry is my achiles heel. Last year I came 11th the year befire that I came 5th this year I want to keep 11th palce as so many people join this term.

  35. Thank you so much!!! I'm in 7th grade and our school is making us practice at least 8 times so thank you very much I will be trying to apply this as much as possible.

  36. Thx the tips worked I ran a cross country 2k race and finished 14th out of 1000 people and the top 50 make to the conference finals and I made it and there I came 20th and the top 30 make it to the city finals and then there unfortunately I came in 31th place which is really bad because there only like 50 people in the city final race but I'm happy that I didn't fall or get last place

  37. Last year I was in grade 6, I basically just walked the entire time. This year I decided I actual will try, I plan to get 30-40 out of 150 girls my age.

  38. everytime i've said "i'm gonna go off slower this time". my first km ends up being 30 seconds faster than the rest

  39. I'm 14 and I run my mile in 5.49 and my 5k in 22.00.00 it was hard at first but I made it there and I'm the fastest girl in my school for it

  40. I thought these would be more helpful for someone with 2 years running experience and this meet looks slow I’m not even var and I can run fasted

  41. Ok so some of this stuff is true but ,I will say this as politely as possible, the other stuff is bullshit.

    When going up the hills u should sprint and look down, you will be up in no time. You can also use the rope strategy that is going up hills and using your arms like your pulling a rope.

    Knowing the course is important if you have run a course before still walk through it, because there could be some spots that are muddy or rocky. (Example I am from pa and I ran at pinegrove last year and the whole thing was dry, but I ran this year twice and once it was a 4 foot deep puddle at the foot of a torn up hill.)

    I am in no way trying to bash this person I'm just saying some is incorrect.

  42. I’m trying to get first tomorrow because i always come second there’s this one girl I can’t beat so thank u for the tips btw I come 2 out of 100

  43. i had always been an athlete at my old school.. and well, I was a runner. I recently just started a new school, which is a school filled with a bunch of athletes.. and tomorrow i have a 5km race, which I'm clearly not ok with.. so this video is pretty helpful i guess. but i sure will try some of the tips given. Thanks!

  44. When I first started I was running almost 40 minute 5k's and then I worked up to 22:50 but then I got injured and now two years later I'm still trying to get back😬

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