Ultimate Guide to Cross-country Running

Cross-country running is undertaken in natural, open-air settings. It has risen to popularity across the world as a sport in itself and as a part of the training regimen followed by endurance athletes.

While it is no easy walk in the park, with adequate training that gives prominence to endurance, agility and strength training, you can hope to achieve great results as a cross-country runner.

So, what is cross-country running?

Usually run on undulating courses, most cross-country races extend over grasslands and forests and, as such, presents the runners with a range of challenges and obstacles to overcome. While the distance of the race can vary, it generally falls within 8km to 12km, and the race can take place in all manner of weather conditions.

Here are a few tips for cross-country running to help you get started with the required workouts that can get you in form.

How should you train for cross country running?

Given its strenuous and unpredictable nature, there are varying types of workouts for cross-country runners that help develop the different requirements for the race.

  • Strength training for cross-country runners

Strength training and running go hand in hand as it is through strength that you improve your performance. While many runners tend to avoid strength training, it is indeed an essential part of training that athletes have to undergo to reach their full potential. 

Squats, deadlifts, lunges, planks and chest presses are essential workouts for cross-country runners. If you're just starting your training, it is recommended that you do 5 to 10 reps with 3 to 4 sets for each of these.

  • Speed workouts for cross-country runners 

To become a successful cross-country runner, you need to be able to reach maximum speed while running on uneven terrain. And you must do so without wasting much energy. 

Your speed training workouts should include pace level running on bumpy surfaces, track interval work as well as striders. Ensure to warm up before your run and cool down after to prevent sore muscles from running.

  • Cross-country hill workouts

As most cross-country race courses have hills, it is vital to practice running up and down them. An uphill run targets your quads and calves, whereas a downhill run can promote quick leg turnover. 

When training for uphill runs, locate a short hill that takes a couple of minutes to climb. Run as fast as possible to the top while focusing on a shorter stride. Jog down the hill to recover. 

You may begin with six repeats and progress to 12 or more as you reach the peak of training.

For more information on training methods, visit our article on periodized training for runners here. 

Leg recovery after running

If you want to avoid sore muscles from running, your recovery routine is just as crucial as your cross-country training. Improper recovery measures can lead to leg muscle pain after running as well as sore calves from running.

Listed below are some effective home remedies for leg pain after running:

  • Indulge in a relaxing massage

While it is the perfect way to relax and unwind after a strenuous day, it's incredibly beneficial towards speeding up your muscle recovery by easing the soreness in your body. 

  • Use muscle recovery tools

Recovery tools such as foam rollers are great at helping you roll out those tight knots on your calf and thigh muscles. They can help improve circulation and ease some of that muscle pain after the run.

  • Calf compression wrap

SPRYNG is a calf compression device that enables fast, effective muscle recovery. Its advanced patented Wavetec compression pattern promotes oxygenation in your calf muscles.


SPRYNG is the ideal calf muscle recovery tool that helps to alleviate pain in your leg muscles after running. It works fast (helps you to recover in only 15 minutes), and is compact and portable, allowing you to carry it with you as you head out for your training.


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