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Race Day: National Cross Country

Posted on February 24th, 2018 by

It’s a gorgeous day for smashing out a fantastic performance in the National Cross Country championships.

In case you didn’t notice, our schedules got you doing a long run on Tuesday, so you’re all set up for a guilt free rest day tomorrow. That means you can really push it. Also on Thursday we did a light sprint session, so you should be going to the start line with fresh legs and a taste for speed. It’s almost like we planned it.

Today is definitely a race, so let’s talk race tactics. There are two kinds of running tactics, PB pacing tactics and beating your enemy tactics. Times mean nothing today, so let’s focus on the latter. Here are some fun tips:

  • When you overtake do so with a burst of speed so it is hard for them to follow.
  • If someone is just behind you, put on a burst of speed as you go round a corner. The sudden inexplicable gap will break their morale.
  • Overtake wide. Buy the time you’re in their field of vision you’re already ahead.
  • Control your breathing. You can fake not being tired as you pass and that will break their heart.
  • Pre-empt their attack. If you think you can guess their plans don’t wait to counter attack, attack first.
  • Attack on the flat or a downhill. It’s hard to make substantial gains on an uphill and it is demoralizing if you lose all your gains instantly on the downhill. When a downhill levels off is a time many runners drop their guard, so that might be a good time to attack.

As usual, warm up well and don’t set off too fast. The race is crowded so you probably do need to push it a little at the start to not get stuck, but you shouldn’t kill yourself. When the going gets tough, focus on your form, relax and then deploy the ultimate psychological weapon: smile.