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Get Ready to Run: Preparing for an Epic Cross Country Race

As the cross country season kicks into high gear, we had the chance to chat with a true coaching powerhouse. Meet  Warren Williams, the Head Coach at  Up & Running Sydney and the well-deserved recipient of the prestigious NSW Recreational Running Coach of the Year award in 2019.

With a wealth of knowledge and expertise, Warren is here to share his invaluable advice with all the budding teen runners out there who are gearing up for an exhilarating cross country race. Get ready to lace up your shoes and soak in some wisdom from this seasoned coach! 

How early should you start cross country running preparation?

Well, brace yourself, because cross country is no sprint. It requires a solid base built over time. You can't just start training a month before the big day. If you're focusing solely on cross country, aim for three to four months of preparation to ensure you're in top form.

What should you work on first for a cross country race?

Building a strong base is key. You want you to be fit, fierce, and ready to conquer the cross country distance. Once you've built that foundation, you can move on to more specific training, like tempo runs and targeted workouts.

What should you focus your XC training on?

When it comes to preparation, both mentally and physically, it's crucial to focus on a few key aspects. Eat well, sleep well, and ensure you have a structured training plan. Think of yourself as a well-oiled running machine! You don't want to overdo it. It's important to find the right balance between training and rest, so you don't end up feeling like a burnt-out burrito.

Do you have any tips as the race gets closer?

As race day approaches, it's time to fine-tune your game plan. Rest up, fuel your body with nutritious goodies, and stay hydrated. Remember, you're not running a marathon; it's a shorter distance. Stick to your normal routine and avoid overindulging in excessive carbs. You don't want any belly troubles on the big day!

How to handle race day nerves

Don’t worry, everyone feels the race-day jitters! You’re all in the same boat. Find what works best for you to ease those nerves. Maybe it's rocking out to your favorite tunes, warming up solo, or sticking with your running buddies. Discover your relaxation recipe and let the warrior within shine.

What’s your strategy for running a cross country race?

Ah, race strategy—the secret sauce to success. Your approach will depend on your goals and position in the pack. For most runners, starting strong for the first 150 meters, finding a steady tempo, conquering those hills, and overtaking competitors is a winning strategy. But remember, even the best have an off day. If things don't go as planned, regroup, tell yourself it's just one race, and prepare for a triumphant comeback.

Running is a sport for a lifetime. You can lace up your running shoes anywhere in the world and explore new places while staying fit. It's a sport that never gets old, and it's perfect for those seeking a lifelong adventure. Just look at the record-setting 100-year-old runners—proof that running keeps the fire burning!

So, fellow cross country enthusiast, get ready to unleash your inner warrior on the racecourse. With a solid preparation plan, a determined attitude, and the support of your friends and family, you'll be conquering those kilometres with style. Keep running, keep smiling, and keep embracing your inner warrior!

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