Cross country versus road running

Is it actually a lot harder and slower doing a cross country race compared to road races, i have only really done a road much slower do you expect to be in cross country


  • It depends on the course and the conditions, really. If you're thinking about pure pace then forget cross-country as it can be 5-20% on top of your times in ideal conditions; that said if you enjoy racing and adverse conditions then you'll eat it up! As a point of comparison though, I ran a 5M cross-country race yesterday in pretty awful conditions about 3 and a half minutes slower then I would have on the road or trails.


  • I asked a similar question here not long ago and got various replies, but all basically saying 'it depends on the course'. On a recent, mostly dry 5mile xc, I was about 2 min slower than road time.
  • so basically u will definatley be slower image

  • is it a different experience

  • Yes and yes

  • Just try one. One of the things I like about xc is they're never a set distance and you've no PBs to worry about, just pure racing.

  • i've done road and cross country and yes you are definitely slower on cross country, its hard going if its hilly as i find running on grass hills alot slower 

    although its meant to be kinder on the joints, i still prefer my road races as I prefer the pounding on the tarmac!!! but its good if you want experience something different and I guess the views are probably nicer on cross country ( except the view of your feet covered in mud after!!! )

  • Yes XC is slower in terms of overall ideal time than road running but it is infinitely better.

  • Although I mainly race on roads, I like cross country for 2 reasons:

    1. You don't need to worry about your time as you know you will be slower than on the road
    2. You will be stronger on the road after few cross countries.

    Basically, cross countries are great training sessions for me (except that I have to clean my shoes afterwards)

  • And as for times in fell-races.........

    For example, I did the 'Withins Skyline' (7 miles/1200 feet of ascent) a couple of weeks ago, & it took me 1.01:23 !!!!!!

    As a counterpoint, my present road 10K PB is 42:38 (2010 Barnsley 10K)

    Then again, a easier/more open terrain fell-race (ie; the, 6 miles/650 feet ascent, Bingley Harriers 'Harriers v Cyclists') was covered in 47:08 last time I ran it

    As for 'XC', our race series starts in 3 weeks, & we host the first race

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