Why does my XC training feel tripe?

Its October, and thus time for a wonderful, new XC season! All should be well, but it isnt...

Over the last year, I have managed for the first time in my running life (tm) managed to string together 9 months of consistent training together. I have realised improvements that I never thought possible, such as a 10 minute 1/2 marathon improvement in a year, from 1:23 to 1:13 & some change. My running has felt easier, more enjoyable, smoother & faster; in reps, tempo runs, easy running & races...

Yet now I am doing more XC reps, such as hill reps & rolling course fartlek, and I always feel slow doing it! I dont feel like the same runner as the improving road runner part of me. I feel slugish & weak. Is this normal during the transition or is XC just not gonna be my game? I had my first race last week, and although I performed better than last season (16th as opposed to 31st) I still feel I underperformed as I was being beaten by people with FAR slower road times than me. Plus I felt like a shower of **** (I'll let you fill it in)

Thoughts, advice & criticism all appreciated :D



  • Hi Korsa King, some very good road racing improvements you've made, well done!

    I'm not sure what the answer is to your feeling and performing so much worse on the country. However, I know I'm quite a strong off road runner and often beat those who beat me on the roads, so it could well be that your strongest racing surface is the road.
  • I have often puzzled about this from the other side of the coin - I tend to beat people on the country who murder me on the road or the track. In fact, in my first Chiltern League of the season I beat a guy by 40 secs who'd been 50 secs ahead of me in a road 10K 6 days previously (he is a local runner who was running to form both times). I don't know what it is, but it's been the same for me in my two incarnations as a runner (as a kid and then recently after taking it back up in my mid-thirties).

    I suspect on the admittedly unscientific basis of my own experience and observation that there will always be a degree of difference in your relative standard on the different surfaces, but that isn't to say that you can't narrow it and achieve a very high standard in X-C too.

    It may be something to do with build - I've heard it said that cross-country is all about power to weight ratio, whereas to get a good time on the road it is probably a bit more about sheer speed.

    Your 1/2M time is pretty awesome.
  • Thanks for the complements. Im pretty happy with it, but as with all things, you always want to see how much farther you can take it.
    Re: XC, You'd think that I'd get the benifits of a power/weight ratio advantage, being 5'7" & weighing in at a grand 9st 5lb's-ish. Plus strength & endurance/ speed-endurance are normally my forte, rather than raw-speed (Im blessed with virutally none). Having said that, maybe mechanics might come into it also? I run with a slapping to rolling midfoot strike, thus I might be at a disadvantage when the course gets sloppy? I dont know if its that, Im still looking at ideas, but I'm trying not to get too hung up on it. Even if I am destined to be a more competitive road runner than XC, i'm sure improving my XC performance can only help my Road-running...
Sign In or Register to comment.