Sports Medicine Resources for Cross Country

Long distance runners are susceptible to a different kind of stress on their bodies than most other athletes. Cross country runners must condition their respiratory systems as well as be constantly aware of potential injury to their legs, feet, and ankles. Learn about some helpful ways to keep your body in its best running shape.

How do students improve performance and reduce risk of injury?

  • Distance running is primarily limited by the delivery of and use of oxygen and this is going to primarily achieved by aerobic activity and strength training will not advance that delivery of oxygen.
  • Start a running progression that slowly incorporates a schedule of increasing distance, intensity, and time over a graduated period so that you can build-up of level of tolerance to the activity.
  • For strength training focus on exercises that have a high level of muscular endurance with short rest intervals. For example perform lunges for 1-2 sets of 15-20 each leg with only a 30 second rest interval.
  • Use a very low intensity (less than 60%) and low volume for strength exercises and focus on speed and control of the activity. If volume and intensity are too high then muscle hypertrophy can occur causing an increase in body weight which can be detrimental to distance running.
  • Strength training should only be done 1-2x per week maximum and should incorporate power and speed training activity.


Ohio High School Athletic Association Information


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