Skip to main content


Share this post

Running Cross Country races during the winter months, is an excellent way for trail runners to keep fit, work on basic speed and endurance.

Cross Country running has an undoubted series of advantages, in addition to the fact that it allows you to maintain motivation by training while competing. The distances are short and the terrain reproduces many situations similar to trail running. It is no coincidence that it is a discipline adopted by many top level athletes famous in trail running such as Tom Evans, specialized in endurance races over 100km (he also represented  the GB Team at the European Cross Country Championships) and Luis Hernando, the Spanish three times winner of the Trail Running World Championships (recently competed at the Zaragoza International Cross).

So all you have to do is start to train by including some specific sessions in your winter sessions. Let’s see together 6 key workouts that you can distribute in the order of 2/3 per week alternating with easy running in the lipid intensity zone.

Remember to start each session with a good warm-up routine: 15-20′ of slow running + stretching + 5-6 100m sprints¬†

#1 Uphill reps on asphalt with a gradient of around 8%

Perform 10-12 reps x 200-300m at your maximum effort, recover running slowly back to the base of the climb. The fittest athletes at the end of the uphill reps can add a flat transformation phase, for example 1 x 1000m or 2 x 500m with 200mt recovery in slow running

#2 Training to increase your anaerobic threshold

Run for 20-40 minutes at a medium-fast pace

#3 Ladder tfocusing on the anaerobic threshold

4′, 5′, 6′ at the threshold with 1′ of recovery phase in slow running between each interval. To increase the difficulty it is possible to insert further intervals returning to the starting point: 4′, 5′, 6′, 6′, 5′, 4′

#4 Fast training on dirt roads

Option 1. Perform 5-6 reps x 1.000m at a pace 5″ faster than your 5K race pace. Recover 1’30 running slowly between intervals

Option 2. Run 2 x 1.000m at your 5K pace, 3 x 1.600m at your 10K race pace, 2 x 1.000m at your 5K pace. Recover 1’30 running slowly between intervals

#5 Fartlek Ladder at your own pace on a 5K (session to be repeated 2 times if you are an expert athlete)

1′, 1’30, 2′, 2’30, 3′, 3’30, 3′, 2’30, 2′, 1’30, 1′. Recover 1′ running slowly between each interval¬†

#6 Progressive Run 10K

3K warm-up, 4K at your pace in a half marathon, 3K at your pace in a 10K race

Not sure you know how to plan sessions? Contact our Coaches for a professional support.

The first meeting is totally free. Book your appointment:

cross-country, off-road running, trail runner training, trail running, trail running coach, trail running coaching, Trail Running Training

Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.