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3 km Cross Country Running

by Lisa
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

I used to run cross-country at primary school and always make it to zones but then not get very far!
So, in high school I didn't bother going to the cross-country team.
But, now I have decided to start again and I am in year 10. I have run district and to my suprise, I came 4th and will be running zones in 6 weeks!
I have never trained for running!
I was wondering what are some tips for running 3 km?
How many times a week should I train?
For how long?
What intensity should I run?

Also, when competing, is there a certain strategy I should follow. eg, do I run fast and take the lead at the start of the race?
Just things like that in general I would like to know!
:) I would be VERY appreciative if this can be answered!
Thank you!

Answer by Dominique:


Very happy to try and help someone from my own city!
First of all, congratulations on your results so far. It sounds like you have a bit of a talent for running.

In terms of how much to train.... it is very difficult to tell without knowing what you currently do (running or otherwise). If I'd tell you to run at least three or four times a week and run at least x kilometres per day without knowing what your body is used to or knowing if you could handle that there would be a serious risk of injuries.
You are still young and growing and therefore there are even greater risks in taking on too much at the same time and getting injured before your key race.

So, definitely do not suddenly start training like a maniac, but focus on easy running, at the pace at which you could have a conversation and possibly one session a week which is a bit faster (e.g. tempo running and/or fartlek / speed play).
It might also help to do one or two time trials, i.e. run the distance already as fast as you can such that you know and can experience how long it is and how fast you should be going to maintain speed for the full 3 km.

As far as race strategy goes....
I would definitely not pick the lead at the start of the race. You run the risk of wearing yourself out quickly and going too fast for your own good.
Instead, if possible (I don't know the speed/strength of your competition) try to hang on at the start of the pack, but not completely in the first position, e.g. fourth/fifth position or so. You then maintain the oversight over the leaders, and if somebody wants to speed up or run away you are (hopefully) still close enough to get them.

If at all possible make sure you know the course you are going to be running on so that you know how long it is and so that you can give it your utmost in the last few hundred metres.

Lisa, I hope this helps a bit. Above all, stay healthy and injury-free over the next six weeks and just try to enjoy your training and your race. It is fun to do races and even if you do not end up at the top, just be happy that you got to run and experience it.

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Best of luck.

Comments for 3 km Cross Country Running

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Oct 20, 2010
Race Day
by: Anonymous

I would go pretty fast at the beggining to get in sconend or first. In the middle get a nice jog for a little bit and then get faster. In the end give it your all and be proud. Always have good sports miniship.

If you are running up a hill, I find it's best to take long strides on your tippy toes.

Good Luck!!!!:)

Oct 21, 2010
Race Day
by: Anonymous

I just had my second 3km race and came in 6th out of 50. Last year I came in 21st. I was not very pleased but still happy for being in that great experiense. This is what I did to boost up my place...

I stopped eating a lot of unhealthy foods and ate more fruits. I also starting training 3 days a week about 2/3 months before the race. I would run 2 days a week at the running place, doing my route and the other day doing 5km for practice. If you have little sprints throughout your race and practices next time you run, your run will be as fast as your sprint.

During the race stay in 4th/5th at the beginning. You will start loosing people very quickly. On a hill, must stay on your toes and take long strides. For people who didn't practice hills are going to get tired there. At the end, sprint as hard as you can and give it your all.

Hope this helps! Good Luck!!! :)

Jun 07, 2012
give it all.
by: chloe

hi, I have just started training for the Victorian all schools cross country. Last year I wasn't training and found it really hard so I don't recommend that.

This year I have pulled my weight and am training 5 days a week, straight away I was seeing improvement in my times.

I was running 15-14 minutes but have now dropped it down to 13-12 minutes for 3km.

What I do is have 2 long runs a week around 5-6km, 1 hard 3km, 1 sprint session as many as you can do till it's not 100% and 1 hill run for about 3km.

Near the end of the race put your sprint legs on and give it all you got, you will only be sprinting for a few hundred meters, just tell yourself your not going to die keep pushing...believe in yourself.

Good luck :)

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