How was your weekend running?

Is there any way a tarmac and track-loving runner can be converted to the (ahem) joys of cross country? Share your top tips below the line – as well as your weekend exploits






Unimpressed spectators at the Surrey League cross country fixture









Unimpressed spectators at the Surrey League cross country fixture
Photograph: Johnny Armstead/REX/Shutterstock

Can anyone tell me how I can learn to love cross country? Or is it a gene you are born with? Would greater exposure to it (I live in London – aside from the Surrey League fixtures, opportunities are minimal …) engender affection? At any rate, it’s certainly not my favourite kind of running, though the relief when it’s over almost makes it worthwhile. No, wait, that’s the cake my teammates bring.

Saturday saw us in Richmond Park for the final fixture of the season – a wonderful location for it, and complete with classic freezing cross country weather. I suppose at least I warmed up while running, unlike my poor kids who were dragged along and ended up wearing pretty much every discarded coat. And eating a fair amount of the cake.

There’s been lots of debate about distance inequality in XC recently – prompted by the campaign/petition Maud Hodson has written about for me here. And it’s a campaign I am thoroughly behind, which anyone who knows my feelings towards XC finds hilarious. Why, after all, would I – of all people – want to run a metre further? (Most of my male clubmates, on the other hand, would be delighted if the distances went down for them). The answer is that just because I don’t personally like it, doesn’t mean I am not capable of it. Just as long as there is plenty of cake at the end to run towards. Clearly distances should be equal. Um, would an equal race length of, say, 200m be ok?

So, any top tips on learning to love the mud, the hills and the inability to pace yourself? (Let me rephrase that: my inability to pace myself when what I am used to is even pacing on smooth, relatively flat surfaces). And who else was out being a mudlark this weekend? As always, share your weekend woes and triumphant PBs below the line.

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