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Digital Subscriptions > Women’s Running > December 2018 > IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CAKE!


Stronger, faster, tougher, happier… that’s what cross-country running can make you. Is it time to give it a try?

Running cross-country makes you a stronger runner. It challenges your body in ways that running on the road simply doesn’t. It makes your muscles work harder and, when running all-out up a muddy hill, will build strength that will have you leaping small buildings in a single bound. Well maybe not that last bit. But it will definitely make you a stronger, faster and more durable runner.

Laura Muir, Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins have all spent winters knee-deep in snow and mud racing crosscountry. As a testament to how hard and unforgiving the sport can be, in 2017, Farah, the Olympic champion at 5K and 10K, was beaten to seventh place over the 8K Great Edinburgh Cross Country. Notably Radcliffe took the World Cross Country Championship crown in March 2002, before going on to win her first London Marathon the following month.


With the cross-country season running from October to February, it’s perfect to include into your winter training if you’re targeting a spring race, as Radcliffe’s performance proves. It acts as a good substitute for a hill session or tempo run, and will make your road miles seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

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