Featured Image: Credits to RPAC
We all finished the cross country this year sweaty but satisfied. Regardless of whether we won a prize, the event was definitely enjoyable and I would like to commend the teachers who have put in the hard work to make this a reality. As much as I had fun, I also realised that there were some important takeaways from the overall experience, especially related to long distance running.
3.5km is not a joke
Some may not agree with me (like those in the Cross Country CCA and those who run long distances regularly) but for a novice like me and maybe some of you as well, 3.5km is not a joke. Those who don’t run long distances regularly may find running a long distance with very little preparation difficult.
However, like all things, Cross Country becomes easier with practice. For instance, I can start with a 1.6 km and increase it by 100 metres each time I practice until I reach the required distance. You can start off with a distance that you are comfortable running.
Secondly, running on a trail is actually better than running a number of rounds repeatedly around a field. This is because the brain has to be kept active. When we run past the same things every round, our brain gets bored and we do not have enough motivation to strive onwards. All that we can think about is the number of rounds left and that can be mentally exhausting. The smaller the field, the more rounds and the more exhausting this becomes. Moreover, when we abruptly change direction at the corner of a field, our brain finds it tiring. However, running on a long trail helps our brain to be distracted from the aches in our body because of the new sights. Research has shown that running in nature in the morning is beneficial for one’s health. Even if there are turns in the track, they will appear to be gradual and not abrupt. Proof of this is that I found 3.5km relatively shorter on a long trail rather than many rounds around the school field. Speaking of trails, I found some interesting running trails in Singapore. These 7 trails are:
- The Southern Ridges Trail (Trail distance: 6.65km)
- The Green Corridor (Trail distance: 6.3km)
- MacRitchie Reservoir (Trail distance: 10km)
- Singapore River (Trail distance: 12km)
- Marina Bay → Gardens By the Bay (Trail distance: 11km)
- East Coast Park (aka ‘12km’ Orientation Hike) (Trail distance: 21km)
- Fort Canning Park (Trail distance: 3km)1
For more information on long distance running training, read Caleb’s article here.
It’s About More Than Just Running
Of course, none of us would have been able to complete the run without any willpower. The aim is to strive on, regardless of whether it is accomplishable or not. The language of life is ‘I CAN’. The language of death is ‘I CAN’T’. The mental drive is 80% of the picture; physical strength is the other 20%. Even if our physical strength is weak, it is something that we can improve on, or even overcome if our mental drive is immense.
“After all, it’s only 3.5km!”Mr Frederick Yeo
Overall, I feel that we are considerably well prepared for the next cross country, as our experience with this one was
quite, very, extremely enjoyable. I have gained many insights on long distance running from this experience and am confident that I can apply it next year.