With the Commonwealth Games completed and the track season coming to an end, it is now time to look forward and embrace the winter cross-country and road-racing season with open arms.

If you have been searching for your next event, look no further! We have set out below our favourite winter races as well as some tips from the head coach of Queensland’s Intraining Running & Triathlon Centre for a successful winter season.

Benefits of cross-country and road racing

Cross-country and road races are perfect for runners of all ages and abilities as they vary in distances (from 1km to 42km) and provide a welcomed change of scenery from running laps of the track.

Additionally, the longer running is great off season training as it develops endurance and overall fitness whilst giving the legs and feet an often well needed break from the harsh impact of racing the shorter distances in spikes.

Upcoming cross-country and road races

Event Distances Location Date
Cross Country Series Various see: http://qldathletics.org.au/Home Queensland, various April – August 2018
Various see: http://nswathletics.org.au/   New South Wales, various April – August 2018
Various see: http://tasathletics.org.au/Home Tasmania, various June – August 2018
Various see: http://www.runningsa.com.au/XC-Champs South Australia, various July – August 2018
Various see: http://athsvic.org.au/ Victoria, various April – August 2018
Various see: http://www.waathletics.org.au/ Western Australia, various April – September 2018
City to Surf (Sydney) 14km: http://city2surf.com.au/ Sydney, New South Wales 12 August 2018
The Canberra Tines Fun Run 5km, 10km, 14km: http://www.canberratimesfunrun.com.au/ Canberra, ACT 2 September 2018
City to Surf (Perth) 4km fun run, 12km, half marathon, marathon: http://perthcitytosurf.com/ Perth, WA 26 August 2018
Bridge 2 Brisbane 5km, 10km: https://bridgetobrisbane.com.au/ Brisbane, Queensland 26 August 2018
Gold Coast Marathon 4km (Junior Dash), 5.7km Fun Run, 10km Run, Half Marathon, Marathon: https://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/ Gold Coast, Queensland 30 June – 1 July 2018
Melbourne Marathon 3km walk, 5.7km run, 10km run, half marathon, marathon: http://melbournemarathon.com.au/ Melbourne, Victoria 14 October 2018
Great Ocean Road Running Festival Great ocean road walk (5km or 10km), 1.5km kids gallop, 6km run, 14km run, 23km “half” marathon, 44 km “marathon” 60km ultra marathon: http://greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au/ Lorne, Victoria 19 – 20 May 2018
Australia Outback Marathon 6km, 11km, half marathon, marathon: http://australianoutbackmarathon.com/ Alice Springs, NT 28 July 2018
Adelaide Marathon festival 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon: https://adelaidemarathon.org.au/ Adelaide, South Australia 25 – 27 May 2018


Tips for a successful season

Steve Manning, Head Coach (Level 3 Coach) and Director of Queensland’s Intraining Running and Triathlon Club has given Runner’s Tribe the following 5 tips to have a successful winter season:

  1. Master the art of hills – for shorter hills, surge before the hill to get speed leading into the hill, then maintain that for as long as possible. This earlier acceleration gives you the momentum to get up and over the hill with less effort as opposed to trying to accelerate on the hill itself.  To go up longer hills, pick a speed that you think you can maintain for most of the hill and concentrate on leg turnover to keep the momentum.
  2. Race for place or race for pace – it is important to develop a race plan that focuses on your desired outcome. Pacing strategy changes depending on whether you are wanting to achieve a particular place or if you are aiming for a PB. If you are racing for place, then you take on a more competitive approach to challenge your opponents position. This works best if you understand your level of race fitness, who you are competing against and then being strategic on the course.  Racing for pace (time) is most achievable with a more conservative pacing strategy, usually one that is slower at the start then working through the field. This is a much less risky approach to racing, but usually will give you the nest possible time.
  3. Speed work counts – stronger racing occurs with at least one speed session in your weekly training program.  For example, a good base road session to include is 1km intervals run at your 5km race pace with either a 2 min stand recovery or a 1 km jog recovery.  A shorter and faster session might be a 400m base session with either a jog rec, or if the repetitions are run faster, a short standing recovery. When doing these shorter interval sessions, the muscles develop a strength that cannot be obtained from longer running.
  4. Race regularly and over a variety of surfaces – there is no better training than racing.  Racing will develop a confidence in your ability to manage start line nerves, the rush of speed and self control as everyone takes off, then working through the discomfort of hard running.  Running over different surfaces not only strengthens the muscles and tendons as they respond to the changing movement, but develops the ability to become a versatile runner able to cope with a variety of racing situations.
  5. Develop tactical skills – learn to run smarter with effective pacing, learning to surge and kick.  These are all tactical weapons that should be practiced in both speed work and racing. Understanding how your competitors race, and also being able to respond well in races can make you a formidable and unpredictable opponent on the race track.  An example of a tactical session is the kick session where the first 300m of a 400m rep is run strongly, then the last 100m flat out.


Article by Caitlin Murdock for Runner’s Tribe