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Whether you're looking to improve your trail running or preparing for a technical trail run, these five tips will help you fly over roots and rocks with confidence.🙄🙄
Trail running can cover a wide spectrum of surfaces, depending on where you live. The types of trails that are appropriate for one athlete may be very different from those for another. Therefore, it is important to define the surface/terrain and the characteristics of the trail on which you are training, as well as the surface/terrain on which you move. When you hear the term "technical" used to define the race, you have to be prepared for some rough terrain.
This is the ultimate off-road test for the endurance racer.🏃♀️
- A wide spectrum of surfaces can be covered as we said. Therefore, it is important to define the surface/terrain and characteristics of the trail you are training on, as well as the surface/terrain you are operating on.
- Technical "mode" is defined by the surface and environment you are running on. Do you have rocks, roots, mud, water, steep climbs and descents? Are trekking poles recommended? Are there sections where you need to use your upper body to help you? If you're interested in technical trail running, racing, or just want to improve your trail running skills on your local terrain, put these 5 tips to use
1. Schedule your training 🕐 based on time and effort, not distance and pace. Technical trails slow you down, without the usual decrease in effort. Pushing yourself to maintain a certain pace is a sure way to make the experience pretty miserable, and if your running is ultra this could be a killer. Using time as a framework, you can focus solely on the ground below your feet and move efficiently.
2. Incorporate balance 🗝 (single leg exercises) and plyometrics (squat and split jumps) into your training plan.
Learning to jump and land is an essential skill when foot placement becomes selective due to rocks, roots, and loose surfaces.
Single-leg coordination and balance exercises improve nervous system quickness, which is a key component of moving quickly on technical terrain.
3. Cadence of footing 🚶♂️ is key to staying upright on technical trail runs. Fast feet move over the terrain faster and spend less time on the ground. When the base is bad, this is crucial. The feeling of being fast on foot could best be described as "touch and go". Move across the terrain, avoiding stop-and-go movements, which slow you down, waste energy, and can even make it difficult to navigate the terrain. Take the most efficient path. If your training ground doesn't offer terrain similar to what you'd normally run in competition, use an agility ladder to practice taking shorter steps during your daily runs and learn to study the ground as you run. On the road, your feet go where your eyes focus.
4. Keep your toes up. 💃 To avoid catching your feet on roots, rocks, and even small bumps along the way, run with your feet up. This often involves small heel strikes. But with the right shoes, a shorter stride, and good knee lift, this shouldn't be a problem for anyone. Having the right footwear ensures protected feet and an upright run. That is why looking for a shoe that provides a secure fit in the heel. Once laced and tight, make sure that you cannot slip your foot out of the shoe. When you place your foot, the last thing you want is for your shoe to move from side to side or for your foot to shift inside the shoe. Shoe tread is important, so make sure your shoes have a tread pattern that can withstand technical trail. Earmuffs help you climb hills, rocks, and muddy slopes. They also help you brake when necessary on steep descents. A good tread pattern will clean up mud as you run. Shoes also provide much-needed protection. If you can feel every pebble you find, it's going to be a long day on the trail.
A small lightweight carbon fiber plate built into the shoe can be an excellent counter to this. Plan ahead for what you need from your footwear as the miles rack up and your legs tire. It is also extremely important to select your clothes well, depending on the hours you plan to do a route, make sure you bring the necessary equipment, a shirt that gives you the best characteristics depending on the weather and terrain, and pants that you can wear supply and at the same time keep your muscles supported without being too tight.
5. Take advantage of the beginner's mentality 😜 in training and racing. Trail running is zen running because the most natural form of efficient bipedal movement is the only way to finish with solvency. Running on technical trails and of great difficulty requires creating a strategy to obtain results.
Make it your main goal to finish the race. Compete only with the road. This will free you from the chaos, stress and tension of placements in general and by age groups. Running on this terrain is a skill that you will develop over time and the kilometers traveled.
Beginners don't be ashamed to walk the hills!
If the race lasts more than 90 minutes and you know that climbing is not your forte, patience will be your ally to go the long way in these races.
Remember that there are sections called "walking". Not even the good ones run in those sections.📈
In the ultras, this is even more important. Also, consider using walking sticks. Practice with them in training. They can help you stay upright and choose your path when running downhill, between streams and even on steep climbs where the footing is loose or uneven, the use of poles can make all the difference.
Of course, technical trail races are very rewarding. Often held in beautiful and remote locations, the setting is highly motivating and engaging.
You might even forget you're racing and adopt the explorer mindset as you traverse mile after mile of remote landscapes. To make sure you make it to the finish line, be sure to plan ahead and cover the training bases. You never go too prepared when the going gets tough and technical!😉