Your source for all things trail!
Trail running is the fastest growing segment of running, and we at 5 Peaks are happy to share this incredibly exhilarating category of our sport with you. Aside from offering the most beautiful race venues in Canada, we want to help you prepare for race day to fully ensure a satisfying and fun trail running experience.
We have put together some tips for those of you who may have heard about the fun of trail running, but have not yet tried it. These tips are also useful for those who are looking to brush up on their trail running skills.
Gearing Up: If you are switching to the trails from the roads, in many cases your regular road running shoes will be fine. However, if you are running on particularly rugged and technical terrain featuring plenty of rocks and roots, you may find the added protection, support and traction of a trail shoe helpful.
As for clothing for the trails, the same lightweight, technical fabric that you use for road running also works great for trail running.
Getting Trail Strong: Running on trails, instead of roads or sidewalks, helps to eliminate much of the impact going up your body and reduces the risk of many running-related injuries. However it does require greater energy to propel yourself over the trails; regardless of whether you’re running uphill, downhill or on the flats. The following are a few leg strengthening exercises to help make your transition to trail running much easier. These exercises should be done two or three times per week on non-consecutive days.
a) Quarter Squats – With feet shoulder width apart, squat about a quarter of the way down, before returning to a standing position. (2-3 sets x 10-15 reps)
b) Lunges – Step forward into a lunge position, while focusing on staying very upright and not allowing your knee to go beyond your toes. Return to starting position. (2-3 sets x 10-15 reps)
c) Calf Raises – Standing on a step, stand up on your toes and then slowly lower until your heels are below the step, before returning to your starting position (2-3 sets x 10-15 reps)
d) Ankle Rotations – Rotate ankles in a circular motion. (2 sets x 10-15 reps. Clockwise and Counter-clockwise)
Good Form: As with road running, proper form is crucial for efficient trail running. However, unlike the relatively smooth surface of the road, you need to run alert and pay particular attention to rocks, roots and other trail debris. Focus on relaxed running in an upright position, hips tucked forward, with a quick, crisp stride turnover. Allow gravity to work with you on the downhills and avoid braking. A shorter stride while maintaining your stride turnover will help you get uphills efficiently. Also, on the steepest uphills, don’t be afraid to walk as you may find it almost as fast and be less physically demanding.
Hydration and Safety: There will be aid stations during trail races, however when training you may not have access to regular water stops, so you will need to bring water with you. Fortunately there are many comfortable hydration systems on the market including hydration packs, water bottle belts and handheld bottles. Experiment with different systems to find what you prefer. The added bonus of many hydration systems is that you will have a place to carry additional supplies (ie. food, electrolytes, first aid, cell phone, etc.).
If you follow these simple tips, we guarantee that you’ll enjoy your trail running experience that much more, while remaining safe. So, what are you waiting for? Time to Get off the Road!!!
See you at the next 5 Peaks Trail Race in your area!
Contributing Coach; Derrick Spafford
You’ve added hill repeats, done some squats, tried out a couple trail races. That was last year. This year, you want to take the extra step, and really conquer your 5 Peaks event. We can provide a personalized training plan for you that incorporates all the important aspects of
trail training in just the right amounts for your level. Coaches and Race Directors John Lofranco and Derrick Spafford will consult with you by email, and send you a day-by-day plan for the lead up to your 5Peaks race. $85 for consultation and personalised training plan. Email us for more more information.
The sports community where every Movescount - If you're training for a 5 Peaks Trail Race, then this group is for you! See what other trail runners in your area are doing as they get ready for their upcoming event. Whether you want to compare against others for motivation, ask advice on training preparation, or simply track your training routine, then welcome to the group!
Trail Running Articles