Michael Weise December 08, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 8

So You Want to be a Trail Runner - Page 4

Take Training Off-Road
Trail runners often require more recovery between workouts because they recruit more muscles to stabilize the body while moving over uneven terrain. Perform core-strengthening exercises on a ball, focusing on abdominal and hip stabilizers to help develop connector tissue while giving your joints a rest from the impact of running. Between hard, hilly trail runs, include several flat, short, easy trails for active muscular recovery.

Running pace does not generally translate well from the roads to the trails.  Five miles at seven minutes per mile pace may feel easy and comfortable on the road, but the same distance on trails may take twice as long. Given the varied terrain and rolling topography of most trails, gauge your workout on a basis of time instead of pace. Heart-rate readings will also tend to fluctuate more dramatically on the trails as you travel over varied ground. As your trail running advances, add distance and intensity gradually to avoid injuries and burnout.

Join a running camp, running clinic or ask your local running shop about group runs or upcoming trail races in your area. Preparing for a race can keep you motivated in training and give you a great sense of achievement when you cross the finish line.

Trail running gear to get you going

The Basics:

  • Trail-specific running shoes
  • Padded trail-running socks
  • Moisture-wicking shorts or tights
  • Moisture-wicking shirt and lightweight jacket
  • Non-chafing wicking underwear
  • Hat with visor (mesh or waterproof)
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch with chronometer (optional: altimeter)
  • Sunscreen

Condition-specific gear:

  • Water, sports drink, energy gel (runs over 5 miles or 1 hour)
  • Hydration system (waist or hand-held bottle carrier or bladder and hose)
  • Wrist computer (with heart-rate monitor, etc)
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Waterproof/breathable clothing
  • Gaiters
  • Ear warmers, hat, gloves


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