Trail Running Triathletes Invigorate Your Training with Cross-country
Outdoorforests or going on long Sunday hikes with my family I developed a strong connection with the natural environment. I am certain that doing so has strengthened my soul and lengthened my career as an athlete. While I was an intensely competitive professional athlete in my 20s and 30s, winning 19 Canadian Championships in running and multisport, and twice medalling at the World Duathlon Championships, it is my love of being active outdoors that has sustained me. The tougher the natural terrain and environment, the better I did. With increased discomfort I seemed to find inner peace. Now, as a coach in this increasingly technological age, athletes need times of the year when they can unplug. Racing cross- country ( XC) in the off-season can bring us back to the simplicity of human movement and reinforce why we love sport. Free of being tracked, monitored and reduced to a barrage of data – all useful information when you are trying to qualify for Kona – XC running is good old-fashioned hard work. more extreme trail runs a good trail shoe will provide comfort and function over your regular trainer. Cross- country races are often on grass and runners will wear sleek, tight-fitting spikes, which are ultralight and flexible racing shoes with “pin” spikes under the forefoot. A XC spike is indispensible for traction on grass and wet soft surfaces. It is important, however, to train in them gradually to avoid injury, because wearing spikes places more stress on the ankles, feet and calves.
While trail running is more of an adventure sport, XC is usually run in parks and racers do several laps of the same course. Typically, corners, small hills and narrow sections characterize the races and learning essential racing skills is fun and gives you some more tools for your racing tool box.
Claim your space in crowded
situations. 2. Make space. Cross- country is crowded: try to get out in front and put space between you and a pack, especially going into trails. 3. Use your strengths. I was a front runner. I didn’t care if anyone knew my secret. When I went out front, and ran scared like a rabbit I was really motivated by the fear of getting caught. 4. Run downhill fast. I did lots of crazy hill training, but never neglected to practice running downhills very fast. 5. Simply put: never stop pushing. Start fast. Go
fast in the middle and finish fast. 6. Know the course. If the race was in my hometown, then I would train on that course relentlessly and own every inch of the course. 7. If the weather is bad, that’s good news. In rain or snow, bad weather is a chance to show your toughness. 8. Get lost. If I was ahead, then I would try to put more time once I hit a corner or a wooded section. When people can’t see you, they don’t try as hard to catch you. 9. Run corners fast. Take tangents, run the corners at speed and try to get a step ahead of competitors in the corner. 10. It ain’t over til it’s over. Run hard past the finish line. That might be your personal best in the final sprint. So, go find a park and add trail running to your repertoire of training skills. Watch those stumps and roots and feel your body getting stronger.