Trail Run­ning Triath­letes In­vig­o­rate Your Train­ing with Cross-coun­try

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - By Lucy Smith 1. Be as­sertive.

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.

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