Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

Run-spe­cific strength is an­other rea­son to hit the trails, specif­i­cally trails with hills. One of the pri­mary ben­e­fits is that it will help strengthen your pos­tural mus­cles. Run­ning up­hill re­quires more ac­tiv­ity in the pos­te­rior chain mus­cles (the erec­tor spinae and the gluteal group). Cou­ple this with the need for shorter, more ex­plo­sive steps when you are run­ning up­hill and you have the mak­ings of a great sport-spe­cific strength work­out. Phys­i­o­log­i­cally, off-road run­ning is an amaz­ing way to in­crease ef­fort with­out the high im­pact loads that oc­cur on flat­ter ter­rain and on pave­ment. Long, con­sis­tent up­hill ter­rain al­lows you to sus­tain higher ef­forts with less im­pact on your body. On the flip side, run­ning down­hill can help you han­dle the im­pact your body has to deal with dur­ing ev­ery step, es­pe­cially at the end of long races. Your heart and lungs are rarely the lim­iter in long en­durance events. The lim­i­ta­tion most ath­letes ex­pe­ri­ence is han­dling im­pact, es­pe­cially in events like an Iron­man. When your mus­cles break down it doesn’t mat­ter how fit your heart and lungs are – you sim­ply won’t be able to go as fast. The var­ied ter­rain you en­counter off-road groups all of th­ese ben­e­fits up into one nice pack­age.

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