Short Trail Race

Who Are You? A Roadie Try­ing Trails Your Goal: Don’t Hurt Your­self

Runner's World South Africa - - Personal Best -

Train on trails.

Road run­ners who drop into a trail race tend to un­der­es­ti­mate the dif­fi­culty of un­even ter­rain and big climbs and de­scents, says pro ul­tra­run­ner and coach Sage Cana­day (sagerun­ning.com). To pre­pare for a short trail race, you must run on tech­ni­cal ter­rain at least once or twice per week, start­ing with shorter, eas­ier runs and pro­gress­ing to slightly longer ones. “Start slowly, stay re­laxed, and kind of ‘dance’ with the ter­rain,” Cana­day says. “The co­or­di­na­tion be­tween your feet and legs will get bet­ter over time – a lot of it is prac­tice.”

Re­hearse on sim­i­lar hills.

Find your race’s el­e­va­tion pro­file on the event web­site. Then de­ter­mine the length of each ma­jor hill, as well as how much el­e­va­tion gain or loss hap­pens over that dis­tance, and find a climb near you that mim­ics it. Roads prob­a­bly won’t do: “Most roads that cars go on don’t re­ally go over a 5 per cent up­hill grade, while on a lot of trails, you’ll hit 10 or 15 per cent grade up­hill or down­hill,” Cana­day says. Once you’re con­fi­dent do­ing slow, easy trail runs, add three or four weeks of weekly re­peats: af­ter a warmup jog, start with 6 x 2.00 at a com­fort­ably hard ef­fort, then add an ex­tra re­peat or a lit­tle more time (30 to 60 sec­onds) each week. Jog down hills.

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