Tune in to your body in­stead of your watch as you run the trails

Runner's World (UK) - - Fresh Thinking -

WHY Un­even sur­faces and big climbs en­gage your sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles and your mind, says trail­run­ning coach Mario Fraioli. Road run­ners must let go of the paces they run on pave­ment – a tough but worth­while shift. Spend­ing time in na­ture also has brain ben­e­fits: re­search has found that time in nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments can boost phys­i­cal and men­tal re­cov­ery.

HOW Swap one or two short road runs each week for easy-ef­fort trail runs, and go for time, not dis­tance, sug­gests Fraioli. Af­ter a month, move your mid­dle­length easy runs to the trails. (Your short­est can be on trails or roads.) Later, take some long runs and key work­outs off-road, sub­sti­tut­ing time-based re­peats for dis­tance-based in­ter­vals. As long as a trail work­out feels as dif­fi­cult as a sim­i­lar road run, you’ll gain fit­ness, says Fraioli.

STAY HEALTHY You need to pre­pare your body for un­even sur­faces, says strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Tim Moyer. A pre­run an­kle-mo­bil­ity drill (right) helps you ne­go­ti­ate mis­steps. Lunges (far right) strengthen the mus­cles you use to nav­i­gate over rocks and tree roots.

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