‘The most im­por­tant train­ing ses­sion of the week is your rest day. When you al­low your body to take a break, cru­cial adap­ta­tions and re­cov­ery pro­cesses take place.’

Trail Running (UK) - - You Can Do It -

1 Run­ning too fast

When you set out on your first run of what we hope is the be­gin­ning of a life­time’s pas­sion for the trails, hold back the pace and fo­cus purely on keep­ing your mus­cles re­laxed, main­tain­ing an easy breath­ing pat­tern that al­lows you to hold a con­ver­sa­tion if run­ning with others and, most im­por­tantly of all, en­joy­ing ev­ery step. It’s easy to get car­ried away with in­creas­ing your speed with ev­ery run, par­tic­u­larly as the trails dry out head­ing into the warmer months. How­ever, al­low your body to adapt to sim­ply mov­ing more quickly than walk­ing pace at first. Run­ning, by na­ture, means both feet are off the ground si­mul­ta­ne­ously with ev­ery stride, which there­fore in­volves your en­tire body weight land­ing on one foot at a time on the run. This puts a huge strain on your mus­cles and joints, which can lead to in­juries. Al­low your fit­ness to in­crease grad­u­ally by keep­ing the pace steady and com­fort­able.

2 Run­ning too far

Lit­tle and of­ten is the key to a hap­pier, in­jury-free be­gin­ning to your trail-run­ning jour­ney. Spend the first few weeks al­ter­nat­ing brisk walk­ing and jog­ging for grad­u­ally in­creas­ing dis­tances – and we mean grad­ual. Start off with walk/jog ses­sions – for ex­am­ple, walk five min­utes jog one minute, walk four min­utes jog two min­utes, walk three min­utes jog three min­utes, walk two min­utes jog four min­utes, then fin­ish off with a one­minute slow walk and a fi­nal five-minute jog. Work to time not dis­tance, and adapt this ses­sion to your cur­rent fit­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This en­sures you don’t over­load your aer­o­bic sys­tem too quickly and at the same time builds up your ‘time on feet’ at a steady pace with­out ex­haust­ing your­self too early on, which can mean you quickly lose that ini­tial glo­ri­ous en­thu­si­asm.

3 Run­ning too fre­quently

While no one wishes to dampen your de­sire to hit the trails as of­ten as you pos­si­bly can, it’s sen­si­ble to rein it in at this stage of your run­ning ad­ven­ture. It’s a well-known say­ing in the run­ning world that the most im­por­tant train­ing ses­sion of the week is your rest day, how­ever many you take. When you al­low your body to take a break from run­ning, that’s when the cru­cial adap­ta­tions and re­cov­ery pro­cesses take place. If you keep tak­ing en­ergy out to run too of­ten, the body be­gins to break down. The glass of water anal­ogy is a good one in this in­stance, where the water level equates to stress lev­els. When the glass is com­pletely full, any ex­tra water will make it spill over, thus the stress is over­flow­ing. Keep your body healthy and full of en­ergy

by al­low­ing it to rest and re­cover in be­tween runs.

4 Buy­ing the wrong shoes

Imag­ine con­tem­plat­ing head­ing for a swim dressed in a heavy over­coat and a bowler hat – crazy, right? It sounds ob­vi­ous, but far too many new­bie run­ners aren’t aware of the need to wear the right shoes to suit the ter­rain. Trail run­ning in par­tic­u­lar in­volves travers­ing a wide – and ex­cit­ing – range of sur­faces, in­clud­ing mud, streams, stony or even rocky paths, slip­pery grass and sticky clay. And then there’s the of­ten un­du­lat­ing, hilly or even moun­tain­ous el­e­va­tion. All of these con­di­tions re­quire a shoe that grips well, fea­tures lugs on the sole, holds your feet firmly in place while sup­port­ing the an­kle joints and ten­dons, and, if you have a lit­tle more money to spare, of­fers water-re­sis­tance or even wa­ter­proof­ing, too. Ask around the run­ning com­mu­nity to find a rec­om­mended lo­cal re­tailer who you can trust to find the right shoe for you.

5 Run­ning up hills

Once you’ve tack­led a few weeks of trail run­ning, you’ll soon no­tice that, com­pared to roads, train­ing on foot­paths in­volves a fair few more hills. This is be­cause roads are built for cars, which can’t deal with the steep climbs that you’ll be en­joy­ing over the com­ing months on the trails. Em­brace the as­cents, as the more you con­quer, the fit­ter you’ll be­come, and that’s not even tak­ing into ac­count the stun­ning views you’ll be re­warded with when you fi­nally reach the sum­mit, be it a short ur­ban foot­path or a ru­ral hill­side. Be pre­pared to walk the steeper climbs, though, as the ef­fort in­volved in try­ing to main­tain a run­ning stride when the gra­di­ent is near-ver­ti­cal is less ef­fi­cient than sim­ply stop­ping to walk at a slower

but con­sis­tently steady pace. Your legs will thank you for it when you reach the top and be­gin your de­scent.

6 Be­ing a slave to your PB

In the early days of your run­ning jour­ney you’ll be more than happy – and have your hands full – with the sim­ple process of build­ing up your run-to-walk ra­tio, en­joy­ing be­ing out­side in the great out­doors and reap­ing the ben­e­fits of be­ing more ac­tive on the trails. You may find in time, how­ever, that once you’re run­ning more reg­u­larly with­out walk breaks you take more no­tice of how far you’ve trav­elled in a cer­tain time pe­riod. This can then lead to be­com­ing com­pet­i­tive with your­self and try­ing to set per­sonal best (PB) times for set dis­tances, to test your progress and to make your train­ing more goal-ori­en­tated. While there’s noth­ing wrong with this in the­ory, don’t be­come a PB slave. Re­mem­ber why you run, and for most of you it will be for fun, fit­ness and health. Never run hard two days in a row – al­low your body to re­cover and en­joy the eas­ier days.

7 Not eat­ing for re­cov­ery

Your body is an en­gine that needs fuel to be able to per­form and re­cover ef­fi­fi­ciently. We know how busy mod­ern life is, and once run­ning be­comes a nat­u­ral part of your ev­ery­day ex­is­tence – of­ten squeezed in around work, child­care, so­cial com­mit­ments and so on – it can be­come all too easy to for­get to pri­ori­tise the es­sen­tial re­quire­ments reg­u­lar train­ing de­mands. Along­side ad­e­quate rest in­be­tween runs is high-qual­ity fu­elling and re­fu­elling, to al­low your body to re­cover from one ses­sion and pre­pare for the next. Eat pro­tein-rich food such as eggs, red meat, lentils, prawns, yo­ghurt, cheese and al­monds for mus­cle re­cov­ery; car­bo­hy­drates such as rice, pasta, whole­wheat bread and pota­toes to be stored as glyco­gen for eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble en­ergy stores while you train; and plenty of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles to keep your im­mune sys­tem topped up with vi­tal vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. Drink plenty of water, too, to stay hy­drated.

8 Not stretch­ing

Stretch­ing is another area of a run­ner’s rou­tine that can drop lower and lower down the list of pri­or­i­ties, some­times due to time con­straints but more of­ten be­cause the ad­vice about when, how and why you should stretch is fre­quently con­flflict­ing. The golden rule all run­ners should ad­here to is: never stretch a cold mus­cle. By this we mean al­ways warm up with a short walk, a jog or even a few min­utes run­ning on the spot to al­low mus­cles to lengthen be­fore stretch­ing, to avoid pulling or even tear­ing a ham­string, calf or other ma­jor mus­cle. The best time to stretch is

im­me­di­ately af­ter a run when your mus­cles are warm and loose. It can also pro­vide a wel­come pe­riod of re­lax­ing con­tem­pla­tion be­fore re­turn­ing to busy work and so­cial lives. Stretch­ing en­sures you re­main sup­ple and flex­i­ble, which will only ben­e­fit your run­ning.

9 Ig­nor­ing in­jury

As you’re new to the won­der­ful world of trail run­ning, you may not yet recog­nise the sheer ter­ror all run­ners as­so­ci­ate with the word ‘in­jury’. If you fol­low our new­bie tips to avoid the com­mon pit­falls, you may not have to. How­ever, at some point you will suc­cumb to a nig­gle that you ab­so­lutely mustn’t ig­nore. Be it a nag­ging ache in your ham­string, a sharp pull in your glu­teus mus­cles, or an in­creas­ingly tight calf, these dis­com­forts are your body’s warn­ing sig­nals to tell you to stop run­ning – now! Along with find­ing a re­li­able and trust­wor­thy lo­cal run­ning shop, find a rec­om­mended phys­io­ther­a­pist and mas­sage ther­a­pist near you who you can visit for both ‘main­te­nance’ work – such as monthly mas­sages to iron out mus­cle knots or bi-monthly phys­io­ther­apy ses­sions to work on im­prov­ing weak­nesses in your body – and treat­ment, should a nig­gle turn into an in­jury. A few weeks off run­ning is bet­ter than be­ing forced to yield to a full-on mus­cle tear or bone frac­ture from over-use. Lis­ten to your body.

In­vest in the right trail­run­ning shoe for the ter­rain

Keep your en­gine topped up with fuel, and plenty of hy­dra­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.