OFF- ROAD RUNNING
Running on different surfaces over varied routes can reap big rewards when it comes to your triathlon performance next season. For a start, because many of us run on tarmac, heading off-piste can add a hit of freshness to your runs. But it also engages different muscles than purely linear running, so you become a stronger, faster runner.
Also, when it comes to the off-season, you can play around with focusing more on a discipline like the run, as there are clearly fewer obstacles than the bike (namely traffic). And if you’re a real competitive type, there’s a whole world of multi-terrain events from cross-country (XC) races to adventure runs to take part in. But first off, let’s make sure you’re running up and downhill safely. Here’s the how-to:
Step 1: Look ahead to scan for your best route options. Where you’ve been is not important so keep looking forward. Adjust speed to match your alertness level – if you’re too tired to pay full attention, take it slowly. Step 2: Keep light on your feet, and use your arms and upper body to balance. Instead of simply going forward and back, and left and right, you’ll be moving sharply up and down. To handle this you’ll need four-limb drive!
Step 3: Re-trace your steps to see the various approaches you could have taken to tame technical sections. You can’t turn a nature trail into a tidy, consistent track but you can become more skilled at dealing with the inconsistencies you find along the way.
Step 1: Run close to upright – the posture will help expand your chest and aid your breathing. Keeping your head up and looking ahead allows you to change direction smoothly, so you can save oxygen and keep running efficiently.
Step 2: Drive your arms to set your breathing tempo and help you up the hill. An accentuated arm action lifts your body and helps to coordinate your legs. Keep your hands at the ready to push off things or scramble up inclines.
Step 3: Test yourself to see how changes in gradient can be dealt with – do they need to be carefully paced or can they be powered over? The more you run on varying terrain, the better you’ll become at adjusting your effort to meet the demands of the trail.