220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.


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