EFFECTIVE PREPARATION FOR YOUR TRAIL RUN

Trail running requires special preparation due to all the different terrains nature has in store. It’s important to cover the basics with regard to training and equipment.

Trail runners often settle for long runs on the same trails over and over. It can be reassuring to run on familiar ground and have comfortable sensations when training. But it’s not the best way to improve and prepare future races.  Balanced preparation includes all the same elements of training for standard running. It’s important to do long runs to develop endurance as well as interval training in your weekly programme.

LONG RUNS

Learn endurance! Endurance is priority number one for trail runners at any level. Training outdoors is always more effective. You can develop agility, risk management, and stability which is not the case on bitumen roads or trails that are too smooth. That said, the main objective of long runs when training is to improve your endurance. There is no point in trying to run fast or constantly change your pace. Set a tempo that allows you to keep up a conversation and and perfect lucidity. Don’t forget that for trail running, the overall training time is very important. More than three hours. And sometimes up to six hours. Your body needs to learn how to draw on your reserves slowly. It’s also important to learn how to resource regularly to avoid hunger pangs and to recognise thirst quickly, which can be dangerous. A good trail runner needs to know how to protect their physical condition.

INTERVAL TRAINING

This element is common to preparation for trail running, marathons, and road running. The goal is to develop your MAS – the speed at which your oxygen consumption is at its best. Like for long runs, it’s better to train outside in natural conditions. And ideally on uneven terrain. Choose a slope of about 300 m and alternate the intensity of your exertion: high going up, and low going down. The objectives are to: increase your cardiovascular capacity, and work on posture and running technique. Descents are important for trail runners. They help to improve trajectories and control your speed, even going slowly.

FLOOR EXERCISES

Another important regular training technique: floor exercises help your body to tolerate moderate to intense exertion at between 80 and 90% of your maximum heart rate. When training on hills, make sure you warm up for long enough and use gentle slopes for between ten and twenty minutes, with recovery periods of trotting at 50% of intensity. If you are not comfortable, slow down or stop this sort of training.