How to train for your first rail race - Women's Running

How to train for your first trail race

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  August 20, 2014

Trail running

1 Footwear
Choosing the right running shoes for the trails is essential. Wearing a road running shoe on wet trails means you risk injury. Trail shoes have a more aggressive tread, which gives more purchase on slippery or muddy surfaces.

2 Conditioning work
Lower limb strengthening, core work and stabilisation exercises are essential. Multi-terrain running will often throw you off balance, so it’s vital to have a strong core that will allow you to quickly adjust your centre of gravity and stabilise you.

3 Train on the trails
Do some training on off-road routes that are challenging but not too gruelling. The idea is that you gradually accustom your body to running off-road. If you do this twice a week (initially!) you will build your strength and mental confidence.

4 Run to feel
Tough surfaces and hard climbs make short distances feel longer. Running off-road will inevitably be slower because of the undulations and terrain, so ignore the pace on your GPS and learn to ‘run to feel’.

5 Be safe
When you’re training off-road, always let someone know where you are going. Take a mobile phone.

6 Be prepared
If you’re tackling unfamiliar countryside routes, plan your route and take a map. Bring drink and gels, even if you don’t think you’ll need them, as one wrong turn in the countryside could add to your time out.

7 Defeat the hills
Most trail races will be hilly or undulating so train on such terrain. Learning to work strongly and consistently uphill but then letting go on the downhill – leaning forwards and landing on the front half of the foot – is a good strategy.

8 The race
In the race, you won’t always have exact distance markers and your GPS may lose signal, so it may become a matter of racing those around you and listening to how your body feels. Understanding your effort levels will play a huge factor in correctly pacing your trail race.

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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