25 May Rigorous Training for Trail Runners
This article is part of a series of articles I have written on the physical prep and training for adventures that I specialise in. Reproduced in full from WILD magazine, Australia’s longest running outdoor and adventure based mag, where you can see my column on line or subscribe and get delivered to your door.
Here, I describe for WILD magazine how anyone can prepare for those really tough days that push you towards breaking point.
In this instalment on my fitness series for Wild, I’d like to look at strength, conditioning and endurance training for the fastest growing wilderness sport: trail running. With a large amount of trail running-related material in this issue I think it’s important we couple that with some useful information regarding activity-specific training.
Whether you are a seasoned trail runner or a novice, this sport is what wilderness adventure sports are all about. It has everything we love; a physical challenge, stunning natural environments, the simplicity of the human body in nature and technical skills required to negotiate difficult tracks. It is no wonder that trail running is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia.
The advantages of trail running over its road running cousin are that, by nature, it requires a higher degree of coordination and agility, so helping to increase proprioception and spacial awareness. However, these benefits reveal the associated risk. Twisting turns, tree roots and uneven ground engender a higher risk of acute traumatic injury, such as a sprained or broken ankle.
As our Joe’s Basecamp member and adventure-focused sports doctor, Jane Taylor of the Narrabeen Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre, says: “I feel the greatest benefit of trail running is in the variety of terrain. This reduces the risk of certain overuse injuries encountered with road running, improves proprioception and balance, building strength and stability into your running, apart from that it’s just great mental health space getting into the great outdoors.”
So what is a trail run? It’s basically anything off road, whether you are running deserts, mountains, open heathland, sclerophyll forest or sandstone gorges. It’s running where, on another day, you might trek or hike.
Many reasonably fit beginners would start with a five-kilometre run, before building up to 20 or 30 kilometres. From there, the serious runner might begin looking at ‘Ultra Trail’ lengths of 50 to 100 kilometres. There are also multi-stage events such as the 250-kilometre Big Red Run. Internationally, you might look at…
…continue reading this article in full at WILD magazine here.