Regardless of the sport you participate in, you should always make time to train and gradually build up your endurance and stamina. Trail running for beginners is no different.
Not only will physical training improve your confidence, but it’ll also make you less prone to injury.
Our guide explains some of the key exercises for developing yourself as a trail runner and staying healthy with expert nutritional advice. So you can keep working on hitting those personal bests.
When done correctly, weight and strength training will improve your performance and help prevent injury. Trail runners should incorporate weight training into their schedules for the best results when on the trail.
Your feet are the closest part of your body to the ground, so it’s important to look after them. Foot strengthening exercises may be the difference between comfortable and painful running.
First, get used to running on flat paths and then move onto more rocky and uneven trails as you get more confident in your trail running abilities. Running on uneven ground can cause more feet and muscle soreness so introduce varied terrain gradually.
Squats and lunges are a great way to build power and stability in your movement. They’ll also keep your knees strong and healthy too.
You might also want to consider adding single-leg balances into your workout routine to strengthen your foot and ankle muscles.
Add an extra challenge by standing on a Balance Station and gently rotating the positions of your ankles. This is a great way to train your ankles for the natural ascents and descents you’ll encounter on real trails.
You might not be able to go trail running as often as you like, but you don’t have to let all your hard work and stamina go to waste.
Running on a treadmill helps maintain your cardiovascular stamina while also building your quads, glutes, calves and core muscles.
A treadmill can also increase or decrease its incline, which can be a great way to practice running on a slope.
Stretching increases your flexibility, mobility and range of motion. Much like strength training, stretching reduces your risk of injury.
It’s important to remember that trail running uses different muscles from road running, due to the uneven ground and obstacles on the path.
You should always stretch before and after a run. Stretching warms up your joints and reduces your chances of strains or stiffness. It also gives you a chance to cool your muscles and joints after a run.
Before you head out on a run, it’s important to eat the right foods.
Eating the wrong foods can make you feel uncomfortable and make your run unpleasant. Choose foods high in carbohydrates, but low in fats and fibre. A banana or berries are a great snack.
When you’re on a run, you’ll need to replenish any lost hydration and glucose. Sports gels and energy bars are a quick and easy option for refuelling.
Try avoiding foods high in fats or caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks. These foods offer trail runners very little in terms of nutritional and muscle support.
By training regularly, stretching before and after runs, and eating the correct nutrition, you’ll give your body the fuel it needs to get the best results while you’re out running on the trail. And this is something that in turn will help you make record time and keep reaching new heights.