Monday, April 2, 2012

Trail Running Tips & Tricks


The days are getting longer, the snow level is rising, and your trail runners are itching to hit the dirt! Grab a buddy, a map and your sneakers and get out exploring the trails in your area this month!

Trail Safety Tips:
Whether you are a first time trail runner or an experienced ultra marathoner, trail
running safety should be a top priority before you hit the trails.

· Buddy Up. Run with a buddy in new or remote trails and make sure to
leave word of your route. This way, a search party will waste no time
heading out to find you if you don’t return on schedule.

· Take the right gear with you. This includes a whistle for
communication, map of the area, water, a quick energy snack, basic first
aid kit including any medication that you may need, and a cell phone
(some remote trails do not have cellular service so check first!).

· Be aware of your surroundings! Learn some basic map reading and
navigation skills before you venture off the beaten path. Having the
ability to identify landmarks and navigate using terrain features can help
you avoid wrong turns and decrease anxiety if you do go astray. Map
reading skills will allow you to explore a new area with confidence that
you will return to your car!

Trail Training Tips:
Trail running requires additional balance, agility and co-ordination than your
usual road run. This means you need to be alert and ready to react to the ever changing
path in front of you. Here are some tips and tricks to remember:

· Form: Don’t forget about your running posture in the trails. Run
tall, chest high, shoulders down and back, hips forward. Good
postural alignment will help you run more efficiently. Relax those
arms, keep the hands loose and enjoy the scenery!

· Trail Technique: Shorten your stride and increase turnover (how
frequently your feet touch the ground) to improve your reaction
time. On technical sections such as sand, loose dirt/gravel, water
and rooty areas, shorten your stride even more to react quickly
and avoid slipping.

· Hills: Think in thirds. 1st third shorten your stride length and
increase turnover slightly, 2nd third maintain your pace, final third
give a little push OVER the top and down the other side. Stand
tall, drive back arms, keep your head up and look over top.

· Down hills: On an easy grade lean forward slightly, lengthen
your stride, and let gravity do the work. If it is too steep/technical
or if you feel out of control shorten your stride slightly and increase
the turnover.

Sarah Seads is a passionate trail runner and the owner of Equilibrium Lifestyle
Management (ELM)a group fitness and personal training company in the Comox
Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Contact ELM for trail maps and
information about trail running adventures on Vancouver Island.

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