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Trail Tips to Get You Started From Coach Nicholas

One of the best parts of trail running is exploring the beautiful and wild places of the world while connecting with your body in health and joy. Trail running is fun because it is dynamic & unpredictable in the best ways. Here are some of my personal tips in key areas for runners interested in getting involved in the sport.

Down Hill: When it comes to racing, trail running requires a range of athleticism and bravery. A dynamic and important part of any trail running race will be the downhill. For downhill running athletes can practice the following tips:

  • Spotting - select your straightest line down the hill and look 15 - 20 meters in front of you instead of right at your feet. Look at the terrain and anticipate where you can get more speed by leaning your body into the environment. Trust your feet.

  • Lean forward at the hips and let your legs take very little fast steps

  • Relax your entire body and let the tension go

  • Implement plyos that load your legs eccentrically into your training agenda. This will build up stamina in your muscle fibers to be able to handle the loading of downhill running.

Uphill: The strong aerobic capacity of uphill running forms a large part of the sport. When it comes to uphill running, mixing up training stimuli can help build a dynamic athletic ability. For uphill running, athletes can practice the following tips:

  • Implement a trail long run that is 20%-25% of your total weekly mileage. Spending lots of relaxed time putting in miles in the trails & mountains will build the base to your strength & fitness on the hills in a race

  • Implement repeats sprints & bounds. Running fast uphill and bounding uphill in sets of intervals is an important ingredient to work on your speed and power for climbing during a race.

  • Implement plyos & strength training into your training agenda focusing on squats, jumps and dead lifts. This will build the power and explosiveness in every stride you take uphill.

Mentality: One of the most important parts to athletic joy and success is mental health and mental approach. Some tips for mental kindness and strengthening include:

  • 4 days before a race writs down all of the things you have done well in your training block weather it be mental physical or emotional preparation to remind yourself how ready you are

  • Work with a sports psychologist or counselor to develop and execute your goals

  • Always Prioritize health over performance

  • Never forget to have fun

  • Remember that self worth is inherent. Don't link self worth from accomplishments

Recovery: Perhaps the most important part of athletic success is recovery. Here are some tips to recover well as an athlete:

  • Foster a healthy body image and relationship with food & work with a sports nutritionist if needed.

  • Sleep in the way that works for you and your life. 8-10 hrs a night is ideal. Depending on your life, kids, job & other stressors make sure you are doing the best you can to prioritize sleep, naps & periods of true rest that is restorative.

  • Work with a physical therapist and massage therapist when affordable and practical

  • After the key goal race of your season take 7-10 days without running & than build back slowly into training for the next cycle

  • Hydrate well & use electrolytes

  • Get your blood checked to make sure that your minerals and hormones are in a healthy state

I hope you found these helpful, and don't forget if you have any questions about getting started, how to run fast, what to look out for on technical surfaces or anything else... get in touch. Both Coach Mary and I are here to help make your trail running smoother, more exciting and easier to access!

Coach Nicholas

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