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TRAIL RUNNING
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Training To Run
www.training2run.com
© 2002 Michael Schreiber

 

Q. “Hey Mad Dog: What’s the most important thing to learn for trail running? Carol”
A. “How to run downhill fast, without tripping over rocks and roots, and breaking your neck!”

 

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 When I began training for my first trail run, I was living in “flat as a pancake” Houston, Texas.

Other than freeway overpasses, the only hills we could find were at a park, and they were only about 30 feet long - hardly enough.

Fortunately, Houston is “blessed” with myriad multi-level parking garages, and that’s where wWhene performed our “hill work.” As you can imagine, we became minor authorities on garages.

Surprisingly, the most important part of our garage training was the coming down part: running down hill on trails puts a tremendous stress on quads and knees, and pounding down the ramps really helped prepare us for “the real thing.”

In addition to running the ramps (sometimes while wearing weighted backpacks) we also breathed through an altitude simulator.

I now live in a mountainous rural area, at almost 7,000 foot altitude: simulating hills and breathing through a tube are no longer necessary.  In fact, we now seek out flat stretches as avidly as we use to search for hills.

Except for the addition of hill work (and perhaps specialized weight training), preparing for a trail race is pretty much the same as preparing for a flat race of similar distance.

Once you are fully trained for a rugged trail race, and are tugging at your chain ready to be off, I suggest you plan to run it in a particular pattern: take it easy on the uphill parts, jogging slowly or even walking; run the flats; and go like h*ll on the downhill stretches.  Strangely enough, most folks do this exactly wrong.

Marathon, ultra-marathon, trail race: you so often see runners trying to charge up hills, and putting on the brakes going down. What the h*ll are they thinking of.  Better to let gravity pull you along. Remember, you can’t fool Mama Nature!

Would you like help preparing for, or running a trail race?  Yes! Then send me your question and I’ll come to the rescue. 
 

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If you’d prefer to write me directly, the e-mail address is training2run@yahoo.com

The information on this website, and in follow-up e-mails, is one man’s opinion only.  Before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program, consult with your doctor. Then, the decision to take part, or no, is your responsibility alone.

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