This may help you enjoy your 1st trail run

 

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Running off road can be exhausting at first, and it may take you up to twice as long as your normal run, especially in the early stages of training. It’s wise to leave your ego at home, slow your pace and focus on finding a new rhythm. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be running up hills you used to walk, and you’ll develop a sense of being one with the terrain. Here are some tips to help.

Use your arms. Running uphill, you gain more power by pumping your arms vertically from your hips toward your shoulders. Stay balanced by keeping your elbows slightly wider and farther away from your body on the technical and downhill stretches of the trail. Keep your torso tall, shoulders relaxed and chest open to allow your lungs to fully expand and get extra oxygen.

Stay focused. Like downhill skiing or mountain biking, you’ll find a safe line down technical terrain by looking a few steps in front of you. It can be tempting to look around you or at your watch, but do so only when the trail is flat and predictable or while taking walk breaks. Watching your steps carefully my save you from injury. Just imagine hurting your knee and having a few weeks needed for a recovery. It’s not worth it.

Develop strength. In your weekly training, it’s important to include exercises to build balance, strength and agility so you’re ready to tackle obstacles (tree roots, sand, uneven terrain) on the trail. Add these into your strength program:
– Single Leg Balance: Stand on one foot for about 35 to 45 seconds, keeping your torso tall and hips under the shoulders. Repeat on each leg four times. When this gets easy, hold light dumbbells and add a running arm motion while you balance on one leg. To progress even further, stand barefoot on a folded towel, balance disk or gym mat for 60 seconds.
– Single Leg Lunge: With your feet hip-width apart, take an exaggerated step forward with your right leg onto a pillow balance pad or disk. Keeping your core in good alignment, bend the front knee 90 degrees until the thigh is parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Push through the heel to straighten the leg. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions. Then switch legs. When this gets easy, alternate legs after each repetition.

Change gears. Adjust your pace (walk if you need to) according to the terrain, and maintain a consistent effort level as you climb uphill. Practice your downhill technique by lengthening your stride, keeping your weight slightly forward and arms wide. Think of taking quick steps, never landing fully on each foot. When in doubt, walk. Running over downed trees or through mud and sand takes some time getting used to, and it’s best to progress slowly. Tackling obstacles will get easier as your body gets stronger and more seasoned on trails. A watch with heart rate check might be very useful here. Try to stay around 85% your HR. Don’t go over it too much. This 85% sometimes will require walking, sometimes running depending on the terrain. Hitting 90-95% of your Heart Rate may cause you a lack of energy later on.

Dress right. Trail running shoes are lower profile than regular running shoes, and provide more lateral support for your ankles and feet. The rugged tread offers better traction on muddy, wet trails. They should fit snug in the heel, but have room in the toe-box. Wear layers, sunglasses, bug spray with sun protection and a running hat. A hydration backpack can carry a map, cell phone and water bladder comfortably. Don’t go for a bigger backpack. You don’t want to carry to many things. Remember than when you get tired every additional gram will feel like a kilogram. Bring the most important things only.

In order to race well on the trails, you have to train on the trails. Aim to run at least twice a week on trails (50 percent of your runs) and the rest on roads. Balancing the two will allow you to adapt to the new demands of the trail while maintaining the ability to run on harder surfaces without soreness. Start with training on groomed trails, and progress to rugged trails once you have more off-road miles under your belt.

Go with what you know. Wear the trail shoes you’ve trained in, and if the race is 10k or longer, bring your own hydration system. Some races offer aid stations on the course, but many don’t. During trainings try to reduce refueling. Let your body learn relying on its own. It will be hard at the beginning, but once your body will get better on metabolizing fat, your runs will be easier. But don’t do that during a race. Drink as often as you need, but not too much each time. Better less and more often.

Start slow and find your natural place in the pack. The start of a trail race is a bit like the swim start in a triathlon, where everyone merges onto a narrow trail. Trying to dart ahead of the crowd early can leave you lifeless in the later stages of the race. Race like the tortoise, not the hare, and conserve your energy for the last quarter of the race when everyone else will be fatigued.

Play mind games. In the later stages of the race when you are tired, pick out a runner ahead and set a goal to pass them on a downhill or flat stage of the race. It’s a fun way to keep your mind actively engaged and finish strong. Once you pass the runner, focus on the other ahead of you. It’s a great motivation and it keeps your mind busy.

Relax and have fun. Trail running is a great way to mix up your regular running routine and explore nature’s playground. Enjoy the race!

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These three are not the same. Ok?

Before I get involve into running I thought these three words are the same in different terms or how you use it. Don’t be confused, now you can differentiate these words.

Here’s a quick breakdown of these three major types of speed workouts.

Fartlek Workouts are not only fun to say out loud, but they’re fun to run. Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play,” and that is exactly what it’s all about. Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout. After a warmup, you play with speed by running at faster efforts for short periods of time (to that tree, to the sign) followed by easy-effort running to recover. It’s fun in a group setting as you can alternate the leader and mix up the pace and time. And in doing so, you reap the mental benefits of being pushed by your buddies through an unpredictable workout. The goal is to keep it free-flowing so you’re untethered to the watch or a plan, and to run at harder efforts but not a specific pace.

Bennies = Stress-free workout that improves mind-body awareness, mental strength, and stamina.

Tempo Workouts are like an Oreo cookie, with the warmup and cooldown as the cookie, and a run at an effort at or slightly above your anaerobic threshold (the place where your body shifts to using more glycogen for energy) as the filling. This is the effort level just outside your comfort zone—you can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping for air. If you can talk easily, you’re not in the tempo zone, and if you can’t talk at all, you’re above the zone. It should be at an effort somewhere in the middle, so you can talk in broken words. Pace is not an effective means for running a tempo workout, as there are many variables that can affect pace including heat, wind, fatigue, and terrain. Learn how to find your threshold and run a tempo workout that is spot on every time here.

Bennies = Increased lactate threshold to run faster at easier effort levels. Improves focus, race simulation, and mental strength.

Interval Workouts are short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer recovery time. For example, after a warmup, run two minutes at a hard effort, followed by two to three minutes of easy jogging or walking to catch your breath. Unlike tempo workouts, you’re running above your red line and at an effort where you are reaching hard for air and counting the seconds until you can stop—a controlled fast effort followed by a truly easy jog. The secret is in the recovery as patience and discipline while you’re running easy allows you to run the next interval strong and finish the entire workout fatigued but not completely spent. Just like rest, your body adapts and gets stronger in the recovery mode.

Bennies = Improved running form and economy, endurance, mind-body coordination, motivation, and fat-burning.

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Race Reminders: Soleus Valley Trail Challenge

Hello fellow trail runners. Here’s a quick reminder from sir Jonel of frontRUNNER.

“A few important things;

1. This is a trail run so do NOT expect marshals in every corner waving you where to go. Be guided by ribbons, blinkers, tarpaulin signs and buntings to lead you. Together with some of the most experienced trail runners who have done marking chores with me from Ugo to Pulag, I will be marking the course the best way I know how to. We shall be doing our homework and I expect you to do yours no less. If all else fails, do NOT panic.Simply backtrack to where you saw the last marker and take it from there. Common sense and good judgment, a friend said, are two of the most important things to bring when out trail running.

2. Aid Stations are located in Kms 6, 15, 20 and 25 and vice-versa. Study the race route very well and plan your hydration and nutrition accordingly. While it is an open table, please get only what you need, this is NOT a supermarket(read: NO take home). Be considerate of others behind you.

3. Please bear in mind the “Leave No Trace” mantra at all times. Anyone caught littering will be disqualified outright. Your trash is never too heavy for you to carry. Garbage bags will be available in all stations.

4. The events will start on time, RAIN or SHINE. FYI, I conducted this event last year even with the arrival of Typhoon Gorio under Signal 2 right at the gunstart. NO latecomer will be allowed to join the race once the events are on.

5. Be nice to animals and their young and do NOT wear red . Do NOT make eye contact or sound, evade at all times by going a little bit longer and around them.

6. Always remember that trail shoes were meant to be dirty. It rightfully belongs to the trails. This is also the most opportune time and place to use your cool hydration stuff which were never meant to be used in the big city.

7. Trails are the right places to get down and dirty. If you have to literally taste the dirt(and mud), so be it. Suck it up!

8. Expect anything and everything.

Wishing you all the best and I hope you will enjoy what the team prepared for you.

Happy trails!”

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