Off-road running: what you need to know
Expand your horizons and have a go at trail running, mountain runs where the main challenges to overcome are the unevenness, rough terrain and ever-changing weather conditions.
Running up and down mountains surrounded by nature... Highly appealing to any running enthusiast, right? If you're a regular runner, we recommend first trying a short trail. If you finally decide to go for it, remember that this speciality is highly demanding.
Forget the constant pace of running on the streets: here the terrain is in control. Study the gradients well and distribute your efforts throughout your run. Stay hydrated and energised with water, isotonic drinks, energy bars or gels. Don't forget to replenish your energies at the refreshment stations and check the rules, since many races require stress tests or mandatory equipment to participate.
Here are some essential tips to get started on the trail:
- Get the right gear: start with the essential, some proper running shoes, and then build your attire from there.
- Adapt yourself: make regular trips to the mountain and progressively increase the distance and difficulty of your excursions. Attempt to run smoothly through some sections and get used to all terrain types: mud, rocks, sand, etc.
- Train: search for plans that are specific or, better yet, personalised. Join a group: you will improve over time, and the runs will become more fun.
- Learn uphill and downhill techniques: run uphill with your torso straight so as not to hamper your breathing, placing your hands on your knees for more force. Run downhill supporting the middle part of your feet and using your arms for balance. It is essential to anticipate your next step and keep a certain distance from the runner in front of you to maintain visibility.
Security and nutrition
When planning on mountain training, let your family and friends know your circuit and times. Bring your mobile phone and a GPS with a map of the area. Also check the weather forecast, bring water and energy snacks — energy bars, dried fruits or nuts — and don't forget to put something warm to put on in your rucksack.
Just like in every other sport, pay attention to your body and how you feel. Welcome to this new world of challenges, sensations, open spaces and pleasure. Enjoy it!