Thinking about getting started in trail running, but don’t know where to start? Paméla Boucher, kinesiologist with more than 12 years of experience in the field of health and passionate about cyclic sports* such as traditional running, shares with you her learnings and the tips she would have liked to know before embarking on this rejuvenating sport.
1. Strengthen your lower body
Running wasn’t enough for me. I was constantly looking for new challenges, new paths and horizons to discover and, of course, new limits to overcome. So I turned to trail running.
I quickly realized (read this carefully, especially if you are a runner with many years of experience behind the tie) that trail running in the forest is totally different from traditional running.
Trail running does not require the same muscles as running or the same force to be deployed due to the uphill and downhill. Lower body strength training is often underestimated by people who decide to tame this sport.
To make your first trail running outings more enjoyable, I suggest that you alternate some weight training exercises specific to trail running. Start by running 400 meters and immediately follow with fifteen repetitions of weight training. In addition, it is better to aim for unilateral exercises with the weight of your body such as alternating lunges or the plank on your hands. Here, your creativity will be put to use.
Alternating lunges: this unilateral movement consists of taking a step forward while leaning on your leg. Your forward leg should be at a 90 degree angle. Your knee should not go past your toes and your support is on the heel of your forward leg.
Tree Trunk Assisted Hand Plank: Place your hands on a tree trunk on the ground (long enough so that your hands can be the same width as your shoulders). Get into a side plank position, retract your body weight on the left hand to perform a stretch with the right hand. The body must remain perfectly aligned (the cervical vertebra remains in line with the spine) and the pelvis must remain stable (no opening of the hips).
2. Choose your allies carefully: trail running shoes
Your choice of trail running shoes will have a major impact on the comfort and enjoyment of your outdoor outings.
When choosing a shoe, make sure that it is well suited to the sport being exercised.
Comfort is key. Depending on the arch of the foot, opt for a well-cushioned midsole.
Personally, I really like the Saucony brand sneakers offered at SAIL. Their ultimate comfort, their quality-price ratio and their constant innovations literally allow me to deploy a performance that meets my requirements, better stride, etc.
3. Measure your performance
Another must-have tip? Get a good tool to measure your performance (steps, calories burned, distance traveled, intensity minutes, heart rate, heart rate reserve percentage, recovery time, etc.) such as a watch with a heart rate monitor. ‘activity.
Setting goals can also be interesting depending on your level of intensity and your investment in trail running. You will be thrilled to be able to compare your outings.
The Garmin brand offers watches with beautiful interfaces and its unshakable reputation in the field of navigation system (GPS) makes it a very reliable choice.
4. Run in optimal conditions: drink water before, during and after
Proper hydration is essential when practicing this demanding sport. Remember that properly hydrated muscles perform better. It is also advisable to eat ideally two hours before your race if you have a basic metabolism. Bet on complex carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, some fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.
I suggest starting your water intake at least 2 hours before your outing. Thereafter, small sips of water can be taken approximately every 30 minutes depending on the intensity of your run. Once your race is over, drink as much water as you want to quench your thirst. It is also possible to drink sports drinks (enriched with minerals and carbohydrates) especially if you suffer from hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Consider buying a waist pack with water bottles or a lightweight hydration pack that won’t get in your way during your run.
5. Opt for comfortable clothes
The last and most important point to discuss concerns clothing. Knowing that your gaze should aim at 45 degrees towards the ground (your gaze should land about 50 meters in front of you), it is important to choose the right cap accordingly. Your view should not be obstructed by it at all.
In addition, the temperature generated by Mother Nature is also among the multifactorial elements to consider. Your next outdoor runs will be optimized and more enjoyable.
*Cyclic sports focus on endurance rather than power and involve repetitive movements.