Trail running is a fun way to race and connect with nature. There are many distances for trail runs ranging from a short 1 mile and all the way up to many hundreds of miles.
Specifically an ‘Ultra Trail Run’ most often refers to a distance over the marathon distance, or 26.2 miles. While 26.3 miles may constitute an ‘Ultra’, make no mistake that trail running can challenge your muscles and body in a very different way compared to a traditional pavement run. Here are THREE tips to help get you ready for trail running and potentially an ultra, if it’s in your future.
- RUN MORE OFTEN – While training volume should increase slowly and steadily, try mixing your long runs up with 2 shorter runs in a day. If the plan calls for a 15 mile long run – try doing 7 in the morning and 8 in the evening, or any variation that works for you.
- RUN SLOWER – Trail running often comes with elevation gains, even the shorter more beginner friendly races. Plan to slow your pace accordingly as it can be tough to keep a steady pace when climbing or doing switchbacks on loose dirt/gravel
- STRENGTH TRAIN – This is a great way to develop more power for climbing AND to develop foot strength. Lower leg (especially foot) strength can be very important for trail running as the ground is often uneven.
Ready to tackle your first trail run? Don’t make it an ultra! Start out small and enjoy the experience. Plan to tackle an ultra once you’re familiar with terrain and the new style of running if that’s your long term plan.