TRAIL RUNNING TRAINING
Designation: Assistant Fitness Manager, Fitness First Platinum at One Raffles Quay
Before you move into the trails, you need to condition your body for trail running. Moving over uneven terrain requires more agility and balance. Exercises that focus on core strength, lower leg strength, single leg exercises, balance and coordination will prepare you for the trails ahead. Such exercises are:
Step-ups – Stand in front of a bench or step board about knee level. Place you right leg on the board and push down firmly with your heels, lifting you body together with your left leg above the bench. Slowly lower your body down together with your left leg down to the floor in a controlled motion. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions to fatigue on each leg. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by increasing the height of the bench, or lower it to decrease the difficulty of it.
BOSU dome squats – Stand in a centered position on top of dome with feet about hip width apart or slightly narrower. Slowly flex at the hips, knee and ankle and perform a squat movement. Allow arms to reach forward to counterbalance the backward motion of the hips. Pause at the bottom of the movement. Slowly extend the hips and knees and return to the starting position. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions to fatigue.
Single leg squat – Start in a seated position on a bench with feet about hip width apart and knees at about a 90degree angle. Lift your right leg slightly off the ground and place your left heel firmly on the ground. Push with your left leg and stand up straight. Allow arms to reach forward to counterbalance the backward motion of the hips. Slowly return to seated position. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions.
Difference between running on a track/road vs trail/grass
The main difference is in the footwear, uneven surface, the impact of your landing and the environment. Most road runners will find that trail running eases the impact of their landing and is much more technical. You will pay much more attention to what is going on underneath your feet. Above all, it is much more fun!
Trail running shoes have a greater traction, stability and the soles are harder compared to traditional running shoes. This actually helps to stabilize the ankles and reduces or even eliminates the pain when stepping on sharp rocks. Trail shoes are also made of different materials to prevent small stones or sands from getting into the shoe.
There will be gravel, stones, roots and tree branches when you at trail run. It is important to know where you will be placing your next step. Always look a few meters ahead towards the direction that you will be moving to. This will help you to choose a clearer and safer path.
Running on the trail helps to absorb the impact of your landing by dissipating impact through soft ground. Some heavier runners prefer trail running for this reason.
It is more peaceful to run on a trail. There are no traffic lights to worry about, no vehicles and no air pollution. The obstacles such as bridges, fallen logs, branches and loose gravels make you focus. The greenery helps to relief stress and the undulating terrain gives runners a real challenge.
In general, it is strongly recommended to hydrate every 10-15 mins during a race or as and when the individual feels thirsty. As Singapore is a hot and humid country, we have to observe a strict hydration plan in order not to fall victim to dehydration or heat injuries. A 1% state of dehydration could impact your performance by as much as 10% to 12%. We lose water not only through our sweat, but also through breathing. We can classify hydration under 3 categories – Pre race, during race and post race
Hydration before a race is essential! Drink fluids the night before your race, when you just wake up on race day and even minutes before the race. Without training, you should drink water half your body weight in ounces. Remember that you lose water even in your sleep.
Hydrate yourself at every hydration station. If there is no hydration station or if it is far away from each point, you might want to consider carrying a small bottle with you. It is best to carry a water bottle with you during you training runs. Compliment your hydration with a sports energy gel every 45-60 mins or with an electrolyte sports drink. It has been proven that our body absorbs fluid better. It will also help to prevent cramps during long runs. Most important, do not wait till you feel thirsty to drink! That is already a sign of dehydration.
After the race, immediately hydrate yourself with sports or recovery drinks. Fruits such as watermelons and coconuts are also great sources of water content, vitamins and minerals. You should hydrate throughout the day, if possible at every hour.