The snow has disappeared, and the weather is slowly getting warmer. Have you spent the winter keeping in shape or did you hole up in front of a warm fire?
Either way, the coming months are the perfect time to venture back out into the hills to build up your strength for summer trail running. Here are some tips.
Create a calendar
Start early to identify your perfect summer trail running calendar. Pencil in the races and trails you want to conquer.
This framework will give you enough structure to keep you focussed and will bring any weaknesses to light well before race day.
Head out early and often
Give yourself time to remember what it’s like to run on rough, uneven terrain. Let your body adapt well to the challenges of summer trail running. If you can schedule one or two runs a week, your muscles will soon remember.
Take it gently to start with but don’t hesitate to increase the difficulty as you wait for any high passes to open up.
Start hill runs
Focus on including specific hill runs into your training schedule.
Uphill repeats combined with downhill work will strengthen your quads and give you a strong base to work from. These runs should be challenging so make sure you’ve got a rest day scheduled soon after.
Acclimatise to altitude
As the season draws nearer, try to get some exposure to running at high altitudes. Altitude sickness isn’t fun and the challenge of running in unfamiliar oxygen levels can be excruciating.
If the trails aren’t clear, find other ways to experience the air. Snow sports can provide excellent cross-training experience and altitude adaptations at the same time.
Increase total body strength
Trail running uses a lot of different muscle groups, so building up both leg and core strength is going to be critical for getting into shape for the season. Work in strength sessions and identify where your weaknesses are. Doing this early will help you focus your training sessions.
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