Trail running can cover a broad spectrum of surfaces depending on where you live. One athlete’s version of trails may be vastly different than another’s. Therefore it is important to define the surface/terrain and characteristics of the trail you are training on, as well as the surface/terrain of where you will be racing.
When you hear the term “technical” used to define your race, be prepared for some rough terrain. This is the ultimate off-road test for the endurance runner.
Technical trail running is defined by the surface and environment you are running. Does it have rocks, roots, mud, water, steep climbs and steep descents? Are hiking poles recommended? Are there sections where you need to use your upper-body to assist?
If you are interested in doing some technical trail running, racing—or just looking to improve your trail running skills for your local terrain, follow these five tips:
1. Schedule your training based on time and effort not distance and pace.
Technical trails slow you down, without the usual lessening of effort. Straining to keep a certain pace is a surefire way to make the experience fairly miserable, and if your race is an ultra, this could be a race killer.
Using time as your framework you can focus solely on the terrain under your feet and moving efficiently.