2. Incorporate balance (single-leg exercises) and plyometrics (split and squat jumps) into your training plan.
Learning to jump and land is an essential skill when foot placement becomes a selective process due to rocks, roots, and loose surfaces.
Single-leg balance and coordination exercises improve proprioception, which is a key component to moving quickly through technical terrain.
3. Foot strike cadence is key to staying upright in technical trail racing.
Fast feet move over the terrain quicker, and spend less time in contact with the ground. When the footing is poor, this is crucial. The feeling of producing fast feet could be best described as “touch and go.” Move through the terrain, avoid stop and go movements, which slow you down, waste energy and can even make the terrain harder to pass through. Take the most efficient path.
If your training grounds don’t offer up similar terrain to what you will be racing on, use an agility ladder, practice taking shorter strides during your daily runs, and learn to study the ground while running. On trail, your feet go where your eyes focus.
4. Keep your toes up.
In order to avoid catching your feet on roots, rocks, and even minor bumps in the trail, run with a toes up approach. This often entails minor heel striking. But with proper footwear, a shorter stride, and good knee lift this shouldn’t be an issue for anyone.