Our trail running tips

We had a fantastic time with all the running fam in the Sydney Trail Series at Manly Dam on 18/1/15. There was a record turn out with over 400 runners. Coach Chris won the 20k & Greta was 3rd. There were many gutsy results including from our very own Kat Sigley in the 8k & everyone looked happy. Here are some fresh trail running tips for 8k-30k distances: 

  1. Be highly alert - lift your feet higher through rocky sections to avoid tripping & watch every step with very quick scans at any breaks in the path to ensure you are still on course.
  2. Watch the flat seemingly smoother sections as this is where you may relax a little and clip your foot or stub a toe on a small embedded rock or tree root and fall.
  3. Try to avoid day dreaming about other things. Keep your mind on the trail. 
  4. Notice the difference in stair depth as you go up or down them. Don't become complacent about staircases because they vary constantly. 
  5. Be careful of low lying overhanging branches or sharp / thorny plants either side of the track. 
  6. Run within yourself - trails can be quite technical so to avoid accidents & falls, slow down on the tricky bits & speed up on the "smoother" sections. You'll be able to push harder the more trails you do. There is no rhythm running on trails, they are constantly changing and challenging you.
  7. Confidence comes with experience & practice (including in the wet). 
  8. Be smart about energy levels. Walk the appropriately tough ups and downs, pull back during the rough single file tracks and speed it up on smooth fire trails. 
  9. Wear low to the ground running shoes to minimise rolled ankles:
    1. Do your research, talk to experts, google it, get an assessment on your foot type.
    2. Ensure the balance is right for you between comfort, weight and stability.
  10. If required, tape your ankles or feet to avoid problems such as instability or blisters.
  11. Be as agile as you can, picking the best route through, taking short steps for the rough tricky sections. Tell yourself to lift your feet like a mantra. Use your arms for balance & to hoist yourself over big rocks. You can take bigger leaps & bounds down rough sections to clear more ground quickly when you are stronger & more confident. 
  12. Use power walking with hands pushing on your thighs when going up a steep hill or stairs
  13. Steep downs can be approached by undertaking a fast crab side stepping action to offset the force of gravity pulling you down the hill. Same goes for down stairs. Practice landing on every second step if you are confident. 
  14. Concentrate hard over rocks, rivers and tree roots. On your toes or light on your feet and plan ahead a few steps. Grab tree branches to slow yourself down if you feel you're becoming out of control. 
  15. Fuel up with your pre-race brekkie as trail races are especially taxing & take longer than the same distance on road. Wear a camelbak or water belt with plenty of water. Take sufficient energy gels etc even one extra in case you are out there longer or if you get a bit lost. 
  16. Eat solid food long before you feel you need to. You'll be more able to eat and digest it than when you are depleted. You may want to have solid food for distances over 20-25km as a guide or 2hrs plus. Races under that distance then gels can suffice. 
  17. Enjoy the experience in nature & camaraderie - the best bits
 Top 3 girls in the 20k sydney trail race - Emma Rilen, Jo Brischetto & Greta Truscott

Top 3 girls in the 20k sydney trail race - Emma Rilen, Jo Brischetto & Greta Truscott