April 22, 2020
Trail Running - Training in the city
Do you live and work in the city? Are you looking to prepare for a trail run (or stay race ready during downtime)? Are you looking to escape the homebound hustle and bustle and maintain your race fitness? Even with busy working weeks, you can define a suitable training plan. Here's advice for planning and organising your trail running training.
SIX TIPS TO ADAPT TRAINING IN THE CITY DURING THE WEEK
1. SHORT INTENSE SESSIONS
During the week, your training sessions can be short (0.5 hours to 1 1/2 hours). However, ideally, they are intense. This means that your heart rate must rise significantly. This is what is known as the anaerobic effort. You are therefore going to work on power and muscle strengthening.
The best time to work on your body is in the morning before breakfast and your working day.
2. FIND A HILLY ROUTE TO IMITATE THE MOUNTAINS
Choose a route that is as hilly as possible. Run fast uphill and recover in the descents. This is similar to an interval or fartlek exercise. It increases the intensity of your session.
And it will always put a climb or two under your belt!
3. ORGANISING YOUR RUNNING SESSIONSHere's a sample session. Feel free to vary the lengths, routes, and exercises so that you don't lose the pleasure of running.
- Warm-up: (5 to 20 minutes) jogging and a few light stretches.
- Intensity: (25 to 45 minutes) do a series of fast ascents and descents. Also, do exercises on the stairs. Keep up a fast pace!
- End of session: stretch while you are warm. Keep hydrated to prevent sore muscles.
4. CHOOSING THE NUMBER OF SESSIONS PER WEEKFinding it hard to plan your race training? Here is how many sessions to plan depending on your goals:
- Short trail, 10 km to 25 km: 2 sessions during the week + 2 to 3 hours at the weekend
- Long trail of around 50 km: 3 sessions + 4 to 5 hours at the weekend
- Ultra-Trail: plan 3 to 4 sessions during the week and a long to a very long distance at the weekend.
5. TRAINING ON THE STAIRSRunning on the stairs is a good way to work on strength. We recommend the following exercises:
- Run up, touching every step. Use a forefoot strike. Use a more bouncy stride and lift your knees.
- Repeat the exercise, touching every other step. You are going to work on your strength.
- Jump up the steps 3 by 3 with your feet together, landing on your forefeet.
- Alternate power hiking (fast walking) and running
During these exercises, you should run faster than during competitions, while remaining in your comfort zone. Remember to come back down slowly to recover.
6. ENDURANCE ON THE WEEKENDTake advantage of the weekends to rediscover the pleasure of running. Go running over a long distance depending on your goals. This is a great opportunity to get lost in the city, discover or rediscover small streets, neighbourhoods or even graffitis. Nothing beats the wonder of finding a new place or building to admire while on a long run.
Work on your endurance. You should, therefore, run rather slowly without being out of breath. It can last 1 to 5 hours or even more for ultra-runners.
It is entirely possible to train for trail running when you live in the city. Your training plan should alternate short sessions during the week and a long runs on the weekend. You will, therefore, be well prepared, whether you are keeping your race number for an urban trail or a mountain race, or just staying ready for whatever comes next.