Mountain and trail running provides a unique challenge to those that enjoy competitive running. You can race across beautiful terrain with fierce competition from other runners or you can just pit yourself against the grueling trail itself. The winners of trail races are among some of the most elite athletes in the entire world. If you aren’t quite at that level yet don’t worry there are races and runs that suit the beginner, but training and taking steps to your first trail race is going to take dedication. Here are some steps to prepare you for that first run.
Sign Up for Your First Race
Your local running club probably has a calendar of events and you can find out when the next race is suitable for your trail running skill level. Before you register make sure that you are in good enough condition to complete the race. Try out the rough terrain to make sure you have the skills and then it is time to start preparing for the race. If you are used to running on a track, treadmill or even in the city then you need to realize just how different trail running is. Here is a closer look.
Have Clear Cut Goals
You have signed up for your first race, now what do you want to achieve by running the race. For some marathon runners just completing the race is enough, so do you want to win, place or just compete? Train according to what your goals are.
Plan the Run
Once you sign up for the race then you need to find out the trail you will be running. Run the trail slowly for the first time so you get some idea of what the terrain is like. How many hills do you have to run, is the terrain rocky or flat? Remember that downhill running is more dangerous than trying to climb a hill. Also plan ahead for the weather, running in the spring can mean a warm sunny day or cold snow.
If this is your first run and you aren’t sure how to prepare for a race like this then you might want to enlist some help. Find yourself a coach or even an accountability partner who can help make sure you are getting in enough training. Discuss your race and how you plan to build up your strength and stamina for the upcoming event. How many miles do you need to put in each day, how you plan to change your diet. Focus on the goals most important to this race, do you need to build your speed or your stamina? Work on your training consistently.
Once you are ready go win your race!