Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of – Charles Spurgeon
What a better way to celebrate The Great Outdoors than with an outdoor activity that captures the physical, mental and emotional aspects of exercise…TRAIL RUNNING!
Trail Running is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the world. The scenerary, fresh air and the pure tranquility of being able to exercise in Nature is in some cases, simply stunning.
Due to the rising popularity of trail running, there are many well organised events for both novice and advanced runners.
One of these events being the mind-blowing 4Peaks Mountain Challenge.
All I can say is…SPECTACULAR! I experienced some of the toughest challenges both mentally and physically while competing in this event. The scenary capures your emotions and the mountains of Moolmanshoek requires your body to be tough, the ability to endure and incredible mental strength to get you up and over the technical climbs that lie ahead of you.
Climbing up and over the final pyramid, running the last 2 km to the finish with your running partners, looking back and admiring what you have just achieved is enough to make the toughest of athletes humble.
Definitely one for the books.
Thinking of joining the 4Peaks Mountain Challenge crowd next year?
Here are 3 TOP TIPS you’ll need to start trail running:
1. Invest in a PROPER pair of trail running shoes with sufficient grip.
Navigating up and down on rocks and gravel can be very tricky and grip on your running shoes is essential. *I run with Salomon Speedcross 4 trail running shoes.
2. Shop a running CamelBak backpack with a water capacity of 2 litres.
Keeping yourself hydrated is very important and on many trail events it is a self sustained event with limited water points. These bags can also be used to store all the necessary race foods and equipment needed. *Available at Sportsmans Warehouse.
3. Start running with an experienced running partner or group
This will help you with the technical aspects of trail running and will also help greatly for gaining confidence.
What physical preparation is ideal for Trail running events such as the 4Peaks Mountain Challenge?
Make sure you include lots of balance exercises into you program, trail running requires your foot contacts to be able to adapt to unstable surfaces for which balance is key.
Later and medial stability in the hips and core
Because of unstable surfaces, your gait (running path) is very rarely the same and being able to perform lateral and medial movements of the feet, hips and core is very important.
Focus on leg strength
Trail running also involves steep mountain and hill climbing. Having sufficient leg strength will enable you to be able to climb and conserve energy for the running intetvals.
Mental strength is just as important as physical strength in a super tough event such as the 4Peaks Mountain Challenge. Being able to focus on the trail while a mountain lies ahead of you needs a strong head in order to push your body to achieve the heights you desire.
Sometimes building mental toughness is as easy as knowing that you are capable of getting through an activity because you’ve done it before – train regularly, be consistent and don’t skip recovery runs.
Next on my bucket list…
The Lesotho Ultra Trail run –> Check out this youtube clip below and understand why we are trail runners!
Until next time everyone, get outside and get trail running!
*Written & pics supplied by our health and fitness guru Justin Oelofsen • Owner and exercise specialist at Just n Motion.