‘Trail running is freedom, and that is the best gift one could have’. Sanna Elkott, a Merrell athlete, emphasizes what trail running means to her.
Trail running may not be for everyone, but it can be for you. It takes some time and patience to prepare for it, but the fulfillment and benefits it brings are extremely powerful. Our athletes share tips to help you prepare for the trail and overcome some challenges you too may face at some point- you’re not alone in your struggles on and off the trails.
1. Eat well
Nutrition is important because it provides the energy you need to perform better on the trails. The food you eat affects your strength, training, performance, and recovery, which also helps prevent injury. Trying to intake enough calories is part of Sanna’s daily routine. She recommends: ‘before races, I avoid spicy food and food hard to digest. During the races, gels or water or a sport drink, I know my stomach can take. On longer races, dried or fresh fruit on aid stations, and bars, either homemade or some easily chewed’.
Rest and recovery are another important part of any athlete’s routine, as they give the body time to regenerate and strengthen on a physical and mental level between training sessions. Dragomir Denisa, one of the Merrell athletes Sky Runner, describes her ideal rest day like this: ‘to wake up somewhere in the middle of the forest, to enjoy my breakfast and the silence of nature and the most important to read a good book’.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously
This is by far one of the most important tips to remember. Everyone, no matter how confident he or she seems to be, has to learn how to deal with failures and stressful situations. Therefore, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself, give yourself breaks when needed, and always have a smile on your run.
Reflection and meditation can also help you improve your running life, as they help to gain a new perspective on how to control anxiety and improve emotional balance. Sanna says, “Never forget why you started’.
‘The equipment can influence your performance. That is good to test your equipment during training and not in the race day. The most important running gear and piece of equipment in my opinion are the shoes’, says Denisa Dragomir. So do not forget to get a good pair of shoes and check the terrain conditions. We offer different solutions for different tractions and activities. Alternatively, you can contact an experienced specialist at a Merrell store to help you choose the best running shoes for trail running.
Also, take your phone with you as well as water to keep you hydrated and food, bars, and gels for after the trail.
5. Become a stronger runner
There are several types of training you can do to improve your performance on the trails. According to our athletes, it’s important to train all the muscles in your body because certain running injuries are related to imbalances in the relative strength of different muscles. Below are some tips:
- Single leg exercise
- Focus on the glutes and core muscles.
- You can bring exercise equipment such as a stepper, bosu ball, or medicine ball to support your workout.
- Strength and balance exercises – Incorporate different movements, have fun, and relax because you have already put a lot of energy into your running sessions.
Now is the time to go outside and enjoy yourself! You should be prepared with real knowledge and confidence on what trail running is all about. Get your hands on it and join in the fun! For more information on this topic, visit our Trail Running Hub for events, news, articles and more.