It is critical to avoid ankle injuries if you are a trail runner, and sprains are the most common type of ankle injury you will face. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of an ankle sprain by perfecting your downhill technique and by following some basic rules.
Here below, we give you some of the key tips to improve your downhill technique. Try applying them in your next training:
Firstly, DECREASE STRIDE LENGTH AND HEIGHT - low vertical oscillation (slightly higher in case of high rocks or uneven terrain). Also, INCREASE STRIDE SPEED, without keeping all your body weight on your ankles (jumping feeling /spring-like running ). In addition, you should take advantage of the FORCE OF GRAVITY and reduce muscle wasting.
Secondly, it is essential to USE UPPER BODY (open arms) and CORE to improve balance and stability, which can be challenging to control on technical terrain and / or at high speeds.
Moreover, it would be best if you were FULLY FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATED for the entire downhill and, AVOID ANY DISTRACTION. Also, try to AVOID RELAXING in the last kilometres of your training sessions or races, when we suffer from muscle fatigue, and we are prone to sprains.
On top of that, USE THE RIGHT TRAIL RUNNING SHOES with good grip, ankle stability and protection against rocks / stones. This simple feature could save us from a bad experience.
Finally, if due to the terrain or the speed of our running, you lose the balance and you must keep all the weight of your body on your feet, STAND WITH FIRM ANKLES AND CONFIDENCE (avoid stepping with fear or "soft" ankles, since this increases the chances of a sprain).
To sum up, like everything in trail running, you will need a period of training and application of these principles in order to perfect your technique and acquire a comfortable and effective way of descending. We encourage you to try them and give us your impressions.
📣Unfortunately, many athletes after a long training process (microcycles, mesocycles and macrocycles), hard work and training (enjoyment too) ruin their race preparation because they do not know how to get ready for competition. This often results in frustration😕
⭕️Now that there are not many races in sight, it is a good time to remember or learn some principles or strategies to get ready for competitions and avoid these frustrations⭕️
🏃♂️🏃♀️What are these strategies? ⬇️
1. Run a good amount of mileage at the target average racing pace
2️. Train on racing terrain (technical / non-technical / runnable / rocky / sand / mud, etc.)
3️. Carry out a test a few weeks before the competition (1-3 weeks before depending on the racing distance) in similar conditions to the race.
For long-distance races, you can split the total distance into different stages and test them separately simulating same racing conditions (weather, terrain, gear, nutrition, hydration, etc.).
4️. Test and train with race gear, especially during long runs (shoes, socks, poles, vest, belt, etc.)
5️. Test racing nutrition (use and test nutrition during training and "train" your digestive system to avoid bad experiences in competition)
6️. Carbo load correctly (increase carb percentage intake, but do not increase total calorie intake)
7️. Taper correctly for 1 to 3 weeks depending on the distance of your race (reduce training volume, keep intensity)
8️. Work on the mental side (use strategies to be relaxed, with a positive attitude and confident on the race day)
✅Now that know all this, I hope you put it into practice, and you nail your next race! Do not leave it to chance! 🙂
🍌𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝘂𝗲𝗹 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴?🍌
Before going deeper in discussing fueling strategies, we need to understand that our body can burn upward of 750 or more calories/hour, while our body can digest only 200‒250 calories/hour. Interesting...
𝘽𝙪𝙩... 𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙣?
It means that runners are essentially a cup with a small hole in the bottom. The goal is not to end up as an empty cup (i.e., hitting the wall). As it is not possible to replace all the calories expended during a race, the goal is to replace enough calories so that the body can continue working without any, or with only a minimal decrease in performance.
✅In addition to that, nutritional needs are highly individual. What works for one person may not work for another and, finding the right strategy for your needs requires a bit of experimentation. It is essential to individualize nutritional strategies because each athlete requires different caloric needs and tolerates food and drink differently.
⚠️During a race, it is very easy to get caught up in all the excitement and get thrown off the fueling strategy. This is especially the case with beginners 🙂 If you carry your own fuel during a run or race, a tip to help stay on track is to set an alarm to go off at set intervals to remind you to fuel. This is assuming that you fuel at set intervals versus fueling when thirsty or hungry.⚠️
✅For events or training lasting longer than one hour, common fuels to maintain glucose levels include:
• Sports drinks
• Diluted juices (1/2 strength)
• Energy bar/gel + water
• Fruit and water
➡️10K or Less
For races or training of 10k or less, it is not necessary to fuel. Assuming you fueled properly prior to the run, you have approximately a 90- minute window in which to run without additional fuel. However, if fuel is used, drinks are typically the best source. The closer to the 90-minute point, the more fueling comes into play.
➡️Half Marathon and Marathon
For marathon and half marathon distance in which the estimated running time is greater than 1:30, you should aim to consume 0.32 to 0.45 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per hour. An athlete’s tolerance of carbohydrate intake will ultimately determine how many carbs are consumed per hour.
If you do not carry your own gels/drinks you should be aware of exactly where on the race course the rest stops are and what specific foods/drinks they have. Ideally, this information (e.g., flavor and brand of the gel) can be ascertained prior to the event so that you can train with these exact fueling products.
Based on your weight and food tolerance, you should try to take in between 120 and 250 calories/hour when running or racing distances longer than 1–1.5 hours in duration.
If you are susceptible to stomach cramps when drinking too much fluid before or during a run, it is advised to carry a small bottle (i.e., handheld or flask on belt) while running and sip sporadically throughout the run. Taking smaller sips and allowing the body to absorb the liquids will reduce the chance of stomach cramping.
➡️Fueling for Ultra-marathons
Like for marathon distance, fueling should be based on your weight and food tolerance. It would be best if you took in between 120 and 250 calories/hour. However, especially for longer ultras, where you will probably feel hungry as you skip meals, you should include solid food and consider alternating calories coming from liquid and solid sources.
⭕️Something to keep in mind is the fact that our digestive system is as trainable as our legs, and therefore, you should try out and train your nutrition strategy in training before a race.⭕️
☢️𝙄𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩. Do not try anything new on race day or something that hasn’t been tested in training with success.☢️
🔥Strengthening is essential for us to improve as runners🔥Studies have shown that combining running with strength training exercises will not only help you prevent injury, but it will also make you a faster, stronger and more efficient runner.
☢️However, do we know how to perform a running-specific strengthening exercise?☢️
Still today, many runners go to the gym and use machines and free weights to improve their running. Even more, they perform exercises in positions that are not specific to running, and therefore, they get low to no improvement in return.
⚠️Strengthening for runners should be specific for runners, and thus, running specific features must be applied and taken into account⚠️
🔐Here a few tips for your reference:
-𝗥𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗲-𝗹𝗲𝗴 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆 (𝗼𝗻𝗲-𝗹𝗲𝗴 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴).
-𝗥𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆.
-𝗥𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲𝘀.
-𝗪𝗲 𝗱𝗼 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗽𝘂𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝘃𝘆 𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗿𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴.
✔️At PBtarget Coaching, we believe that a customized training plan is the ideal scenario to return to physical activity. However, we know that not every trail runner can afford a personalized training plan, and since we would like everyone to get in shape safely and efficiently, we are sharing this plan that you can use as a model to get back on track.
✔️This training plan has been created for runners with a certain level and experience. Please, do not follow it if you are a beginner or you have just started running.
✔️Also, we would like to remind you that every runner is different, with a different level, objectives, resources, etc. For that reason, we ask you to listen to your body; do not stick to the plan if you feel you are not ready for it. Our legs and cardiovascular system are detrained after a long time of inactivity, and therefore, our organism will respond differently to training loads.
✔️Our training plan is a 4-day plan, which will allow our body to recover and physiological changes to happen during rest days. Nevertheless, you can either slow bike, hike, or fast walk on off days as they don’t imply much effort nor a high level of stress to our body.
✔️Before starting with this training plan, we recommend to get started with jogging three times a week for a couple of weeks.
👉Low to moderate training intensity🕙:
During the first weeks, use your heart rate monitor and focus on training zones 0-2 (out of 5). If you do not have a heart rate monitor, your Rate of Perceived Exertion (subjective value) should be low to medium. In case you have carried out moderate load and intensity workouts at home (bike trainer, treadmill, HIITs, etc.), increase load progressively.
👉Alternate running training with training without impact or rest🚴♀️:
Do not forget that both your muscles and joints have undergone a period of detraining. Alternating running days with low-impact aerobic workouts (bicycle, cross-trainer, fast-walk or hike, etc.) will allow you to continue adding training load and rest your joints. In addition to that, this will help you recover from running-related muscle micro-tears.
👉Gentle descents and ascents alternating jogging and power hiking⛰:
Muscular damage is more significant in the descents, and for that reason, we must pay special attention to them. Allow yourself an adjustment period for lumbopelvic and lower body muscles, which support your body weight and gravity. Similarly, musculature involved in climbing will probably be weakened, start power hiking hills, and gradually introduce jogging.
👉Low gradient ascents and descents↗️↘️:
In line with the previous point, the muscles involved will need a period of gradual adjustment. Start with gentle gradients up to 4-6% and introduce steeper slopes gradually and by feeling.
👉Short and low stride🦶:
A low vertical oscillation accompanied by a short stride will produce a lower impact and allow gradual adaptation.
At PBtarget Coaching we would like to put in our two cents regarding home runs / workouts and give our science-based reflections as well as recommendations and tips to make the most of them.
We have noticed that a large number of workout routines and running challenges are being thrown out in social media these last days. This fact shows an extreme goodwill to cooperate, and it is great sharing and exchanging our workouts since this allows us to be creative and to stay motivated during this challenging period.
However, we would like to share some reflections with you:
-We are trail runners, we are used to running on technical and rough terrain, which means our joints – neuromuscular system are usually strong.
-Running at home is usually done at low speed, which means a lower impact and load on our joints.
-Running at home will be a very different exercise whether we have a 5-meter room or we have a 50-meter garden where we can run squares without turning around.
-Since we run in short spaces / distances it isn't very easy to execute an excellent running technique.
-Every time we turn around / change directions when running at home, our Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex and lower body joints need to absorb our body weight, with the risk of injury that this involves.
-Every runner has a different level of fitness.
Taking these all reflections into account, we would like to point out the following recommendations and tips:
1-ADJUST WORKOUTS TO YOUR CURRENT LEVEL OF FITNESS. Workouts that work for other people might not work for us. Avoid overtraining as well as training with higher intensities than before the quarantine. Avoid performing challenges that go beyond your level of fitness, for example, 100 burpees challenge, if we have never done more than 5.
2-ALTERNATE different workouts during the week. These could include:
-Jogging at home (2-3 days)
-Dynamic stretching / strengthening (2 days)
-HIITs - High-Intensity Interval Training (1-2 days)
-Static running / Skipping / Rope jumping
-Yoga / Pilates
-Indoor cycling or treadmill (if possible)
-Stairs (if possible)
3-TAKE AT LEAST A DAY OFF A WEEK.
4-DO NOT FORGET TO ENJOY :)
Lastly, we would like to encourage you to keep being active and motivated, as this will not only benefit you physically, but it is also essential to keep your mind clear these stressful times.
We hope you find this information interesting. Keep the great work up! One more day at home means one day fewer to get out in the trails!