Health & Fitness, Tips & advice, Trail Running

10-step guide to trail running holiday fitness

31 Mar , 2016  

A trail running holiday offers all kinds of benefits and rewards, including a great pace for exploring new places, achievement, invigoration, fitness and relaxation.

We offer a guide to getting fit for a trail running holiday:

  • Build up slowly: The key to good fitness without injury is to build up your running mileage slowly and thoughtfully. Of course, it will depend on your fitness but when you start week one you should run well within your comfort zone. Then you can gradually build up the miles (by no more than 10% each week). A slow build up allows your body to adjust to this type of exercise and gives your muscles time to recover and repair after each run.
  • Long and short of it: Many people struggle to run a longer distance during the week because of work and family commitments. You should reserve a Saturday or Sunday morning for a longer run and aim to do two or three shorter, faster runs on weekdays.
  • Be creative with time: Many parents complain they do not have enough time for running. But if you think carefully about it you should be able to find the odd half hour or hour here and there for running. For example, you could choose to run to work – or at least some of the way – to allow time for training during weekdays. Alternatively, try a lunchtime run to make good use of time. Other opportunities for running might be when you have dropped your children at an after-school club or sports session.

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  • How to keep running: You can decide how many miles you run each day of a trail running holiday but your aim will be longer, rather than shorter, days. This means you need to train your body to be good at endurance. The key is to slow your pace so you can manage more miles in one outing and still feel fresh to run the next day.
  • Back to back days: On a trail running holiday you will run two or three days in a row, perhaps with a recovery day after that. To make sure you are capable of this you should try a few back-to-back training days where you run long on, for example, a Saturday and then a Sunday.
  • The right terrain: If you are heading off for a trail running trip you should train your body to cope with trails and hills rather than smooth pavements.
  • Best feet forward: Trainers should be comfortable and suitable for the terrain. Test trainers during training outings and never wear a new pair for your holiday. It’s always better to wear trainers that you know will be comfortable.
  • Eat right: During training you should work out what you can eat and how often you need to eat to fuel a long run.
  • Running friends: It’s easier to find the motivation for training if you meet with friends. Make sure you are comfortable running at a similar pace. Also, if you are booking a trail running holiday with a friend or partner it’s a good idea to agree what pace you hope to run at. It can be frustrating with way if you are much slower or faster than each other.
  • Rest and recovery: Your body needs days when it can recover and build strength in the muscles. Make sure you plan easier days of slow jogging or walking, or perhaps you could try mixing it up with a swim or a bike ride. Yoga is another useful session for good running recovery.

Happy trail running!

*Post updated July ’19

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A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she's not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she'll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.