Seven trail running tips

Trail running is one of the fastest growing sports there is, but it can be a lot different than normal road or track running.
Whether you are in a competitive race or just out by yourself or with a few friends, here are seven tips to make your trail running experience better:
* Try the course on a bike first – Get on a mountain bike and ride where you’re going to run. You can stay out longer on a bike and it’s a great way to scout out trails. You’ll also build up leg strength. Stand up on the bike when going up hills to mimic a running motion.
* Stay light on your feet – Be quick to bounce off your feet. Also make sure to plant off of both legs in tough spots – don’t get in a habit of favoring one leg over another for a “plant leg” to land on or “drive leg” to push off of.
* Down hill technique – Run on the balls of your feet, not on your heels and use your arms to swing out a little more on the sides for balance. Some people feel running down hill is actually harder – it really takes concentration and good form.
* Up hill technique – Use short, powerful strides and keep your head up and chest leaning forward. Find a comfortable pace to drive up and over the hill.
* Cornering – If you are racing on trails, corners are a great way to make a sudden surge and pass an opponent who‘s lost track of you. Even if you’re training in a small group or solo, practice accelerating out of turns.
* Streams – Don’t lose time worrying about getting all wet in a stream. Use quick, high steps that only allow your feet to be in the water for a split second. Look for logs or rocks that you can use to push off of as well.
* Know the terrain – If you have scouted a trail beforehand it will help you understand the conditions better. Common trail surfaces such as sand, mud and rocky terrain all require adjustments.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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