IMPROVE YOUR ASCENT
Whether you're a beginner, intermediate or experienced trail runner, take advantage of our advice to get off to a good start!
Firstly, remember that after effort is comfort. The hills that you climb will offer you new landscapes and scenery, plus new perspectives.. one after the other. It is necessary to remain lucid so you can appreciate it! Remember that the effort involved in trail running is important, a steady pace for endurance must be managed, ideally maintaining the same speed on the last ascent as the the first.
POSTURE, BODY POSTIONING
First, think about adapting your posture relative to the effort involved. It is advised to keep your chest forward (imagine that your chest is parallel to the slope), this allows you to keep the center of gravity above your feet.
Nathalie says: If you're tired, you can put your hands behind your back to reposition yourself naturally. This will allow you to keep body position forward but will open up the chest to assist with breathing.
Although it scares many trail runners, the use of poles is beneficial: it allows you to redistribute weight, which reduces fatigue on the thighs and allows to go further. Of course, training with poles will improve your posture and technique and you will become more efficient in your trail running. For practical reasons, the use of folding or telescopic poles is recommended so than can be stowed easily if required.
Once you are kitted out with the correct equipment and have practiced your upper body position, some leg work may be necessary! particularly thinking about foot strike (whether climbing up hill "on the toes" or rather a "mid foot"). This can be adapted according to how you are feeling, but each individual needs to consider their own morphology. The natural tendency is to go uphill on your toes, but many agree that this is more tiring (a lot of muscular work on the calves) and that taking a stride landing mid footed will save you energy. It's up to you to test and see which formula suits you best.
Nathalie says: Personally, I think that moving on your toes uphill makes you bounce more, which increases fatigue. So, I got into the habit of rolling my stride to get my foot flat
Trail running (in competition) is a timed sport, many have wondered what is the correct formula to be the fastest and most efficient uphill. Rest assured, there is no one solution, it is up to you to work out what suits you best. It depends on several parameters such as the level/ability and morphology of the athlete, the percentage of the slope, the distance of the trail .. Two popular methods have emerged: either in the form of running in small strides (faster in the short term), or walking in large strides (saves energy). In both cases, it is advisable to not lift your foot any higher than needed from the ground.
Nathalie says: Always try to be as energy efficient as possible.
Having good endurance is an essential element to be successful in trail running. Long efforts are required in this sport and the lack of endurance will be really detrimental in the quest for results in competition. For training, you have to adapt to the terrain around you. Nathalie lives in a region with little hills, she trains by doing a lot of intense training but not very long (hill repeats), this allows her to link many sessions. Other athletes who live in mountainous regions advise to make ascents of at least one hour (sufficiently long) on varying terrain (road, trails, forest paths)
Nathalie says: One of my strengths is to be able to run moderately fast, but to be able to maintain this speed for a very long time.
It is also important to be able to undertake intense efforts. However, it is less important on longer trails. High intensity effort will be useful on trails less than 40Km. To train for this, short intervals is a good alternative, whether running or cycling. It is important to put a lot of intensity into these sessions, where the climbing phase is very intense and the descent a recovery period
Nathalie says: Having the ability to put in intensity on the climb makes it possible to have more clarity for the descent.
Training for climbs is necessary because in trail running the hills are variable in length and angle. Performing these sessions allows the progressive breaking of muscle fibres, which will naturally repair themselves by strengthening. It is interesting from a sporting point of view to train in sets of different pace and intensity (short, long, very long), but also for personal pleasure as varying the sessions keeps interest by avoiding the monotony.
Whatever your environment, timing yourself on the climbs allows you to challenge yourself, to get to know your body, your skills and to track your progress thanks to modern sports watches.
Nathalie says: "I also find cycling training interesting. This allows you to vary training situations, and to develop muscles and fitness that can take over if our "traditional running muscles" fail on the trail.
NATHALIE'S ADVICE FOR A GOOD TRAIL RUN.
The psychological approach is very important: you must not be overcome by an obstacle. In any situation, the obstacle (in this case a climb) is only part of the trail, it is only an intermediate stage to reach the major objective which is to reach the finish line as soon as possible.
"If you're here, it's because you chose to be!"