Trail Running Technique (and what not to do)

When you start running on trails you quickly learn that it’s nothing like running on the road, in my case the majority of the changes are positive – I don’t have to breathe in car fumes, there is no consistent thumping along concrete (which my knees continue to be thankful for) and the views are outstanding … !!

Thinking about it, I’d be hard pressed to come up with of any negatives, although (at a push) I guess the sheer amount of mud you encounter throughout winter can get a little tiresome but in all honesty I’d still rather run through the mud in the Waitakeres Ranges than along the smooth (and therefore uber slippery) paving stones that are laid along the length of Auckland’s waterfront – I mean whose daft idea was that?!?!

Suffice to say, it doesn’t take long for you to naturally change the way you run as you’ll no longer be able to pick a line and run it mindlessly, instead you’ll take on the chicken dance arms (for balance) and with the constantly changing terrain you’ll end up taking much quicker and shorter strides, hopping from side to side as you navigate obstacles.

Perhaps the biggest change in your running technique is the need to lift your feet higher off the ground – because if you don’t …

Granted, I often get lazy, especially on the “more groomed” trails in the ARC network and stumble over a tree root, rock or at times my own feet, but this is the first time I’ve ever flown through the air and landed flat on the ground (and I mean flat) smacking my head hard against the path in the process.

On a positive (because there should always be one right?) I guess from now on I’ll do a better job of remembering to lift my feet! Although perhaps I should also scan the trail ahead WAY better as I didn’t even see the large tree root that I managed to trip over until dazed and confused I looked back asking “how the fuck did that happen?”

I would however like it noted that the tree root was VERY WELL camouflaged being the exact same color as the path .. 😉

After falling I got up as quickly as I could manage because I was on quite a popular trail and I was sprawled right across it – nobody wants to round the corner to see some old lady sprawled flat on the ground ahead of them. I brushed the gravel out of my wounds as best I could and wondered to myself why I had so much blood on my hands – until I realised (with the help of my phone camera) that is was coming from my head.

Typical! On the one day I don’t have my PLB on me I fall and crack my head open in an area with no cellphone coverage and I’m probably two seconds away from collapsing and dying …

Instead of collapsing and dying right there on the trail, I chose to sit down, clean myself up (which is why you should always trail run with a small first aid kit) and carry on.

My head was a tad tender so I continued onwards at an easy pace (which in my case is uber slowly as my normal speed is already slow), but most importantly from that point on I watched where the fuck I was going and lifted my feet!

Till next time





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