3 exercises to improve your hiking and trail performance
Trail is a very demoing activity with challenges that bring you closer to nature and allow you time to find yourself, test your limits and uncover new perspectives. Advocates of this practice swear by it and Holmes Place expert Martyna Wiśniewska is one of the passionate athletes ready to help us uncover the secrets of this modality.
How did you start and is it for everyone? Who can enjoy trail running?
After couple of years as a “street runner” I wanted to try something new. Trail running is a great way to get outdoor and I’ve always loved to spend time in nature. I am also helping in organization of CITY TRAIL 5k races, which are kind of trail races held in cities parks or forests. So, I was close to this type of running. However, I really got involved in trail just after my first race in mountains. Is it for everyone? Yes! Running in nature is like a therapy not only for body but also for your mind.
What are the top pieces of advice you’d like to tell someone who is interested in starting?
Find trails near you
Like for each activity, you need to train as well for trail running! So start with the nearest forest or any other place where there is no asphalt, you don’t need to go at the beginning to some famous trails in mountains. You will be really surprised how beautiful it can be at your place. You just need to discover it.
Get trail gear
Running on trails is different from street running when it comes to the surface, so sooner or later getting a gear for trail running is a must. Trail shoes differ from a road running shoes. They have special sole with better traction in muddy or wet trails and they are made from tougher materials. For longer runs you will also need special backpack where you can keep water, snack and additional clothing.
Pace and distance– be aware that a pace on trail can be different due to changes in terrain – so run wise by time not distance and pace. At the beginning try to find loops and routes that you can repeat.
Keep it slow
Remember that you don’t need to run uphill - keep it to your effort level and practice as much as you can on steep slopes.
What is the biggest reward you get from trail, how does it make you feel?
I love the fact that the scenery is changing – it’s a sense of adventure. Being outside in nature gives me a feeling of freedom and I am able to clear my mind. There is no better place than being on trail when you hear just sounds of wildlife.
We know you’ve been celebrated by your trail performance. Can you share with us what awards and mentions you’ve accomplished so far?
Well, my biggest success was 1st place at race for 23k Forest Run (winter edition) and 4th place at ultra race 50k called “Chudy Wawrzyniec” in Beskid Żywiecki mountains. I did also 3 times the most popular ultra race in Poland “Butcher Race” which is 77k in Bieszczady mountains. I still can’t say that I am very experienced trail runner. I know there is a lot to do and I am eager to train hard, but at the same time I enjoy every aspect of trail running.
What are in your opinion the best trails around the world?
There are a lot of amazing trails around the world. It’s really hard to chose the best ones. It all depends on our preferences. I always try to combine my travelling with discovering new trails – is also faster to see top natural tourist attractions! For sure, one day I would like to do the trail in Great Canyon in USA and Tour de Mont Blanc hiking path in France, where the most famous trail race in Europe is held - UTMB® (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®).
Exercises you can do to improve your trail:
In case you’ve gotten motivated and you’re interested in getting started there are several exercises you can do to and the Club that will help you improve your trail performance in the great outdoors. These are among our top choices:
Repetition of full squats will increase your muscles endurance, allowing you to climb steep heights, having a larger step length and stronger, more reassured stepping that will help you reduce the risk of injury.
Bosu Ball training
The exercise of balance and equilibrium performed with the aid of a Bosu Ball will help you guarantee a lower risk of injury as you’ll be able to secure your feet position, improve your proprioception (the understanding of where you are at every specific motion, a sense of your own body in space)
Upper body workouts
Torso is usually not one of the main concerns of a trail runner but when you improve your muscle mass and body strength you’ll be able to balance your movement and increase your resistance in the long run and making you faster.
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