Training for mountain running

Ben Mounsey from guides you through things to think about when it comes to hills

hill running

by Trail Running |

Let’s kick this off by saying the most important thing is to enjoy trail running. Use exercise as a way to relieve stress and anxiety and to escape the rigours of modern-day life. Lace up your trainers, head to the hills and discover a new and exciting world full of adventure, for there is nothing more enjoyable and rewarding than the freedom of exploring and running in the great outdoors.

But don’t forget hills can be demanding! You need to be prepared for the adventure you are about to enjoy. As it’s winter currently, we’ll have a look at the things you need to think about as you prepare for what is probably going to be a spring challenge. For most people, running alone in winter is a daunting prospect, especially for women. It’s best to run with a friend or better still, in a group. Not only will it help you feel safer, it will also give you more motivation to train. Joining a club is a great way to meet new people and discover new runs. You’ll be surprised at just how many amazing places there are to run in your local area.

The best way to get motivated is to buy some new running gear. Is there a better feeling than slipping on a new pair of trainers to head out for a run? It’s also important to remember that treating yourself doesn’t always have to be expensive. Try letting a new pair of running socks or gloves ‘accidentally’ fall into your shopping trolley. Or if that’s still too much to spend then keep it cheap and simple. All it takes to float my boat is a bacon and egg sarnie at the end of a long run. Tough training sessions should always be rewarded. Setting a challenge is the best way to motivate yourself. You could set a personal weekly goal for mileage and climbing, or for the month. You could even try running every day. It’s a perfect challenge for all abilities, and a great way to kick off your #Run1000Miles year. Go for it, get the year rolling as you mean to carry on.

Hill and mountain schedule

The exact nature of your training for hilly races and mountain races is very much going to be dependent on where you live and train. After all, the best way to prepare for the hills is to run in the hills. This 12-week programme should be mostly accessible for all regardless of where you live (so, no excuses for our Norfolk-based #Run1000Milers!). If you don’t have easy access to hills, replace the short hills with fast efforts on the flat, and even consider using the stairs as another option. Don’t forget your strength work, either. Incorporating simple drills such as squats, lunges, step-ups, box jumps, calf raises into your routine will help to strengthen and loosen you in all the right places, and therefore do wonders for your climbing! See you at the UTMB?

mountain schedule
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