To answer, you first have to define your goals. Does improving at trail running mean getting more confident on trails, or getting faster at trail running, or gaining more trail running endurance to run longer distances?
How to Improve at Uphill Trail Running
Improving at uphill trail running has a lot to do with improving your overall fitness as a runner. For this, we recommend following a training plan from an experienced coach to work on improving overall running fitness, including aerobic fitness and lactate threshold work. If you want to learn more about Holly’s custom trail running plans, you can check them out HERE or check out our guided runs and retreats HERE.
The running form of uphill running should have a slight forward lean to take advantage of gravity. You should avoid any wasted motion from side-to-side.
Improving at both uphill downhill running can be done by strengthening your legs. We Also give you strength & conditioning program in our coaching packages! This trail running training strength program for mountain legs can be done from anywhere—no nearby trails necessary!
How to Improve at Downhill Trail Running
Improving at downhill running can come with starting to think of running as controlled falling. The worst thing you can do during downhill running is to drive your heel into the ground to try and “brake” yourself down the hill. Often relaxing and leaning into the downhill can make you more efficient—and less in need of seeking out PT for your knees. On technical trails, a little agility work can go a long way in practicing landing light and fast in lateral and foward-moving directions.
How to Get Faster at Trail Running
Again, getting faster at trail running may require improving your uphill or downhill technique (or a combination of both) and improving your overall fitness. This requires reserving a few days a week to practice some form of interval training. Below are a few workout ideas to get started to practice running faster on trails.
Add 8 x 10 second hill sprints twice/week at the end of easy runs.
Add 6-8 30-second pick-ups during your weekly long run
Add 10 x 1 minute hard/ 1 minute easy jogging into your mid-week run