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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just signed up for a HM trail race. the Endurance 50 at Bear Mountain. This would be my first ever trail race, and the course profile is quite scary. So...<br>
1. How important is to do training runs on trails? Would mostly road running be enough?<br>
2. Would you use different shoes for a trail race?<br>
3. I think there are only 3 water stops on the entire course... I was thinking to take my Camelback with me. Is this something common, or would it look too weird?
 

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1) If the trail race is mostly on fire roads and/or smooth dirt trails, then not so much. If it has any technical aspect to it (like tree roots, rocky paths, sharp turns, etc.) then the more trailwork, the better. Since you say that it's on a mountain, I'm betting it is technical and hilly. At the very least, hill work would be a minimum.<br><br>
2) You'll hear varying opinions. I'd say for the shorter trail races, you can get by with your regular running shoes, or even longer if the trails aren't too technical. For longer races (approaching marathon distance) and especially for technical terrain, I'd look into getting some trail shoes.<br><br>
3) No - camelbacks and similar devices are pretty common on the trail races I've volunteered and raced at, at least for the longer-distance runners.
 

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1. I would definitely get some trail runs in before the race. Although running on the trails and running on the road are similar, they are not the same. Depending upon the trail surface, I find that trail running is harder on the ankles and requires a lot more lateral movement, which means you're using different muscles. One of the things that I really like about trail running is it builds up different muscles. Not a good thing to do for the first time on race day.<br><br>
2. I've done most of my trail running in the same shoes I use for roads. Again, I think it partially depends upon what the trial surface is.<br><br>
3. Umm.. how to say this. Style points are not awarded in a trail or ultra race. My experience is that its a crowd that isn't particularly concerned about how you look. Actually, I think trail races and ultra races attract a really neat group of folks, they tend to be more inclusive than other running groups I've come across. So if your camelbak works for you - go for it!<br><br>
You may also want to post your questions on the Kickrunners Extreme Running forum. From what little time I've hung out there, they are extremely helpful (like the folks in the multisport forum).<br><br>
Mike
 

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This thread has some info on the course:<br><br><a href="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22226" target="_blank">http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22226</a><br><br>
There are also a couple other threads in the extreme running forum about this race, I think a few people are thinking of doing it.
 

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Good point on that - you will be using some different muscles. I found that out on my first 25K affair. The rain and mud didn't help matters, and I ended up screwing up my so-called good leg with an ITB strain.
 

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I've never done a trail run, but I do lots of hiking. I would not go on a hike in my road running shoes, so I'd think trail shoes would be the way to go if you have rocks, roots, etc... When we went to Maui, we were hiking on lava rock for a couple hours, and I didn't have my hiking boots on. My ankles hurt SO bad the next day. You just don't realize what different muscles you use.<br><br>
I have a trail I do my long runs on. On the side of the trail for quite a ways, there are some really big rocks. They are like a border, but they are not like landscaping rocks. They are rocks big enough to sit up on. They are limestone. Anyway, one day, I saw a guy running across the top of those rocks. I assume he was training for a trail run. It looked really hard.
 

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I do a lot of trail running, though mostly longer stuff. One thing I would strongly encourage you to do is to dial back your expectations in terms of time. Even for experienced trailrunners, technical trails can add a minute a mile at the same apparent effort. In addition, the learning curve for being able to run well on trails can be amazingly long.<br><br>
This is not intended to dissuade you, just to encourage you to leave your expectations at home. "Slower" runners with loads of trail experience may beat you, and if your ego is all tied up in a specific goal time you may be disappointed. OTOH, if you just go out and learn by doing, you'll likely have a blast! If there is a way you can do some training on similar surfaces in advance that will help: I would try to match the surface more than the terrain, though both if you can.<br><br>
Two trail specific things that have helped me, though again this may be more applicable to 100Ks and stuff: first, you need to keep some concentration on the ground in front of you the whole time. On smooth surfaces, runners often dissociate and woolgather or divert mental energy to pushing the pace - if you do that early and take a tumble it will wreck your confidence. The other is that if there are certain places where you're worried a little about rolling an ankle (like twisty downhills) try running just slightly duckfooted. Most ankle rolls are onto the outside edge of your foot, so splaying your toes to the outside makes it less likely.<br><br>
But if you're like most people, prepare to get hooked!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the recommendations!<br>
Hippo, I figured the pace thing... I have a small park nearby with some technical trails, and at first I was very frustrated that I couldn't maintain a reasonable pace... now I know it's at least 1 min/mile slower.<br><br>
As for the Extreme Running threads... I feel I don't belong there, most people do 50k or 50M, not the short 13.1 like me.<br><br>
I have a pair of light hiking shoes, which are classified as adventure running shoes... not sure if I should use those, maybe it's too much. I was thinking to go run the course once, and maybe I'll take those hiking shoes and see how it works.
 

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As for shoes, it all depends on you and some real specific things about the terrain - size and number of rocks, muddy or not. Trail shoes are an extremely individual thing and it can take a long time to get them right.<br><br>
That being said, a decent percentage of trailrunners on reasonably technical courses just use their road shoes. That includes for instance, Western States 100 which is plenty technical. It all depends on the runner.<br><br>
Where I'm going with this is that you already have a high comfort level with your road shoes. There are probably trail shoes out there that will be better for you, but there is some chance that you may not be able to find the right pair before the race. So at the very least run a practice run in your road shoes and keep an open mind: you may already be OK.<br><br>
If you really want to try out trailrunning shoes, the one recommendation I can make is Brooks Cascadias. They may not be the best shoe for anyone, but IMO they have a very broad appeal - they'll be at least an acceptable solution for most runners.
 

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Oh, fun! I'm volunteering at the Umstead trail marathon this weekend as a few guys from my running group are doing it. We do most of our weekend runs in Umstead which is a combination of bridle trails and single track trails, so they were able to train a lot on trails. I would say the more trail running you can do to train for this the better - it really is a different running workout!
 
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