Trail Running. Why Should I try it and how can Footpro help me do it?
Trail running is a form of running that is gaining mainstream popularity. It is quite different to road or track running in terms of the skills and effort required. Trail runs take place on hiking trails, single track and fire roads, through the bush and up and down mountains. Many people race or compete in organised trail running events to challenge themselves however trail running is also very appealing to those who see it as an ‘escape’ from the city and day to day life. It can be very relaxing and rewarding. Many people delight in the solitude of nature when they are training on trails or competing in such races. The scope and appeal of trail running is very broad.
Trail running events offer distances varying from entry level 5-6km on fairly simple terrain, up to 100 miles. Anything over Marathon distance is considered an Ultra-marathon (“ultra”) and these require huge amounts of training. Even at a beginner recreational level, trail running will improve aerobic fitness. Trails are rarely flat therefore running on varying inclines improves performance for running in general. Running on trails is very stimulating to the body and mind because you need to use navigational skills, balance, strength, the ability to run up and down hills and you may need to carry and manage your own food and hydration for the longer races.
So how do you get involved in trail running? You need to consider a few important factors.
What do I need? A pair of trail running specific shoes. At Footpro we have a great range of trail shoes and the technology and knowledge to fit you with the best pair for your needs. Many trail runner’s talk about the need to feel “connected” to the ground. We get that. It’s called proprioception. Proprioception is a sensory thing and could also be described as biofeedback. These are the subconscious streams of feedback our bodies are picking up with every movement, providing you with vital information about your environment and the terrain under your feet. This data enables you to make small biomechanical adjustments to your body without making a conscious effort to do so.
Trails are variable requiring you to concentrate as you negotiate obstacles like rocks, roots, bumps, lumps, and slippery, dusty or sandy surfaces. While this is happening your feet are providing you with real-time information (proprioception) about what to expect with each stride. A snug, supportive trail running shoe with just the right amount of cushioning and tread is critical. Footpro technicians will help you with this decision and advise you on what to wear based on fit, function, conditions and the terrain you plan to run on.
Unique to Footpro is our ability to take a trail shoe and customize it to your feet through the addition of a Footpro custom moulded running specific insole. Our Custom insoles are a high definition moulded insert that is made in-store while you wait and replaces the generic factory insert that comes with every shoe. Factory inserts or ‘sock-liners’ provide very limited support and are made from low-grade foam materials. Integrating a custom insole provides additional support, shock absorption, comfort, energy return and increased proprioception. It does this by engaging the entire surface area of the base of your foot because it moulded specifically to your foot, and is not a flimsy generic insert.
Once your feet are sorted you need to consider accessories. You may need to factor in carrying your own nutrition, water and the weather conditions. We sell a range of fuel belts, bottle holders and hydration backpacks depending on your needs and our team is there to provide helpful advice about the features and use of these products. Having the right socks also makes a huge difference in keeping feet dry and blister-free.
Where can I train? Of course, you need to do some training on trails, which can be a challenge. If you live in the city it is fine to do some road running to build your fitness but you will need to drive to a national park or forest to develop your off-road skills. Some of our favorite locations include Lysterfield and Churchill National Park, the Yarra trails, the Dandenong Ranges, Bayside beach trails and the You-Yangs all of which are within about 60 minutes of Melbourne.
What trail running events are on around Melbourne? Every season there are more races to participate in. Try the Salomon Trail Running Series, these events are good for all levels and are not too far away. You can go to the Grampians and Run the Gap. The You-Yangs and Mount Macedon have trail running festivals, you can run the Tan Ultra Marathon or try the Marysville Marathon. If you really want a challenge have a crack at one of the trail Ultra Marathon’s like the North Face 100 or the Surf Coast Century.
Warning: We take no responsibility for any addiction to trail running that may transpire following a visit to Footpro.