Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, it is important to respect the challenge of a trail running event and ensure that you train and prepare before taking part. Here you’ll find advice and information to help you prepare for the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge.
Set yourself a realistic target by using a training diary. It's a great way to highlight your progression and help keep you motivated – you could even do this in the form of a blog. Great Run Training is a free online service to help you train and prepare for an event. Get your training plan now
Off road running means heading out into the great outdoors and routes often include trails, hills and uneven surfaces so make sure you stay safe during training. Watch out for mountain bikers approaching from all directions and be aware of your surroundings – especially if you are running with music.
Lots of people join a running club or run with a friend, rather than running alone. If you do run alone make sure you always tell a friend or family member where you will be running. If you’re not familiar with an area, take a map, a mobile phone and the telephone number of the local mountain rescue service with you in case of an emergency. If you train in the evening, it’s a good idea to wear reflective clothing so that you’re easily visible.
Injuries can occur when you over-train or push yourself too far. Get into the habit of warming up before each training session and warming down afterwards. Training for a trail run is not much different to training for a road run, however, you should vary the running surfaces as a part of your training plan.
Everyone differs, so it is not possible to give specific advice that applies to everyone. Your drinking needs for the run will vary according to your size, your speed and how much you are sweating, which partly depends on the weather on the day.
Start the race well hydrated, but not over-hydrated. The ideal is to start the race with your body in fluid balance, neither too much nor too little fluid on board.
Don't overdo the water before the race, as drinking enormous amounts of water can dilute the blood (hyponatraemia) and be as dangerous as having too little. Just drink enough to keep your urine a pale straw colour. Have a light breakfast and then begin the run well hydrated by drinking a small bottle (250ml) of water or sports drink in the half hour before the start.
Water stations will be available throughout the course.
Eat plenty of carbohydrates in the last 3 days before your race. Foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and fruit should make up approximately 70% of your diet, although you should avoid making any radical changes to your food intake. Have a good meal the night before race day that is high in carbohydrates and low in fibre. Choose food that you've eaten before a long run in the past.
After the event
Be sure to rest after the event - you've earned a break! If it's your first event following your training plan, or if you’re at the end of your multi-event plan, why not take the week off. If you are an experienced runner and your body feels ready, go for a short, slow run to loosen the muscles. It’s as important as ever to eat well and ensure you are properly hydrated and that your body has the nutrients it needs to recover.
Read UK Mountain Running Champion Steve Vernon’s Top Tips
Read our clothing recommendations for the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge