Technical Trail Running : can you train in the city?

Technical trails training in the city

Muddy Plimsolls’ advice on training for technical trails

Not ever city-dwelling trail runner is lucky enough to live next to a location like Primrose Hill (seen above).

So in the current issue of Trail Running Magazine, we’re offering readers advice on how to train for technical trails when you live in an urban area. #‎TrailRunningMagazine‬.

Featured in the magazine’s Ask The Experts section, is Muddy Plimsolls’ co-founder Jason Doggett. Below the following image is a few more suggestions that Jason has on the subject of technical trails training in the city.

trail running advice for city dwellers

Use your imagination

The key is to use your imagination when finding the elements of a technical trail whilst running in a city. You are looking for inclines, soft/variable surfaces and obstacles. An urban park may combine all three. Alternatively, you may have to find examples in different locations within your neighbourhood.

An urban incline can mean a hill or dip, a flight of stairs or steps, or a terraced public space. If you can only find an incline that is quite short, then you’ll be running repeats. On your descents, practise ‘quick feet’ to train your reaction times and balance. Talking of quick feet, a regular urban run can turn into a real challenge if you suddenly decide to only run on the cracks in the pavement or edges of the paving slabs. Urban spaces such as BMX/skate parks or public plazas contain obstacles big and small – from low walls to half-pipes.

Make use of the turbulent seasons

Bad weather will bring out the worst in natural surfaces. Which is great for training your cardiovascular fitness, joint stability and leg strength. So find a muddy park, soft, dewy bank or snowy football pitch when the weather closes in. If there are tree-lined roads along your urban running route, you could go out of your way to run close by each tree, stepping on any exposed roots you find. Running on flat surfaces can be helpful for trail training if you practise speed changes, increase/decrease stride length and cadence, and leap over imaginary obstacles.

Scrambling on hands can be difficult to train if you don’t have the a steep incline (or one covered in scree). But a fallen tree trunk can give you some feeling for pulling yourself up and along on your hands. And of course, repeat back and forth.

Don’t forget your core

Finally, don’t forget a core programme to support your technical trails training. One that features standing exercises (side bends and reaches on single and both legs) and work on high knees and step-ups to bring in a bigger range of movement at the hip and knee than you would with road running, again to build up the ability to get over obstacles.

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