Taking Up Trails - Page 3
A word of caution—if you are coming from the roads, ease into new terrain. Don't jump head-first into a gnarly singletrack race with extreme elevation change. Root or rock infested trails, can wreck havoc on your body if your stabilizer muscles are not developed. Patience is key. "After training on flat roads all winter, I ran a really challenging trail 30K this spring," says Blair Speed, a beginning trail runner from Bozeman, Montana. "I ran well, but had a really hard time recovering. My legs weren't used to all the obstacles."
Singletrack Is Not a Two-Lane Highway
Singletrack makes passing trickier than on roads. As you approach other runners from behind, politely let them know you want to pass. If you're on a tight singletrack with a 100-foot drop on one side, don't tailgate; wait until the trail opens and you can safely pass. And if you're going to pass someone, make sure you really are faster. There is nothing worse than a 30-minute game of yo-yo in the middle of a race to give you both a case of the trail-running equivalent of road rage.
On an out-and-back course, when trail runners come face-to-face, it's best to split the trail as evenly as possible; no one has priority, no matter his or her speed. Each runner should step slightly to their left and ease by cautiously. Says Devon Crosby-Helms, an elite road and trail runner, "Share the trail and do your best to accommodate one another. "Safety is first. Make sure each runner has enough time and room for a safe pass."
Ultimately, communication is key, says Jenn McConnell, a trail runner in Waterville, Pennsylvania, "I keep my eyes and ears open all the time. If I hear someone come up behind me, I always say, `Let me know when you are ready to pass.' I leave it up to them."
Says Bryon Powell, "The trail running community is small and has a tradition of openness. New runners are quickly recognized and welcomed."
Ready to pick your first trail race? For the most complete list of off-road races around, visit www.trailrunnermag.com, click on Race Calendar and pick your first trail-running adventure!