Posted by: Tom Boyd
Story courtesy of the American Trail Running Association
Running a trail race with a start/finish line at 8,200 feet coupled with a vertical gain of 2282 feet through a rugged 6.3-mile course is certainly a challenging endeavor. But, with the right preparation and a confident mindset, getting to the finish line with a smile is a doable goal.
Consider these tips:
- Break the race into sections – the start, the climbs, the finish line.
- The race starts with a climb. Don’t go out too fast. Stay relaxed and conserve energy as there are three back-to-back climbs in the first three miles.
- Walk or power hike the steeper sections. Without a doubt, there will be some walking interspersed with running and that’s ok. The most important thing is to keep moving. Encourage others around you and you too will find energy from that encouragement. Think of positive words and repeat those either aloud, or silently. At the top of each climb, look up to take in the view, even if for just a moment. The scenery will give you a much-needed boost.
- Watch your footing. After three miles, there will be significant downhill and rolling terrain to about the four and a half mile point. If you have conserved some energy, this is where you can relax and gain some momentum. However, don’t get overly zealous and neglect the terrain underfoot. This is the time where a tumble is most likely.
- The final climb. Even though most of the elevation gain was realized in the first three miles, the final mile will feel equally tough since your legs are tired. Dig deep, because once you reach five miles, it’s mostly downhill to the finish. Again, watch your footing on the final descent and reach the finish line with a smile.
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