12 things to consider when running in the mountains
Running is a relatively easy activity. It requires effort, yes, but in principle any person can run since it is inherent to the human being: In fact… do we not do it from childhood?
Running through the mountains is the same, even if one senses that the effort and demand are greater. But ... it shouldn't be much more complicated, right? True ... in part, because although we are also prepared to face it, if in the world of running it is advisable to follow a series of recommendations at the level of material, training, nutrition ..., in the mountains this is even more important.
Because if, Running in the mountains, what is known as trail running, is much more demanding. And the use of according to what material, has more influence on the activity than in Running on asphalt, so that we understand each other.
Aspects such as the material that can be used (sneakers, technical clothing in general, specific clothing to protect us from adverse weather, accessories (headlamps, GPS, poles, ...), food, the area to run or the durability of the session They can make the difference between a great experience or just the opposite.
We will indicate the more important aspects that a person who starts in trail running must take into account (without intending to reach all corners of the world of trail running) and beyond whether each then applies them in their specific case or is not necessary.
Chosen area and distance
This is clear: try to choose a good training area, that the distance is appropriate for each person and also take into account the unevenness.
Whenever you talk about trail running or simply running through the mountains, it is inevitable to think of bucolic locations, with wonderful views and great peaks. The reality is that these environments are for expert people who have already gone through modest running through low and medium mountains first before attacking the most difficult peaks. So, if you plan to leave the asphalt and go to the mountain, it is better that you choose, in a first stage, easy tracks where you can learn to handle the ups and downs, simple forest trails, where you can learn to detect and avoid roots, stones and other obstacles that are not normally found on the asphalt.
Then there is the distance to dedicate to the training sessions. Keep in mind that the climbs are usually much more pronounced than those found in urban environments, so the average pace will decrease and it will take more time to travel a certain distance compared to the route. On the other hand, in the mountains there are no streets to cut if an @ decides to finish the training. There are few options, and valleys and ravines are not going to allow us to cross them like someone crossing a neighborhood to reach another.
The material is crucial for a good mountain experience, and we are going to separate it into three main groups: shoes, textile and accessories.
The Trail Running shoes are designed to withstand more jogging and battles. They usually have more reinforcements to better support the foot and protect it from small impacts from roots, stones or any twig that is in the middle of the road. Damping is important, but not as critical as on asphalt, where there is constant, repetitive hammering. Such is the thing that many brands do not even manufacture trail shoes for overpronators, because the unevenness of the terrain favors a continuous modification of the tread to adapt. The sole is of crucial importance, since a good design of the lining, along with good materials helps to have grip on difficult surfaces such as uneven ground or rocks.
We are going to distinguish between two types: the one that we wear, that we choose primarily to run and the one that specifically serves to protect us from adverse weather
When choosing clothes, you must also take into account the training area and exposure. It is not the same not to go out throughout the filming of a low, wooded and protected area, than to ride in height absolutely exposed to the wind, for example.
- Weather protection
The time of year greatly influences how we have to go to the mountains prepared. But it is that even in summer, a sudden storm can lower, and much, the temperature in the mountain. Therefore, taking into account wearing, or in a backpack, hat, gloves or windbreakers can do a great service when the time comes. In fact, those who usually go to mountain races or trails, know that in many these accessories are mandatory by regulation.
With a Smartphone we already have GPS, although there are many more devices of this type. They are not necessary, but they are very useful, especially if the area is not well known. There are clocks that even have the “Miguitas de pan” function, which is nothing more than memorizing the route through which one passes and in case of getting lost, the clock would indicate how to undo the steps to be able to go back without error.
The use of poles is not very generalized among most trail runners, but it is an important element to value in case the exit is very long and / or with a lot of unevenness, because it mainly helps in two ways: to make the climb easier helping us with the arms and that the lumbar area is not overloaded by the inevitable inclination in front of our trunk on the steepest climbs.
Indispensable if you go out at night or if there is any possibility that an afternoon outing could lengthen and touch return to dark. On wide tracks close to urban environments, light pollution can help distinguish something from the road if it already turns and the night has caught you, but outside of that it is rash to run in the dark in the mountains. In certain races it is mandatory to carry it at least in the backpack, just in case
Other accessories that someone who is starting out may not think about but have their usefulness when the time comes would be: a folding or rubber cup (it does not take up much space and allows you to easily collect water wherever it is available and it is also mandatory in some races mountain, where glasses do not go up to the aid stations and must be carried by the runner). Thermal blanket: perhaps its use may seem distant, but if one day it happens to have to use it, it will have been worth taking it 50 times without using it (it weighs less than 50gr and folded as standard it takes just 10cm).
Drink and Nutrition
- Hydration during the session.
Running in the mountains is not like running in the city, where there are many water points, not only in parks, but even in the middle of any street. In the mountains that does not work that way, so you have to foresee the liquid that you will drink during the session. This is more important in hot areas or times and considering how long the output will be. There is everything: those who have enough water, those who do not carry anything because their output is short and the route is well known and those who cannot do without carrying isotonic drinks. In any case, this is an important point to keep in mind.
Taking for granted that someone is already starting to run "drunk and eaten" from home, it is not superfluous to foresee something solid, both in case it was necessary and if for the duration of the training it is necessary to refresh yourself in the middle of the session. There are energy bars of all kinds and flavors and what is recommended is to use them precisely in training so that each runner and runner are checking what is good to eat on the go and what is not. So the day they make an important start, be it for the place, be it for a race, they already know what kind of bars they can do well.
- Basic race technique
Although at first I said that the human being is designed to run, not all of us do it in the same way and efficiently. Efficiency allows you to perform more with less effort and helps prevent injury. It is a complex subject, but running well, working on the running technique will help make the running experience even better.
- Technique tips for trail running on ascents and descents.
Running in the mountains is like running on a plain ... but not exactly since there are elements that do not occur in both places. In the mountains the ascents and the descents stand out, which usually do not have the same inclination as on the asphalt (in fact many do not allow professionals to run, only walk them), nor are they a smooth carpet like the asphalt.
On the mountain there is sand that does not allow adherence, roots, stones, rocks, etc. All these elements make uploading more complicated. Therefore, depending on the climb, there are times when deciding whether to continue running or walking and, in any case, take measures. It can be the use of the poles in a rhythmic way to the stride (alternating them or simultaneously); lean the trunk and support us with our hands on our knees to bring the center of gravity forward and help us to advance and also unload the lumbar area; or simply shorten the stride and increase the frequency (short gear) to save effort.
To go down it will be necessary to take into account how the terrain is, to launch ourselves into an open grave by lengthening the stride, or by shortening it and being careful if the area is complicated, flexing the knees to lower the center of gravity a little if we want to go a little safer ... A whole world that can be entered little by little, but important especially from the point of view of race performance.
One of the least talked about points and perhaps the most important of all, since it touches all the sticks is that of the security that each one has to impose himself, beyond even those that the local authorities or entities may demand or advise:
Assess to contain the desire to go jogging on a day with adverse weather; or turn home when it starts to thunder over your head; give up reaching a certain height, or a certain distance, or a certain unevenness or…. whatever compromises our security; choose the right clothes (to protect us from the cold, for example) against going light clothes as we usually like; stand firm in the face of the temptation to do whatever irresponsibility is given just by showing it on social media; not trying to go beyond what our possibilities or limits allow us; not force the body when sending messages that something is wrong; understand that if you do intense and high-impact physical activity, it is natural to set aside time and part of the budget to eventually go to a physio, a podiatrist, a stress test or, finally, those things related to our health, although not Let's get out of there with no items in our hands that we can put in a showcase or a drawer ...
The list of things related to common sense for the practice of trail running can be endless ... But without a doubt, a highly enjoyable activity like few should not be spoiled by things not strictly related to one foot being followed by the other enjoying the environment … As only in the mountains is it possible.