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Event Specific Training

Event Specific Training

Up hill, down hills, walking, pacing, single track, equipment,food,water, recovery drinks,clothing,shoes and anything you plan to use as per event. The more trail running you can do the better, roads are good if you have nothing else but try to get on the trails as often as possible, I know we don’t live in France or Spain where we just have mountains in our back yard!

If you have a specific run in mind that you want to do, then you should include as much similar terrain as possible in your training runs and it should be at a similar pace to the pace you will go in the event. As well as uphill and downhill training, it should include single track, rocks, tree roots, mud, sand, water or anything else you will encounter on the event. You should also train at a similar pace. If you plan to do some fast walking, then practice fast walking in the middle of your runs. This will both strengthen your walking muscles and teach your body to swap between walking and running during an event.


Similarly, you should train with the equipment that you are going to use during the event. In particular, if you are going to carry a pack during the event, then practice carrying it during your training and have it loaded to a similar level. Also, you should practice with the same clothing, shoes and socks that you will wear during the event. This will both get you used to your equipment and test out that everything is comfortable and properly fitting. Drinking and eating should be practiced on the run, and the particular foods and drinks that you plan to use should be tested. Having said this, it is also worth noting that it can be a good idea to occasionally not eat during a long run to maximize your fat adaptation. However, make sure that you carry some food for when you hit the wall during the run.

Training to run downhill is worth mentioning specifically. Running downhill is a form of eccentric exercise in which your muscles are lengthening at the same time as they are providing force. This is very stressful on the legs, particularly the quads and calves, and results in minor muscle damage. The good news is that the muscles adapt very quickly to this type of exercise and will make major improvements in strength with just 1 or 2 downhill sessions a week. When first starting some downhill training, you should be very careful not to overdo it!( You might get some ITB :) or NOT! ) However, this training is essential if your event includes a substantial amount of downhill running. Your training should also be specific to the type of downhill. Running down stairs, running down steep rocky slopes and fast running down gentle descents all put different stresses on the legs and you should train for them specifically.

Tip – Never use any food or drink on race day that you have not tested in a long run! This could end your race very quickly…


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Pieter Steyn

Founder at Ultrarunner_ZA
Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.
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Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.


  1. Event Specific Training | Run On Trails - […] By Pieter Steyn […]

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