As our landscape prepares to unveil its rich autumn colours, trail running is the perfect activity for observing the breathtaking change of seasons.
Trail running can be as simple as going for a leisurely run on our many mountain trails, or can mean taking on a challenge and pushing yourself to new heights.
Stabilizing muscles on the run
Trail running differs from road running due to the irregularity of the terrain, the unevenness, and the proximity to nature. Distance and difficulty vary according to the trail. While any form of running is an excellent activity to develop and improve your cardiovascular capacity, trail running requires more muscular endurance, coordination, and proprioception.
Running or walking on uneven surfaces require constant adaptation of the ankles and feet. With prolonged practice, we develop and improve our ability to recruit our stabilizing muscles as well as our proprioception, which is the perception of locating oneself in space.
The most stressed stabilizing muscles are obviously those of the ankle. However, the stabilizing muscles of the trunk and hips are also engaged to keep the runner balanced on irregular and uneven terrain. Indeed, the changing elevation has much more impact on the muscles than on the cardiovascular load.
During both the ascent and the descent, the muscles of our legs are much more solicited than on flat, smooth ground, increasing our muscularstrength- production capacity.
Prepare before you run
As the physical demands of trail running are specific, a good activation of your stabilizing muscles is essential before attacking trails or running up a mountainside. The goal is to practice stability on one leg. For example, perform leg swings, heel raises and side hops as part of your warm-up.
Immerse yourself in all of the colours of nature this fall. It will benefit your body as well as your soul.