Trail running session

This is a perfect session for not only improving your overall running endurance and strength, specific to trail running, but it also gets you out on terrain you are likely to encounter in a Trail running event.  In an ideal world, you live on the footsteps of your chosen running event and get to train on the course a number of times before the event. However this isn’t necessarily the best way to prepare for your event or even practical at all for most people. Then there is the time. To get the required strength in the areas of your legs that will need it most in the longer events – you would have to do a lot of long trail running, but this will also sacrifice speed. So adding a Trail interval session into the mix is going to help.


Session Plan

Total time 90 Minutes

Warm-up – 5 to 10 minutes easy running.

Sand Fartlek –  1minute on/1 minute off (times 4), 45 seconds on/45 seconds off (times 4), 30 seconds on/30 seconds off times 4.

3 minute break

5-minute stair/hill runs (approximately)

Easy jog back

3 minute break

REPEAT one more time


The benefits of Overload training

There are very few Trail runs that are flat, that’s part of the excitement and challenge, therefore you need to be able to run up and down hills, up and down stairs effectively (without “blowing up”) to run anywhere near your potential. In this particular session you are building excellent leg strength in the sand due to the added resistance (in a much shorter timeframe then you would get just running) and then challenging yourself to be able to run the stairs and hill before having a short recovery break

How Do You Perform The Session To Your Potential?

Firstly this depends on your level of running; however the easy running gets you ready for the hard session ahead. You may even throw in some running drills and run throughs (Short 10 second fast running efforts) to make your warm-up even more effective and dynamic. Then on your chosen patch of sand run either out and back or in a circuit in soft sand aiming to drive hard in the “ON” and easier in the “OFF”.  After the sand component, run the circuit. Ideally it includes stairs and or hills and aim for 5 minutes of hard running. At the top, turn back and take it easy before repeating the entire session.

In the Fartlek – ideally you can run for the full duration (even though the session plan says on/off. The ‘on’ should be run at your Tempo pace target and the ‘off’ at your long run effort target, so the off is slower in speed and easier in intensity).

If you are fit and do this well, you will complete the entire effort without having to walk and all the “Ons “ and “Offs” should be run at the same place. That’s why we warm-up well before the start.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, knowing that you may not be able to hold that “On pace” on all of the “On efforts” just yet, but over time you should be able to work at this pace deeper and deeper into the set. Likewise; reduce the on effort times and the total number or reps building up to this, as you get stronger and fitter, it’s HARD!

Advanced runners with a good degree of leg conditioning will be able to run back down hard before a recovery of approximately three minutes before repeating the set.

If you need help please feel free to get in touch.

Some tips from coach to help run this session well

  • Do it with someone else
  • Record your times for future comparison
  • Finish by getting into the water post session
  • If your event requires a hydration vest “WEAR IT” with the same weight at least that you will take event day.
  • Take the next day easy (if running is scheduled again in your plan), you need to recover between hard sessions.

See Yourself Improve Over Time

There are many variations to this session that you may adjust to work for you, you may need to start with a smaller effort after the Fartlek session and you may need to walk in the off and in the effort. All of that is fine. But logging how you felt and the length and times of the efforts will help you monitor your improvement over time. Add this session together with your other weekly runs and come event day, you’re going to be fitter and stronger.

So how do you best prepare?

Over the course of the future episodes, Vlad Shatrov will share with you the specific techniques, which can be incorporated into your run training to make you your ultimate Trail runner.

Vlad Shatrov of Runlab has developed a specific interval based trail running offering  “mytrailgroup”. In its first ever offering in October 2016 runners have been exposed to challenging sessions in beautiful terrain able to learn the techniques that will help them come race day. “Whilst I’ve had the desire to offer this for quite a while – there was nothing like it out there and I’ve had to go away research, practice and design along with Adam Clarke of UpnAdam performance coaching, the best techniques to teach this to those runners looking to add this particular set of skills to their repertoire”