Training for Trail Running Races

Trail running gives runners a different challenge and another way to test themselves and their endurance.  Trail running is far different than running on paved city streets and training for races differs a great deal too.  It does have a softer terrain that lowers the risk of injury, but it is exhausting initially and you can take twice as long to cover the same amount of distance.  It won’t take you long to find your rhythm, now let’s get down to training for trail running races.

Use Your Arms

Running uphill is HARD, but you can get more power by pumping your arms from your hips towards your shoulders.  You need to keep the elbows wider than normal.  This will help you maintain your balance when you are running downhill.  Keep the shoulders relaxed and chest wide open so you can fully expand your lungs and get as much oxygen as possible.

Focus is Everything

Just like any other competitive sport, focus is everything.  Look in front of you and find a way through the terrain.  Running on city streets gives you the luxury of being able to look around and take in the scenery, trail running does not.  You can take the time to appreciate the scenery when the trail is flat and straight.

Get Stronger

Marathon running is all about endurance, trail running requires balance and agility on the uneven terrain. Training is going to require different exercises to build the muscles in your legs and make you more agile.  Try doing some single leg balance exercises, where you practice standing on one foot for 35-45 seconds at a time.  After that you can move onto single leg squats.  This is where you do squats on only one leg instead of your legs being hip distance apart.  Try also taking a plyometrics class at your local gym it will also help you build power and agility.  Here are some other exercises to help you.

Run the Trails

The best place to train for a trail race is actually on the trail itself.  If that is possible, then plan to run the trails at least once or twice per week while the rest of the time you run on the roads.  It will help you develop the endurance for the trail and let you know where everything is, where the hills are and the obstacles.  If you’re new to trail running, then start training on a groomed trail in your local park and move to a more difficult trail.

Running Trails on the East Coast

While there are plenty of trails to go running along the west coast if you’re next vacation or business trip takes you to the east coast you can find some great trails there too.   In the state of Massachusetts there is more than 1,500 miles of coastline that changes from white sandy beaches to rocky bluffs along the route.  Let us show you some of the amazing trails along the east coast.

North Shore

Halibut Point State Park: This is a Department of Conservation and Recreation property that gives you some incredible ocean views, it runs from Crane Beach all the way to Mount Agamenticus in Maine.   If you’re used to running on the west coast in California then be wary of running in the winter in New England.

Misery Islands:  There 2.5 miles of trail that run through open meadows, historic ruins, woodlands and of course the coast.  These are private islands that you can get to from the Sea Shuttle or with a private boat.


Boston Harbor Islands National Park:  With more than 34 islands and the mainland peninsula and the area is managed by the federal, state and local governments you have lots of options to explore.  If you want to run by a lighthouse or historic fort, they are there.  There are beautiful views of Boston Harbor and if you’re in Boston for any length of time then you have to try running here.

Boston Harborwalk:  You have 43 miles of waterfront with public parks, art displays, restaurants and museums along the route.  While this is a great area to run, you need to remember that this is a prime tourist area so running in the afternoon or at lunchtime may not be your best option.  For you early morning runners you are going to love the Harborwalk.  Get a good pair of running shoes, this is a concrete and paved trail.

South Shore

North River Wildlife Sanctuary:  If you want to connect with nature then these 2 miles of trails through marshes, woodlands and a red maple swamp.  It is easily accessible and if you make your way to the North River you might even catch a glimpse of harbor seals.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park: There are paths, benches and views of Plymouth Harbor and this park is the home of the historic Plymouth Rock.  You can check out the Mayflower II, when it is finished repairs next year.  If you want to run through a piece of history then this is the place you want to be.

Runners are incredibly passionate and they can take that passion and use it to see the world around them while maintaining a healthy habit.

Running Through Central California

Running Through Central California

For the avid runner, finding and discovering new trails is part of the fun, running while you’re traveling can be a bit of a challenge but you’re up to it.  Running anywhere along the west coast is a fantastic experience, with spectacular views of the ocean and breathing in the fresh salty air…well, there is nothing quite like it.  The central coast of California, while often overlooked is one of the better trails in the state.  Where can you go running through central California?  Let’s explore your options.

Highway 1

Highway 1 and the trails in the communities along this scenic route are iconic.  This is an ideal destination for your next running vacation, you can balance your running with the relaxing activities that surround the region.  You can not only replenish your body but your spirit as well.  There are plenty of destinations along this route include Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay just to name a few.  You can stop at any or all of them.

Finding the Best Trail

Your local hotel concierge is always a great resource to find out where to run, I promise you won’t be the first one to ask.  You can find good runs, not the city sidewalks that have too much traffic.  You can also look for local running clubs on social media or on the internet.  Ask them where they go running and you will find some great trails slightly off the beaten path.

There are apps you can download onto your smart phone which will show you the most frequently used trails in your particular area.  These apps are perfect for the frequent traveler who loves running.  They will also tell you interesting facts like the fastest times along the route.  You can also check out the local sporting goods store for some good trails.

Recommended Runs

There are lots of great runs here but here are some that you should absolutely try out.  Let’s start with Black Hill, this is a 3 mile trail that goes through Morro Bay State Park.  If you prefer the beach then there is a half marathon that goes “Rock to Pier” it goes from the Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier and you can check out miles of beautiful beaches, try and do the run at low tide.  There are still other runs between Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo with beaches and hills and some incredible scenery.

Central California is often overlooked as a tourist destination but for the running tourist you need to check it out.