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In trail running races, improving speed in the faster sections allows you to gain positions. To take advantage of this opportunity, however, it is necessary both to train on the basic speed on the flat and to become more effective on undulating sections and descents, quickly adapting your stride and your running biomechanics to the profile of the track and type of terrain.

What are the athletic qualities and types of training to focus on?

First of all, you should develop your Maximum Aerobic Speed, a very important value because it indicates the athlete’s aerobic abilities and, consequently, the distances over which you can achieve best results. The improvement of the Maximum Aerobic Speed is obtained by training on the intensities between 90% and 100% of the reference value.

The Maximum Aerobic Speed can be calculated:

  1. in a laboratory with an incremental test that records running speed and Vo2max
  2. with Field Tests (Among which we mention: Veronique Billat’s 6-minute Test; Cooper’s 12-minute Test

The following training sessions are an example of the type of work that goes into a training cycle for an advanced Ultra Trail Runner, mainly during the Preparatory Period.

Training session for Trail Running at 90-100% Maximum Aerobic Speed

  1. On the Flat: 4 x (5 x 45″ at 100%/1′ slow recovery run)/ 3′ slow recovery run between the sets
  2. On the Flat: 4 x 4′ at 90%/ slow recovery run 3′ in between
  3. Uphill: 8-12 x 100mt (8% gradient) at 100%/slow recovery run downhill in between
  4. Uphill: 8-10 x 200mt (8% gradient) at 95%/slow recovery run downhill in between

The preparation will be completed with specific sessions dedicated to improving the effectiveness of running biomechanics, athletic gesture and feet support. Some examples of these training sessions are: gaits, jumps and ups and downs on stairs.

Lastly, you must also work on the rest of the aerobic system  consistently, starting with resistance, which is fundamental for obtaining optimal anaerobic threshold levels. Remember that it is important to concentrate this type of training especially in the preparatory period and away from competitions. Don’t forget to vary the number of sessions according to the level of training and your age and physical condition.

If you have doubts about the intensity or how to manage the effort, rely on a good heart rate monitor and your feelings.

Learn more about the heart rate monitor and heart rate based workouts? Click here: TIPS FOR TRAINING WITH THE HEART RATE MONITOR

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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.