Lizzy Strauss discovered trail in 2012 after getting into adventure sport through multisport.
Let yourself go
Just enter your first race and go for it. Take your time, forget your pace, and enjoy the scenery. Then train a little more to make the next one easier. The more you enjoy the trails, the faster you’ll improve on them.
– Nicolette Griffioen South African Ultra Trail and Long Distance Trail champion
Train on the terrain
If you’re doing a race longer than two hours, you need to do lot of long runs to be able to run the distance. Spend some time in the mountains to get used to the terrain. This is vital. There’s no short-cut for these longer races.
– Thabang Madiba Four Peaks Mountain Challenge record holder, international racer
Determine the profile
Some trail runs are fast and the technical sections are short and sweet. Other trail runs can include mammoth climbs and technical descents. My husband Iain and I find that trail runs should always be looked at in terms of finishing times (rather than distance) as this gives you a more accurate idea of the fitness you need.
– Su Don-Wauchope Mountain runner with Giant’s Cup Trail, Otter African Trail Run, Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge, and many other wins
Grey for guidance
It’s a mind game to go long distance. You need to control your body via your mind: the longer the distance the more the mind matters.
– Victor TheHunter Gugushe Southern Cross stage race winner
Be prepared for the route challenges in the late kilometres, as that is where enormous time gains and losses occur. Hold back a bit in the first hour, and have a strict, regular fuelling plan to ensure that you’re not running on empty later on – try for 200 calories per hour. (That’s the equivalent of two bananas.) Relax and enjoy the scenery and the company of the other runners.
– Andrew Hagen former Platteklip Gorge Descent record holder, and three-time winner of Three Peaks Challenge
Slowly condition your body over a considerable time period to avoid overuse and other injuries. Make sure that you train on similar terrain as the race you are planning to run.
– Landie Greyling Winner of Otter African Trail Run, Ultra-trail Cape Town 100km and 65km, and other local and international races
Read TRAIL magazine issue 13 for more tips.