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Tips for running a Trail Race!
If you are running a trail race or preparing for one then keep the following tips in mind before you hit the trails:
Get the Right Gear
Since the trails in Hong Kong are a mix of paved and dirt/rocky trails, it can be challenging to find the proper shoes which can tackle all types of terrain. You should opt for the shoes which have the right amount of cushioning and traction without sacrificing breathability or comfort.
Runners need to take precautions when running in Hong Kong’s unpredictable weather as it may change drastically in a matter of seconds.
Here are some tips to bear in mind when selecting your outfit:
Avoid wearing cotton when running because it holds your sweat and doesn't dry quickly, which can lead to chafing. Synthetic fabrics (such as CoolMax or Dri-Fit) wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.
Although the weather may seem warm & dry on the ground, it may get pretty chilly and wet when you’re 2000ft above sea level so a windproof jacket can come in handy. The jacket should protect you against wind and moisture (rain) at the same time allowing both heat and moisture to escape so as to prevent both overheating and chilling. If you do not wear a jacket, it's a good idea to wear an outer layer with a zipper so that you can easily regulate your temperature by zipping up and down.
Don't wear 100% cotton socks during your runs. Your feet will most likely be sweating a lot and cotton tends to keep your feet wet which can lead to blisters. Look for synthetic blends such as those made from polyester, acrylic, or CoolMax, which are best at wicking away moisture.
Fuel up before & during the Race!
Before the race
When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. You don't want to eat immediately before running because it may lead to cramping or side stitches. But running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy and leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic during your runs. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1.5 to 2 hours before you start running. Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein.
It's important to make sure you're well-hydrated during the few days leading up to your long run. An hour before you start your run, try to drink about 16 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. Stop drinking at that point, so that you can void extra fluids and prevent having to stop to go to the bathroom during the race. To make sure you're hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start.
During the race
A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40 to 45 minutes after that. You may need more depending on your size and speed, so make sure you carry an extra one or two gels (or energy bars or other food). If you feel hungry or low on energy, you can definitely consume calories "off-schedule".
The current advice about running and hydration is very simple -- try to drink to thirst. Scientific evidence says that drinking when you're thirsty can help prevent under-hydrating (which can lead to dehydration) and over-hydrating, which can lead to hyponatremia (low blood salt level due to abnormal fluid retention). If you're looking for a general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during your runs: You should take in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. Runners running faster than 8-minute miles should drink 6 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes.
Run Safely on the Trail!
Keep your head up and look ahead –- about 10 to 20 feet in front of you. Try not to look down at your feet, so you can see what's coming. Not only is this important for your safety, it's also proper running form. This is especially important when running on trails, where you can hit obstacles such as rocks, roots, logs and branches.
Shorter strides on downhill
Many falls occur on the downhill, so be extra careful when running downhill. Control your speed and keep your head up, so you can avoid obstacles and don't lose your footing. Although it's tempting to really open up your stride on the downhill, that's how some runners end up losing control and falling. Keep your stride short and stay in control. Be especially careful if you're running on a downhill with loose gravel, a particularly treacherous combination for runners. A trekking or hiking pole can provide you more stability on trails and uneven terrain.
Carry a headlamp
If you’re doing a long distance race, then there might be chances that the sun sets before you reach the finish line. It’s always important to carry a headlamp so you can run safely and efficiently.
Carry a whistle – in case there’s a mishap then you can at least blow some noise for help.
This article is for information purposes only and Escapade Group cannot be held responsible for any liability arising from reliance upon the whole or any part of its contents. Seek advice from a professional if in doubt.