Near Mountain Speer
Running off the Beaten Track...
that's Trail Running: a great way to experience nature and a superior workout.
The steep and wild flanks of local mountain Uetliberg (Webcam)
offer great possibilities to the avid trail runner.
You will find it hard to believe that you are still right next to the city.
October to March is especially great for Trail Running in Zurich because you are allowed to run over the meadows and because the woods let in more sunlight and last but not least: Running through fresh snow is great fun!
Example of a Trail Run
|Start||Utoplatz (Sihlcity Shopping Mall)|
|Finish||Train Station Triemli|
|Track Length||5.8 miles (9.3 km)|
|Total Ascent||1840 feet (560 m)|
|Total Descent||1640 feet (500 m)|
| Elevation Profile
|Character||Mainly single trails on forest soil with steep, technical and exposed sections. For experienced runners.|
For technical trails it's highly recommended to use Trail Running Shoes. They have
not only a grippy outsole but also a more flat, less cushioned
midsole and provide therefore great control on difficult terrain.
Waterproof/breathable socks keep your feet dry and warm in wet and cold conditions.
Award winning Roclite 315 trail shoe from Inov-8 15 CHF
Waterproof/breathable socks from Seal Skinz 5 CHF
Trail Running Knowledge
Scott Jurek on pelvis position and running uphill
Core stability and a neutral pelvis position is a key aspect of an efficient and healthy running style. With a stable and centered pelvis I feel that I'm able to use my leg and butt muscles better and that I have more power to push me forward.
Next to strong core muscles it is also important that they work together in a coordinated way. You can improve the coordination very good with a balancing disc.
Scott Jurek on switching from road to trail running, fear of ankle sprain, strides etc.
Important is also that you're looking on the trail before you, say 2 to 4 meters and have repeatedly quick looks further away to see what's coming next.
You can minimize the danger of spraining your ankles with exercises that strengthen you ankles and increase their proprioceptive ability. As a further measure you can tape your ankle.
I run for several years now and I'm still learning. Here are a few lines of what I'm currently thinking about:
They say running is healthy. For the cardiovascular system that is undoubtedly
true, for the rest of the body it's rather not. Running a marathon for example
is not healthy at all because the overall effect of a marathon is catabolic
(degrading). In a "normal" endurance run the muscles
are also just partially built up (anabolic). Unused muscles degrade (are used for
energy). Many people have a bad running style because they have not enough
muscular strength to do better. Endurance runs - because of the long and monotonous training stimuli
- reduce further more the ability for speed and
An additional muscle and coordination training is therefore highly recommended for two reasons:
1. To compensate the one sided stimuli of running.
2. To make your body strong enough for running with a good technique.
Next to "ordinary" endurance runs I do regular body core training, barefoot running sessions, Running-ABC units, fartleks, balance board exercises and - of course - stretching. Every 3rd day I go on the "Vita Parcours" and do the strength (core and upper body) workouts. The effects are very positive:
- an active running style that is easy on the joints
- more (strength) endurance, less fatigue, faster recovery.
- a better body feeling and more fun!
Human and animal children are in this respect for me a role model. Their natural urge to move ensures that their strength, speed, flexibility and coordination do develop optimally. Children play and do not make endurance runs!
So, dare you to move on to something more childlike and playful again and offer your body and mind more varied (training) stimuli!
I'm currently experimenting with a running technique I found on a video about Tony Krupicka, one of the most sucessfull Ultra Trail Runners. I would describe his running style as follows:
-The upper body is fully vertical.
-The whole buddy is low to the ground (bended knees)
-The stride candence is fairly high (short strides).
New for me is the fully vertical upper body position and to be lower to the
ground as usual. I think this style has 2 major advantages: 1) Through the
upright upper body position the big and strong but muscles and the hamstring
muscles are more engaged. 2) The short strides and the low to the ground
level give you very little impact.
All in all I think it's a very efficient running style because the tiring dampening work for the muscles is decreased while more muscles are engaged in accelerating you forward.
The main muscle work when running is acceleration and damping (=opposite of
acceleration). While acceleration is the natural mode for your "moving" muscles,
damping is not and much more strainful for the muscles fibers and the main
reason for sore muscles. The secret of efficient running lies therefore in increasing the acceleration
work and minimizing the dampening work for your muscles.
So how do you do that?
The key elements are:
1. A short stride: The front foot touches the ground below or slightly in front of you (depends on your running speed). This way you dont have to "overrun" your front leg which means very little impact and natural acceleration because gravity is pulling you forward. You can test the "gravity thing" by placing your feet behind each other. Now lift your rear foot: Gravity will pull you backwards. Now lift your front foot: gravity will pull you forward.
2. The foot touches the ground on mid/forefoot. This way more joints and muscles are involved in the accelerating and dampening work.
and most important:
3. Acceleration starts with pushing your front leg actively down and back BEFORE (!) it touches the ground.
This way your leg muscles are in accelerating mode while landing and therefore overcome the impact of landing much better.
You can practise point 3 very good when running up or down some stairs.
My newest purchase are a pair of Vibram FiveFingers "Sprint". I bought them so I can keep doing my barefoot running sessions during winter time. Since the prices for VFF's in Switzerland are a joke (198 swiss francs!) I bought them on ebay from a seller in the US - not a counterfeit of course. I have invested a lot of thoughts in getting the right fit and size and followed the Vibram recommendations. I have rather small feet and the length is 25,5 cm so I finally bought the women's size 41 which is a bit smaller then the men's version and 25.72 cm in length. Lucky my, I hit the spot: Length and width are perfect (and I found a pair in black not pink ;-). I wear the VFF with Injinji toesocks. Running in the VFF feels really like running barefoot but with added protection against the environment. I think the "Sprint" model is perfect for my barefoot sessions which are basically continuous running on lawns for about 15 minutes at different speeds an usually some footwork at the end.