RunMan - Trail Running 101

So you’d like to become a trail runner? :) This RunMan is a guide for women over the age of 40, who have no running experience. It’s a basic guide that takes you from zero to wonder woman in a short amount of time. The manual is the result of putting together everything that I’ve learned over the years - from experience, talking to others, observation, reading books and articles or essays posted on the Internet.

I trained my wife to go from couch to 18 KM and my good friend in her 60s to go from couch to 10 KM using the ideas in this manual. So if it can work for the both of them, it can definitely work for you!

If you just want to get started reading the manual, click here.

 

Otherwise read on for some obligatory FAQs …

I’ve never run long distances before, do you think I can run an ultra?

Yes of course. I never thought I could run over 42 KM but I have, so I believe anyone who wants to, can definitely train themselves to run any distance they’re keen on.

How should I train for a long distance trail race?

There are many answers to this question. There is no one training plan which fits everyone. It depends greatly on your condition, experience, mental approach, time available and more.

If you’re going to train for a trail race, you need to mimic the conditions of the race you plan on running. So if that means lots of elevation, then you have to train for that. The same goes for the type of terrain and climate, if you’re going to run in wet swampy terrain, then make sure you train in wet swampy terrain.

Get used to running on tired legs, when your mind is tired, when you’re hungry, thirsty, exhausted and in pain. Face these challenges and build confidence by still being able to push on and continue. That’s what an ultra is about, battling with your mind.

Any long distance race is a combination of hiking AND running. So you’ll need to train both. Preparation plays a major role in trail running. Be prepared for anything, by training for every eventuality, including thorough testing of the kind of food, drink, equipment and strategies you’ll use on race day.

What kind of shoes should I buy for running?

Shoes are a pretty subjective topic. It depends on many factors such as budget, style of running, your type of feet and the kind of terrain you prefer to run and race in. There are as many kinds of running shoes as there are conditions that you can run in, such as mud, rock, road, sand, ice and snow, and more.

The types of shoe that I have been running in include Altra Timpa, Inov8 Roclite and X Talon, Merrell Pace Glove and Trail Glove, and Vibram Five Finger Lontra waterproof shoes. I really like Inov8 shoes for grip. Altra shoes are very comfortable, and I also like the freedom and feeling I have when using Vibram Five Fingers. But you do need to train your feet and legs first to use Five Finger or any minimalist zero drop shoe, otherwise you may do a lot of unnecessary damage to your body.

Do I need a GPS?

Probably not at the beginning, if you’re starting from scratch. The first few months will take you around the block and along known pathways. Once you start hitting nature trails or start hiking in the wilderness, then a map, compass and a GPS as a back up and to record your training runs/hikes, are all necessary equipment.

How long have you been running?

My very first memory of running was when I was quite young. Our school had a sleep over and there was a race before dinner. I remember running it and coming first. After that, there were some compulsory cross country runs with obstacles. When I hit my monster teenage years, I decided that I hated running, and it was only when I got to my 40s that I started running again and fell in love with it.

What’s your favourite distance?

At the moment my favourite distance is the one I can finish :D I’m adventurous and love to attempt even the craziest distance, provided that I’m eligible and have done the training.

What kind of running do you prefer and why?

I prefer any kind of trail running out in nature, and mostly alone. I’m not a road runner and I don’t like big crowds.

Which running events do you recommend in Norway and why?

Of course as a member, I recommend all of Berghem Ultra’s events. The reason being these events are self-sufficient expeditions, and not races. You need to take everything with you and have good navigational skills. They offer the perfect balance between personal challenge, stunning scenery and respect for nature. And they don’t attract huge crowds.

Which regions in Norway do you recommend for runners who visit on holiday?

I haven’t seen that much of Norway, but having lived in Innlandet for four years, I recommend this county, as it’s home to Norway’s highest mountains. Running all or any part of the Rondanestien from Oslo to Hjerkinn is the best way of experiencing trail running Norwegian style.

Which place do you enjoy running in, and why?

I love running in forests and the mountains, as the scenery is always so varied, wild, spectacular and you never know what you may see.

Which running event do you dream of participating in?

Most events are expensive, so I like to create my own and do them alone. So the next dream event will be the one I come up with. ;)

I’d really love to run around lake Mjøsa in Norway, as well as along the Rondanestien (I’ve only hiked it) and the Lofoten peninsula. Norway is well equipped for trail runners as there are literally hundreds of nature trails open to the public. Unfortunately Australia doesn’t offer this ‘right of way’ concept, although it would benefit greatly from it.

A run from north to south Tasmania, along parts of the Tasmanian Trail and through wilderness on the Penguin Cradle Trail, Overland Track and Port Davey Track to the Western Arthurs is high on my list.

I’m very keen to do the Gone Nuts 101 KM, and was very disappointed when my van died on the way to the event.

Which has been the best running event in which you have participated and why?

I’ve enjoyed many events including the Furuberget Challenge, Stenfjellet Endurance and Berghem Ultra 2019, but the best runs have always been alone and on a trail or distance that I organised.

Even though short, I love running the Jotunheimstien between Evjemyra, Landåsbygda, Skyberg, Vesterås and then taking various hiking trails through to Skumsjøen, Raufoss, and finally to Gjøvik. It’s a very beautiful area.

Den gamle Ridevegen that connects Landåsbygda and Randsfjorden is also one of the most spectacular in Norway.