RaceCenter Northwest Magazine August/September 2011 : Page 37

Scanning and Leg Turnover On the trail, you have to focus on what’s in front of you. Constantly scan 40 yards ahead, then back to what’s in front of you and repeat. If you’ve ever skied or mountain biked, it’s the same idea— picking a line. As you’re scanning the upcoming trail, you’ll also be varying your leg turnover and stride length, and making small lateral moves. navigation. Strong trail running technique is all about varying your leg speed and stride length both forward and side to side in order successfully navigate the more technical sections of the trail. Hills Drop your hips slightly, and be ready to make quick side to side adjustments as the trail winds... Drop your hips slightly, and be ready to make quick side to side adjustments as the trail winds or you come across a rock-strewn section that needs One of the first things you’ll notice when venturing onto trails is that the hills can sometimes get quite steep. When running uphill, don’t slouch or bend at the waist. Shorten and quicken your stride, and stand tall with good posture. Pick up your feet and pump your arms. The more you run hills, the easier they get. Once you reach the top, it’s all downhill from there—my favorite. On the downhill, gravity gives you a gift and it’s time to use it. Lean forward from the ankles, use your arms to help keep your balance, and concentrate on your cadence (think quick feet). This will help you avoid overstriding so you can more quickly make micro-adjustments when you come across unexpected turns and obstacles in your path. So, slip on those squeaky clean running shoes and go get them dirty. Giddyup. About the Author Jeff Browning (aka Bronco Billy) is an expert trail runner. Logging nearly two thousand miles per year on trails, he has used the techniques and tricks outlined above to hurdle a marmot while descending off a mountain at top speed. Of course, he also has plenty of scars from those less successful descents. You can follow him on his blog at www.gobroncobilly.com. < Running with a partner is always a good idea, and when trekking extended distances, always carry along the items you will need. TOP 5 RULES OF THE TRAIL Run on open trails Respect trail closures. Ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. TAKING RAC PHOTOGRAPHY TO NEW HEIGHT www. myEPevents .com Leave no trace Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other running options. Stay on existing trails and don’t cut switchbacks. Pack out what you pack in. Yield appropriately Let other trail users know you’re coming — a friendly “hello.” Runners yield to horses, and bikers yield to runners. Never scare animals Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Plan ahead Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you’re running. If going by yourself, let someone know where you’re going and for how long. august/september 2011 37 r ac ec ent er . c om KEVIN ARNOLD

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