Progression into trail running (for beginners)

Average Weekly Training Hours 04:45
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 04:45
Training Load By Week

This trail running course - Progression into Trail Running - is designed for runners that want to try trail running, or to transition from road to trail running. Even if you already have some experience in trail running you still will be able to learn something new from this program.

This progression will challenge you with a variety of trail running specific workouts and covers fundamental skills for efficiency on trails. When learning a new skill, it is important to start from simple running workouts and progress to more challenging ones. Follow this plan week after week, as some weeks will introduce you to exercises and workouts that will be useful in the following weeks.

Weeks and stages of the program:
1 Explore / Getting to know trails in your area
2 Efficient stride #1 / Learning to run fast = improving your running efficiency
3 Efficient stride #2 / Learning to run fast = improving your running efficiency
4 Core | Feel the power in your hips
5 Strength and Power #1 / Hills are your friends
6 Strength and Power #2 / Hills are your best friends
7 Stability / Staying stable in an unstable world
8 Uphill #1 / Flat is boring
9 Uphill #2 / Flat is boring
10 Downhill #1 / Use gravity
11 Downhill #2 / Use gravity
12 Putting it together


This program is best if:
- You have been regularly exercising (and running) for at least one year
- You feel comfortable running at least 20K per week on the road or trails
- You have tried high intensity sessions in the past
- You are currently not injured

Key stats:
Shortest and easiest week: less than 4 hours of training and 23K of running
Biggest week: 7 hours of training and 50K per week of running
Longest workout: ~20K trail run

Disclaimer:
if you don’t feel well that week or injured, don’t be afraid to skip that particular week and then resume from where you stopped.

Enjoy!

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
3.73mi
Exploring local trails

Congratulations for starting the program!

Your first task for this session is to open Google Maps and look for a park or forest near your house. Sometimes we live close to beautiful areas and parks, and do not realise how great they are for running.

If you know the that area you live in well, choose a path for this session that you’ve never tried before, and go for a 30 minute walk or run.

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
3.73mi
Exploring your body

This session is dedicated to realise which body (or running gear) parts need more training and attention.

Find another unfamiliar track in the park you discovered yesterday. During 30-40 minute run concentrate on your running and try to undersand how you feel on sudden turns, are your shoes providing enough stability for your feet, do you feel better running uphill or downhill? Knowing your body is a part of training process.

Sample Day 5
1:00:00
3.73mi
Off-track running

For this session is time to leave the trail. Spend an hour or more running / walking through the complicated forest paths with fallen trees or fields of high grass. Spend some time going straight througt the bush without a track. Feel how much extra effort is required to run and hike it. Spend at least 20-30 minutes of your session for this off-track ‘game’, and have fun!

Sample Day 5
0:10:00
Plyometrics for runners #1

Warm up for 10-20 mins (by walking or doing other aerobic activity of your choice) before doing plyometric exercises. Choose safe environment and flat surface: firm floor at home, a mat, grass field or beach sand.

Main set:
Rope Jumping (3-5 sets of 50 reps)
Double and Single Leg Hops (3 sets each side until muscles fatigue)
Squat-Jump (Rocket Squats) - 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions

Sample Day 6
0:45:00
3.11mi
Leave shoes at home

I hope there are still some energy left after your runs earlier this week.

If you have access to the beach, go running on the beach sand (barefoot or with shoes) with extended loose sand trails. Alternatively, find a grass field (football stadium is a very good option as well). Spend at least 20-30 minutes running on grass or sand, trying to identify differences of running on different terrain, and with/without shoes. This session will also condition your ankles and feet for future trail running workouts.

Sample Day 8
0:20:00
Plyometrics for runners #2

Warm up for 10-20 mins (by walking or doing other aerobic activity of your choice) before doing plyometric exercises. Choose safe environment and flat surface: firm floor at home, a mat, grass field or beach sand.

Main set:
Single leg (forward/zigzag) hops (2 sets both sides of ~10-15 hops)
Standing Long Jump (3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions)
Box Jump (3 sets of 10-15 repetitions)
Additional optional exercise: Switch Lunge (3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions)

Sample Day 9
0:40:00
3.73mi
Add speed to your running repertoire

Main part: 30min easy running + 5-10 x 100m stride-outs (approx. 15-20s)

Andrius Ramonas
|
Andrius Ramonas - Running Performance Coaching

Running Performance Coaching by coach Andrius Ramonas is here to bring you many years of expertise in competitive road and trail running, exercise physiology, nutrition and sports medicine.

I coach athletes of all levels and can offer you:

  • Online Coaching
  • Individualised and Generic Training Plans