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Why I love running trails during the running offseason

Paul Newsham trails scaled

Why I love running trails during the running off season

With Doug James, intraining Physiotherapist, Podiatrist and Runner.

Trail running is a great way to maintain, or even improve your running training during the road running offseason.
With fewer road running events between October and March each year, it’s easy to let your training slip, however being consistent with your running over the offseason can offer great benefits to the following season.
Why I love Trail running

I love trail running because it offers a change of scenery to the usual foot paths that I run on. There is a sense of peace and tranquillity that can be felt when running in a forest, where you can run for miles without seeing another person. Trail running has helped me to learn to ignore my GPS watch (the slower pace can be depressing!), switch off my ipod and just enjoy the run. I particularly enjoy trails during summer days as they tend to have good shade and offer an escape from the Brisbane heat.

How Trail Running Can Help You

pomona trail

Trail running can benefit your road running in a lot of ways. While initially challenging (and possibly daunting) undulating terrain can help improve your leg strength and fitness. The impact forces felt on trails are often less, and the varying terrain and surfaces encountered can help reduce the risk of some overuse injuries. Trail running can help to reenergise your road running as the change in scenery can also help keep running from feeling stale and repetitive.

Stay Injury Free off road

While trail running offers a host of benefits, care should be taken with running downhill as this can contribute to a number of knee injuries including the dreaded ITB syndrome. Increasing hill running too quickly can also lead to Achilles and knee tendon injuries. Extra care is also needed as there is a greater risk of spraining your ankle due to the uneven terrain, particularly in low light conditions. Be alert and attentive to these niggles because you want to not only enjoy your summer season of running but have your body ready to go when the new running season kicks in for 2019.
An early visit to the physiotherapist that keep you on track sooner than trying to run through any niggles or injuries you may get from the trails.

Stay motivated with a plan

Some runners need events to train for to keep their motivation. Thankfully there are now a decent number of trail running events around south east Queensland. During summer the intraining Running & Triathlon Club often take to the trails for the Sunday long run. Many trails around Brisbane don’t require specialised shoes, but if you are a serious trail runner, the intraining Running Centre offers a great selection of trail running shoes and accessories to enhance your run.
If you are keen to focus your training on one of the trail running events, it’s worth seeing an intraining coach through the intraining Running Injury Clinic to develop a plan to get you race ready.

Now that the road season has finished why not hit the trails for a change of scenery.


Paul Newsham shares his storyPaul Newsham trails scaled

“During the past four years of road running I’ve endured a significant injury each year resulting in more downs than ups. Earlier this year after being sidelined for just under a year, I decided that I would give running one last shot before converting my running singlets into sleep vests.

I thought about changing my approach and decided that I would give cross country a go which I really enjoyed and have more recently progressed into trails. Trails have reminded me of all the fun I had when I used to run cross country in high school in England. Getting drenched, climbing crazy steep hills, erratically dodging rocks on steep down hills and ultimately feeling freedom and peace.

This is what has invigorated me to set bigger goals.   Since then I have been joining the intraining team at the SEQ Trail run series and have entered the Gold Coast 50.   My family and I are to run the 50km in the relay. My leg is the 30km which will be the longest run to date and I’m so excited.

Then it happened.  Two weeks ago, whilst at training, setting off on my 1km time trial I felt a little click/pop in my left calf.  No pain at all and so slight that I still completed the time trial (one second off my PB).

A brief conversation with coach Margot suggested that I should not hesitate to check in with intraining’s physiotherapist, Doug James. Normally I would have soldiered on and ignored the discomfort, but this time I was determined to act quickly, to avoid long periods of time out of training and racing and try to sort this out immediately.  Doug highlighted a low-grade calf tear, but as a result of early intervention and following his advice of one week’s rest, and moderated return to running,  I am now confident the GC 50 will still be achievable.