Skyrunning, with its breathtaking sceneries and challenging trails, is maybe the most demanding discipline in the realm of trail running. Navigating technical terrain found in Skyraces requires more than just physical fitness; it demands technical skills. Whether you’re a seasoned Skyrunner or you’re planning to run your first race, mastering the specificities of the terrain can improve your performance and safety. 

Here are five essential tips from our training partner Vert.run, the #1 app for trail runners, to help you run your Skyrunning race with confidence:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice: 

There’s no easy way to say this: there’s really no substitute for time spent on the trails. Regular practice in technical terrain is essential for perfecting your skills and building confidence. Specific training sessions (or simply jogs) on rocky, uneven surfaces, and steep hills teach your brain and your body to run on those surfaces. Over time, you will understand your strengths and weaknesses: maybe you’re better uphill, downhill or good on transitions. The more familiar you become with technical terrain, the better equipped you’ll be to tackle it on race day.

  1. Ankle Strength for Stability: 

Ankle strength is crucial when tackling steep ascents, descents, and unpredictable terrain. Include exercises that target the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, such as calf raises, ankle rotations, and single-leg balance exercises, in your strength training routine. (Note: when you train with Vert.run, the Official Training Partner of the Skyrunner World Series, these routines are already built into your training plan–so you won’t even have to worry about it.) Building robust ankle stability will enhance your ability to negotiate uneven surfaces and maintain control, reducing the likelihood of twists. It will also help you to be more confident at each step. Lucky for you, our training partner Vert.run, the #1 training app for trail runners, includes weekly strength training in all their Skyrunning training programs. 

  1. Adapt Your Stride: 

Adapt your stride to the demands of the terrain. When running downhill, avoid overstriding, because this can increase the risk of injury and decrease efficiency. Instead, focus on maintaining a shorter, quicker stride to improve control and stability. Be mindful of your foot placement, watching out for rocks and other obstacles that could trip you up. By adapting your stride to the terrain, you can navigate technical sections more effectively and reduce the risk of accidents.

  1. Train Your Eyes: 

“Your feet go where you look when running downhill.” You should train your eyes to scan the trail ahead and anticipate obstacles, and avoid fixating on your feet. By focusing on the path ahead, you will naturally improve your balance and agility over obstacles. By training your vision to anticipate the terrain, you can react more quickly to changes and maintain a smooth, efficient stride.

  1. Choosing the Right Shoes: 

Last tip: selecting the appropriate footwear is crucial for tackling technical terrain. Opt for trail running shoes with aggressive lugs and a good fit to provide traction and stability on rugged terrain. You can also consider the terrain’s specific challenges—whether it’s rocky, muddy, or steep—and choose appropriate shoes for the different courses you will have to tackle. The shoes can make a significant difference in your performance and confidence on the trails.

Mastering technical terrain, be it in trail running or Skyrunning, requires a combination of strength, technical skills and confidence. By incorporating these five tips into your training and race-day strategy, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges of technical terrain. If you don’t know where to start in your training, there are plenty of training plans and Skyrunning plans in the Vert.run app to help you become a better runner!


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