For those who like to run in natural routes- jungles, hills, mountains, small villages, Jonathan Wyatt, a 8 times World Mountain Grand Prix champion has to share:
1. Shoes- trail/ off-road shoes instead of running shoes
- are more suitable for trail running compared to the normal running shoes because on uneven ground, it allows the foot to be stable and prevents you from twisting your ankles
- Lean forward when running uphill
- use the arms to give momentum and take small steps and find a good rhythm
- starting too fast will cause lactic acid buildup in the muscles and it gets harder to run from then on
- stay relaxed and don’t lean backwards when going down the hill
- if you think you are running out of control too fast, jump up- it’ll slow you down. Don’t lean backward and brake because you’ll lose your momentum
- Wyatt does leg press and squats to give his hamstrings and quadricep (front and back of the thighs) more force but he does not emphasize on building muscles because he does not want to carry that weight when running uphill
- advice to those prone to ankle twists or sprains- exercise on wobble boards to improve coordination and strengthen ankles
- he runs daily for up to 3 hours and covers over 150km a week. As competition nears, training got more intense and he does 8 reps of 3 miutes sprints up and down hills (sprints improve fitness levels because you work on your anaerobic capacity, ie your muscles exerts without oxygen being delivered fast enough to it)
He really has passion for running. As this sport is not glamourised- and so it does not come with luxractive cash prizes or endorsement deals that other athletes gets, it is genuine passion that kept him going for 25 years. He has his own design business to pay his bills (as he is an architect by training).
This article is from The Star paper, published on 21 November 09: Off Road Running Tips.