Posted on April 21, 2017
Running to the course: advice for your best performance at the Summer Trail Series
Did you sign up for any of this year’s races in Trail Run Manitoba’s Summer Trail Series? Are you hoping to race competitively or set a personal best? Joel, Alain and I wanted to share our advice for what to expect from our courses.
- Take advantage of the first 200m
Each of our three races starts on a road, then racers are ushered onto twisting singletrack trails for the remainder of the race. If you can enter the trail section in your anticipated finishing position, you’ll have less passing to do on narrow trails. That being said, you will also have an obligation to let faster runners pass you on the trails. If you start too fast, don’t be an obstruction to people who want to get around you later in the race.
- Know how water stations work at trail races
Unlike a road race, you can’t just throw your used cups on the ground at water stations. You’ll need to stop for long enough to deposit your cup in a garbage bag. If that will slow you down too much, you can skip the water station (depending on the distance you’re running) or carry your own water.
- Avoid wrong turns
Sure, that’s easier said than done. We do a lot of work to maintain and mark the course, but we did have one trail marker get knocked down during Race #3 in 2016. Going off course is almost a rite of passage in trail running, but it does hurt your chances for setting a new personal best. Ideally, take a look at our course maps before the race. Get a general sense of the shape of the course. Don’t rely on the runner ahead of you to do all of the navigating.
If you have any course-specific questions, you can ask Alain, our race co-director who developed our routes. This isn’t to suggest you have to run hard to have fun at our races. Runners typically have different goals and motivations for running, but – in my biased opinion – our shared passion for running and spending time outside make it fun for us to come together for races like these.