“Leave the Couch” fitness blogger, Fareed Behardien shares his top training tips ahead of the Getaway Trail Run this Sunday at Lourensford Wine Estate.

Fareed Behardien shares the experience of his first trail race

I remember my first trail race. It was an 8km fun run, but there was nothing fun about it. Back then I’d just started exercising and was able to run 10km on the road comfortably. It wasn’t fast, but it was comfortable. However, this 8km trail run had me huffing and puffing within the first kilometre and I was reduced to a quad-burning jalk (jog/walk) for the next 7km. I quickly realised that trail running is a completely different animal to road running.

It’s also the exact moment that I fell in love with the sport. Who would’ve known that suffering in the mountains was my thing? Don’t be discouraged; trail running has resulted in some of the most amazing memories for me over the last few years. Since then, I’ve completed trail races of varying distances from short 5km up to 65km.

Along the way I’ve picked up some tips that have helped me to get the most enjoyment from trail races – but I’m no expert, yet. The beauty of the sport is that you will learn something new all of the time.

Behardien’s nuggets of wisdom for your first trail race:

Research the route and (if possible) train on the course so that you are prepared both physically and mentally for anything the race organisers throw your way. Most races have course profiles available, photos from previous years or even a blogger report online of someone else’s experience. Check if there are refreshment stations along the route and at which stages into the race. That little bit of research can go a long way in helping you get race-ready.

Think safety first (funny that it’s second on this list!). Some races, especially longer distance events, require mandatory gear that is important for your safety. They are there for a reason and can help you deal with tricky situations that arise. However, if you’ve entered a shorter race with no prerequisites, it’s always a good idea to take some water, a charged mobile phone and a nutrition bar with you, just in case.

  1. Walk if you need to. It is often said that trail running is 1.5x to 2x tougher than the equivalent distance in a road race. The hills are bigger and steeper and sometimes it’s just smarter (more energy efficient) to walk than try and run up the side of a mountain. Similarly, it’s okay to walk down sections that you aren’t comfortable running down. Remember to keep your ears open for the sound of faster runners approaching and allow them to pass by standing to the side of the trail.
  2. Take in the scenery. As city slickers, it’s not often that we get the opportunity to run wild and free out in nature. Don’t forget to stop, look around and take in where you are. Even better, take a quick photo!
  3. Be happy. No one likes a grumpy trail runner, even when it gets tough out there. Chat to your fellow runners. Offer some words of encouragement. Smile even when you are suffering – it makes your photos look so much better!

Whether it’s your first 5km fun run or an ultra-distance event, there are few things better than a day out on the trails and sharing the outdoors with like-minded folk trying to be active and live a healthier lifestyle.

Event Details

Go for a 3km, 8km and 12km trail run on the final morning of the Cape Getaway Show.

Date: 2 April 2017

Cost: 12km (R120pp), 8km (R60pp), 3km – not timed (R30pp)

Start: 07h30, 07h35 and 07h40 respectively

Venue: Lourensford Wine Estate at the Cape Getaway Show

Book online: https://entrytickets.net/lourensfordapr

Source: Fareed Behardien. Images: Pixabay

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