Post-Race Rejuvenation

Editor’s note: Rachel Cieslewicz placed 15th overall in the women’s field at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship on Sept. 25 at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah. She placed fourth in the women’s 30-34 age division while her body was still recovering from a serious health condition just a month earlier.

Rachel C SnowbasinAs always, XTERRA threw down big time for Trail Run Nationals.  It was an epic amazing event, and I was exceptionally lucky to race.

During Nationals, great goals were achieved and new friendships created, all while memories of an exhilarating weekend were etched into adventurous souls.  With the race over, now what?  All of the hard work, ups and downs of preparing for the big day are in the past.  It is amazing how being driven by dreams and goals can keep us so pre-occupied.  When it is all over, is it normal to feel let down, maybe notice we are run down?

As humans, there is always ebb and flow in life. Racing is no different.  For anyone racing Nationals, it was a huge event. Training, nutrition, travel, and the race itself took an incredible amount of energy.  It was exciting!  Post-race, it is important to realize and remember that rest and decompression are just as important as the training and other race preparation.

Personally, just getting to the start line for Nationals this year was a huge push.  Just one month before, while racing a six-day stage event, I contracted E Coli. From day one I was so ill I had no business running. I made it through four slow stages and was on IV’s each day as I was so weak and dehydrated after.  I was finally sent home when I started showing signs of near kidney failure.

In the moment, I was so focused on that race that I didn’t realize how it would influence later races in the season.  I have had to take a lot of time off, work on healing and rebuilding the flora in my gut, etc.

I am fortunate I still lined up for Nationals, but it was a very slow race for my tired body.  With Trail Run Nationals finished, I am finally taking real time off.  Sleeping a lot, and doing other things such as riding my bicycles slowly. I even took off last weekend for a rejuvenating backpacking trip to the high mountains.  I needed a mental and emotional break every bit as much as the physical.

And guess what?  The other day in the pouring rain my body felt ready to run. So I went. For the first time in over six weeks I ran hard and light and fast and felt like a runner again. I just needed time to heal and do other things.

Give yourself permission to enjoy biking, camping, resting, or whatever it is you have passion towards.  There is a place and time for everything. Especially taking a break when needed.  Then when it is time to get going again you will be ready on all levels to get find again your joy in running.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

XTERRA Trail Running National Championships

By Rachel Cieslewicz

Are You Ready For Nationals?

XTERRRA nationals are coming right up. You have just a few more weeks of training before a well deserved taper.  Now is the time to plan ahead so when race time comes all you have to do is wake up ready to fly.  The biggest details creating your best race ever are arranging travel now, dialing training and nutrition, catching up on sleep, and getting excited for an epic weekend of fun.

Travel to Ogden is easy. If you are flying, Salt Lake City International is the airport. From there it is a half hour freeway drive to the mecca.  Historic 25th Street in Ogden is where most of the parties go down. Trust me, just like the unforgettable XTERRA races the parties are not to be missed!  The host hotel is the Ogden Marriot. Book there if possible as you will be able to walk to restaurants and anything you need including packet pick-up.  The actual racing is 20 minutes up Ogden Canyon, which opens up to a gorgeous valley, and of course on to Snowbasin Resort.  Renting a car or carpooling is a great idea as I can only legally fit four hitchhikers in my 4Runner.

I strongly suggest arriving Friday morning at the latest so you have time to check out courses and pick up your registration packets. With XTERRA even packet pick-up is a not to be missed festival.  If you have kids bringing them is fabulous as XTERRA is all about family.  They will be delighted to compete in their own kid’s sprint and bike race as well as get a head start honing their XTERRA racing skills in the kids challenge zone.   While all that’s going on, you can multitask by getting your hair professionally cut by donating to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The top pros in the country will be there to let you in on their race secrets when you attend the free XTERRA University sessions.

Once travel plans are dialed, come back to now.  How is your training? Ideally you should be within the last 2-3 weeks of your final workouts. How do you feel? If you are feeling tired, it is important to take an extra day or two of recovery. It is not worth pushing through and risking injury or overtraining.

Make certain you are eating lots of good whole foods. Big salads composed of a variety of local veggies drizzled with cold pressed oils and fresh lemon are amazing.  Serve it with lean, fresh off the grill protein and you have my favorite summer meal for creating a fast lean strong athlete.  Look at your nutrition now as what you put into your body is going to play out in your best National Championship race performance imaginable.

What about running nutrition? For your runs, practice eating as you would on race day. Knowing exactly what your body likes before, during, and after big runs will leave you confident and at your best when it counts.  This is very different for every one. Try many things now as race day is never a great time to attempt something new.

The last piece of the puzzle is sleep. In our crazy society sleep is often the first to go.  We are only able to push our bodies if we are recovered. Sleep is when this happens. Our body restores itself during sleep. Growth hormone is produced. Tissue is repaired and our overall batteries are in general given a recharge. My challenge to you is to strive for a minimum of 8 hours a night. You will be amazed how much energy you have if you will do this from now until race day.  It’s only a month out. See you soon in my back yard!

To learn more about the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, please visithttp://www.xterraplanet.com/xduro/nationals.html.
Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website at www.newageathlete.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/newageathlete.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

RUNNING IN HIGH ALTITUDE

My favorite time of year is the height of summer. What do I love about the glorious sunshine and long hot days? It means the snow is melting quickly off the high mountain peaks making way for epic mountain trail racing. For the past few years, I have had ample opportunity to enjoy racing the high mountains all through the West. While nothing quite compares to gazing down and out for miles from towering mountain peaks, there are important things to know about altitude so you can make sure to enjoy the experience.

Altitude can be difficult for people due to the lack of available oxygen to feed muscles.  The air becomes thinner as you climb elevation. In general, people will not suffer too much at elevations up to 6,500 feet, even if you’re coming from sea level. If they do feel it, it is often due to dehydration and not compensating for the dry air. At 7,000 feet and higher, the effects are felt more and more. Over 10,000 feet is often the point of no return for many as they gasp for breath as the entire body fights for the dismal supply of precious air.

It generally takes a minimum of three weeks to adapt to altitude. The higher you go, the longer it takes. A few opt for altitude tents, which they sleep in to mimic the low atmospheric pressure found up high.  As many don’t have access to these tents or month-long vacations before a race, there are ways to optimize your training to prepare for a high altitude race.

If you live at low elevation and in the heat, you are in luck. You have the advantage of stressing the body systems by training in the heat of the day. If your body is already adapted to training hard in a stressful environment, when you go to race at high altitude, you will be used to needing to be efficient.  I suggest implementing short hard hill intervals (1-2 minutes) to prepare the aerobic system and develop fast leg turnover. If possible, add in longer sustained hill climbs. Treadmills on a 7 to 15 percent incline, as much as I despise them, can be a lifesaver if your biggest hill is a causeway! There are a number of top athletes who follow this with success.

I personally live at 5,000 feet. Even though some say it is not an optimum elevation, I disagree. I have had a lot of success at high altitude. Here is how I do it. In preparation for my higher elevation XTERRA trail runs, I do one hard track workout each week.  This will consist anywhere from short intense 300 meter intervals, up to 1 mile repeats at threshold. I also train hills with a mixture of road and trail up to twice a week. Other than that, I hit the higher mountains to get used to stressing my body at the high elevations on either my bike or running, and do a longer road run with focus on proper breath, form and leg speed.  Unless racing, I typically don’t train higher than 9,500 feet.  This is because if you train too high, it is very difficult to get a quality workout in.

When heading to a race at high altitude, you generally have a 24 hour window before your body dives into adaptation mode dumping plasma and thickening the blood. Race day arrival times may have a huge effect on your performance.  Arrive the day before if possible. And don’t forget to stay and enjoy your hard effort in a beautiful mountain town.

The week before your race is time to take race preparation seriously.  Focus on a whole food diet with lots of greens, lean protein and cold pressed high quality fats. Hydration is huge. Drink 15 to 20 percent more water than normal each day. Be sure to get good electrolytes into your system to avoid hyponatremia. Other than that, sleep is imperative. Many have troubles sleeping well if they are not used to higher elevations. Before you head from home, sleep well each night and you will be fantastically prepared for race day.

Don’t let higher altitudes discourage you. Follow this advice and you will be surprised and delighted at your amazing abilities to perform well come race day!

A couple of upcoming XTERRA races will test runners at altitude. The first is the XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Run, which will take place this Sunday, July 17, at the picturesque Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colo.

That event, which will feature separate 21-kilometer and 10-kilometer courses, will take runners to elevation points as high as 8,800 feet.

The other upcoming altitude event will be the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at the Snowbasin Resort, Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 25. That event will test runners at elevations of more than 4,000 feet.

Both the Beaver Creek Trail Run and the Trail Run National Championship are open to runners of all ages and skill levels. For more information, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Rachel’s Top 10 – XTERRA Trail Run Nationals

After three years in Bend, Ore., the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship is moving. This year’s XTERRA Nationals will be held at the Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah, for the first time.

The race is scheduled for Sept. 25, and registration is now open HERE.

Runners of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate as there is no qualification process. Below, elite Utah runner Rachel Cieslewicz offers some advice for runners who are thinking about registering for the race.

Reasons why you should be there

Rachel CieslewiczBy Rachel Cieslewicz

I often say I’m the luckiest girl I’ve ever met.  It just got proved again. Why is this? XTERRA is bringing Trail Run Nationals to Utah! Since it’s in my backyard, I get to play hostess and not only welcome you once you get to town, but also let you in on some secrets. Here are my top 10 reasons you should come to Utah for what is guaranteed to become one of your fondest memories ever.

1, Be a part of history. There is hands down, nothing like a world class event created by XTERRA, and on Sept. 24 and 25, two national championship events will be staged in Ogden, Utah. On Sept. 24, the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon will take place. On Sept. 25, the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship takes the spotlight. You can be a part of history by participating in the race, as it is the first time that the two XTERRA national championship events will be held in the same city. Two national championships in one place? Yes, a priceless opportunity!

2, Any and all runners are invited for the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. There is no qualifying standard yet. Yes, I can race. Yes, you can race. We all get to rub shoulders with outstanding elites in the same race. Inspiration all the way around!

3, Get inspired by the world’s best triathletes. There is nothing like the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon. Swim, mountain bike, trail run. Watch it and prepare to be motivated. Then, you can take that inspiration with you the following day as you experience running Trail Run Nationals.

4, Ogden, Utah, is one of the most up-and-coming sporting towns on the map.  You will see why fabulous companies such as Salomon, Petzl, Suunto, and Enve Composites have made it their headquarters. Most important, you will experience for yourself why XTERRA has brought the two greatest National Championship events to this town.

5, The beautiful trails. Just a few miles up the Canyon from Ogden is Snowbasin. It is filled with some of the most jaw-dropping scenery and epic single track you will find anywhere in the U.S. It is one of our best kept secrets … until now. My home of the greatest snow on earth is also a mecca for summer mountain running. And this is where our race will go down in history!

6, The buildings at Snowbasin are absolutely amazing. Grand and perfect with a huge outdoor patio for live music and fabulous food. You may wonder what my favorite part of this Sun Valley Resort masterpiece is?  The restrooms at Earl’s Lodge. You must experience to believe. They are seriously nicer than your house.

7, Utah does have good beer. Yes, most Utah beers have a lower-alcohol content than standard beers.  Luckily, though, you will be at altitude so less is more. And if you absolutely need to drink real beer, it is easy to come by at our great restaurants and bars. On this one I suggest Roosters in Ogden.

8, Meet runners from across the country. All runners from XTERRA’s various Trail Run Series have been invited to Ogden for the national championship. This really is a great opportunity to meet – and run against – all the fabulous runners we have heard and read about all year. Of course, there will also be a large contingent of hometown runners such as myself, ready and willing to run and talk with all of you.

9, Utah, in general, is an outdoor lover’s haven. Make a family vacation out of it. Think of it this way: we have pretty much everything but an ocean. But our beautiful lakes and rivers more than make up for it. Be prepared though. You may decide to stay permanently!

10, Meet fabulous people. In addition to an amazing race and vacation at a fabulous location, the most important thing I love about racing nationals is the people.  XTERRA creates opportunities for athletes to put themselves and each other to the test to bring out their greatest potential. You find “family.” If you really want to know what that means, come and race the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. You will find the most incredible synergy of people truly showing what it means to “live more.”

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Win a Free Stay in Kauai!

Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort, located on the island of Kauai, is giving one lucky XTERRA Tribe member a free 3-night stay in a new one bedroom resort condominium.

Kauai is Hawaii’s Island of Discovery. Here you’ll explore the cliffs of the Napali Coast and the vast chasms of Waimea Canyon. You’ll find 50 miles of beautiful beaches and small towns where no building is taller than a coconut tree.

It’s all part of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts XTERRA Tribe Promotion where every month through November, you have a chance to win a free stay in Hawaii at one of their Resort Condominium Properties throughout the islands of Hawaii.

Learn more about Outrigger Hotels and Resorts by visiting www.outrigger.com.

Entries must be received by July 1, 2011 and certificate is good for stays through May 31, 2012

Click here to Enter!

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Summer Running

Summer is my favorite time of the year for running. I love the sun! The warm, happy and overall alive feelings I enjoy while on the trails during the summer months are the best.  But when it comes to running in the summer, especially when it is hot, it’s important to be prepared. Scheduling a cool time of the day to run, staying hydrated, and wearing the proper clothing are all factors that can help create a memorable summer.

Rachel CieslewiczEarly morning is almost always the coolest time of day, so why not take advantage of it with a run.  If you are not an early riser, shifting to that now will allow a cooler workout. In addition, the magic of running to a high point to watch a sunrise and enjoying the still of morning before the world wakes up is my idea of bliss.

I highly suggest morning runs for health as well. The sun is much kinder in the morning. The higher the sun burns bright in the sky, typically the hotter and more intense the rays.  Hydration becomes an issue and ability to put in a good effort is often diminished in the heat of the day.  This is due to the body focusing on trying to cool down rather than going fast.

If you must run when it is hot, proper hydration is essential.  Hydration begins well before you are out there.  In the summer, it is a way of life.  To ensure I have enough fluids, I always drink an extra glass or two of water when I go to bed, as well as when I first wake up.  I carry water with me throughout the day to remind me to drink on a regular basis. If it is really hot and I am very active, I may drink up to a gallon a day.

Sweating is also a factor. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes more quickly. For some, drinking an electrolyte beverage such as Gatorade may be the way to go. I personally love young coconut water. It provides all of the major hydration needs without funny things from a lab. Also, look to whole foods for sources. It is amazing the amount of sodium celery carries and the high potassium levels in cabbage.

Beginning a run in a properly hydrated state will help ensure an incredible run. While on your run, bring either hand held water bottles or another hydration system with you as well as salt tablets just in case.  Bring more water than you think you need. It is much better to end a run with a few sips of water left than to run out and risk heat stroke!

For clothing, consider wearing a light colored, flowing long sleeve top and loose shorts to allow airflow.  A light hat with a good rim and sunglasses are also good ideas.  But if you are like me, tank tops are a favorite choice. Just remember that the more skin you expose, the more at risk you are for sunburns – which is even more reason to schedule your runs during the early morning or evening.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Cross Training for Trail Runners

By Rachel Cieslewicz

Friday, June 03, 2011

Running day after day can take a toll on the mind and the body. Periodically, the joy of taking a day to swim, water run, go for a bike ride, or anything that is different can provide the best relief. The burnout factor is dimmed, weaker muscles may be developed and balanced, and the body in general gets a chance to rest from repetitive motion. As running is a high impact sport, doing something without impact is a great opportunity for the body to have a break from pounding while still achieving cardiovascular benefits. Not long ago, I was invited to live this fully due to injury.

Last year, I had a huge reminder that while I love to trail run, sometimes cross training can be the perfect lifesaver. I started out the year having a great time. But being me, I started running more and more and didn’t listen to the signs of overtraining. Despite my body’s call for rest, I raced a really hard mountain race as my hips screamed for me to stop. The result was a debilitating injury of seized muscles, dysfunction and pain. It took quite a while to heal. In the meantime I had other races I was obligated to race. In order to keep my heart, lungs, and muscles in shape, cross training became my best friend.

There are many activities a runner can do to cross train. My activities of choice were swimming, biking and yoga. The swimming and biking were fabulous, as they come naturally for me due to my background in cycling and triathlon. The ability to ride my bike was the best, as I was could hill train, keep my legs in shape, and think about what it would be like to run my trails as I biked them. Swimming was great as a non-impact full body workout, reminding me to use my core, and having an excuse to cool off on hot summer days. And yoga is the perfect blend of stretch, strength, balance and breath. All three activities calmed my mind, as I was still able to train hard and enjoy my endorphin fix!

For a fair amount of time, I was only able to run on race days. Yes, there was worry that I wouldn’t do well or my body wouldn’t remember how to do it, but amazingly enough, I was rewarded greatly. I had one period where all I did was cross train for over two weeks before a big race. It was at elevation, in the heat. The course had over 3,000 feet of climbing and descent, with many great athletes competing. When it was all said and done, I finished 2nd female overall and took eight minutes off my time from the previous year! This reminded me of how wonderful cross training can be.

It is still important to train specifically when possible. But, when things go astray from the original plan, know that you have the possibility of coming back stronger than ever by cross training. It is okay to do other things sometimes.

Perhaps this week, take a day and enjoy a swim or ride. This way your trail running will continue to feel fresh and strong through the season as the body and mind receive a change. A note on this if you are choosing something new to your body. Don’t try something new on race week! Engage with care. Ease into the activity as you would anything else. Let the brain and muscles have time to adapt. Just like with running, do as much as your body says is okay. If you are not sure, use caution and do less than you think. Chances are you will be sore as different muscles are recruited or used in new ways. Allow cross training to balance your running and you may find that it can refresh your trail running ways!

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Motivation for Oak Mountain

By Brandon Mader

If you ask someone competing in their first trail race, “What would you like to know?” there are a few common responses. You’re likely to be asked what surfaces they’ll encounter, what the weather will be, if there are hills, and why you’ve convinced each other to do a trail race.

Brandon MaderThe long answers could go on for a while, so the simple answers are that the course will be packed dirt and rocky, the weather will most likely be in the low 80’s, sunny, and possibly muddy from some scattered thundershowers in the preceding days. Since this is an XTERRA event, you can expect some hills, but in the Oak Mountain park none of the climbs are more than 100 feet at a time so the hills are not of great concern.

In last week’s Tips for the Trail, Rachel Cieslewicz wrote a very nice piece on preparing for a run on a trail you’ve never seen. Rather than penning more of the same, I think it’s appropriate to tackle the most difficult question facing someone entering a trail race: Why am I doing this?

Asking yourself before the race will certainly yield a feeling of exhilaration. More important is during the race – when you’re tired and sweaty and consider quitting.  It is easy to get caught up in your emotions when you’re in the late stages of a hot-weather race, facing another hill or series of hills.  You naturally question your motivations.

In his book “The Competitive Edge,” Richard Elliot discusses motivation in its relation to training and racing, and how to use your mind to achieve your greatest athletic successes. Elliot shows that the most successful runners are those who recognize that a race will hurt, and welcome the realization. To deal with this eventuality, he suggests breaking the race down into segments which are more manageable.

Trail races are inherently more difficult than road running – the features which make them harder are the same features that make them so enjoyable. If you find yourself exhausted and your mind starts wandering into thoughts of quitting, break the remaining distance into manageable segments. Get yourself to the next big tree, then to the top of the next hill, then to the bottom of that hill.  You will find that accumulating small achievements will add up to one great achievement in the end.

This advice could be especially helpful for those runners who will be running the full marathon at Oak Mountain. I believe the 42K will be reasonable for someone attempting their first trail marathon. It will by no means be an “experts only” course, but it may be overwhelming for someone who has never completed a full marathon. The first few miles should be challenging but relatively easy, but as the temperature rises it will be significantly more difficult.

The median time in a road marathon is generally between 4 hours and 4:20.  From this, I would expect the winning time at Oak Mountain to be between 3:20 to 3:45 with the median time being 5:15 to 5:30. Some finishers could be on the course as long as 7 hours, if no cutoffs are enforced. Hydration will be the most important thing for this race, so competitors must pay attention to the pre-race announcements on the location of aid stations.  However, the availability of food substances will be key as well; I assume the aid stations will have some gel packs available but if not, participants should be notified to bring some energy bars or gels with them.

Breaking through the barriers your body would place on you is the ultimate reward of trail running.  The Oak Mountain runs on May 21 offer you two great opportunities: to find the discomfort which is the reality of running hard, and to succeed in spite of the discomfort. Success brings satisfaction – the smile you get from competing in an XTERRA and improving yourself makes the post-race party some of the happiest times you will ever experience. Enjoy.

Brandon Mader has been running for 12 years through high school and college, and has been a premier competitor on the XTERRA series since 2008. He is the defending men’s champion of the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run. He is a member of PowerBar Team Elite and the XTERRA Trail Run Ambassador Program. His official website can be found atwww.runnerspace.com/MaderFist and it features weekly product reviews and a training blog.

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Tips for the Trail – Preparing for a Mystery Race

By Rachel Cieslewicz

When it comes to trail run racing, we often don’t know what to expect. It is easy to ask a veteran of the race what it is like or perhaps the race organizers will enlighten you. In the case of XTERRA’s 5/10/20K Santa Cruz Trail Runs, nobody knows what’s out there.

This is a brand new venue and course, and XTERRA is giving only the slightest bit of information out. When race course details are a bit of a mystery, how does one prepare? First, find out what we do know.

XTERRA loves new adventure and surprises. They have shared thoughts on a bit of the terrain, along with some possible gifts from Mother Nature of wind and a wet beach portion. As for specific details, we racers will get to find out literally on the run!

The great thing about a new race and never having run a particular course is that the playing field is leveled in terms of course knowledge. From the sound of things, this race is going to feature some of the most gorgeous ocean views on the California map. Running near the ocean, although incredibly breathtaking, can present some obstacles.

The wind along the beach, to put it lightly, can be monstrous. If this card is played on race day, good form is a must. Think of running tall and working with the wind. If it is a head-wind, run tall and lean from the ankles to let gravity help you out. Take quick, short steps and think about your body slicing through the air. Mental toughness is important. If you decide it is fun and easy, it will be much easier than those with a negative mindset. For a tail-wind, stay especially strong in your core and allow your body to be fast. Simply put, run with it!

I’ve run and raced on many beaches. But this will be my first year to step foot on the beaches of Santa Cruz. Here is what I know about beaches in general. Running on a beach can be terribly draining. But with the right technique, there is really nothing to it. If the beach is soft and sandy, run close to where the ocean laps the shore, if possible. The ground will be more solid and you will have an easier time running. If that is not possible, the technique I use for loose sand is to take quick short steps and pretend I am doing agility drills. In sand, it is imperative that you not push off the ground. This will sink you. Instead, think of it like a short marching step, picking up the feet and pumping the arms low and fast to match the foot movement. Again, think tall to stay out of your hips and lean from the ankles.

If the beach terrain is rocky, you should already be in luck if you are a seasoned trail runner. Navigate the rocks as you would any trail obstacles. Again, focus on a short, fast gait to stay over your center of mass. This will be especially important if the rocks are wet and slippery. Look where you want to go and run with your core muscles engaged. Think of it as a light, fun game instead of a hard run.

One more thought about the beach portion. XTERRA hinted it may be high tide. If that is the case, think again of picking up the feet while navigating through the water as described above. Footwear choices will become important if your feet get soaked. Wear shoes that drain well. Do you tend to get hot spots in general? If so, a sock rubbing wet skin is not good. My solution to this is prevention. I either apply glide or an antiseptic ointment to my feet to reduce friction. I also will pre-tape parts of my foot vulnerable to blisters and wear a thin light sock. Practice what you will do beforehand so you know your feet will feel great with your solution. This way, any granules of sand in the shoe, etc., won’t become an unplanned pedicure session on the wrong parts of your feet.

Santa Cruz’s less-technical course will equate to very fast times. That is great news as we may even have the chance to notice the views. This is exciting for those who love personal records. PRs can be difficult to achieve on trails. Perhaps Santa Cruz will be the perfect course for this? Other than the beach and some bits of singletrack, it sounds like XTERRA has created the perfect course for flying.

This being all the information I have, my other advice on an unknown course is adaptability. Think of the race as an adventure. Be excited for any hills or technical sections. On the longer courses, go out easier than you think you need to. Pick it up a bit more after each mile. This way, if there is a tough part of the trail you will have plenty of energy to just go with it. A strong, fast finish is the best feeling ever. Especially as you pass by those who went out too fast and couldn’t hang on for the duration. Building throughout the race and flying through the finish line may become your perfect strategy for every future XTERRA event.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Runs last year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached at rcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/newageathlete

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

INTRODUCING THE XTERRA POCONO SERIES

Yet another region has joined the national family of XTERRA Trail Runs. The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series is new in 2011, and the first race of the series is the Big Pocono Trail Run, set for this Saturday (May 7) at Tannersville, Pa.

The inaugural Pocono Series will feature five races in Northeast Pennsylvania, all along the picturesque Pocono Mountains.

“The trails in the Pocono region of Pennsylvania offer a variety of challenges, as this is a mountainous region,” Pocono Series director Reginald Thomas said. “Our trails are unique, running through glacial formations with hills, boulders, rhododendron tunnels, single track, grass roads, streams with native trout, and forest floors painted pink with wild teaberries. One course has a 600-foot high cliff with a 50-mile view on a clear day.”

XTERRA Footwear, Running Shoes, Trail Running Shoes, CrossFit Shoes.

Blog WebMastered by All in One Webmaster.
© Copyright 2009 Enter the Outeractive . Thanks for visiting!