Adventure SchoolEdition 52

Adventure School: Trail running session plan

This editions session is something I do regularly in the build-up to key events that contain hills. I enjoy it so much because it breaks up the normal long run routine for one and secondly its relatively efficient in total time taken for the realised benefit gained.

Session Plan

Total time 120 Minutes (2 sessions being a 90 minute run and 30 minute gym strength session)

Warm-up. Not required but ease into your usual weekly long run taking up to 15 minutes to hit your desired pace

Main set.

Long run. Don’t feel that every long run when you’re training for a Trail event has to be done on the trails. I would argue its better to alternate between completing these on road one week and trail the next with duration rather than time being more important. In this example I’m doing a long run of 90 minutes first thing in the morning.

4-6 hour break

30-minute gym session

Warm-up. 10 minutes on rowing machine or bike.

Main set.

Strength Session


Exercise Repetitions Guide
Walking deep Lunge 10 each side Slow walking lunge with weight for experienced runners
TRX Pike/Push up combo


10 Start in a plank position, feet in stirrups. Lift bum to sky then return to plank and perform push up


10 Stand with feet shoulder width apart bending down and lifting up bar with minimal weight before returning bar to the ground, repeat for desired reps
Wall sit kick


60 seconds Squat against wall with back flat, raise arm above head and sit with 90 degree bend at hips and hold
Kettle Bell Swings


15 Controlled swings focussing on engaging glutes and core muscles
Single leg pistol grip squat on bosu


10 each side Stand on a bosu and slowly squat on 1 leg (Shallow) trying to maintain control
Jump Split Squat


20 Initially with no weight. Start in a lunge, jump up and land with legs finishing on opposite sides to where they started, repeat. Experienced runners ensure a wide deep jump and light hand weights can be held.

 Do each exercise for the prescribed amount initially before you add repetitions to it as you become stronger.

This routine is a combination of leg strength exercises with the TRX and Kettle bell exercise elevating your heart rate and the pistol grip squat forcing you to perform a controlled movement under fatigue (from the morning run and the exercises in this session). DO NOT do this session if you are injured and ensure that you have been shown the correct technique by a qualified trainer who has assessed you as competent.

Runners in a plank position in the TRX, from here they will keep knees locked out lifting bum up to the sky and returning then performing a push-up. That is 1 repetition of the required 10.

The benefit

This will fatigue your leg muscles with a combination of exercises targeting different muscles. Over time you will adapt and become much stronger at running the uphill sections of a race.

How to perform the session to your potential.

Build into it. Only do what you feel comfortable doing. The benefit is doing it when you are already fatigued so good form is necessary to avoid injury. Make sure you do the 10-minute warm-up before launching into this session. A minimum of 4 hours break is required after the long run before you do this. And you will likely get very sore the following days, so allow recovery easy running to take place the following day.

Advanced runners with a good degree of leg conditioning will be able to run easy the next day and add weight and repetition to certain exercises.

To insert at the end somewhere: Vlad Shatrov of Runlab has developed a specific interval based weekly trail running session  “mytrailgroup”. This will be offered again in 2017 in both Sydney and the Hunter from September onwards

If you are after more tips and information on how to better train and improve your trail running, jump on and like Vlad Shatrov Athlete and ask a question. Vlad competes in Trail running and Road running races regularly. In recent times he has focussed more back on where his running journey first started out – on the trails.

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