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5 invaluable staged trail race training tips

SuuntoRun — 2 August 2016

“Commit to the training before you commit to the race” – Trail runner, Rene Unser.

Image: Carrie Karsgaard (Feature image: Nathan Karsgaard)

Canadian Rene Unser, who will race the Gore-Tex Trans Alpine Run for the sixth time this year, is a trained coach with 13 years experience. She has also put together the official training plans for the epic Alpine race. So if anyone can give some helpful training tips it’s Rene, here’s what she had to say:

Commit to training 

“Commit to the training before you commit to the race,” says Rene. She knows how big a time commitment a long distance race can be. A training schedule is also key, she adds: “To be successful it’s important to build up slowly, and train consistently. Find a training schedule that works for you and really dial that down.”

Mimic the race terrain 

Do you know whether you’ll be running on hills or flat? Find out says Rene: “Mimic the terrain you will find during the race as much as you can! This can be hard for people who don’t live near the mountains, but it’s worth travelling to get there when you can." 

Image: Schneider outdoor vision

Test your equipment

“Test your equipment and spend time running with your bag packed as it would be during different stages,” says Rene. All races are different, with some equipment being mandatory, she adds: “Learn how to use poles efficiently if they are permitted in your race, and if you choose to use them.” 

Get your nutrition spot on

Of course fuelling before and after a race can make a huge difference, and Rene works with what she’s given in any particular race. She says: “I train with Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem with water and Hammer Gels. Before a race I start to practice with the food I’ll get at the aid stations. For TAR this is salami, cheese and cake. I am able to supplement with what’s provided if I have my staples. I aim for 120 to 150 calories an hour during a race.”

Take it easy

“A lot of people will cram a lot of races into a season, and it’s natural to want to do this,” says Rene. But try not to, she adds: “They want to squeeze in a 50k race as that’s what one stage in the race might be like.  I caution all my athletes training for races like TAR not to have too many late season races, as it uses up valuable training time, by the time you factor in your taper and recovery.

Follow Rene on her website, Facebook, instragram and personal website.