Jacqui Bell is an Ultra Marathon Runner, Inspirational Speaker and Mental Health Ambassador. She currently holds the world record for the youngest female to ever complete multi-stage Ultra marathons across 7 continents. Currently on her way to compete in the Ultra Marathon World Series she knows a thing or two about Trail Runs and shares with you her Top 10 Trail Running Tips!
1. Set ‘YOUR’ race day goal
That’s right, it must be YOUR goal and have meaning to you. Not others or you won’t be able to make it happen. These race day goals can be things like – stick to race day nutrition, nail your pacing, have a strong second half of your race not just the first half.
2. Have a fun music playlist
Make sure you have banger tunes ready to go to give you a little extra motivation during your run. There might be sections you can’t listen to music depending on the race and number of competitors but having some music to give you some pep in your step when the going gets tough is good!
3. Have a nutrition plan and stick to it.
When you start to fatigue in races your plan can get thrown out the window and you start to go off of ‘feel’. Avoid doing this and stick to your game plan and what works when you get really tired you can easily make poor decisions regarding nutrition and water intake. Avoid a ridiculous CARB LOAD the week and night before the race. A slight increase in carbohydrate intake is okay but don’t go crazy – you don’t want an upset stomach on race day.
If you feel a blister coming on or a bit of rubbing/chafing, then stop straight away and deal with it – Vaseline or tape or new socks. Don’t let it run for an hour before dealing with it – it will get x10 worse by that time.
5. Check, Double Check, Triple Check your gear
Drop bags and everything and anything you might need on race day. Have your electrolytes and powders pre-measured so it is very easy on the day to get fuel into you, you don’t want to have to be making big decisions on race day – it should all be bulletproof and ready to go!
6. Trail shoes
This is called ‘trail’ run for a reason – there are rocks, trails, and uneven surfaces. Those road runners of you might not make the cut – try grab a pair of trail shoes for the day – my favourites are the Brooks Caldera Trail Shoe!
7. Leave your ego at home
These types of races – off road, which require more time to find rhythm can sometimes have you feeling deflated when you look at your AV pace/km but give yourself
some leeway to get your bearing on the new terrain. If you can run happy and be kind to yourself in the words you say to yourself whilst racing, you will compete better.
8. Know the route
Look over where you are running, riding, swimming so you can avoid getting lost at all costs. No such thing as being over prepared.
9. Make sure you have practiced in the gear you will be wearing on the day
Shoes, socks, shorts, bra, t-shirt, hat, sunglasses, packs, you name it! Make sure you have worn it before.
10. Remember this is ‘YOUR’ race.
You know yourself better than anyone, run in your race, no one else’s. Don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking or doing and just go out there and do your best! If you aren’t having the day, you had envisaged that is OKAY, pivot in your goal and work with what you have left in the tank that day. Be proud of yourself for however your day ends up.