Trail Running Articles

What Kilian Jornet Recommends for Trail Runners

hKilian Jornet running. The sky is limit. Mountain trail running


Not so long ago, Patagonia published the second training book by Steve House and Scott Johnston, Training for the Uphill Athlete, which they wrote together with world-class athlete Kilian Jornet. Here is an excerpt from this book.

I run a lot: thirty to fifty races every year for the past ten years. In total, over the past 15 years, 450 races have turned out! I do not put one of them above the other, do not prioritize and, of course, I want to succeed in all races.

Often I use racing as training. This does not mean that I relax, on the contrary, I perceive it as an intense load. I did a lot of interval and strength training when I was younger. But now I do not do strength exercises and do without almost interval training. Instead, I work on endurance and speed during the race, and the rest of the time I do volume. I like to work on volume.

My body is recovering quickly and is quite capable of dealing with this. However, this does not mean that everyone should take this approach. I have been engaged in trail-skiing, ski-climbing and sky-skiing since childhood, for many years I worked with a trainer and studied sports at the university. I have all the data for training and racing in a similar way.

When people start jogging (or skiing) at a later age, they often train in a non-systemic way, without using a scientific approach. Even athletes who run for many years make mistakes in training. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, take note of these seven recommendations.

  1. Consider the stress that you experience in everyday life. People who come to a sport late, requiring long-term physical activity, strive to start immediately at a good level, but often do not take into account the stress factors of everyday life. In addition to work and family responsibilities, they train a lot, not realizing that physical activity is also stress for their body. And this stress takes time to recover.
  2. Do not overdo it. Many people work full time and train because they really love to run. Sometimes these runners achieve certain successes, find sponsors and decide to work less and train more. After some time, their performance drops, and they burn out because they are overdone. You should not devote all your free time for training.
  3. Be realistic about your goals and expectations. Goal setting will motivate you to train. It doesn’t matter if you want to win the race within a certain time, or just come to the finish line. This will encourage you to overcome difficulties, becoming better thanks to them. But be humble in your claims. Honestly analyze yourself at the very beginning: your strengths and weaknesses, your work situation, nutrition and movement. Do not overestimate yourself. See what your goal is and what you need to change to make what you want possible.
    If the goal is far from reality, most likely you will not achieve it. This will disappoint you and lower your motivation. What is perceived as a bad result can actually be a good achievement, but not what you wanted to achieve? In this case, the problem is not your performance, just the goal is too high.
  4. Be consistent. It is important to understand the sequence of training and increasing distances. Nowadays, people want to run a 100-mile race. Perhaps they will run the first 100 miles and everything will be all right. Then they will run the second 100 miles and, probably, everything will be fine again. And for the third time, they will break for the next five years. You must successively go 15, 30, 50 km and so on. I did not start with 100 miles but grew over the years of systematic training.
  5. Get ready for the technical features of the route. It is important to think about other points besides distance and elevation. People are aware of this, but often do not attach importance to the technical difficulties of the route. For example, what will be the soil: soft, covered with grass, hard or rocky. We organized Skyrace near Tromso (Norway). On the route, there was a ridge of category III difficulty, descent through snowy fields and over rocky terrain. This is not mountaineering, but not quite a run. Even if you are able to run 100 miles with many changes in altitude, you can not finish such a technically difficult race.
  6. Train each element as they are all connected. When it comes to your effectiveness in the race, all aspects are interconnected: physical and psychological readiness with technical training and equipment. Each link affects the following, they must be worked out together.
  7. Do not take everything too seriously. To maintain motivation, do not attach too much importance to your workout. We are engaged in trail running and ski climbing, mainly for the sake of pleasure and because we love to do it. Train actively, but do not fill your entire world with exercises. Do not feel obligated, otherwise it will become a problem. I train because I get real pleasure from it.

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