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Get started in Trail Running with Raul Garcia Castan

How to

Get started in Trail Running with Raul García Castán

If you are thinking about getting started in trail running, five-time Trail Running Spanish Champion and once European Champion, Raúl García Castán, gives you some basic tips to help you fall in love with “trotting through fields and mountains”.

11 / 03 / 2020

The meteoric growth of mountain running in recent years has resulted in many runners who were traditionally devoted to road running to venture to try their luck in this attractive sport option commonly known as “trail running”. Whether the result of this decision will be “I want to do it again!” and not a “Never again!” depends mainly on ourselves. There are several aspects to bear in mind so that transition from the roads to the mountains can become a positive adventure.


In the mountain, the word “run” becomes a relative term. In reality, it is not so much about running as it is being able to move as quickly as possible through the great technical variety of terrain that we’ll encounter. In trail running, the capacity of the runner to adapt to the ground they tread is fundamental; thus, if we are road runners, it’s best that we forget about that elegant and long stride with which we move on urban pavement, and become aware that at times, in addition to running, we may have to walk, climb, jump or even, exaggerating the concept a bit, crawl, seeking maximum efficiency possible with regard to movement.


One of the main dilemmas the roadrunner encounters when considering starting to train to compete in the mountain is outdoor workouts. Choosing a particular method as the only valid one would be unnecessary smugness. The truth is that there are as many valid methods as there are different type of persons (aka runners). In fact, the training and development of physical parameters is similar in almost all sports of resistance and possibly the most important variant resides in moving and adapting the training to the corresponding playing field, which in this case is, logically, the mountain; slopes of all lengths and duration and weekly training of long duration on the mountain that provides us with suitable adaptation to the new physical medium are essential nuances in this process.


Nutrition is basic in the practice of any sport and trail running is no exception. A balanced diet, rich in carbohydrates of slow assimilation, free of saturated fats and without excessive fibre ingested immediately before running is the perfect complement to training. A frequent error in the diet of mountain runners is to attach little importance to proteins. The muscular destruction to which the trail runner is subjected is significant enough for us to not forget this aspect of our nutrition.


In the roadrunner’s world, it is often said, quite rightly and a bit derisively, that the only essential things to run are running shoes. This assertion is not applicable to mountain running, where clothing takes on essential importance, due to the orographic and climatic peculiarities of the medium in which our sport is carried out. In addition to the obvious importance of footwear, quality technical garments must be chosen, which will allow us to carry out the practice of this discipline with certain assurances. Long sleeve technical T-shirts (Fanlo and Pertusa), short sleeve ones (Olvena and Musia), backpacks (Siachen 10 and RX10), tights of different types (Sahun and Miera), jackets (Naval LT and Ardisa LT), short trousers for time of competition (Tierz and Novales) and other complements for ultra distance races (Bremva, Grisel, Maron and Litago, Karoo DT), must have their space in the trail runner’s wardrobe, to avoid unpleasant surprises due to the weather, the surroundings and the demands of competition. All these products have been tested by myself and other runners of the Trangoworld Team in the most important domestic races and in a multitude of training sessions that ensure that the only surprises the runner will encounter are those provided by the beauty of the surroundings or the epic of competition.


In order for it to be great, we must make sure that before, it’s a great night. Sleeping a suitable number of hours to be rested the “D-day” is fundamental. Dinner on the previous night is no small matter, either. It is best to consume foods that are “friendly” to our organism. Leave experiments to the scientists. Preparing all the running stuff (bib number, gear, backpack, accessories such as running poles, on-race food, etc.) the night before, will allow us to get peacefully nervous, solely and exclusively due to the imminence of the race. It is more than probable that if you have read this entry up to here, you are seriously interested in trying your luck in the world of the trail. My advice is that you do not even think about it, because you are going to fall in love with death, and loves that kill never die: if you try it, you will never want to leave it. It can not be said that we did not warn you. Just kidding!

Lots of luck, and start “trotting through those mountains”.

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