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How to Developing Trail Running Speed – Simon Grimstrup

This month our resident coach, Simon Grimstrup, gives his tips on getting faster feet on the trails

Simon Grimstrup is a champion ultra runner and part of the team here at Topas Travel. As our resident coach he’ll be bringing you trail tips every month. Simon will also be joining David at VJM to help manage the race, so many of you will meet him there.

Photo: Simon testing the trails of Vietnam Jungle Marathon

A lot of people ask me how to get faster on the trails – especially the technical ones. The answer is quite simple… trust your feet!

As humans we are meant to run. We were once either hunters or being hunted…. We used our eyes to look for prey and all our senses to look out for predators! With this in mind it is clear that you do not have to look at every rock and every root on the trail. Lift up your line of sight and look ahead – scan the trail 5-15 meters depending on the trails. The further you dare to look ahead, the faster you can go. It is like chess – you need to think ahead. With practice you will start to make the correct moves by instinct.

But many of us have forgotten to run and therefore want to be safe and sure that we get a good secure footing. As a result we look down just in front of us which slows us down. However, when we move fast with high cadence, we will move more smoothly over the trail terrain and develop better running instinct.

3 tips to trust your feet

1. Try to close your eyes for a few seconds while running. (Do not try in downtown Hanoi!)

– Feel how your feet adjust to the ground without your vision.
– Be aware of where you are looking when you open your eyes

2. Bring a magazine and read it while running ?

3. Go out on the trails and do your intervals – and do them downhill!

To be fast on the trails, you need skills. To get those skills you need to practice a lot. Luckily it is very fun to practice and to go fast on the trails!