Running products you don’t need

It’s no secret that I’m a minimalist at heart, and unsurprisingly that minimalism spills into my running. There are countless products available for runners, most of which you can survive just fine without. If you’ve just started running, it might be tempting to go out and buy a bunch of running accessories.

Expensive Shoes

You might think that the more you pay for your shoes, the less likely you are to suffer an injury. However, research has found that the more you spend on your running shoes, the more likely you are to get injured (link).

Expensive Clothes

You could spend hundreds of dollars on specialised running clothes made of high-tech fabric and that will make you look more beautiful. Or you could do your small bit to save the planet and use an old t-shirt that would otherwise end up in landfill. Although I admit, a good pair of running shorts is not as negotiable, as that’s where the chafing can happen. Let me know in the comment of you have any money saving suggestions for running clothing.

GPS Trackers

Did you realise that before GPS running watches and apps were invented, people got satisfaction from the simple act of running without uploading a map of their workout to the internet? I know! It’s hard to believe, but you can do it too. Just give it a try. It feels so liberating. Like running naked (but I don’t recommend that).

Water Bottles

OK. Use your own judgement on this one. If you’re running a long way or in hot weather, ignore me. However, if you’re running for less than an hour, you can’t sweat enough to need to drink during your run. If you like a bit of controversy, check out Tim Noake’s book, “Waterlogged”. Disclaimer: don’t blame me if you die.

I would love to hear your suggestions of running products that you don’t need, or money saving ideas for running. Let me know in the comments.


Interview with Ryan Sandes

Yes, you read that right. This is an interview with Ryan Sandes. Ryan needs no introduction, so let’s just straight to it.

Ryan, it’s an honour to have you on the blog. How are you doing?

Great. Thanks for thinking of me. I’m doing good thanks. Looking forward to 2019. I guess I’ve had one or two races already this year. Yeah, 2018 was a massive year for me. Definitely, the highlight for me was that myself and Ryno Griesel set a fastest known time on the Great Himalayan Trail. I think it was more about the personal journey and the crossing. Being able to cross the Himalayas on foot, from one side of Nepal to the other was definitely the highlight for me and a really amazing accomplishment and something I’d been wanting to do for a long time and for me the ultimate adventure. So to be able to tick that off the bucket list was a really big one.

Photo by Bianca Asher / Red Bull Content Pool

Can you tell us a bit about your book?

Yeah, so my book called Trailblazer covers my life story and how I got into running fairly unexpectedly and just kind of what I’d learnt over the last ten or eleven years. I guess a lot of people said: “well is at the end of your career after writing a book” but I just felt like I had so many epic experiences and different unique opportunities that I wanted to kind of put it down to paper.

What inspired you to write a book, and what has the process taught you?

I guess the book was a really awesome process and pretty cool and unique in terms of putting stuff down to paper definitely helped me realize what was important and a lot of times maybe I thought big wins would be important. But then when you write a book you realize the memories that actually stand out aren’t those big wins is often when things don’t go [right] or just kind of the smaller more unique and personal memories like thinking back, for me one of the most memorable races was was running a canine search and rescue doggy race with our dog Tandy and just that feeling of running 4Ks with her and crossing the finish line and just that feeling of stokedness was something really special and that kind of lives with me. So I guess the book just taught me, I think it’s not just those big achievements. It’s the process and the whole build up that’s made me realize what is actually important and just cherishing those moments and being in the present.

Photo by Bianca Asher / Red Bull Content Pool

What’s your favourite piece of running gear, and why is it so great?

You can’t do too much on the trails without shoes. So I’ve got customize shoes that fit my foot and they really help me especially for the ultra longer distances, being able to run in something that’s really specific and specialized for use. So I’m really grateful to work with with Salomon running and their team of developers and create new gear. Also the Salomon Skin bag is it something that I’ve spent a lot of time designing and something that’s really unique in being able to just have a backpack that doesn’t bounce around a lot and just fits really snugly to your body and goes with your movement is pretty cool.

What was your most recent race, and what was a highlight for you?

I ran the Tarawera 100K race in February in New Zealand. That was quite a tough race. We had a really rough middle patch. Just being able to travel and go back to Rotorua. It’s just such an amazing place, and the local trail community. I also stopped off in Australia on the way there just to see how the trail community had grown in Australia and New Zealand over the past year or two is pretty epic to see. And then I ran a race just last weekend at a 50 miler in South Africa. It takes place in a national park where they’ve got the big five, so to run amongst wildlife was really cool. The race actually got really really hot towards the end so I was quite happy to finish. It was 77K long and the last few kilometres were pretty brutal.

Photo by Nina Sandejas / Red Bull Content Pool.

What do you have planned for 2019 and what are you most excited about, and what worries you?

For me the big focus race, the first of the year, is the Western States 100 miler. I’m really excited about that. I love the race, the community and the vibe, so I’m excited to go back there. In the second half the year, we’ll see how bounce back from from Western States, but looking to do Ultra Trail Cape Town or possibly a race in Europe in August. I’ve also got a project I’m planning on the Skeleton Coast. I’m really excited about that, to run the length the Skeleton Coast, that’s 700K’s. So, that’s pretty cool. So, just trying to work out all the permissions and the permits and then there’s a factor there, they’ve got desert lions, so I guess that’s something that that worries me. Yeah. I’ll try not to get eaten by any desert lions.

What’s been your greatest running achievement so far?

There are a number, like winning Western States in 2017 was a massive highlight in my career. Last year running the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal comes to mind. Winning an ultra race on all seven continents and then also the likes of winning the Leadville and the Four Desert Series are things that come to mind. But for me just being able to run ultras and run professionally and make it my life, and it’s something I’m able to do on a daily basis for the past 12 years is definitely something that stands out and I’m really, really proud of and being able to chase my dreams I feel really lucky and grateful.

Photo by Wayne Reiche / Red Bull Content Pool

What has been your greatest running challenge so far?

In 2016 and 2015 I had glandular fever, mononucleosis which was was quite a challenge just bouncing back from that. So, doing too much is quite common with ultra running so to be able to stay in tune with your body is really important. It’s something I’ve learned, and I guess it’s sometimes tough. You see guys doing massive amounts of training and you feel like you want to do that and you need to do that. But I realize I’ve been doing this for a while and I know what works and doesn’t work for me and just really being able to believe and back yourself is something I’ve had to learn and I think is really important. One of my big strengths is, I’d like to think, my mental ability and just being able to really focus on the positives and just focus on doing your own thing and running your own race, and just planning for an event or a race and focusing on what you need to do to be able to get through a race.

What’s your number one strength exercise, and why is it so great?

I do a lot of mobility exercises. So, I do a lot of baby get ups, a lot of rocking over my big toe and some side bridges, hip aeroplanes. I find stuff to keep the mobility in my hips, is really important, because my hips seem to be tight. Also in my ankles, just keeping them loose and flexible is really important especially for trail running where you are a little bit all over the place.

What’s your favourite post-run food, and what do you eat during long runs?

I’m not super strict with my diet but I enjoy eating something that’s high in fat after a race, something that’s definitely not too sweet, so maybe sweet potato fries and a cheeseburger is something I would go to. I try to eat as many like whole foods as possible, so something along those lines. When I’m running generally I mix it up quite a bit. If it’s a long training run then just some kind of energy bars or some gels or electrolytes, Red Bull and water. So I keep it quite easy when I’m running. Maybe if it goes on really long and it’s multiday stuff then I’ll try and eat more solid food like sweet potato mashed up or some sandwiches or an avocado or something like that.

Photo by Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool

What piece of advice would you give to new trail runners?

I think it’s just so important just to enjoy the process and just enjoy being out there and not to fixate too much on wanting to run a specific time or do this and that, and just to really enjoy being out in nature and just having that connection and interaction. Having said that, I think it’s important if you are wanting to run races or move up in distance set yourself some little mini goals along the way. That enables you to have micro goals and be able to build up slowly so you know, maybe you’ve got a big race coming up that’s in a year’s time or six months time, but if you don’t have those little goals along the way you never know how you’re progressing.

What’s next on your race calendar?

It’s the Western States hundred miler. I’m also running Wings for Life World Run. I’m an ambassador for Wings for Life World Run, so it’s great to be a part of it and run for all those who can’t. But I’ll just be using it as training.

Thanks Ryan. All the best for the rest of the year. We look forward to watching what you get up to.

Follow Ryan


The Benefits of Slacklining for Trail Runners

Slacklining started in the 1980s as a way for rock climbers to make the most of time spent waiting for bad weather to pass. It’s now gaining popularity with runners, especially trail runners, as a strength training exercise. It has steadily gained exposure in urban areas, but can also be done out on the trail. All you need is a couple sturdy trees and some patience.

So what is slacklining all about? It’s a bit like tight rope walking except the line isn’t tight. It’s slack, as the name suggests. Even better, the rope isn’t a skinny cable but a 1 to 2-inch band of nylon or polyester webbing. The fun part is learning how to balance in order to walk across the line. You don’t hold a long pole like with tight rope walking. Instead, you balance using just your body. It sounds easy enough, but it takes a bit of practice, a good amount of patience, and some time to strengthen the small muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet and lower leg. It works out the muscles that are important for balance and agility when trail running. Also, it’s a lot of fun to master the technical challenge, so it’s not as arduous as doing normal strength training exercises.

Slacklining increases physical and mental stamina, improves your balance, and strengthens your feet, ankles and legs, which results in reduced risk of injury. It also improves your mental focus as you have to really be in the moment to master the technicalities of slacklining.

Because it strengthens areas like knees and ankles, it’s a valuable tool for building certain muscle areas or even for recovering from an injury. Particularly for injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, resting the area (by reducing running load) and strengthening the foot (with slacklining) can have a significant effect.

Like running, slacklining is not expensive to get into. You can pick up a basic slackline kit for $50-$100 at your local outdoors store. Then, all you need is something sturdy to string it up between. Slacklining is a sport that anyone can do. You don’t need to be an acrobat to get started. Just learning the basics of balancing on the line will give your feet, legs and mind a great workout. Just listen to the simple cues from your body and you’ll be slacklining in no time… well, not no time, but some-time.

Although, the focus is on the feet and lower leg, slacklining actually involves the whole body. Your knees, quads and hips are all important. Your core and back are engaged. Your upper body and especially your arms have to move around to adjust your balance with agility.

Studies have shown how slacklining can be used effectively as a recovery tool. A 2013 Australian study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports showed it to be beneficial for recovery of the quadriceps. Also in 2013, an Austrian study showed the benefits of slacklining for injury prevention and in an article published in the International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training stated that it provides an integrated approach to the improvement of functional capabilities in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

In addition to being a great tool for recovery, it’s also awesome for injury prevention. It’s not high intensity, so it doesn’t even feel like hard work, but it’s a beneficial full-body workout and a great activity to do on rest days.

Have you tried slacklining? What was your experience? Or do you already incorporate it into your training plan? Do you have any advice for other trail runners? Let me know in the comments, and if you found this article useful, please consider sharing it.


Interview with Kirra Balmanno

Kirra Balmanno is an impressively accomplished Australian mountain runner & veterinarian. She bought a one-way ticket to Europe in 2016 and fell in love with the mountains. Now she lives in the beautiful city of Innsbruck. Get ready for a little German lesson, and to learn about some Swiss snacks that you might like to try on your next long run.

It’s an honour to have you on the blog. How are you doing?

Thanks Chris. I’m doing really well thank you! I have just come back from a few months in the Middle East and Nepal, running in the desert mountains, the Himalaya and challenging myself in a very different way with ten days of silent meditation in a technique called Vipassana. I am energised and inspired for the year ahead, especially having just moved to the beautiful city of Innsbruck where it’s snowing outside my apartment window right now!

2018 has been a pretty big year. What was the highlight for you?

There’s been so many! If I had to pick just a few (and keep it running related): being a part of the ALPSinsight team on the reconnaissance mission of the Via Valais – a new nine day trail running grand tour through the heart of the Swiss Alps; revisiting Nepal (which is always a powerful experience) where I won the Manaslu Trail Race and completed a solo project of running up to Annapurna Base Camp and back; exploring the desert mountains of Oman; working with Lizzie Hawker as a trail guide on her training camps around Monte Rosa and living the warmer months in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, exploring the spectacular and infinite amount of mountain trails in Valais.

What was your most recent race, and what was a highlight for you?

It was the Manaslu Trail Race just a few weeks ago. The whole experience was a highlight to be honest. The incredible scenery: being immersed in the Himalaya and surrounded by the highest mountains in the world, the humbling feeling of running at high altitude, the warmth and kindness of the people that I met along the way and the snow leopard prints I found in the snow as we climbed to the border of Tibet on our rest day!

What do you have planned for 2019 and what are you most excited about?

I am really excited about a big self-supported multi-day, light and fast run that I’ll be doing through the  Caucasus in Georgia. I also have an exciting lineup of mountain races to run in Europe and I can’t wait to explore the mountain trails up above Innsbruck, but I’ll have to wait for Summer for that.

What has been your greatest running achievement so far?

Not a competitive achievement but the one that made the most impact was running solo around the Annapurna Circuit at the end of 2016. It was my first experience at very high altitudes, alone and in unfamiliar mountains. It taught me a lot about myself and has opened up my mind to the infinite amount of possibilities for adventure and my own capabilities.

What has been your greatest running challenge so far?

Injuries have definitely been the biggest challenge for me in the past. Acceptance of injury and taking time out from running has not been an easy process but has no doubt given me a more balanced perspective and has taught me a lot about patience, pain perception and maintaining a positive mindset. Challenges are here to teach us important lessons and I can be thankful for my injuries for teaching me a lot about my own mind and body.

Can you tell us a bit about your work as a vet?

Yes. I graduated from the University of Queensland in 2013.  I started my own veterinary locum company when I moved to Europe a few years ago where I take on short term contracts in consulting and surgery at vet clinics all over the UK.  I work a few intensive weeks to months and then spend the rest of my year doing solid time in the mountains, mostly the Alps and Himalaya.

It seems unrelated, but is there anything about your work that transfers over to running?

I think that my running transfers more to my career as a veterinarian than vice versa. The level of grit, perseverance and the positive mental attitude that it takes to be a good endurance runner is transferable to my professional work in the fast-paced, dynamic and at times stressful environment of 24 hour emergency veterinary hospitals. Playing in the mountains is about being adaptable and decisive in certain situations such as capricious weather and route choice. I think the same qualities serve well for vets too.  Being a locum veterinarian allows me the freedom to be flexible and to afford the opportunity to take large chunks of time out to feed my other passion – mountains and Berglaufen (und Deutsch lernen ;))

What’s your number one strength exercise, and why is it so great?

I am really passionate about strength training. It is really important, not just for high altitude athletes, but for everyone to help maintain bone density and muscle strength as we age. My favourite exercise would have to be pull-ups. I always include 3-5 sets of these as a warm-up and to get my mind in the zone. They’re great for improving balanced and functional upper body strength which is otherwise lost when running, a lot. It’s also good to have some strength for scrambling or via ferrata encounters when running in the mountains. The deadlift and bulgarian lunges are staples in my strength training routine too. Why? They’re functional and strengthen the posterior chain to reduce risk of injury and improve performance.

What’s your favourite post-run food, and what do you eat during long runs? 

Post run for me is all about getting the macros right to restore lost glycogen and start recovering quickly. I like a big bowl of steamed veggies, some boiled eggs, brown rice and a tahini/lemon juice dressing (which is often leftovers from the night before). If it’s a really hard session, I’ll make a protein shake as well. My favourite combination at the moment is whey isolate, banana, turmeric, pepper and a thumb of fresh ginger mixed with part water/part oat milk. Mega lecker!

I race mostly on gels so this is what I consume during my long training runs too, about as often as I will take one during racing. For the longer, slower, endurance projects or photoshoots where we’re out all day, I eat more normal food like bread with avocado, figs and nuts and some swiss specialities like Bärli-bieber (a gingerbread with a soft almond filling and full of energy) and Swiss chocolate (the coop, a swiss supermarket, has these 400g bars of nut chocolate and a few rows of this is perfect!).
What piece of advice would you give to new trail runners? Stretch, sleep and don’t forget your strength and core work 😉

What’s next on your race calendar?

I will start the season with my new local, the Innsbruck Alpine in May. Before that, it’s a lot of training in the snow and the gym. 

Many thanks for your time, and we wish you all the best in 2019.

Follow Kirra

You can follow Kirra here:


Interview with Vlad Ixel

In 2012, Vlad Ixel decided it was time for a change, so he started running and switched to a vegan diet. It didn’t take him long to climb the ladder of elite ultrarunning. By mid-2013 he had won the 75km Kep Ultra in Perth and set a new course record. Since then, Vlad has competed in a huge number of events for such a short career.

We’re excited to have the opportunity to ask Vlad a few questions about 2018 and his plans for next year.

Vlad, it’s an honour to have you on Raw Trail Running. 2018 has been a pretty big year. What was the highlight for you?

Thank you for having me on! Yeah, 2018 has been a big year.  I think that doing 5 half ironman races and being ranked number one age grouper in the world with no swimming and cycling background was one of the big highlights for me. I needed a little change from running 160km training weeks and triathlon gave me that. For the first half of 2018, most of my training was around triathlon and it was a mental and physical change up after 5 years of trail running. Also doing the 100k stage race in Kazakhstan was something that sticks up as a memorable moment of this year.

What was your most recent race, and what was a highlight for you?

I did the TNF100 – 50k race in Hong Kong 2 weeks ago and it was my 6th year in a row racing that race – I think it’s a great an achievement finishing any ultra marathon and finishing second place was just a bonus.

What do you have planned for 2019 and what are you most excited about?

A lot of racing for sure. In 2018 I did 26 races and that’s a lot lower than the years before where I was racing 35-40 times a year. So I think in 2019 I will aim for around 25 races. I would like to get back to racing the 100k distance as well after 2 years of a break from the really long races.

What has been your greatest running achievement so far?

I think it’s been staying injury free since I started running 6 years ago, being able to train every single day and living this incredible lifestyle.

What has been your greatest running challenge so far?

I don’t think I can pinpoint a single event but I think the challenge is not overdoing it with racing – there are so many good races out there today and I really want to do them all. but I’m learning to hold back and race a little less as I get older.

You’ve been coaching for some time now. Can you tell us a bit about your business and how can people get in touch with you?

Yeah, I have been coaching for 5 years now. The first year was 100% free as people contacted me for coaching as they saw how fast I was improving but I didn’t feel like I could charge them as I had only been running for one year at that point. So I did it for free for a while. It started growing from that point after people I was coaching started improving and having good results. My main focus with coaching is staying injury free and I spend a lot of time with my runners building a solid base first.

What do you love about coaching, and what are some of the challenges?

I love seeing people achieve their goals. there is nothing like a seeing someone PB in a race and do something that they didn’t think was possible few months before

What has been your greatest coaching achievement so far?

One lady that I coach went from doing 5k park runs to finishing her first 100k races a few months ago. when we started working together she was unsure if she would ever finish an HM and now she is looking for 160km races

What’s your favourite strength exercise you get your athletes to do, and why is it so great?

It really depends on the runner, their level and goals but a lot of single leg work and a lot of glute strength. We also go into ankle and hip mobility with most runners which is super important.

You’re well known for your vegan diet. What advice do you have for runners considering a plant-based diet?

Yes, it’s been over 6 years as a vegan now. I think the main thing is to give it a try. Give it two weeks. If you don’t feel better after 2 weeks go back to what you did before. I would also encourage runners to do their own research and not just rely on what people tell them or they saw on facebook.

What’s your favourite post-run food, and what do you eat during long runs?

I don’t really eat much during long runs but if I do I might have some nuts or dates and keep it as healthy as possible. During races, I have gels which are not too healthy but they are the best for calories per weight ratio and in a race its all about staying light if you want to be competitive. Post runs its usually something fast like a banana, dates, and nuts.

What piece of advice would you give to new trail runners?

Be smart about the really long races. I did seven 100k races in a space of 16 months and it was a little too much. I would really recommend planning the year in advance and making sure you build up to longer races and also allow time when you race shorter or have a break.

 What’s next on your race calendar?

Next up I’m racing TNF100 50k race in Thailand at the end of January. I have done this race 3 times before and temperatures can get to 40 degrees so I’m looking forward to a sweaty hot trail race.

Thanks so much for the interview Vlad, and best of luck in 2019.

Follow Vlad

You can follow Vlad using these links:


Interview with Lucy Bartholomew

Lucy Bartholomew, ultrarunning legend from Melbourne, Australia, has had an epic year. From winning Ultra-Trail Australia on her 21st birthday to finishing in third place in her first 100-mile race, you could say it’s been a wild ride.

2018 has been a pretty big year.  What was the highlight for you?

There have been so many highlights of this year. Staying healthy was a big one! Race wise I would say that competing in the Western States 100mile in the USA was my proudest moment. More than the race itself, the lead up and the community that got behind me for this event made it such a special race. I could have come last and I would have felt like I won. It was my first 100miles and it was so special to have my dad by my side. 

You’ve travelled a lot this year.  Where are you at the moment and what are you up to?

I am home, in Melbourne, Australia!! People always ask me where I live because I travel so much and I always answer “at airports these days”. It’s been a huge year of travel so I am very much enjoying staying close to home and slowing down a bit!

Where and what was your most recent race, and what was a highlight for you?

My most recent race was the Lantau 50k in Hong Kong. I was there for a Salomon running camp where I was a coach and it finished with a race so I thought I might as well jump in too since I was there. It was a lot of fun to run around and experience the race vibes of Hong Kong. The highlight was just making it to the start line after being bitten by a dog the day before. 

What do you have planned for 2019 and what are you most excited about?

I am excited for any opportunities that might evolve but already planned is to head to Costa Rica for the Costa Rica coastal challenge multi-day race. I went to Costa Rica in year 10 for school community service and I can’t wait to return as an athlete. Also, I plan to return to Western States 100 with my family by my side. 

What has been your greatest running achievement so far?

I think my biggest running achievement is that I have managed to stay mostly injury free and enjoyed the ups and downs. I want to be in this sport for a long time and a good time and that’s my biggest focus always.

What has been your greatest running challenge so far?

I think the challenges came early in my career. I ran my first 100km when I was 15 and the criticism I received as a young, female girl took a thick-skin to believe that I could do it – and do it with a smile. After completing that and loving the journey I was then constantly battling my dad to sign race waivers to let me run when he was trying to keep me balanced. Now it all feels too easy!

You’re well known for your plant-based diet.  What do you love to eat after long runs and races?

Smoothie bowls! I love fruit and my favourite post-run meal is a big frozen banana and greens smoothie bowl topped with berries, nuts, seeds, granola! I just love it!

I understand you’ve been working on trying to eat more during longer events.  How is that going, and what types of foods are you using?

My race day nutrition is maybe my biggest area for improvement. When I run, it’s like meditation and time passes without my awareness and so I forget to eat. I’m setting alarms on my watch to bring me back to the present and eating. I am sponsored by CLIF and I love their shot blocks and gels but also real foods of dates, nuts, fruit… anything!

Do you have any advice for runners considering a plant-based diet?

Keep it simple, read up and play in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be about super foods that cost a bomb! Enjoy the process and be kind to yourself. 

We love watching your runs on Strava.  Do you follow anyone, and if so, who’s workouts do you find most interesting and why?

Thanks! I follow a lot of people, some elites but mainly my family and friends. I love seeing people’s long runs especially when they upload photos to show the area they traversed. It always makes me want to go there!

What’s next on your race calendar?

I will run in the Costa Rica coastal challenge – a 250k 6day stage race! 

Super excited!

Thanks so much for the interview Lucy, and best of luck in 2019.

Follow Lucy

You can follow Lucy using these links:


The best trail running podcasts of 2018

These are some of the best trail running podcasts in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best blogs and Youtube channels.

Trail Runner Nation – Awesome interviews, training advice, etc.

Training for Ultra – Mix of elite interviews with mid to back of the pack runners who inspire.  Whether you are just starting to run or are a seasoned pro, everyone should find something interesting in this podcast.

Science of Ultra – Interviews with elite ultra runners, training advice, etc.

Fastest Known Podcast – Coming to you every Friday: interviews with FKT-setters and other athletes in the world of Fastest Known Times.

Touching the Trail – Their mission is to help you be better daily through mind, body, and soul by learning together how to live our truest selves.

The Trail Runners Experience – Running coach from Adelaide chats to various people in the trail running community.

Let me know your favourite trail running podcasts in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own channel.


The best trail running Youtube channels of 2018

These are some of the best trail running Youtube channels in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best blogs and podcasts.

The Ginger Runner – This is how many of us got started in trail running.  Ethan and Kim are still producing awesome content, movies, interviews, reviews, etc.

Vo2maxProductions – Sage Canaday’s, professional ultra trail runner shares his training tips, nutrition advice, etc.

Billy Yang Films – Billy produces some awesome trail running movies.

Run Steep Get High – Jamil Coury has some awesome content on this channel.

Treadmill TV – Virtual trail running videos to make your treadmill runs more interesting.

Let me know your favourite trail running Youtube channels in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own channel.


The best trail running blogs of 2018

These are some of the best trail running blogs in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best Youtube channels and podcasts.

Sage Canaday has a couple blogs – is an older one, but still entertaining. New posts are going here:

Kilian Jornet – An absolute legend in the ultrarunning world.

Gary Robbins Runs – Lots of training insights for Gary’s Barkley attempts.

Trail Sisters – Their mission is to increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running through inspiration, education and empowerment.

Trail Runner Magazine – The authority on off road trail running.

iRunFar – A blog by Brian Powell, author of Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons

Trail & Kale – A comprehensive trail running blog with lots of product reviews.

Let me know your favourite trail running blogs in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own blog.


Tips for technical trail running

Technical trail running is characterised by the terrain being quite difficult to traverse.  This may include obstacles such as rocks, loose surfaces, roots, mud, water, steep climbs and steep descents.  Some technical sections may also require the use of the upper body in order to negotiate.  Technical trail running is usually significantly slower than running on smooth surfaces, and there is a higher risk of injury.

Time and effort

If you worry too much about how fast you’re going and how much distance you’re covering on technical terrain, you run the risk of becoming disheartened.  Instead, focus on the effort you’re putting in and the time you’re investing.  If you find it challenging, the chances are that others will find it challenging too.  If you put in maximum effort, you can’t go wrong.


Balance is critically important on technical trails.  Try to incorporate balance (single-leg exercises) and plyometrics (split and squat jumps) into your training.  Refer to this training plan for examples.

Shorter stride

It’s important to reduce ground contact time and “float” over the surface.  This makes it easier to deal with unexpected changes in terrain.  Avoid stop and go movements, which will slow you down, waste energy and can make the terrain harder to negotiate.


Good trail shoes make a big difference on technical terrain and will give you a lot more confidence.  The lugs on trail shoes help grip the surface as you climb hills, rocks and muddy slopes. They also help you stop when you need to on steep descents. A good tread pattern will help to clear mud as you run.  You will find shoes designed specifically for particular terrain types.  However, to get started, general trail shoes with good grip should do just fine.

Find your line

Keep your eyes about 2-4m (5-10ft) ahead and look for the best path.  Try to plan your next few steps ahead of time.

Stay alert

Terrain and the obstacles you need to deal with will be constantly changing. You need to be constantly aware of those changes and plan accordingly.  This will take conscious effort to begin with but will become second nature as you become more experienced.

Aim to finish

Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Technical trail running takes time.  In a race situation, focus on finishing, not your position.  In training, challenge your limits gradually to improve your skills.  Run the same familiar trails at progressively faster paces.  Each time, you’ll make improvements in foot placement and you’ll become progressively more confident.

I hope you found this useful.  Do you have any tips or advice for technical trail running? Please leave a comment below to let me know.