Preparing Your Body For Trail Running

Make sure you're prepared to tackle obstacles in trail running, like fallen trees, rocks and mounds of dirt. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Work On Ankle Stability

Tree roots, sticks, and mounds of uneven dirt create the perfect scenario for a twisted ankle. Rather than transitioning straight from flat pavement onto the varied surface and hoping for the best, prepare your body in the gym with ankle strengthening exercises to lessen your risk of being laid up with an ice pack.

For improving balance and ankle stability, tools like uneven surfaces and BOSU balls can be a great addition to your program. However, the majority of problems can likely be solved by working out barefoot. Switching to barefoot exercises in the gym offers a chance to work the stabilizers in your feet and ankles bolstering your protection system. Start by going shoeless on bodyweight moves like squats, lunges, and push-ups. Then, you can move to harder variations like single-leg squats, rear-foot elevated lunges, and even plyometrics sans shoes.

RELATED: 2013 Summer Trail Running Shoe Review

For those addicted to balance devices, runners can reap some benefits from BOSU balls and balance boards in their strength training routines. However, they’re best left to bodyweight movements at the end of a workout to strictly focus on balance. Avoid performing weighted exercises on top of these devices, as they limit your foundation and reduce strength — hampering the real reason you’re in the gym in the first place.

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