Picture: File The main benefit of bodyweight training is to build strength without investing hours of time a week.

Spring is the perfect time to channel your inner mountain goat and get trail running ready!


National Product Development Manager at Virgin Active South Africa, Ceri Hannan, has five key pieces of advice for hitting the mountain paths in the best way possible.


Build strength


Trail running differs from road running in that it requires full body strength. Uneven paths and uncertain terrain require runners to use their upper body and engage the core for balance and better positioning. Make sure to incorporate strength training into your workout routine and classes like Virgin Active’s Shape and The Grid offer a great way to do just that.


Give yourself time


Trail runs can be deceptive. Often, they can take double the time of the same distance on a treadmill or on the road. In the first stages, focus on steady pacing instead of speed and maybe set yourself a time limit for the run rather than a fixed distance. 


Watch your feet


If you haven’t done a trail run in a while, or are new to trail running, pay extra attention to your foot placement to avoid falling and injury. Create a line of travel by looking three or four steps ahead of yourself. The more you run, the less conscious you’ll have to be about looking at the ground. You can also improve your balance by using the BOSU ball or other similar equipment at your nearest Virgin Active health club.


Rest and recovery


Don’t overdo it. An injury or muscle strain can end up getting worse or putting you out of action for a good while. Start out with a trail run once a week, allowing time for strength training, recovery and rest days in between. On active recovery days, try a spinning class or swimming.




Make sure to use proper sunscreen, wear sunglasses that you feel comfortable running with, have the right footwear and clothing, and don’t forget your water.