Would you like to get better at running in the forest? Get help from someone who knows how to do it. Here you have the world champion, Tove Alexandersson´s best trail tips!
Not many people can run in the forest like the orienteers, and the very best is our triple world champion Tove Alexandersson. One of Toves strengths is that she quickly can cleave through all types of terrain, which isn’t very surprising – she was not more than a year old when she was introduced to orienteering. Along the way, she has learned all about what works and doesn’t work in the forest. Here are her greatest tips!
- Shorten your step.
“Generally, one should strive for a short step. With a short step you will have a better look at where you´re putting your feet and it´s easier to fence if you trip or lose balance.”
- Wear the right shoes.
“It’s hard to run in the forest with ordinary running shoes. The sole is often too thick, which makes it very easy to trip and sprain your ankle. In my opinion, it´s better to choose a shoe with a thin sole, in order to get a better contact with the ground. It´s also important to have a good grip, it´s not very amusing to slide around when running.”
- Use your whole body.
“You can never expect to have a nice and smooth stride in the forest. One step is always different from the other and you always need to use your whole body. It can be very heavy to run uphill, and in the steepest hills you can use your hands to faster get further.”
- Keep your sight high.
“This may seem unnatural if you haven’t done it before, but your gaze should be far ahead when you´re running. Dare to trust that it works.”
- Dare to let go.
“In the beginning, running in the forest can seem scary and sometimes slow yourself down. But after a while you realize that you can let go downhill, and when you get your speed up, it´s really fun.”
- Jump correctly.
“It´s a good idea to practice your jump down edges. Without even thinking about it, I jump down quite steep edges during races. It´s important to land on both feet when jumping off steep edges. This, rather than landing on one foot only, will decrease the risk of injury.”
- Attack the obstacles.
“When it comes to obstacles in the woods, for example a fallen tree, you shouldn’t slow down, rather increase the frequency and attack the obstacle, put one foot on the tree and jump over it. If you dare to go all in, the result will be better. But again, it´s important to use shoes with a good grip in order for it to work.”
- Run the same round.
“A good idea is to find a good round in the forest that you can run again and again. That way you will learn where the stones and roots are, which makes it easier for you to increase your speed. You can start soft and then pick up more and more speed, in order to feel what it´s like to run really fast in the forest.”
- Run behind someone with experience.
“It´s always a good thing to watch others that are good. If possible, running behind a good orienteer can give you a lot. It´s easier to keep up a good speed when all you have to do is tag along, whilst you watch what this runner does.”
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