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Do it now: Go trail running

Trail running is one of the most challenging but rewarding outdoor activities you can throw yourself into

By Sam Lewis
Published 8 May 2018, 16:00 BST, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 12:52 BST
On the trail

On the trail

Photograph by Getty Images

A rapidly growing sport, trail running takes place over all sorts of different terrain. Races involve distances from as little as a mile to more than 100 miles. One rule? The route can't include more than 20% of paved road.

The race
Skyrunning is a lung-busting niche of trail running that takes place above 6,600ft where the incline exceeds 30%. One of the most scenic skyraces is held in Norway's Tromsø from 3-4 August. Races range from a mile-and-a-half challenge with 3,400ft of elevation to a 35-mile ultra with 15,700ft of climbing. Three nights' full-board at the Lyngen Lodge near Tromsø costs from £795 per person, including local transfers, excluding flights and race fee.

The training camp
Take in the Alpine trails of Chamonix and Mont Blanc while being coached by running specialists who help improve your form and increase your strength. Runners also get personalised advice to maximise their performance. Priced from £361 per person, including instruction and six nights' full-board accommodation in a shared room for four people, excluding flights. Dates available weekly from 10 June until 9 September this year.

The lingo
Bonking: Far from enjoyable, this is every runner's nightmare. Bonking is a common term that describes the moment when a runner's glycogen stores are depleted and their body starts to burn fat; muscles tire and runners feel as if they've 'hit the wall'.

The kit
Trail running shoes tend to be flatter, with knobby stud-like soles (lugs) to aid traction in muddy off-road conditions.

The festival
The Podbrdo Trail Running Festival in Slovenia offers four different trails, including the 62-mile 'Ultra Pušeljc trail', which takes contestants through some of Slovenia's most beautiful sights and testing terrain including Lake Bohinj, Cerkno, Tolmin and Železniki. 15-17 June 2018. Entry from €50 (£43).

The book
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. The author travels the world researching endurance running and spends time with a tribe of Mexican Indians who are said to be the world's best distance runners. RRP: £9.99 (Profile Books)

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Published in the June 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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