Jan Pyott is a professional cross triathlete who has the privilege to live and train in a place many of us only visit on vacation – the Swiss Alps. He runs four to five times per week and purposely incorporates trails into every one of those workouts. In those picturesque peaks, a 10km trail run may have 600m of uphill in it… and that’s considered a flat run. With that much vertical gain and loss while on his feet, it’s important to have the right gear. Jan put together a simple, yet fun, trail workout and explains why off-road training is so important, and some great gear to use for the job, in this week’s Workout Wednesday.
Here’s what Jan has to say…
Why Incorporate Trails?
Whether you are a cross triathlete, road triathlete, or a trail runner – running trails is fun and an excellent workout. Yes, there is the possibility of tripping, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. Some athletes worry about not being able to hold a specific goal pace and becoming “slow” if they run off-road. Wrong! Trail running makes you a stronger, better, healthier runner. Trails are…
- A great place to build complete muscle strength thoughout your legs
- Challenge your mind and help develop motor skills
- Consistantly change and will ultimately improve balance
- Softer and easier on your body
Even if it’s not every run, head off road to stay healthy and happy.
Jan’s Gear to Get the Job Done
On the trails, having the right gear matters. For trails you want a light weight shoe with lots of grip. A racing flat is light weight, but running in a shoes like that for a long time over sharp stones will leave you with sore feet. You need a shoe with more cushioning, but isn’t heavy or slow. That has lead me to the On Running – CloudVenture – a shoe born in Switzerland and made for the trails.
This shoe was love at first sight. It is light, has tons of grip, feels super comfortable, and it looks great. I have tested the shoe for over 300km and last weekend raced in them at the Biennathlon. (Jan won the race for the third time)
The Workout – On Running Repeats
To build strength and endurance on the trail I like to do repetition work. You can do repetitions by distance or by time. This workout can be performed to incorporate both.
- Warm up 2km prior the intervals – jog, drills, and some short accelerations to loosen your legs up.
- 5x 90seconds running the same trail segment, in the same direction, at race speed. After 90 seconds, return to your starting mark by jogging back at an easy pace. Take a 60 second break at your start point, then begin the next repitition. See if you can get to the same spot each time, or even further.
- Cool down run of 2km after the set.
- Warm up 3km prior the intervals – jog, drills, and some short accelerations to loosen your legs up.
- 9x 90second running on an uphill trail, holding race pace. Try to beat the distance from the very first attempt as you move through the repeats. Jog back to your start mark and start the next repetition immediately.
- Cool down run of 3km after the set.
Don’t forget to enjoy the views. Nature is wonderful because you do not have to look out for cars or red lights on the trails.
For more Swiss trail inspiration – follow Jan on Instagram