How to choose your practice?

    Now, when we are speaking about trail runs, there are so many different categories, you don't know how to choose or where to begin. We will just talk to you about the short, medium or ultra trail runs. How to choose between those 3 runs. Vincent Delebarre, technical partner and trail running coach will tell you everything there is to know.

     

    VINCENT, CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO US WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SHORT, A MEDIUM AND AN ULTRA TRAIL RUN?

    For me, it is really difficult to sort the trail runs in these 3 categories. Trail runs give a kind of freedom that will allow you to practise on the distance you want to, without being restricted to a certain itinerary. Let's go back to the basics of trail running. There are several definitions for trail runs. I think that trail isn't just a running activity, trail running is going from a point to another with dynamic, with sport, exploring nature and being independent. Trail means understanding the field and adapting your efforts to cross through. In competitions and races, this run is led on a beaconed field where you have to go to the other side of the course as quick as possible.

    Speaking of competitions, this is where the categories (short, medium and ultra) are coming from. The different runs are categorized in these different families regarding the time you will need to complete a run. There isn't just the distance, the length or the type of environment to take into consideration, you also need to estimate the technical aspect of the run, a level of difficulty, to get the approximate time needed to complete a run. And with this duration, you will be able to sort the run in the right category.

    "Shorts trails", I don't find this name relevant, I prefer referring to them as "initiation or discovery trails". They are not easier because they are called "short", they are a different kind of environment and distance. They are less technical and don't require as much experience as a classic or ultra trail.

    A "classic trail", better than "medium" will last about 4 hours for the longest, it is really, important to know how to regulate your effort to manage your energy and resources but also the weather and environmental conditions amd the time passing.

    An "ultra trail" includes a completely different approach of the situation as they will have a completely different organisation and practice. They will usually take place on more than one day and will require more experience and more preparation.

    TO BEGIN AND PROGRESS, MUST WE NECESSARILY BEGIN BY THE SHORTER RUN TO PRACTISE THE ULTRA RUN?

    During the sessions I organise, I realised that most of the trailers I know began this activity with the "ultra trail". Some had already practise The Great Raid in Reunion. There is no rules about that, each category has its own particularities and factors that are not established by the level of practise of a trailer. These differences can also depend on the look and the approach of a particular person on the activity. Some trailers will need to progress bit by bit, they will need to practise on shorter runs to get the confidence to try a longer one. Apart from the training and the physical aspect of the activity, the mental is also a great deal when you are practising trail runs. The experience in mountain too will influence the contact between a person and the activity. Anyway, I would advise beginners to go step by step, crescendo. Many great trailers never practised ultra trail runs as well. Initiation, classic or ultra, none of these trail runs require the same capacities.

    THIS IS THE TRUE QUESTION, HOW ARE WE SUPPOSE TO KNOW WHICH IS OUR TRAIL RUN?

    It's just a question of person really, especially for the classic and the ultra. An ultra trail run will require different capacities from the trailer. Physical and mental states are essential for an ultra. If all the trail runs demand of you to manage your energy and your resources, the ultra will, on top of that, asks you to resist and continue even during rough patches. The ultra will need you to find the balance between the physical effort and the mental effort.