trail vs. pavement technique?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by stomper, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. stomper

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    Normally I run a mix of rocky/muddy trails and pavement, but currently I'm getting ready for a 15K road race in March.

    I've found if I take my trail running style and just do it on miles of pavement without a break, I feel banged up and stiff.

    I am guessing pavement is significantly more stressful because, beyond the sheer hardness of the material, there is much less variety in the angles and forces my body is experiencing. So I've made some adjustments which seem to help.

    Trails: cadence 185+, constantly varying length and angle of stride to find the most favorable spots, arms a bit wider for balance

    Pavement: cadence 200+ if possible, extremely short steps, more bend in knees, arms in tight with hands relatively high so they will swing faster and match the cadence.

    Can any of you marathoners or half marathoners critique or add to these? I know it won't be a major trial to run 15K, but I'd like it to really feel good. :)
     
  2. JosephTree

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    I'm waiting to see what kind

    I'm waiting to see what kind of answers you get on this question.
     
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  3. DNEchris

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    I've got the reverse problem

    I've got the reverse problem living in Manhattan - f all in the way of trails, but I reckon you are doing the right thing.

    Barefoot, on tar or concrete, my cadence is around 200 (190ish on the beach). I don't know that my arm position or movement changes that much but I don't think any 2 people will have identical styles.

    If it doesn't hurt you're doing fine!
     
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  4. Barefoot Burt

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    I was told that Hard surfaces

    I was told that Hard surfaces for refining technique and soft surfaces for strength...it has turned out to be true in my experience.
     
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  5. barefoottyler

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    It sounds like you are taking

    It sounds like you are taking the proper precautions and using good form. I don't know how technical the trails are that you run on. Typically on more technical trials you have to step over things. On pavement you don't have to do. To complement your short steps try lifting your feet a little less if you aren't already.

    Another thing you may need to do is step more in the center than you may be used it. Imagine yourself straddling a line when you run. Land with your feet on that line. This will cause you to step more toward the outside of your foot. This is good.



    Good luck and if you have any more questions just ask!
     
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  6. stomper

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    barefoottyler wrote:Another

    yeah, on rougher trails my feet do go a bit wider, not necessarily by plan, just because I'm stepping purposefully to get the best footing. On pavement I have tried actually running on a narrow line (such as a single paint strip in the road or a standard curb top) but that ends up feeling too artificially constrained. Maybe I'll look for a sweet spot in the middle.
     
  7. stomper

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    Just to follow up on this, I

    Just to follow up on this, I think I have come to a few conclusions.

    All those things I mentioned in the initial post (very high cadence, softer (more bent) knees, and vey high hands to speed arm swing) do indeed help on pavement. Like today I did 9.5 miles on pavement and my body doesnt' feel banged up, though my feet are a bit raw from chip seal.

    So I have adapted. But I am finding I just don't like pavement. It's boring. Trail running is so much more involving, I can't wait to get back to it.
     
  8. Humboldt-explorer

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    stomper wrote:But I am

    I can relate. If you removed the beach, and the trails from my running. I would probably never run again. Pavement/asphalt is a complete buzz kill.

    C'mon back to the other side......
     
  9. Kittyk

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    I hate pavement with a

    I hate pavement with a passion. I love trails.

    I find I have the opposite with cadence. I run probably with a 180ish cadence on road but a higher cadence (200+) on trail. I do run gravel trails A LOT, so I actually need a lighter landing on trails than the constant surface of road. Those small, pointy rocks are a killer! When I am not so focused on the environment (i.e. road), my cadence drops and my stride length increases.

    I also find the higher cadence gives me a shorter stride which helps me navigate around obsticles and allows me to have a more fluid run.
     
  10. Barefoot Burt

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    i miss the trails... i am

    i miss the trails... i am gonna head back to doing primarily trail running in the coming months. The roads take the speed out of your legs.
     
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  11. EricsLearning

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    Odd comment Burt. I find I

    Odd comment Burt. I find I run faster on the roads but have much more fun on trails.
     
  12. Barefoot Burt

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    its a relative statement.

    its a relative statement. Kenyan Elite runners do over 80% of their running on trails and soft surfaces when preparing for road races because they believe over the long term the roads take the speed and spring out of your legs.
     
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  13. palouserider

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    I've never done trails but

    I've never done trails but now feel ready to start. Road is getting pretty boring. Really looking forward to it. Any tips what I need to pay attention to when starting out on trails (with minimalist shoes)?
     
  14. Humboldt-explorer

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    Yeah I found out quickly that

    Yeah I found out quickly that roads are super boring as well.

    Depending on the trail conditions your cadence may vary to allow for variations in where you step/land forefoot. Distance of gait will vary as well. Both a good thing to diversify how your body responds/reacts to changes in terrain. Up steep trails little steps, slow and steady. Down steep hills lots of little steps, really soft in the knees(even more soft then on the flats), let the arms swing. Just let the body glide down the hill naturally. Looks funny, but smooth. Trails are more tight compared to streets. people tend to pay less attention as well in the forest. So if your a quiet runner with good technique approaching others from behind may not hear you, and they get startled easily. So you have to come up with some warning call that your approaching to minimize the startle factor.

    I found trails to be much more enjoyable on many levels, but I suggest streets as a new natural gait runner. To practice on flat terrain, and more controlled/expected asphalt surfaces. I find on trails you have a much greater bounce in your step as you have many more things in nature your landing on/around.

    I'm switching between a 4mm and 6mm huaraches to figure out what I really like better. I'm leaning towards the 4mm for more ground feel.....
     
  15. JosephTree

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    I think he means that on

    I think he means that on trails the legs go faster and move more creatively. Point to point speed's not the point.
     
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