Tips on How to Prepare for Mountain Running

Mountain running, unlike other types of races, is a little bit more challenging. Elevation gain poses a challenge even to professional runners, which calls serious preparations. Let’s imagine that you have had your few months of practicing to be a professional runner. With time, you will start exploring different terrains, and each of the terrains presents different challenges. Before the fateful day arrives, there are a few things that you need to know to nurture your successful completion of the mountain race. This article provides you with the most professional tips on how to prepare for mountain running.

Mountain Running

Do Your Homework

Registering for a mountain running race might is easy. However, your qualifications might be a bad or a good thing for you. Qualifying implies that you have at least completed the necessary running sessions, and you are ready to take things further. If you have not been running on long trails or hills, the race you about to get into will be tough. It is imperative to investigate the kind of races that involves a good amount of climbing, the distance involved, and the expected climate. It will provide you with proper preparation or training for future competitions.

Train on the Hills

You need to get prepared for elevated terrains before you get into a mountain running race. It is critical to start with hills that are not too steep. Get your body used to the steep terrain first and advance towards those with higher gradients. Make hills your favorite spots where you do your training during your usual sessions and on your less busy days. As your body gets used to the terrains, target steeper mountains and more extended terrains. Mountain races involve long climbing stretches; thus, that requires more tie compared to other types of terrains. Spending time while walking uphill is what a runner needs. It is better to replicate the time and distance spent running uphill with hiking on steep or big hills. Also, hiking is essential because it helps you to familiarize yourself with the path to be followed. Besides, it is crucial to try attitude training to help the body adapt to a lack of oxygen and thinner air, which is common in elevations of 1000m and above. Book a few sessions in high altitude centers to help prepare for the mountain run. It is also critical to avoid overdoing it to evade injuries.

Consider Long Slow Runs

Due to the demanding nature of mountain racing, it is advisable to take it slow and give yourself enough adaptation time to avoid injuries. Running too fast might be very exhausting if you are not used to it. It is better to start your race on a longer stretch and cover it at a slower pace. Make it a routine. You can integrate run commuting into your schedule where you run to and from work. It makes you get accustomed to the run-eat-repeat mode that is critical over an ultra. Moreover, before the hill racing day, participating in relays can be very instrumental. It provides you with the ability to cover several miles in a short time even on tough trail courses.



Poles are, at times, essential in muddy and wet conditions. Some people feel free when their hands are free of scrambling. Nevertheless, in some instances, investing in telescopic poles would help better climb the mountains when it turns wet and muddy.

Trail Shoes

Investing in good running shoes is essential. But, mountain running requires shoes with a lot of traction. It is vital to prioritize on grip than on weight. Some would think that light shoes will help in mountain running, but the weight will not help if the shoes cannot hold you up on the rough track. Shoes with good grip help negotiate muddy ascents quickly.


Good socks also play an essential role in running. Mountain running is better when you choose socks that are well-padded and comfortable. On the fateful day, take a pair or two. Study the route that you will be followed to identify if there are streams that need to be crossed because changing socks after crossing streams brings a significant disparity, especially when longer races are involved.

Spare Clothes

You can expect rains, especially when running uphill. It is recommended to carry a few clothes for changing in case it rains to avoid getting too cold. Make sure to bring something that can keep you warm, such as a Marlow Jacket in the morning. Such a jacket also provides a shield from the wind. Usually, high attitude environments are cold. When the hands are exposed, especially when running, it can get frigid and uncomfortable for the runner. It creates the essence of having woolly gloves and a hat that can shield you from the extreme weather.


A headtorch is also vital if you think that darkness might catch up with you. Being in the dark is the last thing needed when one is trying to negotiate through the mountain terrain, trees, and rocks. The torch can also be imperative when one has to camp somewhere along the way.


Considering the diet is imperative when preparing for a mountain run. You need to be aware of the type of foods that works for you when running. You can consume your meal 1-2 hours before the regular training schedule and put it in your plan to ensure that it does not become a problem during mountain running. Likewise, ensure that you have plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated along the trail is critical. Similarly, feel free, chat, and interact with other runners to get rid of pressure.

Strength Gain

It is crucial to ensure that you have enough strength for the fateful day. Apart from practicing on hills and elevated grounds, you need to consider other strength-building exercises. Engage in a series of single-length exercises focused on strengthening your lower body. Train on activities that stabilize the posterior chain and the hip, as well as those that allow achievement of single-leg stability that copycats racing. Some of the events that can help in strength gain include posterior and front planks, pull-ups, push-ups, box step-ups, single-leg squats, and lunges. When you are done with the preparations, register for a mountain running session, and make sure to employ the gathered tips on how to prepare for mountain running.


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