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When you go trail running a new set of rules apply, says The Holy Trail author Rik Merchie. Here are his top ten tips for becoming king of the off-road


Every trail runner is confronted with it sooner or later: a steep climb where you simply have to walk. In fact, a practised trail runner will often prefer to walk rather than run uphill. This way they save their strength, because usually there is more than one climb. It’s your heart rate and breathing, not the average speed on your sports watch, that tell you whether your pace is right. Message to road runners: walking on trails is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

2 KM, D+ & D-

In trail running the letter D indicates the level of difficulty. D stands for denivelation, which is the difference in height between two geographical points. This designation exists in two variants: a positive (D+) and a negative (D-). For example, a 30km race with D+ 1,300 and D- 800 means that you will have to climb 1,300m – in one climb or multiple distinct climbs – and drop down 800m – again in one or more descents.

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