The Pacific Northwest is filled with incredible places to explore, and trail running is a great way to do so. Trail running has many of the same prerequisites of physical conditioning as road running, with the added demands of uneven ground, roots, quick changes in direction, and often lots of elevation gain. While running on trails, the angle and location of one’s foot contact is more variable, increasing the demand on the musculature that stabilizes the foot, knee, hip, and trunk. Adding in exercises that challenge these stabilizer muscles, while strengthening the muscles that propel us forward is a great way to improve performance and decrease the risk of injury. The following exercises will help you be at your best when you hit the trails.


SOLEUS HEEL RAISE ON STEP
Stand on a step with your midfoot on the edge and one hand on a wall for support. Keep your knee slightly bent throughout the entire movement. Lift your heel as high as possible, then slowly lower yourself down until you feel a stretch in the calf. Repeat.
TIPS: You can perform this exercise with both feet at the same time if it is too challenging with one foot. If it is too easy with one foot, you can slowly add weight to your free hand.
Soleus heel raise on step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete 3 sets of 15, 2-3 times per week.


SIDE PLANK WITH CLAM
Begin by lying on your side with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and resting on your forearm. Lift your hip off the ground while pressing yourself away from the ground with your arm in contact with the floor and hold this position. Without lifting your foot or moving your back, lift your knee up by rotating your top hip outward. Slowly return your top knee to the starting position and repeat. Gradually build up repetitions over time.
side plank with clam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete 3 sets of 8, 2-3 times per week.


REVERSE LUNGE
Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Take a large step backward, while slowly bending your front leg to lower yourself toward the ground in a lunge position. With most of the work coming from your front leg, push yourself back up to the starting position. To progress this exercise, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in the hand of the leg you are stepping back with.
Reverse lunge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete 3 sets of 8, 2-3 times per week.


ICE SKATER
Begin in a standing position with your weight on your right foot. Lower yourself down into a slight squat position and jump to the left. As you land, bend through the left hip, knee, and ankle, focusing on a soft and balanced landing. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, then hop back to the right and repeat. Start with small jumps and as you get comfortable, gradually jump further to each side.
Ice Skater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete 3 sets of 8, 2-3 times per week.