By ANDREA ARCEGA
Everybody starts somewhere.
A lot of people may have already heard about Spartan Race or obstacle course racing by now. Since being introduced to the Philippines in 2017, the Filipino Spartan community has grown immensely, as seen in the number of participants signing up for every event.
As exhilarating as obstacle course racing may be, not everyone is into the same thing. That’s why Spartan’s decision to expand into trail running is a much-welcomed addition to both the brand and the sport.
Spartan Race Philippines had the honor of inaugurating the Trail Series in the Asian region, which became the biggest one to date in Spartan history, attended by about 1,000 participants from different parts of the world. It was recently held in Alviera, Porac, Pampanga, and was graced by the legendary Ultramarathoner and trail runner, Charlie Engle as the race director.
The Trail Series may not have the signature Spartan obstacles, but it sure gets its share from Mother Nature. Alviera is known for its scorching heat and volcanic ash trail, and it sure did not disappoint. You have some steep uphill and downhill terrain from the surrounding mountain range, the rocks, twigs, and tall grasses that block your path—every natural obstacle that you could think of.
You may not end up climbing walls or traversing through ropes, but you need to be wary of your surroundings. In trail running, it’s just going to be you and everything else around you.
TRAIL vs. URBAN
If you’re the kind of person who likes variety and has a penchant for adventure, you might want to give trail running a go. Unlike urban running, where you go through roads, pavements, pass by vehicles and buildings, trail running allows you to enjoy scenic views, to feel the breeze of the wind from mountain peaks, and experience the solitude of being one with nature.
If you are thinking of getting your fitness in, or even just to jumpstart your Spartan lifestyle, here are some tips you may note of for trail running:
- Train smart.
Start running. Get your body moving, and develop the stamina and endurance before you set yourself out in the wild. Get used to doing animal movements in your workouts. Trust the process and enjoy your progress. Be patient with yourself. You can’t rush these things.
- Be prepared.
Know the location you will be running in. How’s the weather going to be? What kind of terrain does it have? Be prepared not just with tools but also with knowledge.
- Gear up.
Make sure to wear the right gear, especially with shoes. Merrell is known to provide top quality trail running shoes that last, regardless of the terrain. The Agility Peak Flex 3 proves to be a perfect build for the rugged trails of Alviera, with its shock-absorbing foam cushioning that helps keep your feet comfortable and stable while on the run. Dress to express, not to impress.
- Eat and drink.
Start hydrating at least two weeks before you run. Don’t go in hungry nor should you go in full. A hydration bag, energy gels, and salt tablets will be your best friends when you make a run for it.
5. Look after yourself.
Be it alone or with friends, always keep yourself in check. Put on sunscreen and protect your skin. Wear a watch and keep track of your time. Take a cellphone for safety. Bring a whistle for emergency. And make sure someone knows where you are going.
- Be attentive.
Keep your eyes on the trail. Spartan Trail will have course markings for 10k and 21k distances. Make sure you are following the one you are running!
Run. Walk. Hike. Climb. Crawl. Jump. It doesn’t matter how you will do it, just do it right and safely. Test your training. Just keep going, one foot at a time, especially when you are already tired. When you are under the scorching heat of the sun, best to move as fast as you can. The longer you stay in the heat, the more exhausted you will feel. So just go!
As Spartan is in the business of getting people off the couch, bringing in the Trail Series provides new opportunities for racers of all fitness levels to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge their limits.
Time to get out and challenge yours!