Ask The Coach: What’s Your Best Advice For Trail Races?

Coach Hillary Kigar offers tips to an athlete who's preparing to run her first trail race.

NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training–especially for runners who are preparing for their first race.

Related: 5 Trail Races Perfect For Runners Of All Abilities

What’s your best piece of advice for running my first trail race? I’m scared about how steep the hills will be and if I’ll be able to keep running.

If you are embarking on your first trail race, the motto is: “Get to the finish line and enjoy the view!” Your main goal should be to finish the race and feel excited to do another one. No matter the distance, stay relaxed for the first third of the race and, if you feel good later on, push a little harder. When you get to a steep hill and are no longer able to maintain your running form, don’t worry—part of trail running is mastering the art of the power hike! Shorten your stride and get up the hill however you can, then pick up your pace as you cruise the downhill. Most trail races involve miles spent running on beautiful trails with epic views, so don’t forget to look up and enjoy the scenery. You did pay for this, after all!


I’m A New Runner–Is It Always This Hard?

Beginner’s Trail Running Training Plan

Mind Your Manners: Stick To The Course, Trail Racers