Becoming a Better Trail Runner – with Eric Orton

posted in: Blog, Running, Training + Fitness | 88

This past Thursday we had special guest Eric Orton in the shop to talk about how to become a better trail runner. Coach from the best-selling book Born to Run and a world-renown runner based right here in the Tetons, Eric explained the Four F’s to becoming a better runner (accompanied by inspirational quotes from Michael Jordan).

1. FEET

“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”

Feet are what dictate our muscles and structural system, they are the sensors for everything we do, Eric explained. It’s important that you train your feet and build up that foot strength to create equilibrium throughout your body.

Strengthen your foot through exercises such as this one using a PVC pipe.

2. FORM

“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

It’s not that we need to learn more, we need to perfect what we already know. It’s important to create muscle memory of correct technique for the simple fundamentals of running. Try running in place or jumping rope, paying attention to how your foot is striking the ground. You should be landing forefoot to heel.

Practice running downhill and pay attention to your forefoot. Even downhill you should be striking forefoot first. Be patient.

3. FAST

“Everyone has talent, but ability takes hard work.”

Work on your mile as a baseline. Improve your mile and you’ll improve across the spectrum of distances. Don’t sprint longer than 15 seconds – about 10 to 15 second sprints should be all you need. This will help build up your neuromuscular speed and power, which will ultimately lead to faster distance running.

4. FEAR

Quote: “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

Use fear as a motivator. What often stops us is something that doesn’t exist. Fear is only an illusion. When you have negative thoughts, use them for action. Learn from them and adjust your training as needed. “It’s not important what we think, it’s important what we do after we think,” Orton says.

-Amy Yatsuk