Climbing up steep mountainside grades, navigating technical single track trails, and bombing downhill descents doesn't make for your typical run, and doesn't attract your typical runner. But, incorporating trail runs and new terrain into your routine will help stabilize and strengthen underutilized muscles, up your lung capacity, and give you a whole new outlook on taking your runs out into nature and off the roads.
The New Running 101 >>>
It's the type of workout that can make 2012 IronMan champ Pete Jacobs say, "This is a different kind of pain." And we know the first few ascents and descents set everyone's lungs on fire and wreck even the toughest athlete's quads—but as Jacobs remind us, a different kind of pain leads to a different type of fitness. "It's a fitness reality check. Your body adapts to your chosen sport, but never to the trails. Trail running makes everything else easier."
On June 21st, Jacobs, along with 14 other professional endurance athletes representing five intercontinental regions came together to run the Asics Beat the Sun Challenge around trail running's most iconic destination; the Mont Blanc massif in Chamonix, France.
We sat down with them before the race to get their best tips—for mortals—for taking on the trails.