Half-Marathon (or 25K) Trail Running Training Plan

MapMyRun
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Half-Marathon (or 25K) Trail Running Training Plan

Running on trails can be exhilarating, but also exhausting as it places much more stress on the body than road running. Rocks, tree roots, mud and altitude result in a dynamic run experience that demands focus, high energy, strength and balance.

The higher demands of running on rugged terrain means that that athlete must take their preparation seriously if they want to succeed at running off-road. Under Armour’s performance experts have developed a conditioning program designed to get you in the best possible shape to compete off-road. It is specifically built to cope with the rigors of trail running, so you’ll be ready to go on race day.

NOTE: This training plan is targeting a 25K distance, which is slightly more than a traditional 13.1-mile half-marathon.

This 14-week program will help you become a better trail runner with mobility, endurance strength, recovery and breathing training.

MOVEMENT AND MOBILITY 

The Movement & Mobility Routine will prepare your body for the unstable nature of trail running. Keeping the body in good condition is not only better for performance, but also helps you stay injury-free. These pre-run exercises are developed to work on areas of the body that are pushed to the max while trail running, specifically the feet, hips and upper back.

Times per week: Every day
Required Equipment: Foam roller or tennis ball

RUNNING AND ENDURANCE 

The running program is built for beginner- and intermediate-level trail runners, offering a training plan for the 5K, 10K and half marathon distances. You will be introduced to tempo running, fast hill repeats and long slow runs, as well as understanding the discipline of recovery runs. You should attempt to run off-road at least twice a week to acclimate the body to the demands of the trail.

Times per week: Varies. Aim for 5x (with 1–2x off-road each week)

STRENGTH 

The strength program is designed specifically for runners looking to get a competitive edge. It is not designed to build muscle, but rather enhance your stability and mobility to run stronger. All sessions are circuit-based, building strength while taxing your cardiovascular system.

Times per week: Varies. Aim for 2-3 sessions: one for full-body conditioning and one for balance and mobility.
Optional Equipment: Kettlebells, dumbbells

RECOVERY 

The recovery routine is based on Under Armour’s belief that today’s recovery is tomorrow’s training. It is essential to attempt to restore movement quality after a run. The program is designed to hit the areas of the body that need the most attention. These moves will require a foam roller or tennis ball, which can be found at your local gym or health club. These moves should be done after every workout.

Times per week: Every day

BREATHING

Trail running often involves running at higher altitudes, so this plan also includes a research-based technique that improves athletic breathing and can simulate training at altitude. This technique was adapted from High Performance Breathing Techniques developed by Dr. Patrick McKeown.

*Images shown for intermediate level only

*Images shown for intermediate level only

The following breathing exercise is meant to simulate high altitude and aims to improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. This exercise is from a research-based technique developed by Patrick McKeown.

THE GUIDE:

  • After a minute of continuous walking, gently exhale and pinch your nose to hold your breath.
  • Walk while holding the breath until you feel a medium to strong air shortage.
  • Release your nose, inhale through it and calm your breathing.
  • While continuing to walk, perform a breath hold every minute or so.
  • Perform six breath holds during your ten minute walk.

Practice one to two sets daily. These exercises should be challenging, but not stressful.

Training plans developed in collaboration with UA Training Network and UA Run Coach Mike Smith.

About the Author

MapMyRun
MapMyRun

MapMyRun provides users with the ability to map, record and share their exercise routes and workouts with each other. Make every run count and join Under Armour Connected Fitness™, the world’s largest digital fitness community: Visit the MapMyRun blog and download UA Record, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo.

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