How To Survive A Multi-Day Trail Race | Advice - Outdoors Magic

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How To Survive A Multi-Day Trail Race | Advice

We headed out to Sweden for a three day trail race... here are the things that helped us survive

So you’ve been trail running a while, done a few events but looking for a new challenge to test yourself and your off-road running skills. Now it’s time to get yourself signed up for a multi-day trail race event which presents a whole new set of obstacles.

We recently travelled to West Sweden to run the Icebug Xperience West Coast Trail, a 75km trail race split up over three days. It’s arguably one of the world’s most stunning courses, hugging the beautiful Swedish coastline and taking on a variety of terrain, from moonscape rock formations to picturesque forest trails.

Over the course of the race there were a few techniques for multi-day running that we stuck to and that eventually got us over the line…

Train With Heavy Legs

With single day events you run hard and tend to not worry so much about what your legs are going to feel like later. With a multi-day event you’re going to have to get your legs moving again after a hard day on the trail. Don’t let the event be the first time you’ve experienced this. You want to be able to run well the next day and be light enough on your feet to tackle the more technical parts of the trail with confidence.

“A great way of replicating this feeling in training is building lactic acid into your legs before you start your run.”

A great way of replicating this feeling in training is building lactic acid into your legs before you start your run. This can be achieved by cycling, hill sprints or even a legs focused weights session. If you don’t have experience with multiple sessions in one day, go easy on yourself as this can be a bit of a shock to the system.

Eat Well

The longer the event, the more nutrition comes into play – and that’s before, during and after. You will know the obvious ones like carb-loading before and taking on high levels of protein after you finish running to help with recovery, but here are a couple of other useful tips.

Breakfast – get up early enough to make sure you can eat enough and also digest/ You don’t want to be running bloated.

Practice eating while running. This is a skill and a science in itself. Everyone is different and reacts differently to eating on the move; some can wolf anything down while others struggle to take on the lightest of food. Know what works for you and have it with you, don’t rely on aid stations as you need to eat when your body calls for it.

Exploring the amazing west coast of Sweden
Sometimes it feels like it, but you're not on your own out there.
Perfect post-race recovery


After a long day of running it’s not time to switch off, it’s time to prepare for your next long day of running. Putting some time into recovering properly will help your body repair faster and pay dividends the next day on the trail.

Static stretching is a must and if you’re lucky enough to have a sauna on hand, as was the case on the Icebug Xperience – make the most of it. This will loosen everything up and help keep your body moving the next day.

You can even step it up a level and go for the hot and cold treatment, where you have an ice bath before you get in the sauna, this is one for those that put themselves in the super keen category.

Two Pairs of Shoes

Out of all the tips here this might be the lesser known of them all and the biggest multi-day trail running hack. Putting on a different pair of trail shoes to the ones you were wearing the day before can make you feel like you have fresh legs again. Without getting too technical, all shoes will engage your muscles and alter your motion ever so slightly, so when you change your shoes your legs will be working in a slightly different way.

“Putting on a different pair of trail shoes to the ones you were wearing the day before can make you feel like you have fresh legs again.”

This will take the strain off areas that have been thrashed the day before and load up the fresher parts of your legs. It also has a big psychological benefit in that you have given your head something new to think about on the trail, which will come in handy once the distance kicks in. Play around with this set-up and see what works for you, but bear in mind that both sets of shoes will need to be appropriate for the terrain you will be tackling.

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