Stripped down to its barest form, running never changes.

However, where you run does. So it’s important to understand how new environments and wilder terrains impact on your body and affect decision making.

If you’re a keen runner, likelihood is you’ve run off-road at least a handful of times in your life – through woodland, across fields. It’s refreshing, right? Especially if you spend most of your days in urban surroundings.

Trail running is, in pretty much every sense, the most natural way to go about things. But it poses fresh challenges that ask a lot more of you than your average road run.

Uneven, loose ground puts more pressure on your joints, steep inclines replace calories with lactic acid and downhill strides can fast turn into sharp muddy tumbles.

There’s definitely a lot more to think about.

And there’s no avoiding it. If you’re going to make the transition to the trail – or you’re simply looking to take things up a notch – you’ll need to factor these new challenges into how you train.

From daily routines to downtime exercises, it’s time to shake things up a little. You need to adjust, tweak and recalibrate your activity so as to not only focus on cardiovascular stamina and intensity, but also balance, strength, agility – to name a few.

The basics

If you’re new to this, the first, and most important, thing to remember is that time becomes meaningless. Depending on where you run, a mile could take anywhere between 7 and a half minutes to 15 minutes, or more. It really doesn’t matter at this point. 

So don’t worry about it.

Where you really need to place your focus is on pacing, technique and consistency. Begin to master these three traits, and you’ll be in a great position to start upping your distance.

It’s also critical that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The trail is a very different beast. If you try to give too much of yourself too soon, things can go south, quickly. So keep it light, know your limits during those early days and enjoy it.

Oh, and don’t be afraid to hike some of the way either. It’s all good training.

Going 10K

10 kilometres is the first distance marker you’re going to want to aim for – especially if you’re already a regular road runner. In fact, if you’re an experienced tarmac treader, you’re probably pretty familiar with this distance, and running it likely takes you anywhere between sub 40 minutes up to an hour. Sound reasonable?

And yet, when it comes to the trail 10K takes on a much tougher endurance feel. You can expect it to take 60-90 minutes to complete on your first attempt, due to the rugged, testing nature of the terrain. So be prepared for a different experience entirely.

This isn’t about clock watching or average pace per mile. It’s about taking a big gulp of nature, finding your flow, and making smart, steady progression.

If you’re serious about going 10K, you need a practical training plan to follow in the week’s running up to the big event… 

Of course, every runner is different. But we know how useful it can be to have a training sidekick to see you through to your goal.

To help you get started, check out the 12 week plan below or click here to download your PDF version.

Training for the Trail: The Complete Training Guide to Running Your First 10K in the Wild from Sole Power

Complete with simple nutritional advice, techniques and training tips, it’s there to give you the guidance and base knowledge to build your confidence and ability in a wilder environment than you’re used to. Now go forth and explore!


Sole Power is an online blog from Michelin that aims to empower and inspire the adventurers and achievers whose home from home is off the beaten track.