3 Elite Trail Runners on Core and Strength Training

The buzz around the core-training-for-runners trend might appear to resonate with all trail and mountain runners, particularly with the sport's elite. After all, it takes an immense amount of strength, stability andbalance—the purported benefits of core work—to contend with the undulating, challenging, uneven terrain. 

But, while it seems that most American elite road runners complete core and strength training to improve performance and stave off injury, habits among top-performing trail runners vary. Here three different approaches to strength training from three top trail runners. 

Rickey Gates 

  • 31
  • 2011 Canadian Death Race 125K winner
  • Runner-up at the 2012 Speedgoat 50K

"I generally subscribe to an out-of-gym regimen, as I'm not a huge fan of the setting. I supplement my running with biking, climbing and yoga. In the wintertime, I try to go out telemarking as often as possible. I don't do any of these things for the sake of making myself a better trail runner; I do them to make myself happy. 

"Core training and strengthening are very important, but find something that you love doing and that will ensure that you do it often."

Geoff Roes

  • 36
  • 2010 Western States 100 champion
  • Two-time Wasatch Front 100 winner

"I don't really do any kind of strength or core training any more. I used to several years ago, but I haven't in three or four years. There are plenty top runners that do, though. It seems like it's pretty split in half in terms of those who do and those who don't. 

"As I began to run more and more, I felt like I only had a certain amount of physical and mental energy that Icould put into 'training.' I had less energy left for cross-training, strength training and other activity besides running. I think strength training was really important for me to get to the point where I could just run for all of my training, but I think if I continued to do it with as much running as I have done the past three years, I probably would have been overdoing things."

More: 5 Signs of Overtraining

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