How to achieve your trail running goals in ten significant steps.

This past June, I completed Manitou’s Revenge, the 54-mile cross-Catskills ultra-marathon, for the first time. A few weeks later, I finally broke the four-hour barrier on the 30k Escarpment Trail Run, also in the Catskills. Several of my fellow runners, knowing what these races had meant to me, asked why I didn’t submit race reports. I’m a writer, after all, and some older posts on running – particularly, about my first marathon and early Escarpment Trail races – have received a fair amount of traffic over the years.

Truth is, and leaving aside the genuine time pressures caused by work and home life, I didn’t initially feel that I had much to say. I worked really hard on my goals; I achieved them. Other than a nasty fall near the end of the Escarpment, there was no particular melodrama. Who wants to read about that?

Then, this October, I ran the third and last of the Catskill Mountain long-distance trail races: the Cat’s Tail Trail Marathon. I left the watch at home for this one, running instead on feel, and upon crossing the finish line right where I had quietly anticipated – six and a half hours, which put me in the top third of the 100-strong field – I realized that I’d had a near enough perfect year of trail running. And in looking back on the season as a whole, it struck me that perhaps I do have something to offer my fellow runners by way of writing, after all. What will follow over coming days is not an essay, not a race report either. It’s intended as a tip sheet for the reasonably advanced trail runner from what is now, modesty aside, a reasonably advanced trail runner. I hope you will find it useful.

Continue to Tip #1.

Yours truly, somewhere on the Cat’s Tail course, Oct 14 2017. Thanks to Mountain Peak Fitness for the images.

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June 2021