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Last week, Hayley finished the 50km race at Ultra Trail Australia for the second time. We asked Hayley to share some of her passion for the trails in the form of a few lessons she has learned along the way.

One – Running might seem like an individual sport but trail running is a team event.

Trail running has helped me to realise that running is so much more than how fast you can run a 5km park run in, or what your fastest half marathon time is.

Trail runners pause to ask people who have stopped if they are ok, and they carry their fallen comrades across the finish line. Trail running is more than just a solo sport.

Many friends are made on the trails and even when running alone, this sense of community means that you greet complete strangers when crossing paths.

Two – Get the right gear.

You don’t need to be the fastest runner or an elite athlete to be a trail runner, you just need a sense of adventure.

You’re out in the elements so you need gear that is truly functional. Start with a good pair of trail shoes, a pair of shorts that move with you and a top that doesn’t rub.

I ran the UTA50 in the Aussie Grit Flint Women’s Running Short and Flint Women’s Running Top. The flint two-in-one Running Short is an essential item for any off-road runner, as it does exactly what a good pair of shorts should do – protect and support. The Flint Running Top is designed to avoid chafing with flat seams and comfortable four way stretch fabric.

Three – Don’t forget about nutrition.

Fuelling your body and your mind is the key to a good time out on the trails.

I find a good powdered nutrition in one of my water bottles, along with water is a solid choice of fuel source. I personally find gels too much on my stomach and a peanut butter and honey sandwich with no crust can do wonders to my long runs or on race days.

On long runs I refuel my body every 30-40 minutes with around 30gms of carbs and water, a
good balance keeps me powering until the end.

Four – Prepare and recover.

Training is crucial to making the distance, I included steep inclines, hill training, rocky surfaces, stair sessions and water crossings, this all helped boost my confidence for UTA.

I structure my training around listening to my body, as I run 60-80km per week.

Remember to pace yourself, it’s ok to walk up the climbs and rest the legs.

As for recovery, stretching and rehydrating is a good start plus getting food into your body within half an hour is a good habit to get into.

Five – Trail running is not just about your body but your mind as well.

Trail running reduces stress, can provide mental clarity, improves heart health and is great for overall fitness. For many people, trail running provides a mental escape from their busy lives, and for some, it is even more than that.

I love to cycle too; Clocking more than 500km in four days to raise awareness for child abuse, which is very close to my heart, and creating a whole branding around the words, ‘Be Brave.’

The strength I have received from running has enabled me to be the happy and strong woman I am today.

You can find out more about Be Brave here.

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