TRAIL Magazine Cape Trail Clinic

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TRAIL Magazine Cape Trail Clinic

The Trail Gods smiled down on me and I was lucky to score a seat at TRAIL Magazine’s Cape Trail Clinic. Two days of total trail immersion with local trail legends and fellow trail addicts sharing knowledge and a passion for mountains.


The TRAIL Magazine editorial team of Deon and Heloise welcomed all trail addicts attendees with goodie bags, big smiles and a few hugs to set the scene for a weekend filled with trail lurve.


In attendance were first time trail runners, road runner converts looking to get dirty, and a few seasoned multi-stagers looking to pick up a gem or two from the line-up of excellent speakers. True enough, all trail runner types were also present as we mingled with barefooted runners, plant-fuelled athletes, the high-tech Salomon clad trail ninja and even me the trucker-capped-aviator-wearing-back-of-the-pack runner.


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Everyone heading out for a jog before the hardcore lessons started – photo courtesy of TRAIL Magazine


Over those two days, I fell even deeper into my trail romance 🙂


However, what I’ve been thinking about since then is whether or not it’s important for people to attend these clinics? I’d read this hilarious post by Another Damn Trail Blog last year and I had the same questions:


Isn’t trail running as simple as putting one foot in front of the other…?
Just like walking, but faster…?
And off-road or up mountains…?


All jokes aside, it is true that getting experience while running on the trails will help you improve. However, there is only so much knowledge that experience can give you if you are always out on your own. The same can be applied to internet-based research.


I believe the answer is “Yes, there is massive benefit from attending these clinics”


Personally, I found that those real deep nuggets of learning can only come from interactions and one-on-one conversations with an expert – and there we so many experts available at our disposal over the course of the weekend


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Some ladder drills with Sean Tait – photo courtesy of TRAIL Magazine


Here are some select pearls of wisdom that stuck with me after the clinic:

  1. There is no one trail shoe for all conditions and distances. You can try to run in the same shoe, but you may not be as quick or as comfortable – from Nicholas Rupanga
  2. Balancing work, life and training is possible, but you need a plan. If hurdles (or in this case, boulders) are thrown your way, you should aim to be adaptable, not in consistency, but in approach. Forget what you can’t do and focus on what you can – even if it means running the same 4km loop over and over to get your mileage in – from Ryno Griesel
  3. Sometimes you just have to break the bungee and sprint away from your opponent until he can’t see you anymore. You can slow down once you’re out of sight, but by then you’ve won the mental battle – from Ryno Griesel
  4. Nutrition is not just what you do before your 5km training run or race, it’s what you do day-to-day – from Lucy Etherton
  5. Balance and a strong core are essential to remaining injury free in the long-run – from Devon Coetzee
  6. A 180 step per minute cadence is a skill you need to own. Whether it’s on the uphill, flat or downhill a fast cadence will allow shorter muscle contractions, improved running mechanics and better blood flow to the areas that need it most – from Sean Tait
  7. Periodisation and a structured training plan which balances the correct volume and intensity at the right time, will have you pitch up to your goal races primed and ready – from Sean Tait
  8. The right team behind you is essential. Your physio, biokineticist and coaches should be working together to develop the right plan to improve both your power while keeping you injury free – from Chris Allan
  9. If you treat each run like an injury, you will recover much faster – from Chris Allan
  10. Once you’re hooked on trail running, you’re in for life – from Linda Doke


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Don’t…fall…over..damn! – photo courtesy of TRAIL Magazine


Some basic, some technical and even some philosophical lessons. There was lots of running and enough exercises that revealed just how poor my balance was – thanks for that little dent in the ego Devon. I even had some weird looking green stuff that Deon insisted was good for me.


But each time I almost fell over, or had an Aha! moment over a seemingly simple piece of advice, I felt that I was learning and improving.


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Certified Trail Ninjas! – photo courtesy of TRAIL Magazine


Plus (unless you’re Ryan Sandes) how often do you get to hang out with Nicholas Rupanga, Ryno Griesel and Linda Doke 🙂


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Hanging with Nicholas Rupanga and Ryno Griesel – photo courtesy of TRAIL Magazine


Have you attended any of the TRAIL Magazine Trail Clinics? Feel free to share your highlights and even things that you wished were done differently in the comments section below.


– Peace


Check out the full gallery from the weekend here

Also, if you want to be kept up to date on the next Trail Clinic in your area, send an email to

  • Ryno Griesel

    February 10, 2016 at 7:06 pm Reply

    Hi Fareed – thank you – it was brilliant to spend the weekend with you guys! Well done a brilliantly written BLOG! Catch you on the trails soon!

    • Fareed

      February 11, 2016 at 8:39 am Reply

      Thanks so much Ryno! The entire weekend was a blast. Good luck for your races this year 🙂

  • Phillip Gibb

    February 11, 2016 at 7:25 am Reply

    It was awesome. And even better to have met some fellow trail addicts
    I hope our trails cross again.

    • Fareed

      February 11, 2016 at 8:41 am Reply

      Phillip you trail ninja! I need to get some jet shoes so I can join you on a run. Good luck with the prep for UTCT 2016!

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