Off-trail footwork and speed

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  • #17073

    Thank you for the incredible information in the TftNA book, training plans and this forum. I’ve used them for 18 months and have seen great improvement, especially going up and down steep inclines.

    Where I find I am challenged is in moving quickly on rough terrain, such as moving sideways across a hill off-trail or across scree. I volunteer for search and rescue and notice that I am slower than some of my team, not because of fitness, but because of footwork. I seem to struggle more with balance and feel like I am going to twist an ankle or take a misstep if I move faster.

    What training would you recommend to improve my foot agility and balance, especially with a heavy pack?


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #17081

    Agility is a bit like speed and power……some people have it and other’s don’t. Unlike endurance, to which humans are genetically predisposed (hence highly trainable), speed and agility are very much heritable traits (you need to have chosen you parents well).

    In working with top class XC skiers I have found it much easier to take a Fast Twitch (those generally better endowed with speed/power and agility) and turn him/her into an endurance athlete than the other way around.

    Running coaches have an old saying: Sprinters are BORN…..Distance runners are MADE.

    Not all is lost however. You can train this stuff. But, it is going to require you get out of your comfort zone A LOT and learn to move your feet quickly, develop better balance and ankle and leg strength.

    Start with single legged balance training on a Bosu ball. Progress to doing hill sprint workouts on steep scree. I suck at this same thing and I have nasty scree hill I do hill sprints on. The scree needs to be big enough to be stable (not gravel).

    Or just generally spend more time on unstable footing. Depending upon your genetics this will either come quickly or maybe not ever. But you won’t know till you train it.


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