réussir un trail thierry breuil

Thierry Breuil's secrets to performing on the trail

20 days before the race: "shock weekend" and recce

3 weeks before your big race, it's time to plan a "shock weekend". The aim of the game is to cover the same distance that you will run during the race, over 2 or 3 days. I recommend going to the event location for this training session. You can then scout out the course and its specific features. It's also a good chance to test out all of the equipment you are likely to use on the day of the competition: shoes, clothing, accessories, food, etc.


10 days before the race: the last major session

The last major training session before the race should be a pacing session. That means running at race speed (for example, 3 x 10 minutes). You don't need to do lots of hills because you'll have already trained this aspect. The Sunday before the race you should do no more than 1 hour 30 of jogging. During the last week, only go for 30 to 40 minute runs ending with a few finish line sprints. For a Sunday race, the last run should be on the Saturday after your journey to relax your legs. You should completely avoid drawing on your reserves. In terms of nutrition, I recommend eating slow sugars during the last three days and avoiding any lapses in your diet.


1 day before the race: The night before

If you can, the best thing is to travel to the race location the day before. Check the weather before setting off so that you will have the right equipment with you. Although to be safe I always take everything, just in case, since the weather conditions can change very quickly!


Race day

Set your alarm 3 hours before the race starts. Breakfast should be the same as normal: no more, no less.

Personally I do a very short warm-up, 10 to 15 minutes of jogging, a few sprints, no more. The last few kilometres of the race will be difficult enough without having done too much beforehand! The aim is to be able to keep a quick pace from the start so you end up in the right group.

Experience has taught me that it isn't worth coming up with a strategy before the race. My tactic is simple: I try to follow the leaders until two-thirds of the way through the race. The aim is to run at a "calm" pace over the first half of the course. At that point, I take stock. Where am I physically? How are my competitors doing? What are their strengths and weaknesses? If I'm able, I try to accelerate.


How can you push your limits?

Running is a demanding sport: it offers the best highs and the most devastating lows. I love the stress before a race, the adrenaline rush at the start: it's what motivates me to run.

The mental pain can be overcome. It's unthinkable what the head can get the body to do. My trick is to tell myself that although I'm not at my best and there are 2 hours of racing left, they are "only" 2 hours in my life. That's nothing! The joy of getting to the end of a race and achieving your goals is absolutely amazing. Crossing the finish line, not giving up, being at peace with yourself.
On the other hand, physical pain and injury must be carefully considered. Running with an injury is a step backwards for your recovery. Sometimes you have to know when to stop so you can make a better comeback later!


Enjoy your run!