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  • About VJ
  • September 29, 2023 3 min read

    HI! I'm Will, I’m 15 and have been running trails for a few years (editor's note: Will is on Team VJ!). My first race was at Bear Mountain, NY. It was a 5k and I was about 10 years old. Recently, I’ve raced Loon Mountain, Breakneck Ridge and - one of my favorites - the Great Adirondack Trail Run, in Keene Valley, NY. 

    Here are some tips I’ve learned from successes and failures in trail racing. 


    Nutrition is easily one of the most important parts of your race. There have been many times where I have bonked with only a few miles left and blew up. However, bonking is easily preventable. For shorter-distance races I usually take a bottle of electrolytes and a gel; for longer distances, I try to take at least one bar, a few gels, and a bottle of electrolytes. I have noticed that I tend to bonk around 1 hour in, so I try to take something 45 minutes into my race. From there I try to eat every 30 minutes while drinking every 10-15 minutes. Nutrition doesn’t have to follow a strict schedule, but it is good to know generally when you should be fueling.

    Course Research

    Course Research is not essential but it is helpful. Planning your race strategy according to the course is very easy but will definitely improve your time. This can help with preparing nutrition, where to push in your race, and what your splits should be.


    Gear is another very important part of trail running. It is important to test all of your gear to make sure you are comfortable running with it. For example, I prefer to wear a fanny pack because it does not jostle around as much and makes food easily accessible. Shoes are the most crucial part of your gear. It is important to use whatever you prefer and feel comfortable in, but VJ’s are definitely the best shoes on the market so I encourage you to try them. The photo to the right is at Great Adirondack Trail Run June 11, 2023. You can see my gear here - fanny pack, Nathan water bottle and of course my VJs. I placed 1st in the under 18 age group.


    Flowstate is the mindset that turns on when you’re trail running. You become fully focused on your run and tune out distractions. I find this usually happens towards the end of the race or during parts of intense focus; it can be used to stay mentally focused and to push yourself. There is no one way to enter the “flow state” but it is definitely important to learn how to switch it on during your race. 

    The Final 25%

    The final 25% is always the hardest part of the race. Your body and your mind are completely drained but there is still a decent amount of racing left. During this final push, nutrition is extremely important. I've found that you have to eat and drink a lot more to push your mind and body on this last part. So, instead of eating every 30 minutes, I try to eat every 10 minutes and drink every 5 minutes or so. This is also an important part of the race to switch into your flow state. Being completely focused on this bit is very important because it is easy to stop pushing. 

    To sum everything up there are many important factors that you should practice and consider before your trail race, but there is no one way to solve all of these factors for everyone which is why trial and error in training is so important, to find out what works for you is essential.

     -Will Hogue @willhogue08