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Power training for trail runners and hikers

What is power training?

The power phase is the last of the five phases in training -- Stabilization, Endurance, Hypertrophy, Strength, and Power. When it comes to power, think: velocity and force. During this phase, training volume will typically run between 3-6 sets or 6-12 reps with RPE between 7-9. You'll also likely see more quick and controlled exercises such as Kettlebell Swings, Barbell or Kettlebell Cleans, and Skaters.

Please note, it is still possible to see any of these exercises in other phases of training based on your goals, too.

The biggest misconception about power training I come across is that you're always jumping or sprinting. This isn't necessarily true. Power is simply taking the strength you built in the Strength phase and turning it into quicker, controlled movements.

Why do trail runners and hikers want to train power?

As you can imagine, power is required in trail running due to the nature of running. Even if you're a slow runner (hi, it's me), you're still creating power with each stride. At one point or another within each stride, power is required in your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, abdominals, obliques, and back. Developing power in your hip complex can enhance your trail running to another level.

It might not be as obvious with hikers, but hikers need power, too. To be honest, most people who train can benefit from power training, but that's a topic for another day. Hikers still want to move at a pace feasible for the planned mileage, duration, and elevation gain. Especially if you're trying to beat out the summer storms. Power as a hiker is going to allow you to move faster on the uphill AND downhill with more ease.

When is power trained?

Power is generally trained after the Strength phase and before the Endurance phase. Side note: not everyone enters a Stabilization or Hypertrophy phase based on fitness level and goals. This phase likely falls in the late winter/early spring as weekend warrior trail runner or hiker.

Along with other phases of resistance training, I recommend aiming for +/-3 training sessions per week depending on your goals, training availability, and planned cardio endurance sessions.

Trail season is just around the corner, fellas!

KATHLETICS Trail offers up to 3 resistance training sessions per week with up to 5 cardio endurance training sessions per week to encourage a safe and effective training program. Learn more about the KATHLETICS Trail program.


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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