CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAIL RUNNING / FASTPACKING TOUR
We want you to have the best possible time during your trail running tour in Japan with us, and matching your experience level, and current physical conditioning to an appropriate adventure is the most important part of ensuring you have a truly enjoyable trip. With that said, it is incredibly hard to create a one-size-fits-all system that accurately portrays the difficulty and challenges of each unique trail run or fastpack within the context of its particular environment, trail conditions, technical aspects, distance, duration and elevation gain. Perhaps this is why there is no universal standard for rating trail runs.
For the purposes of assigning a ballpark difficulty rating to the trail run and fastpack adventures we offer, we utilize a rating method based on the 7-level system used by the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) to categorize the effort expenditure necessary for their races. This method utilizes a "kilometer-effort" point metric, that considers the elevation gained over the distance covered. The metric is calculated as:
KM-EFFORT SCORE = (Total Distance in KM) + (Total Elevation Gain in M / 100)
The resulting scores in a particular range are then expressed as a level from XXS to XXL in accordance with the "size" of the effort required. ITRA uses this system to rank races all the way up to multi-day affairs with mind-boggling vertical. Because of that, we chosen to utilize their system, but to scale it down by 40% to make it more appropriate to the kinds of tours we offer.
As with our hikes, we feel that is helpful to also express the technical difficulty of the trail to paint a more complete picture, so in addition to the ITRA effort metric, we utilize an additional 3-number (1 to 3) addendum to rate the trail technicality. Please see the detailed explanation of each system below.
Please note that our trail running and fastpacking tours require a relatively higher fitness level than do our hiking tours, so please carefully review the difficulty rating for the tour you are considering. When choosing a tour, be honest when evaluating yourself - and if you are unsure whether you could realistically handle the demands of a particular trail run or fastpack on offer, just ask! Send us a message or give us a call and we will be happy to talk you through it.