Bored with the same old running routes and routine? Or are you craving the mental health benefits of exploring the beautiful outdoors or getting out in nature? If so, trail running is what you need.
Regardless of your aspirations or goals as a trail runner, always remember that it is pure fun. When you start trail running, you leave the stress in your day-to-day life for a half-hour getaway on a local trait. You also run longer and push your physical limits.
Trail running and road running are somewhat different, so they are crucial things to know before you get started. They include:
#1 – Finding the right shoes
While your road running pair of shoes might be able to handle some hand-picked, easy trails, trail-specific shoes should be used when the going gets wilder. Trail running shoes are useful on technical terrain, steep inclines, or when trails get covered with snow, muddy or wet.
Trail pair of shoes protect your feet in ways that pavement or road running shoes don’t, allowing you to run smoothly and safely over varied surfaces.
When choosing a trail shoe, also consider the conditions in which you will be running. For instance, if you run in the desert, you will want high breathability.
#2 – Decide where to trail run
Every trail is different. There are ravel pathways, rugged rocky routes, smooth dirt trails, etc. Some are strewn with rocks, tree roots, and other obstacles, while others are clean and clear of gravel debris. Some are steep, some are flat, and some dip.
You don’t have to be in the countryside or the mountains to find great good trails. Most suburban and metropolitan areas have good routes for trail running. Just look for trails to run in your area by visiting online websites and apps, or check in with local running for more group runs and route details.
#3 – Lose your expectations
This kind of running is different from any other you have done. At times it feels exciting or easy, but at other times, due to the changing characteristics of the trial, trail running can be an emotional, mental, and physical challenge.
Don’t compare your road running experiences to your trail running. The best approach is to let go of the preconceived expectations and just enjoy the feeling of moving over the terrain.
#4 – Get the gear
The beauty of this kind of running is that you don’t require a bunch of gear to get started. Going for a short, quick trail run can be as simple as putting on a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, lacing up your trail pair of running shoes, and heading out.
However, trail running can need some extra gear depending on the type of trail, where you are running, the range of weather you might experience, and how long you will run. You may need an appropriate hydration pack, waterproof jacket, trekking poles, energy snacks, a hat, etc.
Simply put, the more remote trails you pick and the longer you run, the more you will require extra gear to help make the run safe and comfortable.
#5- Ignore your pace
Whereas the pavements or roads you run are mostly smooth and flat, the trails are often undulating with constantly changing surfaces, making it hard to consistently run at the same pace. Simply put, you will be slower than your normal pavement or road run.
Run by your heart rate, by the tune of your body, and by your effort level. That may mean running the flats and downhills and walking the hills. Build up your running up the hills slowly to prevent burnout and injury along the way.
The bottom line
We hope you have found this blog helpful and that it has given you the trail running tips you were looking for before you get started.
Remember to start slow and allow it to flow. You also need to put your safety first. Carry a map with you, bring a first-aid kit, swing your arms, use a short stride, and try not to stare at your feet. If they are lots of obstacles ahead, choose the sure-footed route.
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