Bored of running on the pavements, treadmills or the neighboring routes?
If yes, you’ll find great pleasure in trail running. Unlike the typical running, it involves hitting the outdoors- in uneven terrains and wild woods.
And yes, it comes with a list of life-changing benefits- like the ability to efficiently burn up to 10% of your body calories while improving your balance and agility.
In this post, I’ll share with you some expert tips that will take you from a beginner to a pro trail runner in no time.
Let’s dive right in…
Arm yourself with the right gear
Trail running is unlike the running you’ve been used to in your life. It involves running through mud and rugged environment…and you’d want to wear some clothing that will prevent you from getting messy along the way.
Additionally, you’ll also need some good sneakers for trail running. If you already have some running shoes of any kind, they’ll do for now. If you’ve got a few bucks to spend, however, you can look for footwear specially designed for trail running (or hiking).
These will be of great help if you’re running on muddy or slippery terrains which require more grip, ore extra cushioning in the sharp terrains.
Also, remember that trail running is just like any other adventure. So you should bring along some basics- like water, insect spray, and a headlamp (if running in dark areas).
Taking on The Trail
One thing that makes many beginners chicken out of trail running is thinking that it must be in thick, dark forests.
While this might be true for the expert runners, beginners don’t have to start there.
You can take on anything that qualifies for the term off-road- whether it’s running in grass, sand, and dirt or on the bike path. You can start out by running on flat terrains- e.g., in the grasses of a park. This will adequately prepare you for the real trail running ahead.
I also advise all beginners to run alongside other runners to ensure they don’t get lost. You can join a local trail running club/group too.
Your safety comes first
Don’t get so overwhelmed by your upcoming “adventure of a lifetime” that you forget to put your safety into consideration. As experienced runners will tell you, trail running requires similar precautions as hiking.
I’d highly advise you to alert someone where you’re going. Be sure to carry a cell phone and a map of the place along (to save you in case you get lost). Ensure you fully understand the area you’ll be running in- including any wildlife you’re likely to come across.
Running with a friend is also a great idea!
Most important, always be careful of where/what you step on. And while running look at what lies ahead of your path to ensure you don’t land into a muddy puddle head first or trip into fallen tree or tree roots.
Hey, there’s no hurry in trail running!
While road running is all about setting records in finish time and competing with other runners, trail running is all about fun and being relaxed. Trail running revolves around your effort level.
Along the way, you’ll encounter many challenges of the natural terrains and all the unexpected obstacles- all of which will force you to slow down.
Now hurry in trail running.
In fact, walking is part of trail running; you’re allowed to walk without looking like you’ve given up, unlike road racing.
So, next time you’re faced with a massive hill, or the trail gets tougher or longer, feel free to walk. It's part of the game!
As I’ve told you earlier, trail running isn’t just about running off-road, in unforeseen obstacles and challenging terrains. It’s also about having fun along the way.
When you just make it to the top of that hill, stop and take advantage of the massive view it offers you. And if you have a camera with you, capture the moment as well.
Just have fun!
Trail running might sound difficult and challenging to all the beginners. But one thing I can assure you is that once you get started, reaching the pro level looks possible and more manageable.
Before you get into this adventure, ensure you go through all the above tips as they’ll adequately teach you what to expect and how to perfect your trail running to the best possible level.
And oh! Don’t forget to have fun along the way!