The allure of trail running is that it provides a great opportunity to rack up some serious mileage while reconnecting with nature. Trail running is a great way to get out of the city and enjoy the great outdoors. Many trails have plenty of forgiving grass and dirt paths that might be easier on the joints and feet than walking on hard tarmac all the time. Moreover, a large and enthusiastic trail running community praises the path’s natural beauty, the activity’s ability to stimulate the mind, and the many aid stations stocked with tasty snacks like quesadillas and potato chips.
If you’ve been interested in trail running but are nervous about giving it a go, this article can help ease your concerns. Getting out on the trails for the first time might be intimidating, but with a few pointers, you’ll be ready to start your first trail run in no time.
Choose an Easy Trail
If you’re just starting, it’s best to stick to a path that isn’t too complicated. For your first run, choosing a route with hardly any elevation gain or loss and a relatively flat surface is best. Don’t waste your time by starting on the most difficult path first. Train for a challenging trail run by first mastering your endurance and fitness on flatter terrain, such as the streets of your neighbourhood. Once you’ve built up your confidence and stamina to the point where you can manage a trail run, it’s time to begin training on somewhat challenging uneven ground.
Know the Route
Choosing a familiar location, such as a local hiking route or dog-walking path, is the best way to ease into trail running. Start small, on your own or with a companion, and work your way up. Keep following that lead for a while. Your desire to explore new territory will grow in tandem with your confidence. You’ll want to spend more time in the mountains or go farther. If you decide to enter uncharted territory, you should have a map with you. Thanks to map applications, topographic maps may be accessed with a click of a button. And be proactive; you wouldn’t want to be in an unfamiliar area without a working phone. For this reason, having a physical map is also crucial in addition to the technological requirements.
Take it Easy
Don’t worry too much about your timing or how long it takes you to tackle a trail while you’re just getting started; instead, concentrate on the simple accomplishment of finishing a trail run. It’s a good idea to take it easy if you want to go further. If you slow down, you’ll have more time to assess the terrain, focus on the ground under your feet and prevent any missteps, making you less likely to suffer catastrophic injuries from a slip or trip.
Never assume the weather will stay the same; instead, always plan for the worse. If you plan to run for 20 minutes, the weather will likely stay the same. However, if you plan on going for a run that would last more than half an hour, you need to consider the possibility of weather changes. There’s a chance that the weather will be fine when you start, sunny and warm, but that might change drastically by the time you’ve run for an hour. As quickly as the sun came out, the clouds may roll in, and thunder begins to rumble in the distance. You’ll need something to keep you warm on the run back to where you started, so carrying a windbreaker, some tights, and a hat is essential.
Ensure You Are Well Hydrated and Fed
Be sure to fuel yourself with fluids and food before, during, and after your run. If you’ll be running for a long distance, adjust your food and fluid intake accordingly. A single bottle of water may be sufficient for runs under 90 minutes in length. Nonetheless, if the temperature outdoors is quite high, you may want to consider water with added electrolytes. If your workout lasts more than two hours, you should bring some energy snacks or gels to keep you going.
Get Yourself a Reliable Set of Trail Running Shoes
Although your favourite pair of racing flats may be ideal for your typical road race, they won’t do you much good if you switch to trail running. The trails need a shoe with excellent support, stability, gripping ability, and comfort. There is a wide variety of trail shoes available, from the light and swift (suitable for moderately steep and short uphill runs) to the mid-weight and reinforced (able to handle longer distances and rougher terrain) to the hefty and incredibly sturdy (designed for use on short, rough, and constantly shifting terrain). The perfect shoes for trail running is a pair that can easily transition from the trails to shorter stretches of road.
Trail running is a fun and healthful way to explore the outdoors, in addition to being an effective method to get in shape. Have fun in the fresh air without letting your health and wellness priorities take a back seat.