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Trail Running Tips You Wish You Knew Before!

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Over the decades, running as a sport has gained immense popularity and has become one of the most sought-after activities among fitness aficionados. An increase in interest towards more adventurous combinations of hiking and running have created the unorthodox trail run. This new sport has been invented, where you get the pleasures of hiking to explore nature and the benefits of running to help keep you fit. With the spirit to conquer more challenging trails, and with the proper guidance, you can now start your own journey. To get you started and headed in the right direction, we have compiled a list of some expert trail running tips.

trail running tips for good runs
Tips For Trail Running: Source

In the United States of America, the number of regular runners has increased by up to 60% in the past decade or so. That’s a lot of people running. People moving away from their sedentary lifestyles to a more active and healthy life is a good sign.

But the usual running seems to lose its charm over the years. So if you are one of the few, who are struck down by the monotony of a regular running plan, and if you aim at doing something novel and more challenging, then trail running is something to try out. Whether it’s trail running for beginners or more experienced runners, everyone could benefit from a little advice and maybe these trail running tips could inspire you to start right away!

Read: How Trail running benefits runners!

Trail Running Tips You Don’t Know Yet!

When you graduate from a road run to a trail run, you will find it more adventurous and fun. However, there are some challenges you might not be even aware of from your years of running experience. We list out some expert trail running tips for you before you hit the road. These are a concoction of the many tales straight from the mouth of trail runners, which will definitely facilitate your first trail run.

Trail Running is More Than Running:

Trail Running Vs. Nomal Running
Trail Running Vs. Normal Running: Source

Trail running involves both the fitness of running and the adventure of hiking, combined into one extreme run. If you wish to go on a trail run, there are certain exercise factors you must keep in mind regarding this new sport.

Running is great for building strength and stamina, but trail running is much more than that. Running requires more of leg strength, whereas, in trail running, you need to work on your legs, core, and upper body. Your training sessions should involve 50% running and 50% leg endurance burnouts like lunges, jumps, and stairmaster. Only then will you stand a chance to make it to the finishing line.

Keep exercises related to hiking in mind as well when you train to combat the steep uphill runs you may encounter on a trail run. Hiking exercises require resistance training like lunges and planks to improve momentum and efficiency when you are on a strenuous hike. You can also try yoga to build focus, stamina, and strong muscles.

Keep exercises related to hiking in mind as well when you train to combat the steep uphill runs you may encounter on a trail run. Hiking exercises require resistance training like lunges and planks to improve momentum and efficiency when you are on a strenuous hike. You can also try yoga to build focus, stamina, and strong muscles.

Read our article Five Yoga Poses That Helped Me Become a Better Runner for some useful tips.

Music Does Not Help:

While running, most of you usually listen to your favorite playlist. However, an experienced trail runner will always run without the music. You might get baffled by the suggestion initially, but try it out and discover the merits of the advice; you will feel grateful.

Imbibing the sounds you hear on the trail can be soothing and even therapeutic; the wind, animal calls, rustling leaves, they can all be a better soundtrack than the one on your phone. Also, trails are often a single track and you should be able to hear other runners. It is important to run without music because if someone falls or gets injured, you should come to know and help them. Trust us, it happens a lot of times in trail running.

Pack the Essentials

Gears Required For Trail Running
Gears Required For Trail Running: Source

Unlike running, trail running often does not have basic stations like washrooms and medical aid. You can be prepared by packing all the essentials. You will require a compass, a first-aid kit, wet wipes, energy bars and snacks, water, and, in the case of early morning runs, a headlamp, a hat, and a trash bag. Do not take these trail running tips lightly, packing the essentials could really help you in an emergency situation.

Trail Running Shoes are Different From Running Shoes

Shoes For Trail Running
Shoes For Trail Running: Source

It might be tough for you, but you have to say goodbye to your favorite everyday running shoes. The most important investment for trail running is on a pair of actual trail running shoes. They will help you from slipping and sliding. These shoes are lower profile, that is, lower to the ground; with their high heel; they keep you from ankle rolls. The rugged tread gives a better traction on muddy and wet trails.

Have Fun

Having fun is part of the trail running tips
Enjoy Trail Running: Source

Trail running is an amazing experience. It requires both concentration and skill. One moment you will be at a normal flat plateau, and another second you will be climbing a cliff and witnessing a serene and gorgeous view. If you get exhausted, just take a moment to relax. Patience is the key to trail running. Enjoy the experience. Have fun and remember to love living your fitness.

Use Your Arms

use arms wisely part of trail running tips
Use Your Arms: Source

Your stride on the trail is different from that on the roads as you will be required to jump over rocks and tree roots in your path. Be ready to keep your arms a little wider for added balance and support. Trails might involve a little bit of steering left or right to bypass few obstacles on the path. Always keep your feet a little higher off the ground.

Keep Your Eyes On the Trail

while running keep eyes ahead and be alert, important trail running tips
Be Aware: Source

Nature can be tempting. Admire its splendor but be cautious that you do not trip or fall. When you come across a beautiful scenery, halt and appreciate while you imbibe all you can. Try and focus three to four feet ahead, to plan where you will step for the next few strides. With experience, you will be more comfortable with the art of running alongside nature.

Inform Your Family About Your Plan

Of all the trail running tips, this one is frequently overlooked but very important. Trails are often in the middle of nowhere and can be unapproachable and confusing. Play it safe and inform someone about your plan – the place you are going to and for how much time you will be there.

Informing at least one known contact can be vital in the case of any bad scenario occurring such as wandering off the trail and getting lost, injury, or even wild animal encounters. Carry an ID, pepper spray, and a cell phone with you; they will come handy in case of any mishap.

Pace Does Not Matter

important trail running tips are to keep to your own pace
Your Running Pace oes Not Matter: Source

When you start trail running, your aim should be to run and survive. Trails are more diverse than roads. On trails there are too many elements involved, so pace does not matter. You just have to focus on moving as quickly as possible and reach the finish line.

The real distance can differ from the actual distance as the woods may prove mystical at times. While running through the desired trail, it would not hurt to take in your surroundings, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the trail.

Keep Your Ego Aside

keeping your ego aside, trail running tips
Tips For Trail Running: Source

Running on the trails can be grueling for the first few runs. When trail running in groups or pairs, you might take more time than other runners to accomplish the run. It is wise to leave your ego at home, slow down and try and find the rhythm. Take it slow if you need to until you can make it through faster.

If required, take help from fellow runners. In the early stages, you will find yourself walking the hills but soon with training and practice; you will have a sense of belonging with the terrain.

Trail running is more challenging as compared to a simple marathon running, as it induces slow and steady doses of adrenaline rush. It is an experience that no other sporting activity provides, and the last step on the finishing line can be overwhelmingly emotional. No other sport allows as close proximity with Mother Earth as trail running. It is this time we spend amidst nature and its wonders that we start fathoming its enchanting beauty.

With each step, a deep sense of gratitude digs deeper and deeper in our conscience, motivating us to frequent the natural surroundings for more of such encounters. This unique characteristic of trail run complemented by the overall development of your body and soul will definitely quell any proclivity for concrete roads. Trust me, once you get on the dirt tracks, you will never want to get back on the smooth roads.

We hope these trail running tips came in handy for you and we would love to read about your first experience.

Write to us in the comments with any trail running tips that you have and to inspire future trail runners.

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