How to Get Started With Trail Running

How to Get Started With Trail Running
Trail running offers the avid runner a new, scenic venue for their beloved sport. And by running the trail you get to see more of it in a few hours than in a whole day of hiking. Running the trails is also a fabulous way to get into excellent shape while avoiding many of the overuse injuries associated with road running. Getting started in the popular sport is easy when you follow a few simple steps.

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Preparing to Go Out

Things You’ll Need:
  • Trail running shoes Running specific clothing Water bottles/packs Endurance foods Needed medicines (allergy/asthma) Poison oak/ivy treatment (if needed)
  • Trail running shoes
  • Running specific clothing
  • Water bottles/packs
  • Endurance foods
  • Needed medicines (allergy/asthma)
  • Poison oak/ivy treatment (if needed)
Step 1
Be sure to check the weather conditions before heading out on the trail. Out on the trails you can't just duck into a coffee shop when the weather turns ugly.
Step 2
Fill your water bottles or your water pack; pack your food, medical needs and extra clothing. Being prepared makes for a safe and comfortable trail run.
Step 3
Pack some comfy clothes for after your run if you are driving to the trailhead. Flip-flops and warm-up pants are great after run stand-bys.

Play With Friends

Step 1
Whenever possible try to run with a buddy or two. Not only is trail running a fun group activity but also it's safer to travel in a pack on the trails.
Step 2
If you're not able to train with others, at least let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Step 3
Bring a cellphone and/or a locator devise with you if you have one.

A Whole New World

Step 1
Give yourself time to adjust to the new terrain. You will encounter much steeper grades than on the streets and you will find unexpected obstacles.
Step 2
Lift your feet as you run, beware of dragging your toes, as you will catch rocks and roots causing you to stumble and fall.
Step 3
Constantly scan the ground before you for uneven terrain. But do take the time to enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings.

Avoiding Injury

Step 1
Trail running is actually a great way to avoid the common overuse injuries associated with the repetitive motions of running on the roads.
Step 2
Be sure to start out slowly and pick your way along the trail. Don't rush your run when you are just starting out.
Step 3
Choose the most level and flat parts of the trail to land on. Picking your way along the trail and choosing the best footing will pay off for you with less injuries.
Step 4
Avoid landing on rocks and roots. Even if you think that you will have good footing on them, landing on them only increases the chance of injury.
Step 5
Run on trails often. It's an acquired skill that also builds different muscles than road running. The more you do it, the better you'll become.

After Your Run

Step 1
Be sure to check for stowaways. Look to see that you haven't collected any ticks or other pesky varmints found along the trail.
Step 2
If you are sensitive to poison oak and/or ivy and you were running in an area where it was prevalent, wash down with cool water and soap. There are specific soaps available just to remove the oils from these plants.
Step 3
Stretch, relax and revel in your trail running accomplishments.

Tips & Warnings

 
Invest in a quality pair of trail running shoes. Start out slow and speed up as you gain confidence and skill. Work on your endurance through hill running.
 
Invest in a quality pair of trail running shoes.
 
Start out slow and speed up as you gain confidence and skill.
 
Work on your endurance through hill running.
 
Let someone know where you are going if you are running alone; it's best to go with a buddy. Check weather conditions before you go out. Pack any needed medicines in a fanny pack or runner's backpack. Beware of poison oak and/or ivy if you are sensitive to these plants.
 
Let someone know where you are going if you are running alone; it's best to go with a buddy.
 
Check weather conditions before you go out.
 
Pack any needed medicines in a fanny pack or runner's backpack.
 
Beware of poison oak and/or ivy if you are sensitive to these plants.

Article Written By Tanya Wyr

Tanya Wyr has 12 years experience as a professional writer and editor both in print and online. She has written for major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Mervyns. Wyr has also edited college-level textbooks. Wyr earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1991.

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