Whether you’re fuelled by fitness or adventure, trail running is an incredibly rewarding activity. Although you might want to hit the tracks straight away, like any other sport, practice is the key to doing it well and keeping your safety and health a priority. Here are some simple tips to get you started.
Work up to it
Don’t jump straight into the hardest trail you can find right off the bat. Work yourself up to a hard trail run by focusing on improving your endurance and fitness with regular runs around your neighbourhood on flat terrain. Once you feel confident and have built your endurance up enough to handle a trail run, start practicing on easy grade uneven terrain. Consider going for runs along the beach on the sand to help mimic the feeling of running on an uneven trail.
Get the right gear
What you wear can have a major impact on your performance and comfort. As with any outdoor activity, you need to be prepared for the ever changing weather as well as the different surfaces and elements. The shoes you wear can make or break you, so choose wisely. Salomon create cutting edge shoes specifically designed for trail running on a variety of terrain. You’ll also want to choose lightweight clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin, has minimal or flat locked seams and is highly breathable.
Check your form
When you are practicing, make a point of checking your form. To maintain your energy during a long trail, there are a couple techniques you can implement into your running strides to preserve energy. Keep a short, soft stride with easy movement backwards through your hips. Your arm swing is meant to help maintain your balance rather than push you forward, so try and keep your arm movement small and keep them closer to your body as much as possible. Also, avoid swinging from your elbows and instead do small swings from the shoulders.
While everything we have mentioned is to help you avoid injuring yourself, you should also take extra precautions before and after your trail running attempts. Make sure you stretch adequately and even consider doing things like yoga or foam rolling to keep your muscles and joints relaxed.
Take it easy
When you’re just getting started, don’t focus too much on your times or how long it takes you to do a trail and focus more on simply completing a trail run. Consider slowing down on the track, especially if you know you may pass other walkers or runners on your way through. Slowing down can help you be more aware of the surfaces you are trekking and avoid any serious falls or accidents that could happen as a result of speed.
Trail running is a great way to stay in shape and get into the outdoors. Embrace the trail while keeping your health and safety in check with these simple tips. If you’re looking for an inspiring trail runner to follow, Kilian Jornet is a great place to start! Watch him share what trail running means to him below.
Contributed by: Mountain Designs