Trail Running For Beginners

Trail running for beginners

For dedicated runners and non-runners alike, it can seem tough to figure out where to start with trail running. Trail running is usually defined as any running on dirt or gravel paths through wooded or scenic areas. This image of escape from streets and the city to wooded dirt trails is usually what catches peoples’ eyes and leads them to begin looking into trail running. Trail running may also be approached for its benefits. While strenuous because of extra obstacles, trail running is kinder to the joints and provides wonderful positive effects on your mental health and wellness.

To start out, finding a trail near you can be relatively easy. You can do this by simply Googling that, however, you may want to visit your desired trail before heading into running it. If you are someone who would not consider yourself a runner, I would suggest walking your first day on your chosen trail. For dedicated runners, it would be best to visit your trail on an off day or easy day in your running schedule to get the lay of the land of your trail.

For a beginner, you will be looking for a dirt or gravel path that will be somewhat flatter and clear of potholes that may fill up when it rains. While part of trail running is avoiding the rocks, roots, and sticks on your path, you may want to stick to the milder trails to start out. If there are hills on your trail, however, you are in luck, you can build better muscle that way. Trail running, in most cases tends to be harder than road or city running. If you are a dedicated runner and like to go for long hard runs, you may want to go for shorter distances at a slower pace. Going at a slower pace will also give you time to pay attention to your footing.

When you visit your desired trail, you should take note of the trail markings. There will usually be markings on trails that tell you how far you have been and what level of difficulty your trail is. Many trails have maps at their entrances, so picking up a map on your way into the trail, will be very useful to you. Trail maps are not only to figure out the easiest path to take as you ease into trail running, but also to help you when you find yourself lost on the trail.

Hydration is a smart thing to prepare for any strenuous activity, but it would be beneficial to bring along a water bottle. It would be good to at least remember to drink plenty of water when you get back home after a run and eat right. According to Cool of the Wild, trail running burns the most calories than any other outdoor sport. For this reason, your need to remember to eat, hydrate and sleep according to your level of activity.

Before you hit the trail, remember to gear up accordingly. when it comes to clothes for running, think light, comfortable, and weather appropriate. In terms of shoes, you’ll need a pair of trail shoes. Trail running shoes are a lot like running trainers, but with extra support and traction for off-road running. Why you would need a separate kind of shoe for trail running is because of the rough, uneven terrain, sharp rocks and jagged roots that your feet need protection against. If you are an early morning or night runner and like to run in the dark, a headlamp would be a good investment. Normally, there are no lampposts in the middle of the woods, but since seeing and paying attention to your footing is necessary you should accommodate for this.  

When on your runs remember to listen to your body and run accordingly. Pay attention to your speed, especially when you start trail running. While trail running is easier on the joints and ligaments, if you start out too fast too soon, you could risk pulling muscles and tendons as well as twisting ankles if you are not careful. Also, make sure to incorporate rest days into your schedule, so you can give your body a break and recuperate.

Trail running is an awesome sport to get into and we are glad you are interested. Trail running certainly is life-changing and beneficial to your physical and mental health. We encourage you to enjoy your scenic runs, escaping the streets to the woods or wherever you go as well as stay safe! Happy running!