If you are new to trail running, you want to pick your trails in the beginning wisely. Choose trails that are flat. You may be wanting to run up and down mountains – and eventually you’ll be able to. But, just like long distance running on the roads, you need to start out slowly. Run the flat trails first and work up to more challenging ones.
Make sure that you are wearing trail running shoes. Most running shoes companies make shoes that are specifically made for trail runners. These shoes have a more rigid sole and are sturdier to withstand the trail surfaces.
Start out slowly. You’ll find that running on the trails is different than running on the roads. It is harder on the body. So slow your pace, especially when you first start doing trail runs. You will also want to run fewer miles on the trails that you do in your road runs.
Look straight ahead as you run on the trails. You want to keep your head up and not look at your feet. This is important in all running – but extremely important if you are trail running. You want to be able to see anything that you may trip over – tree roots, rocks, etc.
It’s alright to walk on a trail run. You may be a stickler for no walking breaks on the roads, but sometimes you may have to on the trail. There may be some terrain that you may have to walk through – or to maintain control once you start going up and down hills.
You also may want to run with someone when you run on the trails. There will be different things that could happen out on the trails, so having someone with you is a good idea. If you prefer running by yourself (which I totally understand), make sure that you let someone know what trail you are running on and what time you anticipate being back.
Running on the trails can be a great experience – and a good workout. But, it is different than running on the roads. Make sure you are following the above tips and you’ll be fine.