5 Trail Running Tips for Beginners
Are you ready to enjoy nature’s beauty as you go out for a run? You develop a strong grasp of running basics when you’re on the road, but there are adjustments you need to make once you hit the trail.
Use these beginner trail running tips to get off to a great start:
1. Get the Right Running Gear
Make sure to check whether your shoes are appropriate for trail running conditions. If you are likely to encounter slippery and treacherous areas, favor footwear with more traction. Pair that up with heavy-duty, moisture-wicking socks. Add gaiters, which is an accessory that covers the top of your shoes, if you want to reduce the chance of dirt and rocks getting in your shoes. You can also wear a long sleeved shirt or jacket that you don’t mind tying around your waist if you get too hot. It’s important to prepare for the weather in any surrounding you’ll be running in.
2. Adjust Your Pace
You don’t have a clear and completely predictable running surface at your feet in the woods. Branches, leaves, rocks, and other hazards can cause issues with your footing if you run at your road speed. And if it’s rained, the dirt might softer or muddy, which may lead to slipping. Slow down so you have plenty of time to adjust to the current conditions. You use different muscles when you’re on the trail, with higher quad usage and core muscles that help you balance in uneven areas. Going slower will also help you stay more aware of your surroundings.
3. Watch Your Feet
Some trails are poorly maintained, resulting in structural concerns, litter, and other issues. If you don’t know whether part of the path can support your weight, err on the side of caution and steer clear. You have to watch your foot placement so you don’t twist your ankle or fall due to the ground shifting. You might have to take a big detour to another running trail, but that’s better than ending up with broken bones.
4. Make Some Time
You won’t finish up your run in the same time you would on a paved path, so clear a few extra minutes from your schedule. The exact amount of time you need depends on many factors, such as the difficulty of the trail, how steep it is, the weather, and its overall condition. And it also depends on how many times you’ll stop to rest or check out your surroundings. There’s a lot more to see when you’re running on a trail!
5. Safety First
Some running trails take you into secluded locations with limited cell phone reception. Maintain your situational awareness, especially if you’re running late in the evening. Let someone know where you are and when you expect to get back.
Here are a few things you can bring with you on your trail run:
- Band aids
- Athletic tape
- Alcohol wipes
- Water bottle
- Flashlight or other lighting device
- Gels or snacks
Trail running has many benefits, such as giving you the chance to spend time in nature while you exercise. We hope these beginning trail running tips help you get the most out of the experience, whether you want to for a one mile run or a fifty mile run.
If you’re interested in trying trail running at your own pace, we offer guided running tours here in Moab!