Trail Running 101
Trail Running is simply my favorite type of running.
What makes Trail Running unique is that you hear your own heartbeat and create a new path each time you run. It keeps you relaxed, free and one with nature. It’s just you, the trail, the fresh air………..and no cars.
Before you head out on a trail run, there are a few things you need to know:
Since you most likely won’t be the only person out on the trail, follow these tips to safely navigate your experience.
- Let another runner know you are coming up behind them by saying “on your left/right!” You do not want to scare them, let alone make them think an animal is chasing them down!
- Always try to pass on the left of someone.
- When running on hills, the person going uphill always has the right of way to the person coming down the hill.
Runners are not the only ones using the trails. Mountain bikers love trails just as much as runners do. When running on trails where mountain bikers are present, try to stay on the outside of a blind turn and run on the edge of the trail. Just like driving on the road, your default side on the trail should always be on the right.
Having the right gear and knowing how to prepare for your trail run is an important way to make sure you stay healthy and comfortable while your out.
- Wearing longer socks and/or pants can help protect your legs from abrasive plants. Wearing gaiters (cloth material that goes around your ankle and shoe) can help prevent rocks and sand from getting in your shoes. Click here to find great socks!
- Trail shoes are an essential element of trail running. Having a trail shoe can help with traction and your overall comfort level while running. Each trail shoe is different so make sure you get the right shoe for you and the type of terrain you are running on. For example, if you are someone who runs in a stability shoe, you do not need a trail shoe with stability unless you are running on a flat fire road the entire time.
When you are running on a trail you are constantly stepping over rocks, sticks, etc. You do not want a supportive shoe forcing your foot to stay in a certain position. If you are uncertain as to what type of trail shoe you need, a running shoe store is a great place to go. The employees there will be able to help you find what you need.
Looking for a pair of great trail running shoes? Personally I love Puregrit (pictured below)! Here’s the link to try them out! Plus, save 10% with our exclusive RACEPLACE code: raceplace15
Nutrition and Hydration
Proper nutrition and adequate hydration are important to a successful trail running experience. There are many different ways to carry food and water!
- Water! The hand held water bottles are perfect for a run no longer than an hour and a half. They usually have a small pocket in the front to hold your food, keys, etc. The hydration packs are great for longer trail runs as they can hold more food and water. They don’t bounce too much, and they leave awesome tan lines!
- Food! Bring one serving (or 100 calories of food) for every 45 minutes of being on your feet.
Trails don’t have drinking fountains or gas stations where you can grab water along the way. Make sure to bring at least 4-6 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes, more if it is going to be a hot day. You do not want to get stuck out on a trail with no water on a 90+ degree day, or any day for that matter!
When trail running you want to be safe, especially if running by yourself.
- It’s always a great idea to run with some sort of self defense (pepper spray, Taser, stick or club) because you never know if you might run into a wild animal.
- If you are running in the dark, wear reflective gear so mountain bikers or trucks can see you.
- Another good idea is to let someone know what trail you will be on and approximately how long you will be gone. If possible, carry a cell phone in case you need to phone for help.
There are all different types of terrain you can run on when trail running. On more technical terrain, make sure to use your arms to keep your balance. You can do that by having them out at your side at a 120-degree angel.
The number one rule I follow….After make sure to check yourself for ticks/parasites! By following these pointers, you are now prepared to go run some trails!