Trail Running Tips Quote:
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order”.
~ John Burroughs
Trail running is a great way to combine the love of the outdoors with the joy of running. In a study that was done, relaxation and a way to get back to nature and exercise were the top two reasons cited by trail runners.
Adding a little variety to your running schedule never hurts either. The more options you add to your exercise routines, the less likely you'll get bored and give up. For many, trail running offers just the right amount of adventure.
With the soft surface provided by the trails, runners at all levels will add trail running into their training to lessen the chance of running injuries from overuse on hard surfaces.
But besides the physical benefits, trail running can be a relaxing way to enjoy yourself working out, and put yourself in a less stressful enviroment that beats chugging down the side of the road with all the cars.
Uphill running is much easier and less stressful than running downhill. Think about it, the worst thing that can happen is you can fall down.
One thing we all tend to do when running uphill is to hunch over to far. It's ok to lean in slightly but not hunched over. Try and keep your back straight, swinging your arms low and quick to keep your legs lower to the ground.
There is a big difference with trail running between the incline and decline running. A fairly well conditioned runner will do ok running the inclines with a little extra effort. The declines are a different story. They will demand more attention, and also require more athleticism.
Try not to overstride by having your foot touch down to far in front of you. Keep your stride short and have the foot land under you. Also try not to use your quads to put the brakes on with every running step. Save them for the steep terrain where you will need to use them.
Trail running on steep declines can be a daring adventure that you need to be ready for. Don't be afraid to walk and try a few slow running strides on them at first. The last thing you want to do is to get out of control on a downhill run.
Take the time to study the hiking and jogging trails in your area and then set out armed with these tips.
Take it easy - Start on an easy trail and shorten your stride. Get used to trail running on easier paths, then move on to more adventurous ones. Your road shoes will be fine on the easier trails. Keep in mind that a trail’s soft surface will slow you down. It’s not a bad idea to think of the time you are running instead of the distance.
Pay Attention - Always scan the ground eight to ten feet ahead of you and watch out for rocks, roots, and slippery objects. Be aware of other people using the trail, as trails can be pretty narrow. Be prepared to move to the side for someone that wants to pass you.
Allergy aware - Trees are the largest pollen producers and mold spores found in shaded, wooded areas can cause allergy symptoms to surface. If you suffer from any type of tree allergy, try to run at the end of the day. Pollen levels are usually higher in the morning. You should also check pollen and mold counts on the web for the area where you will be running.
Trail Shoes - If you advance to more hilly type trails you might want to invest in a pair of trail running shoes as they will offer more traction. Trail shoes have much knobbier soles and are more rigid than standard running shoes.
Protect Yourself - Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect spray with you on your trail run. If you are running in an unfamiliar area it would be optimal if you ran with someone who knows the trail. Either way, bring your cell phone and bring water along to stay hydrated.
Enjoy Yourself - This is your time to take it all in. The quietness, the scenery, or just the luxury of reflecting on whatever you want. The more you enjoy yourself, the more you will want to get out there.
Trail running can be a fun and very relaxing way to exercise and get back to nature at the same time.
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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.