Are you tired of the same old roads? Are you looking for ways to spice up your running routine? Or are you simply trying to find a new way to reconnect with nature and spend more time in the fresh air? If so, trail running might just be what the doctor prescribed. Running at the heart of nature will help you discover a whole new world beyond paved surfaces and this sport will work your whole body and boost your concentration. If trail running is something you want to try, here are several things you should keep in mind.
One of the best things about trail running is that it is a sport that requires minimal investment. Who knows, maybe you already have everything you need to hit the road. When it comes to equipment for trail running, first and the most important thing you need to own is a quality pair of running shoes especially if you will encounter roots, rocks and slippery mud on your run. Keep in mind that trail-running shoes are different from road-running shoes, so be specific when telling the salesperson what you need in order to receive good recommendations. Shoes for trail running are all about foot protection and stability and they come in a lot of varieties. Aside from shoes, you will need a backpack where you will store your water, extra clothing, food, first-aid supplies, and navigation tools. Make sure that your running clothes are made from moisture-wicking merino wool or synthetics. Cotton shirts are soft and comfortable but are very slow to dry. If you are going on a longer run, make sure you dress in layers so you can easily manage your comfort during the day.
Plan the route
Again, trail running is not the same as road running and you will need more time to cover the same distance. The rougher terrain will test your strength and endurance and activate muscles you didn’t know you had, so start slow and gradually increase the distance. If you are a trail running beginner, check out your local gravel roads and dirt trails so you can get used to the terrain and test your new gear. When you are ready for a more challenging task, go online and find websites that offer information about trails in your area. You might find everything from trail difficulty, distance and elevation gain to directions and trail features. In case you aren’t too tech-savvy, you can join a running club and ask members for useful tips and guidelines.
Work on your technique
Trail running is more challenging than running on paved surfaces, so you will need to work on your technique. Remember to use a short stride and keep your feet underneath you at all times so you wouldn’t lose your balance on variable terrain. Do not let your mind wander, always keep your eyes on the road and scan the trail 10 to 15 feet in front of you for obstacles. When you are running uphill further shorten your stride and keep your back straight. You will probably be tempted to lean forward, but this is a mistake since it will reduce your ability to breathe effectively. On the other hand, when you are running downhill, don’t lean back because you will strain your body.
Stick with energy foods
If you are going on shorter runs, bars, gels, and chews will keep your energy levels up. However, if you are running longer distances, pack heartier foods such as nuts, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches.
Trail running can test your body and mind in so many ways, but it can also be a lot of fun and help you reconnect with nature. Just remember to take baby steps at first and give your body time to get used to this new workout routine.