Trail running not only gets you out in nature and strengthens your balance and body awareness, it can also be lower impact on your joints.
Ready to jump on a trail? Here are seven things to remember if you’re typically a street runner.
Trail Running: From Streets to Trails
Tips to transition to trail running
1. Run by time, not distance
Dodging roots, holes, and rocks, and climbing long inclines will mess with your average pace. That’s OK.
Run the same amount of time, not the same distance.
Start with out-and-backs, rather than judging the time needed for a loop.
Otherwise you’ll end up out for more hours than intended – like my Stupid, Long Run around Kennesaw Mountain.
2. Expect to slip, fall, and skip
Even the most experience trail runners slip.
Be careful where you step, pick up your feet, and step more often. If you think you can traverse something in one or two steps, make it three.
3. Bring extra
Bring extra water and food. Sometimes the water fountain you were counting on is out-of-order. Sometimes you’re out there longer than you expect. It’s much more pleasant if you have some extra supplies to help you finish your run.
4. First on the trail?
Watch out for spider webs.
Some people run with a small tree branch to sweep the way.
5. Don’t be afraid to walk
If you have a steep incline, it will be more energy-efficient and even faster to walk or power hike. This is a technique used by elite.
Don’t try to street-run-steady your way up a hill just to sit at the top, exhausted.
6. Bring your phone, but don’t expect it to work
With the expansive cell coverage of cities, it’s difficult to remember that some places don’t have service. If you’re in a valley, surrounded by large trees, or in a remote place, you may not have phone service.
Let others know where you’ll be going beforehand, just in case you can’t call if you run into trouble.
7. Expect different soreness
All of the dodging and finagling will strengthen smaller balancing muscles that you didn’t know you had. You will have glute and calf soreness from extra hills.
Congrats, you got a great workout!