Top 5 Tips for Trail Running
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Landen Park (Dirt Days Trail Series)
Weather – Clear skies and low 40s.
Distance: 3.1 miles
As I drove to the park it was pouring down rain and cold and this was the first trail race I was running a trail race without Chad. So basically I had no expectations and was basically going to just run. Little did I know I would finish this race thinking…
“I think I prefer running trails to streets!”
That was the last thing I expected. I have always enjoyed trail running but preferred the streets, until now. I don’t know what it was about this run that different. It wasn’t easy with what was basically 3+ miles of mud along with 2 creek crossings with one having water that went up to my knees. Maybe it was the fact that my legs felt stronger than ever and despite the mud my footing felt more stable. Or maybe it was the fact that during the entire run I felt a sense of peace. I didn’t want the run to end.
#3 of 13 in 2013 done! 10 more to go to reach my goal!
I am by no means an expert trail runner but there are a few things I have learned over the past year that have I have learned a few invaluable lessons.
Top 5 Beginning Tips for Trail Running
- Consider trail shoes. Are trail shoes a must? No. Do I recommend them? Yes. I started trail running in my “old” regular running shoes and they worked fine, but trail running shoes protect your feet from trauma better than road running shoes. They also tend to have better traction and dry better than road shoes.
- Look straight ahead. It’s so tempting to look around and take in the scenery. I’ve learned to keep my eyes focused about 3 feet in front of me. I stay aware of the dips, twists, rock and stumps that are coming.
- Slow down and walk when necessary. Do not expect to maintain the same pace that you maintain on the roads or the track. This was one of the hardest lessons to learn but when I finally got it through my head I enjoyed the trails more and I was much less frustrated.
- Share the trail. The majority of trail running is done on single tracks, or one lane trails. When you need to pass another runner announce yourself, accelerate quickly, pass on the left and maintain a faster pace until you are completely clear of the runner you have passed.
- Creek/river crossings. A major safety concern that will arise is crossing creeks with water that is anywhere from your ankle height to your knees. When you approach a creek, slow down and look to see how deep the water is and whether or not you can see the bottom. If you can clearly see the bottom avoid the rocks and branches. If it’s muddy slow down to, I guess you would call it, a shuffle pace. Oh and another tip with the water. Do not be afraid of getting wet. In the beginning I had in my mind that I would avoid it. Now, I see it as part of the fun of trail running.
Sources: My husband, Chad, Rock Creek Runner, Trail Runner Nation
Do you think you would ever prefer running trails over streets? What are your tips for beginning trail running?