Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Six Tips : Trail Running

Hi everyone!  I know that I've talked about my love of running on trails over and over on this blog, and I figured it's finally time to devote an entire post to the topic!  I think that trail running is one of the best ways to get a fantastic workout, clear your mind, and ease your worries.  There are a few things to be cautious of before taking your first trail run, and I hope my tips can help out!  Please share any other tips you have in the comments!

Safety First

Running on trails can be really exciting and fun, but also a bit more dangerous than running on a smooth road.  To be safe, I either take one ear bud out while running or shut off my music completely.  It can be harder to see people coming at you, or bikes approaching, so I always like to be as alert as possible.

I also bring along pepper spray (you can order small cans with a hand strap on Amazon) in case I'm approached by either a wild animal or wild person!  Finally, I always wear brighter colors so that I stand out against the natural surroundings. There can be a lot of blind corners on trails, so it's always a smart idea to be as visible as possible to others.

Plan it out

Google Maps is a great tool to find where trails are in your area (they're usually colored light grey, like in the image below).  I use the g-map pedometer to map out a route, and screenshot it on my phone so that I know where I'm headed.  I also make sure to tell Dan or someone else where I'll be running and how long I'm planning on running just in case something happens.

Take it Easy

My first trail run of the year is always shocking - I forget how much harder it is than road running.  I always make sure to run for a shorter distance than normal, and slow down my pace.  The last thing I want to do is be a few miles into a forest and be exhausted!  As with my other points, safe is always better than sorry (especially if you're new to trail running!)  After you're more comfortable on the trails, it's fine to add more time and pick up your pace.  Just make sure to start off slow, and your body will thank you.

Hydrate

Along with my pepper spray, I also bring a handheld water bottle with me.  On most roads, it's easy to find water fountains or a gas station in an emergency.  On a trail, you're usually on your own.  Since it's more physically taxing, I make sure to drink more water and like to keep a bottle on me at all times.   I drink a lot more water during the day as well to be as hydrated as possible.

Embrace the Challenge

Trail running can be physically and mentally challenging - the hills are usually steeper than on the road, and it's tough to keep running.  You will definitely be tested both mentally and physically, but running consistently will improve your fitness and mindset. I always feel so proud of myself after completing a trail run because I know that it's tough! 

Enjoy and Have Fun!

Trails are beautiful, challenging, exciting, and FUN!  I feel like a kid again when I'm running through a forest- free and happy.  It's a feeling that will make you come back again and again, so enjoy yourself! I hope that this post will inspire you to check out some trails near you, and that my tips will keep you safe.

Do you run on trails?  Anyone have any favorites that they run on?
If you stay off the trails, what's holding you back?

Linking up with Tuesdays on the Run :

17 comments:

  1. These are great tips! I just recently moved and for the first time I have access to trails a few miles from where I live. I ran there once so far but I am definitely planning to go back!

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    1. That's great! I hope that you enjoy running on them :) Have a great day!

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  2. I love this post. Trail running is my absolute favorite. I love not having to worry about traffic or other distractions that happen on the roads. I am not as brave as you yet and my trails are mostly flat..lol

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I also love flat trails, so no worries! It still counts :)

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  3. Hi, new to trail running & also from Pittsburgh! Any favorite trails you can share? I've run out at Montour Woods once, and am familiar with the North Park trails, but many of those seem too difficult to run.

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    1. Hi Jessie and welcome! Schenley has a few trails that are really heavily used and relatively flat and wide. Frick (pictured above) has more trails, and they're mostly dirt trails and much hillier than Schenley. My personal favorite trails are at Riverview, where I grew up running! I also love the river trails (favorite being the north shore trail). If you'd like specific routes feel free to send me an email! (form is here: http://www.gretchruns.com/p/blog-page.html)

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  4. These are great tips! it's a great reminder to give yourself permission to slow down and have fun!!!

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    1. Thanks Jen! I love trails and I know you do as well! :)

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  5. Great post! This definitely inspires me to do some trail runs this summer. The only time I really ran on trails was training for the Run Around the Square and ran that course. I need to check out the trails at Riverview since that's so close to me.

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    1. You definitely should! I know Riverview super well so if you need any trail suggestions let me know!

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  6. I always like to walk trails... running? I'd face plant. I trip over roots so easily... find ones that don't even exist above ground yet :)

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    1. haha! That's so true. I don't know how I've never tripped while running (knock on wood!). It's probably because I'm super slow so I can see all the roots approaching...

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  7. Thank you so much for making this website! It has been very useful and awesome.

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  8. Running on trails can be truly energizing and fun, additionally more unsafe than running on a smooth street. To be protected, I either take one ear bud out while running or close off my music totally. It can be harder to see individuals coming at you, or bicycles drawing closer, so I generally get a kick out of the chance to be as ready as could reasonably be expected.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this good technology related post. I am so happy for this.

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  10. I saw your wrote a great post about trails :) It always been fun for running on trails.It has been very useful.and your 6 tips will remind me all time for next trail run. You can also check my blog

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  11. To be safe, I either take one ear bud out while running or shut off my music completely. It can be harder to see people coming at you, or bikes approaching, so I always like to be as alert as possible.Edward

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