Six Tips : Trail Running
Safety FirstRunning 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 outGoogle 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 EasyMy 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.
HydrateAlong 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 ChallengeTrail 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!
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 :