Trail running

How to Start Trail Running: 5 Tips for Transitioning to Trails | Baleaf Sports 

The first thing that you need to know about trail running is that it is not going to be easy. Whether you are running for the first time or you are a regular, one thing is decided and that is you have to prepare well in advance. 

What is Trail Running?

As the name suggests, it is an activity that involves running on a trail. The word trail here is defined as any surface that is not man-made. So it is a sport that lets you be in nature. It includes running on hills and mountains and other uneven and rugged terrains.

Like road running, trail running works both the legs and the upper body. Compared to road running, however, trail running requires more concentration. Trail running involves more than just running.  

RDL Exercise Step 1

Trail running
(Photo credits: Tony Carranza @tonyrunstrails

Trail Running vs Road Running

Contrary to popular belief, road running impacts the body harder than trail running. This is because road running is done on hard, man-made surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. On the other hand, trail running is done on natural and softer surfaces such as soil, mud, and grass. So trail running is actually easier on the joints.

Road running requires mainly the use of leg muscles. Trail running is more of a full-body workout because it requires the use of core and upper body muscles.  

How to Start Trail Running Amidst Quarantine?

Due of COVID-19, many countries around the world are under some form of quarantine or isolation. If you live near a trail and if you can still go out, then getting started with trail running is a good way to get some exercise and be with nature while you are under quarantine. After all, it easier to practice physical distancing while in nature.

Trail running can also help you calm your mind and take away some of the stress that is brought about by our current situation.

5 Tips on How to Start Trail Running

1. Find the Right Gear, Shoes & Running Apparel

You need to get proper running gear, especially shoes. Your road running shoes may work with groomed trails or even fire roads. But it does not provide the grip and support that more rugged terrains require. In general, road running shoes have thin threads so they do not offer the traction needed for trail running. 

Trail running

Start gradually and slowly

2. Start Gradually and Slowly

When you transition from road to trail, it is important not to do too much too soon. Don’t think that you need to exert more effort and cover more distance in trail running. Instead, you should use your normal effort levels and mileage as a guide.

You may feel an urge to go all out when you start trail running. This is only natural since you are venturing into something new and exciting. If you go too hard, there are chances that you might hurt yourself.

3. Know the Course

Try not to run on a trail that you are not familiar with. Either go on a walk on it first, read about it, or ask people who have already use it. This is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe. In general, trail running is more dangerous than road running.

Trails can be unpredictable. It is really hard to tell what obstacles you will meet on a trail. Being familiar with the course can minimize the danger.

4. Watch Your Step

As mentioned earlier, trail running requires more attention and concentration than road running. You need to be aware of your surroundings because it is almost impossible to know beforehand what you will encounter on the trail.

You should particularly be aware of the objects on the ground. You need to scan the five to ten feet of the ground in front of you as you run. You need to watch out for objects that you can trip on or slip.

Trail running

Enjoy the journey

5. Enjoy the Journey

The process of transitioning from road running to trail running is not going to be easy. You will be facing plenty of challenges, especially in the beginning. So you might as well enjoy the process. You need to approach your training with gratefulness and an open mind.

And when you are running on a trail, take some time to soak in the views. These are the things that road running does not provide.

Trail running can be difficult. It is probably more difficult for those who are used to running on the road. But once you get that hang of it, trail running can be a very rewarding sport. Only a few things in life can compare to the satisfaction and gratification of completing a tough trail. 

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