Trail Run Guide
Trail run guide
Hitting the trail for a run—even on a smooth gravel, dirt or woodchip path—can work your muscles, tendons and ligaments differently and more effectively than running on the road or treadmill.
Trail running involves reduced impact stress compared to running on pavement. In the case of road running, the impact from hard surfaces transmits up to the ankles, shins, knees and even the hips each time the foot hits the ground, whereas on trails, the force dissipates because the ground is softer.
As you navigate the terrain on trail runs, whether they bet flat or inclined, balance is needed to move. To stay balanced, use of the core as well as the shifting of your body activates more muscle groups throughout the workout than you would on a flat road run. The soft terrain of trails helps to add resistance to your legs. Since the trails have less rebound than pavement, the quadriceps, hip flexors and glute muscles are engaged more.
Before you head out for a trail run, here are some key tips to remember:
1. Choose the right trail shoes. Investing in a pair of trail running shoes is important because they differ from road running shoes. For the most part, they are lower to the ground, which lessens the chance of ankle rolls with a higher heel. Most trail shoes have rugged treads, which offer better traction on wet, muddy trails. My absolute favorite trail runners are Mammut’s MTR 201-II Max Low Women.
2. Start out slowly. Since trail running is so different from road running, you must pay attention to the path ahead of you. Start your run off slowly, being careful to keep your focus a few feet in front of you. This will help you react quickly to loose rocks, roots, and other obstacles.
3. Use your arms. Keep your arms and elbows a little wider for added balance on more technical trails with uneven terrain. Your stride will be different than on the roads because you will need to lift your feet a little higher off the ground to clear rocks and tree roots. You also may need to hop left or right to bypass things on the path like tree branches, so use your arms to help balance you.
4. Dress in layers. Even if it’s cold at the beginning of your trail run, you will warm up quickly, especially if you are going up an incline. Depending on the trail, you might be running in and out of trees, so layering will allow you to stay comfortable.
5. Hydrate and carry a water bottle such as Aladdin Earthscapes™ Fresco Twist & Go Vacuum Bottle which is leakproof and keeps beverages cold upto 18 hours. It’s important to bring water with you, especially if you are starting out because you might get dehydrated on your run. Since trail running has so many factors such as mud, water, uneven terrain and so forth, you never really know how long your run will be. Some days will be longer than others – that’s why it’s vital to bring water and hydrate often!