Hitting the Trails - Tips for Trail Running Beginners
5th March 2021
My journey with trail running only started about 4 or so years ago and became more regular when I got the dog and delved into Canicross a bit more. Trail running was always something I had wanted to try but was always too scared to go out on my own, as I didn't know where to start, what kit I needed (if any) how to plan any routes, or even where to go locally!
I find trail running much calmer and more enjoyable than road running. It’s a place where you can switch off and concentrate on what’s around you.
Here are a few of my tips for those wanting to get into ‘hitting the trails’.
- Start somewhere you know. Think about a place that you know that has different terrain, things like some grass and some muddy trail conditions, it doesn't have to have any crazy hills. If you are local to Shropshire, Haughmond Hill is a great place to start. There are lots of different terrains to try out and different elevations too if you're comfortable exploring around there. There’s also Attingham Park, the lower levels of the Wrekin are great. There’s also the Long Mynd, which is fantastic when you get up on to the tops.
- Trail shoes. Invest in a good pair of shoes suitable for the terrain. I always wear trusty Salomon Speedcross 4. I know where I am with them, they're sturdy and grippy (especially when running with the dog) and suitable for pretty much all terrains and I know they'll cover a good distance. The farthest I've been in them is 27 miles and not a blister or sore foot in sight. There are so many other good brands out there like Inov-8 and Hoka. When looking at trainers, do some research on things like the distance they’re made for, the grip, and the terrain that you will predominately be running on. www.sportsshoes.com is a great place to start looking and goes into some really good detail on the shoes.
- Remove the pressure of 'pace' from your head. Trail running is a completely different style of running, there are hills, obstacles, twists, and turns. You will have to mix it up with walk / run some of the hills, and that's cool it’s all about slowing down your pace, building your endurance, and enjoying the views.
- Hydration. I always wear a running vest when I'm on the trails as I always find I drink more than I would when road running. But I guess that’s because you may be out a bit longer than you would be on the roads. For instance, 10 miles on the road may take me 1.5 hours but that distance in the hills may take me 2 hours. It's also a great and comfy way to carry any kit that you need as well as your keys, phone, food, etc. I have a Salomon run vest, but again look at what works for you. There’s different weight capacities, drink carriers, pocket, etc.
- Plot your route. If you're new to exploring the trails it’s always a good idea to know where you're heading and what distance. There are route planners available on OS Maps and All Trails and they even have routes available on there in the area you are looking at. You can plot a route easily on either of those Apps to the distance you want and follow it when you go out.
- Thinking about the extra kit to take out with you. I tend to pack some gloves, buff, hat, extra layers, waterproof windproof jacket, and food. Again kit can be carried in your running vest for ease as you know what the UK is like for weather. It can be sunny to start and could be foggy or even high winds and rain by the end depending on where you are.
Most of all, go have fun, run, walk and enjoy the views!
Emily Benson - Beyond Fitness
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