Are you ready to start trail running? Perhaps you’ve been running for fun and fitness for a little while now. Maybe you’ve completed your first 5K, ½ marathon, or even a full marathon. Maybe you’ve even trained hard and achieved some personal records at local road races. Instead of chasing the next distance or personal record, you want to level up your running. It’s time to try trail running! Trail running is a great addition to your current running program. Not only will it breathe new life into your running routine, but your road running will benefit also. Running trails will make you a stronger and well-balanced athlete. But how do you get started with trail running if you are a complete beginner? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
5 Tips to Start Trail Running
- Look online for local running groups that run off road. Lots of groups list their runs either on a Facebook group or on www.meetup.com . These groups are welcoming to new trail runners, and will be able to help guide you to the trails.
- Enlist a buddy. If you can’t find a group, see if you can get a friend to go along with you. Not only is it more fun to explore with a buddy, but it is also safer in case you run into any problems along your route.
- Carry water and gels with you. It may seem like you won’t need them if you only have a short run planned. But it’s a smart idea to have it with you in case you get off route and take a little longer than expected. I like to carry water in a hydration pack, which also has room for gels, my phone, and my keys.
- Bring your cell phone along. Not only can your phone help you if you need to make a call, but you can also use the map app to look at your location if you get disoriented. Keep in mind you may not have cell service on some trails. Always snap a picture of the trail map before you head out on your run. You may want to take some scenery pictures also!
- Expect to run slower than your usual pace! Most people are surprised that their pace slows on trails. Trail running is more challenging than running on a paved road. If the terrain is difficult, your pace will be slower than flat roads. Enjoy the process and know that it is making you a stronger runner!
Where will you go from here?
Remember to have fun! Trail running is a great way to enjoy running for fitness while exploring some great areas around where you live. And who knows? You might get hooked and sign up for your first trail race! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve given trail running a try! Want to go on the ultimate trail running adventure and plan a destination trail race? Get your free Guide to Planning A Destination Trail Race here!