Heading out straight from home and running on tarmac around your locality has many benefits. Not least of all is the convenience and speed with which you can be on your way. However, there is a major downside. Running on such a hard surface can lead to aches and pains.
Running off-road is softer underfoot which is better news for your joints. However, the terrain is more varied and thus more physically demanding.
Follow these trail running tips for beginners to get the most out this great activity whilst minimizing the risk of injury.
01: Start Gradually
Introduce trail running into your training schedule gradually. This gives your muscles a chance to adapt to the change. For example, include a trail run once every 2 weeks for say 4 weeks then once a week for 4 weeks and so on.
02: Start Out on Level Terrain
You are only asking for trouble if you set off up a hill on your very first trail run. It takes time to build up endurance particular if you running routes are usually fairly level roads or pavements. It’s far better to start out on a flat trail. Introduce slopes, up and down, gradually.
03: Watch Where You Put Your Feet
Part of the attraction of trail running is working out in beautiful surroundings. But you have to keep a wary eye out for obstacles such as rocks or roots of tree that could, quite literally, trip you up. And, of course, it might be wet underfoot on some parts of the trail.
04: Take It Easy
As a trail running novice don’t focus on running pace. Instead, concentrate on the adjustments to running technique necessary to cope with varied terrain and softer, sometimes slippery ground. Don’t expect to get into a running rhythm as you would running on pavements. Be patient, you’re learning a new skill and that takes time. If you get tired, don’t be embarrassed to walk. That’s far better than risking injury.
05: Tell A Friend
Never venture alone onto a trail without telling someone where you’re going, where you’ve parked the car and how long you expect to be. Always take your mobile phone with you, ensuring it’s fully charged.
However, as a beginner it is far better have a running buddy on the trail. But, don’t be competitive. You’re there to support each other.
Research has shown that running in green spaces results in a greater sense wellbeing than exercising indoors. Trail running, therefore, offers both physical and mental benefits so it’s definitely win, win!
Trail running beginners who follow these tips will, in the long run, progress faster than those go too fast, too far too soon.
You’ll be able to explore all those running trails set in glorious countryside. How thrilling is that!