We should appreciate that trail running is all about enjoying nature, a nice run, and having fun.
Trail running is an easy way to explore and enjoy nature, suitable for just about everyone, but there are a few key things to keep in mind before heading out on such an adventure.
Everyone can give it a try, we have to make sure we’ve done the right trail running preparation of all the gears and products we will need to protect and support our nice run.
1. PICK A TRAIL IN A WELL KNOWN AREA
Also we should prepare for the possibility of getting lost or more tired, by bringing along some extra water and snacks. We should stick to well-marked trails unless we have a solid knowledge of the area and make sure we have the gear and skill set needed for where we plan to go.
2. PREPARE FOR GETTING LOST
Whether we plan to run trails nearby or somewhere more remote we’ve never been before, we have to make sure we know where we’re going and can find our way back.
Marked hiking trails are a safe way to start, but as it can be tricky to find our way around in new places. Also, the markings on trails are not always the best, so we need to make sure we have some sort of a backup (like a Strava map) in case we get lost. This is essential for trail running preparation.
3. BRING EXTRA WATER AND SNACKS
Before trail running, we do need some specific pre-run nutrition, we should fuel with some healthy natural fruits, energy bars, or snacks. What we can do before we hit the trail is find out if we could have access to water along the way or if the water in streams is drinkable.
If not, we will need to bring enough water to cover our running distance. Same goes for nutrition, we should pack a lot of calories in small size, like gels, chews, or bars, and make sure we bring enough to support us through the run and some extra calories for unexpected situations. There’s always the possibility of getting lost or the environment may slow us down and the run can get a lot longer than planned.
4. BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR FITNESS LEVEL
Before we head out into the trail, we need to be honest to ourself and realistically assess our experience and fitness level.
Exposed and extreme environments require great outdoor experience and specific fitness, this depends on where we plan to run.
Going for a couple of hours run on a well-marked trail in a recreational area doesn’t pose quite as much challenge as climbing some serious technical mountains.
5. ADJUST THE LENGTH OF YOUR RUN
If we plan to run in a high hill area, it will be harder than running on flat road or trail. But, the beauty of trail running is that it’s about enjoying the experience so we should keep in mind that we’re not in a hurry and we can just take it easy and enjoy.
6. ADJUST YOUR EXPECTED TRAINING TIME TO THE TRAIL
Running up the hill takes time and the terrain will slow us down. Even if we’re an experienced runner, we may still need to hike some of the longest and steepest hills.
When we get into it, it’s fun to track elevation gain on our running watch, which can become a key parameter, just as time and kilometres in road running.
Hilly trail is great for strengthening our running in general. The soft surface of trail running is not as tough on the joints as road running, but our heart and lungs still get to work hard.
7. TAKE WEATHER CONDITIONS INTO ACCOUNT
We also need to plan for changing weather conditions, rain and/or wind, maybe bring a jacket. This all adds up and if we plan a longer trail run we need to carry a running backpack to carry our products and gear.
We need to remember that the weather changes quickly in some places, especially in the mountains.
8. TUNE INTO THE RIGHT MOOD
Mental prep for trail running means getting ready to relax and enjoy. We should not obsess about our running pace or distance, we should focus on connecting with the nice nature.
Trail running is a chance to experience running wild and free in a more unstructured way than on the road.
Essentially, this means:
Bring a phone, stop and take pictures.
Pick the top of a hill or peak of a mountain and make that the goal of your run.
If you get tired, it’s totally fine to mix hiking and running in a hilly trail, even if you alternate between hiking and running, it’s still a great workout.
9. ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR TRAIL RUNNING PREPARATION
TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
We should buy a pair of durable trail running shoes that offer a better grip than road running shoes. With trail running, it’s all about the grip, as we will need to be able to run in mud, on slippery wet stones and gravel, and technical sections.
Depending on weather conditions, we should bring a small windproof jacket, a full-on rain jacket, cap, neckwear, or gloves.
If we plan to go for a long run, we should take a running pack instead of a running belt. For short runs, the pockets on our running clothes, or a running belt might be enough to carry what we need.
10. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, ENJOY!
Most importantly, just go out there and enjoy!
Trail running isn’t supposed to be complicated or hard, you can allow yourself to let go of the pressure to perform.
Instead of thinking about the training benefit, focus on enjoying the fresh air, beautiful nature, and being outdoors alone with your thoughts, or in a great running group.
Focus On The Great Running Gear And Nutrition For Nice Trail Runs, Feel Good, Enjoy Nature, Feel Super Positive, Enjoy Some Amazing Runs!