Are you a treadmill junkie or keep your running to the streets? Well, let 2016 be the year you head to the hills and try out a trail.
Trail running is a lot of fun and will take your running to new heights. Literally! It also builds ankle, calf and leg strength because of the constant terrain changes. I’m convinced trail running will make you a stronger runner and because you’re not pounding the pavement, it is kinder on your body.
I know that for some of you, leaving the comfort of flat ground can be intimidating. It took me a long time to move off the road and to the hills so I know how you feel. To help you get more comfortable here’s a primer to help you hit the hill running.
- Pick a trail, any trail. The best way to find a path or trail to run is to ask around. Check with your friends, post a question on FB or stop into a local running store and pick the brains of their staff or contact a local running club. A good rule of thumb is to find a route that has wide fire roads (read: designed for trucks to use on case of a wildfire) and is runnable. Meaning, even if there are some hills involved, it’s not a 300 foot climb right out the gate.
- Put your best shoe forward. Trail shoes are designed with little nubs that grip the trail so if you are serious about running off road invest in a pair. Your regular running shoes don’t have the proper gription and can be dangerous on muddy or wet trails.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. It’s imperative that you watch where you are stepping on the trail. Roots, rocks, critters, holes, downed limbs, etc., can trip you up and send you down. And while we’re on the topic of trail hazards, you need to pick up your feet.
- Bring water and some fuel. Running up and down hills and on trails use more energy that road or treadmill running and you don’t have the luxury of a water fountain along the way.
- Safety first. The hills are alive with critters, people and hazards. Always tell someone where you are going and when you are going. Be sure to take a buddy (either a 2 legged or 4 legged one) and take a cell phone. Accidents happen and you don’t want to be in a dangerous, vulnerable situation.
I hope that these tips will help you tackle a trail run!
Now go run!