Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Running is considered a mixture of running and hiking on any unpaved, natural, surface, and can be done just about anywhere making it increasingly popular amongst new runners.

Terrain can vary massively from trail to trail making it hard to compare any two races. For this reason, trail running is less focused on speed and finish time than road running. For many people it’s more about the challenge and a chance to be out in nature.

Get your gear right

Any discipline requires the correct equipment for comfort and efficiency during exercise. Trail running is no different, and you’ll need to think about the right footwear, hydration pack, and fuelling as a starting point.

There are a huge variety of trail running shoes to meet your needs - you’ll have to consider traction and comfort. You’ll also need to find a way to carry your hydration and nutrition fuelling strategy if you’re planning to be out on the trails for hours. A good hydration vest/pack is an excellent option; they can fit a water bladder and soft flasks along with other fuelling options easily. 

Don’t compare trail running with road running

Trail running is an entirely different discipline to road running so don’t compare your times and distances. Much of the enjoyment of trail running comes from slowing your pace, exploring your surroundings, and taking in nature as you go. Focus less on speed and more on scenery!

Enjoy different fuelling options

One of the benefits of this slower approach to trail running is that you can explore different fuelling strategies as opposed to, for example, solely using gels in a marathon. It’s great to experiment with solid foods alongside your regular sports nutrition and hydration options such as sports drinks, energy chews and gel mix.

Expect the unexpected

Trail running can throw challenges at you that you might not expect to find on a regular road run - tree roots, mud, river crossings, wildlife, sand - to name just a few! Keep your wits about you and always let someone know your intended route and how long you expect to be running for, especially if you are running in a more remote location.

It’s okay to walk!

Part of the fun of getting off the road is encountering different, more challenging terrains, including more ascents. Don’t worry about your pace as you navigate these obstacles - instead, slow right down and consider walking, particularly when you’re heading uphill. Using different muscles will help your overall fitness.

Enjoy yourself!

Trail running is an entirely different discipline to road running, but many runners prefer it. Taking all of the above tips into consideration, slow down and soak up your surroundings whilst you enjoy the trails!

Read our Trail Running Nutrition Guide, to help smash your next race!

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