Trail running is an increasingly popular running style. These runs ideally take place on unpaved trails, often in mountainous or wooded terrain. As per Steven Rindner, while people new to this style may find trail running intimidating, it does not need to be. No matter whether one is a proficient road runner and wants to transition to the trails, or are yet to run their first mile, trail running can be a pretty fun activity to engage in when approached in the right manner.
Steven Rindner lists a few important aspects of trail running
Trail running provides a more varied and challenging experience than road running. The terrain is constantly changing, which forces runners to use different muscles and adapt their running style. Due to these differences, it is prudent that people understand certain important aspects of trail running, such as:
No single trail is the same: Each and every trail is unique, and presents distinctive challenges. There are many wide, limestone-based groomed trails that are considered to be ideal for people just getting started with trail running. There are also narrow, single track trails that feature multiple obstacles like mud, hills, sand, rocks and roots. Even though single track trails can be challenging, they also provide quite a dynamic running experience.
Leave the ego at home: Running off the road can be exhausting at start, and at times, it may take runners twice as long to cover a certain distance on a trail than it would if they were on the road. Trail running can truly be a humbling experience. Hence, it is best to leave ego at home, keep the pace slow and focus on finding the right rhythm. If a person trains properly, they will eventually develop a sense of being one with the terrain.
Stay safe: Newbie trail runners should consider getting a friend or even a dog when heading out to the trails. If doing so is not possible, they should at least tell someone where they plan to run, and how long they expect to be out. Bringing items like food, fluids, a trail map, ID, and cell phone is important to stay safe.
Know the rules of the trail: Runners need to know when to yield to other trail users like hikers or mountain bikers. Typically, downhill runners must yield to uphill runners as the effort to stop and restart on the uphill is greater. Moreover, downhill runners often have a better angle of vision. Runners should also try to stay on marked trails, instead of running around them.
Keep eyes on the trail: It is often tempting to gaze and admire at the surrounding natural beauty while trail running. But this can lead to tripping and falling. Hence, if one wants to enjoy the sights around, they should stop running and walk it out.
As Steven Rindner further underlines, as trails are more demanding than road running, it is prudent to be mindful of the time. Running an out-and-back course can be a good way to get to know the pace and develop trail running confidence.