So you want to start on the the journey of trail running, but don't quite know where to start. It's really simple and the five points below will provide some guidance to allow you to get out there and enjoy the natural surroundings to stimulate both your mind and body.
1) Find a trail
With the popularity of trail running ever increasing there are numerous trails just around the corner - waiting to be explored. Whether you are an avid road runner or starting out from scratch, there will be a trail to suit your fitness level. A simple search on the internet will allow you to find a trail that will suit your fitness level and doesn't require you to travel too far.
2) Exit the comfort of your home and drive to the trail
The main advantage of trail running is that it allows you to leave the busy surrounds of your home, if you are living in the city, and travel out of the concrete jungle and into pure nature. With little or no car noise, you will just be surrounded by the sounds of nature and your feet hitting the earth. So get up early, pack and bag and head out there.
Take along a small towel, cell phone, identification and whatever food and drink you want to have on the trail. There are various backpacks that will hold your water vessel as well as have numerous pouches to keep all your other belongings safe. Also take a long a change of shoes for when you are done running. With the many puddles and streams you could potentially run through, it's unlikely that your shoes will stay drive.
3) Shoes for the trail
When it comes to starting out in trail running, it's not necessary to spend a fortune on the latest trail running shoes. You can get by on the road running shoes that you have in your cupboard, but they won't offer the grip that trail running shoes have, so be careful. Trail running shoes have deeper lugs which will offer better grip and stability on the trail. A stiffer sole and hidden plates will offer more foot protection and avoid your feet getting bruised when running over rocks and roots. The cost of trail running shoes can range, with obviously the latest range costing the most. However you can save some cash by looking at last season's range. Chat to the sales person at the shop and tell them that you are just starting out and they will be able to recommend the best ones for you.
4) Forget about pace. Run slowly and walk the hills
If you are used to running on the road and think you will be able to run just as fast on a trail, think again. A trail's soft surface will naturally slow you down and you are likely to be about 20% slower than when running on the flat surface of a road. On some trails the hills make you feel like you are on a constant stairmaster. Do not be embarrassed to walk the hills, or 'stairmaster'. Everyone does, even the fittest runners, and there will be plenty of flat areas and down-hills for you to pick up the pace again.
Remember to keep a good following distance between you and the person in front of you. If the person in front of you suddenly stops or falls you need to have enough distance to react and not go crashing into them.
5) Commit to a race
There is nothing like motivating yourself to stick to tail running and train hard then signing up for a race or two. Give yourself a few good months to train for the race. Don't over- commit to a distance that you won't be ready to run. Start training and slowly build your distance up. When race day comes you will be able to bond with other fellow trail runners and enjoy the thrill that a race brings.