We receive many questions from people new to Adventure Racing and one of the most popular ones is about trail running. What should I wear, how far do I need to run, is it difficult….So we have broken it down here for you all. Hopefully answers some of your questions…but keep them coming!
Nothing can beat the sight of a bit of greenery. It’s therapeutic! Countless amounts of studies have proved it! When you remove yourself from hustle & bustle that tends to manifest itself around concrete ridden landscapes and neon infested twilights, you will find uncongested & uncontested airy green filled landscapes, the stresses of endless deadlines and work are quickly forgotten. Fair quicker that city running. In the words of Ron Burgandy “It’s science”.
Full body work out….almost
Now before I go any further, I just want to clear any confusion that may arise, I’m not here to dis road running. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m all up for exercise, no matter what shape or form it is in. Exercise is good! Road running is good!
On the trails, the varied terrains will ensure that more muscle groups will be used including the legs, feet, ankles and importantly the core! We often don’t think of our feet as having muscles and kind of take them for granted…as functional yokes at the end of our legs. Because you rarely hit a patch of ground that is consistently flat, your foot strikes the ground on different areas of the foot which reduces the risk of injury from repetitive impact strains. It also strengthens the foot muscles as a whole.
Two birds…one stone.
When you run up hills, you are using some of the same leg muscle groups that are used on the bike…it’s a win win
Variety is the spice of…
Keeping your routes varied , mixing up terrains, keeps the brain stimulated. Your balance and alertness will improve, as you move from slippy stone to muddy puddles and tree root entangled turf.
A lot of runners get transfixed on times and PBs’. When you hit the trails, unless you are flat out on the exact same root, times will mean nothing. It becomes more about how you are feeling and heart rates. Something that is often overlooked but extremely important. So don’t be afraid to forget about times and speeds and go on how your body feels.
Ok so here are a few pointers to take note of if you trail running through winter…
- You need a good set of trainers. For the vast majority of trails, your normal road runners just wont cut the mustard. The trails are wetter, muddier and slippier especially now we head into winter. Trail runners have specially designed grips to lap up the muck and gives you JCB like traction. Salomons, Columbia, Hokas, Innov8’s. Just a few brands to look out for. A large number are also waterproof to keep your feet nice and dry on the hairiest of trails and come with hardened toe area to keep you from any mishaps from hidden stones and tree roots. If you are unsure of what I’m rabbiting on about, anywhere they sell trail runners, there will be someone there to walk you through it. You can always post us on our facebook & twitter pages and we would be glad to answer your questions.
- Safety first…always
We have gone through the pros of trail runners. The other bits you need are a fully charged phone in case of emergency. If possible (but not necessary) try run in pairs. If you are out alone, let someone know where you intend to go. Stick to known roots and trails (at least till you get more experience under your belt).As it gets darker earlier, make sure to get some good reflective gear and a headlamp. Check out our headlamp review.
- Be patient
As you may have guessed by now, its’ a little different from normal road running, so give yourself time to adjust. You may think you are not getting through the same distances as if you were on the roads but its a totally different animal. The hills and rougher terrains are tougher on the legs.
- Trail Running Groups/Clubs
In the last few years, the growth of trail running is a remarkable one. A quick google or social media search will set you right. Before you know it, you will be ripping up the side of a mountain, filling your lungs with healthy air, thinking to yourself, why didn’t I do this before.