In a survey of nearly 7,000 runners conducted by Running USA, only 37 percent of respondents acknowledged they run on trails.
Limited access to trails, lack of knowledge about trail running or other factors like not having the proper gear are said to be the reasons behind why trail running isn’t as popular as other forms of running.
Now, don’t let statistics stop you from picking up a new hobby. If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of trail running, there are a few basics you should know. Lace up your running shoes and get started with these trail running tips.
Setting out on a new adventure can be fun. But without the proper maps or GPS technology guiding you through the wilderness, an outdoor adventure can quickly turn into a nightmare.
While the fear of getting lost shouldn’t keep you from running on local trails, a smartwatch equipped with the latest GPS technology can give you some peace of mind on your next trail run. In addition to GPS features, smart trail running watches can keep track of your stats like pace, time and distance.
Bringing along the right gear is critical; after all, you wouldn’t swim laps at the pool without a pair of goggles. In that vein, the right gear is just as critical when it comes to trail running and should include a few key items.
No matter the time of season, it’s vital to carry a lightweight backpack or hydration pack. Inside of your pack, you should have a headlamp and any safety items you feel like you may need.
All runners know the smallest thing, like slipping socks or shoes that fit a little too tight, can distract from a good run. Make sure all your gear, including your trail running shorts and shoes, fits properly. Consider outdoor clothing styles that feature moisture-wicking technology for the ultimate in trail running comfort.
Any type of physical exercise can put a strain on your body, causing soreness and inflammation — and that includes any trail running activities. But before you reach for the ibuprofen after your trail run, consider your diet first. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can increase oxidative stress on the body and can even contribute to electrolyte imbalances during long distance activities.
Instead, try a more natural approach by incorporating foods like dark green leafy vegetables, berries and bright colored fruit into your diet. These types of foods are not only rich in fiber but also contain essential antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Other protein-dense foods like baked fish, dried lentils and beans, grass-fed beef, as well as roasted or grilled lean meats, are also good options and can fight inflammation.
Just as with any physical exercise, ensuring you have plenty of recovery time is essential. It’s important to listen to your body and take time off from the trails for a little rest and recovery now and then. After a hard trail run, slip on some compression socks.
These special socks can help limit swelling and soreness after taxing physical activity. Using a foam roller post-workout can also alleviate some soreness. Additionally, incorporating a few yoga poses into your post-workout routine can see reductions in soreness, too.
Take a Different Approach to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Are you ready to hit the trail? With the right trail running gear and proper know-how, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a new hobby and experiencing all that the great outdoors has to offer like never before.