The sun is shining and finally, it‘s spring again. You want to get out there to move and to breathe the fresh air. Do you want to break your boundaries this year and run in more rugged terrain and up into the mountains?
Then trail running may be just the right activity for you. Trail running – the run in rugged terrain – offers different challenges for your body than the common jog. You have to be more cautious about irregular grounds, you run uphill and downhill and this puts more strain on your feet, ligaments, muscles, and knees. In order for you to be well equipped for your first trail run, we have made a summary of the most essential knowledge as a beginner.
If you are more of an advanced trail runner or want to know more about it, you can find further interesting articles on our Blog.
1. Trail Running Shoes
Special trail running shoes are more robust and generally more stiff than regular running shoes. Since you are running across bumpy terrain, the danger of spraining your ankle is significantly higher. So you need a good foothold within the shoe. Especially in spring, the paths are often slippery or muddy, so your shoe should have a good grip with a strong tread. There’s never the „one best“ model because each brand makes different shapes. So it is worth trying a couple of different ones
2. Trail Running Apparel
Use breathable clothing. Uphill you will get warm fast, but you don’t want to get too cold on the way down. We recommend layering. Merino wool is very breathable, but also keeps you warm and dries fast. A headband can help avoid sweat from running into your eyes. In the Alps, you should always take a light wind- and rainjacket too. Socks with a tight fit avoid chafing, which often leads to blisters.
3. The Weather
Definitely, take the time to check the weather before you head out for a trail run. Apart from the weather forecast, it makes sense to look up into the sky. Especially in the Alps, local thunderstorms can build up quite fast and be surprised by a thunderstorm on a trail run can be seriously uncomfortable. With good weather, don’t forget to use sunscreen. Sunglasses offer an important protection for your eyes. In summer you might want to wear a hat, to protect yourself from a sunstroke.
4. Route-selection and GPS
There are many websites to find nice routes in your surroundings. When running for the first couple of times, we recommend to chose routes that don‘t overstrain you with regards to speed, type of trail and length. That may make it a frustrating experience for you with injuries that may even keep you from continuing for a while. A GPS program on your mobile or a sports watch can enable you to track your route and stay oriented in case you may lose your way.
5. Food and Hydration
Enough hydration is vital for a healthy trail run. Drinking enough before, after an hour during and when you are done also helps a quick regeneration of your body. If you run for a longer period and get hungry on your way, we recommend energy bars, that can give you extra energy on the go.
6. Backpacks with Hydration Systems
There are specific backpacks for trail running that are constructed ultra lightly while being tight at the body in order to avoid bumping around. The backpacks are made for different drinking systems. With a drinking system, you can drink directly from a tubby, without having to take your backpack off every time.
7. Trail Running Poles
Yes, poles do make sense for trail running. We admit, it is something you may have to get used to, but poles certainly relieve the strain on knees and leg muscles. Poles also increase surefootedness demonstrably, because they give you additional grip on the ground and you can avoid falling. But only if used correctly. It is certainly worth the practice.
OPEN THE DOOR, LACE UP YOUR SHOES AND GO…
If you find that trail running is fun for you, it is worth finding out more about technique, use of poles and the physics preparation and posttraining activities. But for now, just get out there and run! We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.
And if you are the ambitious type and need a goal, then go run at the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival by inov-8 from May 2nd – 4th 2019 or at the famous ZUT – Zugspitz Ultra Trail. You can pick your distance of choice and you’ll find one worth training for. And then, if you still haven’t had enough competition, you can find a post on the best Trailruning Events in Europe here.
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© Dynafit / Scott