Are you getting bored with your running routine? Do you enjoy hiking, adventure, and traveling? Then you might want to consider trail running as your new obsession. It turns every run into an experience instead of a grind. You will get to see places you may have never noticed before.

That said, there are a few things you should do as you get into the hobby, which we’ve covered in this post.

1. Prepare

Two things are necessary for a trail run. A good pair of trail shoes for men or women, and a trail to run on that’s convenient for you. A good trail can be what determines how fun and engaged you will be during your run, so it is important to research. Use a map or talk to some fellow trail runners to determine a good location nearby. If you are still having trouble finding one, walk through your local parks and see if there is anything off the beaten path. Remember that running on dirt is considered trail running so don’t feel like you need to be too picky when choosing a location. trail

2. Don’t overexert yourself

Trail running is inherently tiring. If you are an experienced runner but are putting up worse times when trail running, don’t feel bad. Trail running is slower than road running. You must constantly be aware of where you are placing your feet so you don’t trip or stumble on obstacles in the way. Trail running requires different muscle groups than traditional running as well. Your balance and your core must be stronger than normal because of all the hops and leaps you take to avoid rocks and

3. Be Safe

There are certain risks from trail running to be aware of that don’t apply to traditional running. For one, your risk of getting lost is much greater. A wrong turn can lead to somewhere you didn’t want to go. Be sure to always tell somebody before you leave about where you are going and when you will be coming back. Study the trail you are going on, and try to carry a satellite GPS or map, since you might not have cell service out there.

If the worst happens and you do get lost, stop, take a deep breath, and then try and backtrack. If that’s not possible, stay put and wait for your friend to come through. Learn how to start a fire and set up a shelter if necessary.

Another factor to be aware of is the possibility of running into dangerous wildlife. Here’s what to do if you run into some common trail wildlife:

  • Bears – If you run into a bear, slowly back away while presenting as large as possible. If they charge at you, play dead and be as non-threatening as you can.
  • Moose – If they seem aggressive, run away. Dodge through trees to make it difficult to follow.
  • Mountain lion – Try to make yourself as large as possible. Make as much noise as you can and don’t run away from them or you may trigger their hunting instincts.

Finally, the risk of injury is often greater when trail running. A sprained ankle or knee is a real possibility from a misplaced footfall. If this happens to you, the best way to treat either is with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

4. Practice Your Technique

Depending on the terrain you are running in, there are certain techniques to consider. On rocky terrain, you want to keep scanning 10 to 15 feet ahead. You should be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the path you are going to take so that you won’t have to constantly stop or slow down. When uphill running, take frequent quick steps to lower the risk of injury, and when running downhill lean back just a bit, but make sure that your steps stay under your center of gravity.

Take these tips into consideration when getting started and you will be a great trail runner in no time.

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