Tips to Trail Running for Beginners
Good morning and happy Friday, friends! I’ve got one more awesome guest post to share with you. Jill from Jill Conyers | Fitness, Health and Happiness is a super inspiring runner that always seems to see the positive in things. She’s also a bad ass meal planner… I can always use ideas in the area of meal planning.
Hi, I’m happy to be a guest at Hungry Healthy Girl. Thank you Kim for the opportunity to share this post and meet your readers. I came across Kim’s blog probably like most of you, in search of yummy recipes and I’ve been a follower ever since.
A little about me, I blog at Jill Conyers | Fitness, Health and Happiness where I share my love of running and yoga along with my passion for plant based nutrition and overall well-being.
I vividly remember my first trail run. I started as a way to run with my ultra running husband who always agreed to run the roads with me even though he prefers the trails. At first, it felt strange, awkward and very unnatural. Every step was made with a fear of falling or twisting an ankle. There was a hesitation in my stride. My form felt off and the dodging of obstacles felt like I was risking serious injury with ever step. A little over a year later I started running ultras. This past weekend I ran 30 miles on a trail and loved every minute of it.
Most runners will run the same routes and streets every time and will never venture off road, but hopefully that will change with these tips to trail running for beginners.
Shoes- If you’re only planning to hit the trail once a month or once a week your regular running shoes will do just fine. However if you are planning on making trail running a more consistent part of your training then trail-running shoes provide a much more protective sole and greater stability to help you keep your balance while running over and across loose dirt, rocks and tree roots.
Slow Down Your Pace- Don’t expect to run your road pace. This mindset from the beginning will prevent a lot of frustration and temptation to give up. Trails are never perfectly smooth. You’ll wind around trees and lakes, jump over fallen trees, and cross streams all of which will slow down your pace. You will also be making more lateral movements, which use different muscles in your feet and ankles when compared to your comfort zone of road running.
Shorten Your Stride- It will feel awkward at first but trail running will naturally force you to shorten your stride for increased stability and balance. Don’t fight it. The more often you run on trails the more natural the form will feel and it will eventually overtake your resistance.
Vision - Be alert. Keep your eyes focused about ten feet in front of you. Almost instinctually your eyes will scan for obstacles, loose rocks and roots to help you plan your next few strides.
Be Safe- This goes without saying but if you’re going to be in the woods where there is less traffic it’s best to not run alone. Avoid running at night until you’re comfortable with maneuvering the uneven terrain.
Expect to Walk- The uneven terrain, fatigue from using different muscles and obstacles on the path, all come with an expectation of walking especially for beginners.
Trail running is just… different. I love road and trail running but given the choice trails will win every time. Leave your headphones at home, take off the watch, and ditch the phone. Let your body do what it was naturally meant to do and enjoy the run!
Jill is a wife, mom of 2 teens and the voice behind Jill Conyers | Fitness, Health and Happiness. She loves all things family, being outdoors and nutrition. She is a runner at followed closely by yoga and strength training as favorites. Jill believes in living passionately by design and being the best she can be.