Trail running really does offer something for everyone, with many people choosing trail running over the road as they are attracted to its simplicity and being closer to nature. If you have never given it a go before, spring is the perfect time, and you can start out as short and as slow as you like.
Here are Damien Carr’s top 10 tips for trail running beginners:
1) Build up slowly
If you are new to trail running you should slowly build up both your pace and your time on the trails. This will make your runs more enjoyable and allow your body to adapt to your new sport and the changes in time, distance and effort.
2) Choose the right kit
Wearing the right kit, and specifically the right trainers, is very important in trail running. It isn’t a good idea to wear road running shoes as they don’t have the same grip or sometimes the same support. A good trail shoe will provide the perfect balance of comfort, protection and grip. In terms of clothing, you need to make sure you are kitted out for the right weather and climate – you don’t want to be stuck at the top of a hill in the rain and realise you will be freezing cold on the descent.
3) Eat and drink
As with most sports, you need to keep well hydrated and always take an emergency energy snack or gel. You never know when you might be out longer than expected. Many trail runners take a small, lightweight backpack in which can carry water (either in a bladder or in well secured bottles) and to store your snack and an extra layer.
Trail running takes you on a variety of terrain, which sometimes can be rooty, rugged or just a little uneven. You will need to concentrate when out on the trails and really thinking about where you are placing your feet. The more trail running you do, the more it will come naturally to you and your confidence will quickly build on all sorts of different surfaces.
5) Walking is okay
Trail running is different to running on the road and you shouldn’t be afraid to hike the hills. Run when you can and don’t worry if you have to hike or walk, some stuff is runnable and some stuff just isn’t. It can take half an hour to do a mile if you are climbing up hill and only 10 minutes (or less!) to come down.
6) Use your arms
One of my insider’s tips for trail running is to use your arms for balance on the descents. Particularly when terrain is uneven, run with your arms away from your side to keep you balanced and help you keep your speed up. You may look a little bit silly, but watch any footage of the pros, and they are doing exactly the same!
7) Distance isn’t important
In trail running distance isn’t as important as it is in road running. Think more about how long you want to go out for time wise, and maybe even more importantly, how you feel on the trail. Unlike road running – where a consistent pace is ideal – on trails the pace will fluctuate and that is okay.
8) Rest and recover
If you catch the trail running bug and hit the trails multiple times a week, then you will need to build rest and recovery into your training. I would advise you to listen to your body and rest when needed. If you are out for a run and feeling tired, don’t worry about walking for a section – it’s all about enjoying yourself and being outdoors.
9) Use bioelectrical therapy
To help you recover more quickly between trail runs I can’t recommend highly enough using NuroKor bioelectrical therapy. After using my NuroKor device, my muscles feel ready for the next training session sooner than they normally would, and I generally feel more energised between sessions. Nurokor is the best recovery tool I have.
10) Enjoy nature
For me, trail running is about embracing the great outdoors and having fun. Remember to look around, take notice of your surroundings, listen to the birds and breath in the fresh air. Lastly, don’t forget to respect the trails and leave them as you found them.
To learn more about how NuroKor can help recovery: https://nurokor.co.uk/pages/recovery
Follow Damien Carr on Twitter: https://twitter.com/damocarr83