Trail Running: A Beginners Guide

trail-running-header

Trail Running is coming into focus this week thanks to Charlie at Pure Trails Adventure!

Forget minute mileage and split times and start thinking about bubbling brooks and hilltops to stop and soak up the view. Trail running is a sport that becomes a lifestyle. Step out of your front door and onto a trail that leads to endless fulfilment. All through this, stay in tune with the natural world around you.

Charlie Pure Trails
We’ve teamed up with Charlie from Pure Trails!

WHAT IS TRAIL RUNNING?

Trail Running in our eyes is anything off-road, this constitutes a footpath, bridleway or anything dirty. Usually it is undulating and provides a route which preferably involves a bit of elevation gain or loss along the way. Forests, meadows, fields, river banks, mountains, fells, seashores, and hills, these are all trails and many of which will be waiting within just a few minutes of your front door.

Trail Running in the Mountains
What a way to experience the scenery!

DO I NEED EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING TO GET INTO TRAIL RUNNING?

Absolutely not, all you need is a pair of trainers and a sense of adventure to get into it.

A huge benefit of running on trails is that the nature of the terrain makes running a lot slower than you would otherwise experience on the road. Underfoot conditions can be so changeable (especially with varying weather conditions) so it pays to take some care and attention of the surface you are running on. Take your time! Walk all of the uphill bits and to take it steady on the downhill bits. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, focus on the adventure you are experiencing.

Before you know it you will slowly build your base of running fitness which will allow you to run for longer and to explore more challenging terrain.

Local Tracks
Get out and explore some local tracks!

DO I NEED SPECIALIST GEAR?

Put simply no, you don’t need any specialist gear when you are first starting, however, we need to be careful as the broad term trail running applies to a variety of terrain; everything from a local field to mountain trails.

For the beginner trail runner heading out on a dry, warm day, running across a flat meadow or a well sign-posted forest footpath you can easily afford to put on a normal pair of running trainers and feel the benefits immediately.

Being based in the UK though and with changeable weather right throughout the year, we would caveat this depending on where you are planning to run. If the weather changes and the underfoot conditions become muddy or slippery then your road running trainers will not cut the mustard and you should consider purchasing a pair of trail running shoes.

Trail shoes are designed to provide appropriate foot support, hugging your foot which reduces the chance of slip and holds you in place. Just about all trail shoes provide an appropriate grip with large lugs which gives friction when running on slippy surfaces.

This might sound overkill, but use your common sense before heading out. When running in a new area, be prepared for all weather conditions.

Trail Running Sunglasses

While we’re talking specialist gear, here’s some of our favourite  sunglasses that would be perfect for trail running!

Rudy Project Propulse – Shop Now
Propulse Sunglasses
Rudy Project Propulse – Matte Merlot / Multilaser Red
Red Bull SPECT Pace – Shop Now
Red Bull Pace Sunglasses
Red Bull SPECT Pace – Matte Blue / Smoke Blue Mirror
Julbo Aero – Shop Now
Julbo Aero Sunglasses
Julbo Aero – Black & Red / Reactiv Performance 1-3 Red Flash Photochromic
Oakley EVZero Blades – Shop Now
Oakley EVZero Blades
Oakley EVZero Blades – Steel / Prizm Sapphire

 

 

 

 

RUNNING TECHNIQUE

Trail running is so easy to get started and trails are found everywhere! For the beginner trail runner starting in the countryside, the footpath is the ideal place to start. There you can run almost the same as you would if running on a road. Over time you will build up your running fitness, as well as your endurance and will help you stay healthy and injury-free.

Over time, you’ll graduate to running in hillier and more mountainous areas, we need to start considering running technique in greater detail. The underfoot terrain can change dramatically. You need to think about loose ground, stones, tree roots, and hard uphill and steep downhill sections all considered hazards. On longer trail runs this can become more taxing on your mental and physical strength as you spend longer focusing on the changing terrain around you, whilst experiencing the harder physical toll it takes on your body.

If you take it steadily, adjusting to this changing terrain will become second nature. Adapting to its changes and being able to withstand the endurance elements associated with trail running as your strength and stamina improve.

Trail Running at the coast
Trail Running can take you to some pretty spectacular places!

PACING

Road running is immersed in pace per miles and split times, it can be an intimidating battleground to navigate!

The wonderful news is that trail running is not associated with any of these; it’s you against adventure, you decide the rules of play.

When it comes to running on trails it is important to stress that your miles per minute will be greatly slower than your miles on the road. As a guideline comparison an 8 – 10-minute mile road runner will roughly cover the same ground on trails 1 – 2 minutes more slowly depending on the route, this could even be slower. What that means is forget about the pressures and expectations, focus on you dictating your own pace and enjoy the flow of the trail. An important message to remember is to take your time! Walk all of the ups, as well as all of the downs if you are not as confident in your footing. Jog all of the flat bits and enjoy your surroundings.

KEEP SAFE

Do remember that trail running is an adventure, it’s wild and away from the paved pedestrian roads and vehicles, you may end up running remote routes away from access or other people.

With that in mind, consider safe practices and the risk of injury associated with the planned route. Plan your route in advance, taking the appropriate kit with you based on the weather conditions and the time of day you intend to run. Firstly, it’s always worth carrying a fully-charged mobile phone with you in case you injure yourself and require assistance. Secondly, tell somebody where you are planning to go and how long you will be out for.

Being prepared is always best practice and will give you the confidence to go further for longer and your experience of trail running will grow from there.

Mountain Trail Running
Some amazing views await!

NOW, IT’S DOWN TO YOU.

Trail running is the most rewarding sport we have ever come across. So much so that we decide to create a business around it! Take courage and confidence that whatever your experience or ability to run, you are capable of becoming a trail runner yourself.

Access to trails is everywhere! If you live in the middle of a city you will be surprised how easy it is to access the countryside. It is also a great way to explore a new environment whenever travelling away from home for a visit or on holiday. Be adventurous and be creative, set achievable goals and you’ll find the rich rewards that this sport offers.

Get in touch with any of the team at Pure Trails Adventure. Even if you just want to ask us for some advice on how to get started! We want to inspire you and to help you to #FINDYOURPATH

Contact us at: explore@pure-trails.com or give us a call on +44 (0) 117 251 0039

Take a look at our recommended Running sunglasses – RxSport