Now that the good weather has arrived, it’s time to ditch the gym and get outside.
If you’ve been itching for a change of scenery from the usual track routine or treadmill grind, trail running might be just what you need.
Compared to road running, trail running offers a more natural setting that puts your senses on high alert while taxing your body in an exciting new way. Whether you currently run on roads or trails most of the time, however, there are also some important distinctions between these two types of terrain.
On one hand, there are benefits to road running as it’s usually accessible almost anywhere at any time. On the other hand, trail running offers many unique challenges and benefits that aren’t available with road running alone.
Below are the steps to follow as you prepare for a trail.
1 — Research the trail ahead of time
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but it still bears repeating because it’s so important! You should do as much research as you can about the trail that you are going to be on. The first step is to actually find out where the trail is and how long you will be on it. Once you know the distance, you can begin to plan out how much food and water you’ll need to survive.
2 — Pace yourself before you begin
Before you even set foot on the trail, you should be pacing yourself. This means that you should be taking things slow before you even get on the trail. You should be limiting your caffeine intake, getting plenty of rest, and eating well. All of these things will help you to get ready for the trail.
3 — Wear the right shoes
No matter what trail you are preparing for, you should make sure that your shoes are ready for action. The wrong hiking boots can really put a damper on your experience. Not only can bad shoes cause blisters and other foot issues, but they can also make the walk even more difficult.
4 — Bring the right gear
This is one area where you don’t want to skimp out. You should make sure that you have the right gear for your upcoming trail. Make sure that you have enough water to get you through the whole trail. You don’t want to be stuck without water when you’re out in the middle of the trail.
5 — Don’t forget to eat and drink
As we’ve already said, you should make sure that you have plenty of water for the trail. You should also make sure that you have plenty of food. You don’t want to try to ration your food if you don’t have to. You should try to eat as much as possible while you’re on the trail.
Below are some of the races you can take part in:
1 — Hiking Race
A hiking race is a type of trail race in which the participants hike a distance and then turn around and hike back to the starting point, rather than run. Hiking races are typically shorter than running races, and they are often held as fundraisers to raise money for charity. Hiking races also allow participants to enjoy nature and spend time with friends or family members on beautiful trails.
2 — Mountain Race
A mountain race is a trail race held in mountainous terrain, often on steep and rugged paths. Mountain races often involve rock scrambling, which is the act of navigating over rocky surfaces. Mountain races are often held in the spring or fall, when the weather is cooler than in the summer months.
These types of races are often held as fundraisers and are a good choice for people who like the challenge of trail running but prefer a less physically demanding environment than a nature run.
Here are some of the exercises to engage in before a trail:
1 — Cardio training
One of the most obvious things you’ll need to do if you want to train for trail running is to build up your cardio. Cardio exercises such as running, jogging, cycling, and swimming are great for building endurance and strength in your legs, helping you to go further in trail runs.
2 — Strength training
Another important aspect of training for trail running is building strength in your legs and core. Strength exercises such as squats and lunges, plus a wide range of other bodyweight workouts such as push-ups, planks, and sit-ups can help you increase the strength in your lower body.
3 — Agility training
Trail running also requires you to have great agility, so it’s a good idea to do some agility training as well. Agility exercises can be as simple as trying out a few new and interesting parkour moves, or practicing your footwork by doing some soccer or basketball drills. You can also try doing some agility exercises with a partner.
When you are out adventuring and hiking, it can be easy to forget about nutrition. After all, there are so many other things to think about, from getting your gear ready in the morning to checking that you have everything with you before you leave the house.
However, nutrition should never be overlooked when it comes to activities like this. This is especially true if you plan on doing these activities on a regular basis.
While it is good that you’re more active and fitting more exercise into your life; if it results in an imbalance of your diet and makes you unhealthy then there are consequences.
Unhealthy habits now will result in negative effects on your body later on. If this sounds like something that might impact you after reading this blog post, keep reading for some great tips on how to keep your body healthy while also enjoying the outdoors and all its activities.
Hydration in trail running has to be effective.
Drink and stay well hydrated the days before a race. Also be careful not to overdo it and cause overhydration, listen to your body and drink in small amounts. If you start a race hydrated you should not need to drink until the first hour of the race.
The most effective way to carry water is by hydration backpacks, water bottles (hard or soft), water bottle or canteen.
You can alternate water and isotonic drinks in your water bottles or hydration backpack.
You can’t run trails in the same way you run on the road. Trail running requires a different set of techniques and skills to keep you from falling or twisting an ankle. It also calls for a different attitude—one that is more cautious, observant, and patient than your typical road race.
Tricky terrain, awkward footing, and unexpected drops demand your full attention when trail running—especially if you don’t want to end up with scrapes and bruises in unexpected places.
Trail running requires a different set of skills than road running. Use these tips to help you prepare for your next trail run and avoid the common pitfalls of the trail environment. Remember to go slow and steady, be flexible, and take in the trail around you.
Photography: Tom de Peyret, Jaime de Diego
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