Trail running, it couldn’t be that different from road running…. or could it? Well, some say it is easier, and others say it takes about six months of trial and error. Whichever way you sway, we’ve researched some tips that many ultra trail runners abide by. And, no matter your level, we think you should give them a try anyways! Here are our top six tips for new runners wanting to hit the trails.
1. Find a Pal
This will give you a huge advantage on the trails. Someone to talk to about your fears, worries, and obviously, someone to laugh with. When you pair up with someone else, your goal becomes their goal, and it’s less easy to say “I give up” when you’re focusing on someone else.
2. Start Slow
Any advanced trail runner will tell you that they don’t hightail it up every mountain. They start slow, sometimes hiking, sometimes stopping to take in the views. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You will learn more about how to move up and down trails when you take your time.
3. Don’t Feel Bad for Failing
Failure is not a bad thing. If you attempted something, but fell short, you still learned more during that event than you would have if you decided not to go at all. Set goals, try them, and then try again (and again, and again!) The best motivation is knowing that you can always try one more time.
4. Eat Food
One of the biggest mistakes experienced trail runners will tell you, is not eating enough. Your body is a vehicle, and it needs enough fuel to get from A to B. One thing new runners often forget during trail running is that trails often include elevation gain, and obstacles. This exerts more energy than running on pavement, therefore, you will need a larger intake of food before and after! Please don’t skimp. You’ll thank us later.
5. Try Various Terrain
Not all trails are alike, therefore your runs should not always be alike. If you’re really interested in becoming a trail runner, look around, find new spaces, and explore all types of wilderness around you.
6. Ask Yourself Why
Or… why not? There is often a reason why we start a hobby. Whether it be the challenge, the ability to see new places, or just to have some time to yourself. Before every run, ask yourself “why”. This step will motivate you through your darkest hours.