Road Marathon Season is over (at least in our part of the country) and during the "off season", I know many runners try out different ways to keep fit. Many runners have talked about trying out the trails.
I thought I would take the opportunity to impart a few bits of wisdom that I have learned over the past couple years of trail running. (Just remember, I am NOT an expert. I am NOT a coach. I am simply a mom, who loves to run in the woods.)
• If you can, go on your first trail run with an experienced trail runner.
• Your pace will be slower on the trails than on the road. Don't worry, it's NORMAL!
• Trail Running is peaceful and quiet, leave your iPod at home and just enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
• Talk to any trail runners you know, we all love to share tips and take people out into the woods!
• There WILL be walking. There is no shame in walking. Sometimes, it's the only way to get over/around/through a particular section.
• Think about buying a pair of trail shoes. They offer more traction and often times more control over your footfall than your road shoes.
• Start in lower mileage than you're used to. Your legs are going to work harder on the trails than they do on the road.
• Be prepared for rolling your ankles. Your ankles will just keep getting stronger.
• Don't be concerned about mileage. Start thinking in terms of time (minutes/hours).
• When you want to pass another runner, make sure you let them know you are coming up behind them. Pick your own phrase, but make sure they know you are there.
• If you are passing someone (after you've told them you are), greet them! You never know when you'll make a new friend.
• Personal space! Make sure when you are following someone, especially on a downhill, give them at least 10ft of space. That way, if/when you fall, you're not taking others out with you!
• You will get muddy! It's a trail run, it just goes with the territory. You'll get used to it.
• Always have a towel in your car and a change of shoes for the drive home. (see above)
Most of all? just ENJOY it!
About the Author: Anne is a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful boys (6.5 years old and 4 years old). After kid #2 was born, she decided to run to lose weight; thinking five miles would be a good distance to aim for. Several Half Marathons, 2 Marathons and an Ultra Marathon later, she still hasn’t quit. When she’s not running in the woods, you can find her shuttling the kids or chasing them around. Also, you can find her on www.thisrunningmomslife.com or follow on Twitter @runningmom2boys.
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