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Tips For Newbies to Trail Running

Get Your Run On: Two Trail Tips

I like running outside but usually on asphalt rather than dirt. This weekend, I hit the trails running with a buddy who almost exclusively runs in the woods. He took me on what he called a sweet trail (read: beginner level) with some technical elements (read: roots, rocks, and steep bits). I am happy he slowed to my pace since not tripping demanded a serious amount of concentration. I may have run more slowly than usual, but all those obstacles meant there was no chance for boredom to seep into my run.

The one bit of advice that really stuck with me, and that is applicable to hiking too, is don't step on rocks or roots; they could be unstable. You want your foot to land in the dirt between the rubble. Another memorable tip my trail running mentor shared with me is walking up steeps hills doesn't mean you wimped out. If you can walk up a steep incline at the same pace you can run it, then by all means walk — it's easier on your joints and means your legs will be less tired when you head down the other side.

I ended the run a bit mud splattered, sweaty, and wonderfully worked. Have any more tips for me next time I am out on the trail? Share them in the comments section below.

Flickr User TrailVoice

lwisne lwisne 7 years
For those who live in California and want to get into trail running, I would highly recommend They have weekly runs at a variety of distances that go through some really scenic paths in national parks. Also, everything is timed but it's not nearly as intense as a road marathon in terms of the competition factor. The do runs up and down the coast, but mostly within a few hours of either SF or LA.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Love trail running - it's SO much harder than road running! I average 9 min/ miles on the road when I'm not racing... closer to 12 min miles on the trails. Great workout !
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
I'd like to get into trail running, too! I think I have to get into regular running first, though... I am definitely not a runner! I'm getting there, though - today will be day three in which I've spent time running out of the last five days. Not a bad start for somebody that can't run for more than one minute at a time. I'm hoping that by the spring, we'll be back on the trails, but at a faster pace!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I wish I did more trail running. I'd love to, but I feel like it's not that safe to go alone and I prefer running by myself.
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