Is there anything better than having your breath taken away by spectacular views while being left gulping for air by a brisk trail run? Runners who undertake this type of exercise enjoy the best of both worlds – scenic views, combined with a rush of endorphins.
There are ways to make your trail run even better, though. Here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re sweating it out on the trails.
1. Cadence is key
There is a significant difference between road running and trail running, chiefly the varied terrain that trail running offers. It goes without saying that you’ll have to have a different foot strike on the trails than you would on the road. Remember to keep your eyes on the trail to see the terrain change as you run. Your feet will go where your eyes are looking (and will stop you from getting perhaps a little too closely acquainted with the earth).
2. Toes up!
Heel striking is a good approach when taking to the trails. This is because keeping your toes up will help you avoid catching your feet on bumps, rocks or roots along the trail. When shopping for shoes, look for something with a secure heel fit and choose a shoe with a tread that’s made for the varied terrain of the trails.
3. Don’t think you know every trail through and through
Don’t get too used to any given trail, and remember that every trail has its own technical and terrain-based challenges. Keeping out a keen eye for obstacles on the road is the trail runner’s best practice to fully experience any trail.
4. Start off slowly
Another way to get the most out of every trail run is to start off slowly. Conserving energy with a slower start, and taking care to pace yourself throughout the run ensures that you don’t get winded before reaching the lookout point you’ve been working towards for kilometres.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The most important thing to remember the next time you tie up your tekkies for the trail is to make sure you take adequate hydration with you. Trail runs can get particularly strenuous particularly quickly, especially if you’re running in summer or when the day is still quite hot. Stay safe and sufficiently soaked by making sure your water bottle or bladder is your constant companion on the trail.