Running shoes are very individual and if you know from your road running that you require a particular type of shoe, then I would try and get your trail shoes to match.
If you go to a good running shop and ask their advice they will usually be able to give you some idea of what might work for you. Generally speaking, the wetter and muddier the trail the more you will benefit from an aggressive sole; the rockier the terrain, the more you will benefit from some protection over the top of your foot. However, if you are planning to go for longer or to race, you will need a map of the area, a compass, and some good light waterproof trousers and jacket. Again, any good running store will advise you but note for racing in Britain the FRA requirement is for full body waterproofs with taped seems, in addition to a hat and gloves, similar conditions may apply in other countries so it is worth checking.
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As a cheap starter the pac-a-mac brand meet this standard. You will also need something to carry all this in. In my experience with running equipment, more investment is not a waste, it usually means lighter, more comfortable and better working equipment. For longer distances you will also need something that carries your drinks and food.
My main advice with kit is to buy the best you can afford and when going out, consider not just how warm you are going to be when you are running but how you will be if you have to stop, either due to injury or to look at a map and find your way. If you are doing a significant amount of climb, you will need to think about the difference in temperature and wind chill as other factors. My reccy of the Killian Classik this year was much improved by a chance meeting with my two friends from my club en route, one of whom happened to know the course!
Finding your way on the trails is far more fun with others, who may, handily know some good routes they can show you. I often find I learn a lot about running styles and skills by watching others do it. Whilst undoubtedly there are some people who will definitely prefer off-road, to on-road, to start you can mix it up a bit. Start with some easy, well-marked paths that are not too rough so you can run them in your road shoes and stick to doing your harder sessions on the surface you know the best, the fitness will still transfer into any trail running you decide to do.
You could start by doing just one or two of your easier runs off road and stick to your usual training regime on the other days. You could start by doing timed loops of a park or woodland trail where the terrain is still relatively easy to run on and progress to loops that include some climbing and descending. I have been in group training events where after some flat speed, we finished off with a tempo run up hill for ten minutes a great way to improve running speed and efficiency when tired as well as gaining strength.
If I am training for a particular race I like to look at the general profile of the race and then incorporate aspects of this on a smaller more intense scale in training e.
Fully Sorniot is an uphill only race in the Swiss Alps; near the top there is a plateau where it is virtually flat, so doing some hill reps which run into a flat section is good training for this section of the race. Here are some examples of speed sessions I have done off road to help with my speed and endurance in trail races:.
In trail running this is even more the case as you put more pressure on your joints on the steeper descents and by running on the uneven terrain. A good way to avoid this is by following a good strength and conditioning programme to strengthen your core. In my experience, this is the thing most runners find hard to follow, we want to be out running not to a gym weight lifting! However, I have slowly, and reluctantly, come to the realisation that if I want to keep going out and running, I have to strengthen my whole body.
There are various ways you can do this, but in general, setting realistic goals and finding something you enjoy usually work the best so If you enjoy the gym go and do a work out that strengthens all your muscles. If you like training with others join a circuits class or other local strength based class. I personally have found yoga to be something that I can do consistently and actually enjoy.
Many of my running friends also do pilates. Both these disciplines encourage you to use and strengthen your core. Balance - when running off road proprioception and balance are key to staying on your feet. Most types of yoga include some balancing exercises, but even just practising standing on one leg each day will help. Once you get good, you can incorporate other tasks into it e. Using a balance ball can also be a good way of improving your balance. Another way of preserving your joints and building in some strength is to cross train. Cycling in particular is really complementary to trail running and, as I stated before, learning to descend on a mountain bike has certainly helped my descending skills as a runner.
Since getting our dog, I have also found I have gained fitness from walking more, regardless of my daily training schedule, Fernand needs a walk so I usually end up walking for between twenty minutes and two hours and often more each day. Not only has this helped me with my walking fitness for those steep unrunnable hills but it also adds another, very light session into my day. Some of the best runners in the world often do something completely different in the winter season notably the Norwegians and Swedes who are forced to ski rather than run in the winter due to the snow.
Winter can be a great time to shift focus into base training and doing something like raquettes snow shoes or skiing, indoor cycling or swimming can be a good way to keep muscles active and working, give yourself a psychological rest and build up strength. Is trail running more dangerous than road running? There are certainly more things to consider regarding your safety with trail running, including weather when you are climbing high and knowing your way as described above. However, if you make sensible decisions regarding the weather and make sure you know where you are going, trail running is a safe sport.
Is trail running better for my health? Can I still be a good road runner if I train on the trails? Some trail running as part of your weekly mileage is definitely going to help break up your training and improve your strength. However, if you train exclusively on rough undulating terrain this will undoubtedly affect your flat speed. JHCoaching has been helping athletes at all ability levels for many years.
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This also includes one month of TrainingPeaks Premium Athlete Edition and a completed coaching consultation summary after your call. Your Bronze coaching package includes: 2 emails per month; Training Plans posted monthly; 1 training plan update per month and no device file reviews. So do you really need to run twice a day to be a good trail runner? Well, speaking from experience you can get really fit by running twice a day and it does have lots of benefits. There are also other ways you can get fit without running twice a day.
I first started running on the roads near my home to keep fit; these were quiet country roads with very little traffic and lots of greenery to see. When I went to university I ran the Great North Run for charity, where I found myself running through the city and suburbs. On moving to Skipton I eventually joined the local running club where I was introduced to some off road running, including my first off road half marathon.
At this time I was still also doing some road races and working on good 5km and 10km times, but somehow, in training, my legs would always take me onto the trails where I could immerse myself more in nature.
And what does it take to convert from the road to the trails? I am lucky enough to have always been able to climb pretty effectively, perhaps because I love being at the top of mountains. Now there is no doubt that we cannot run up all parts of a mountain, but thinking about it there are certain things that I do in running and training which help me keep going and get to the top.
There is increasing evidence to show that physical activity can have a positive effect on mental health. I recently read an article which stated how doctors in some countries are prescribing exercise for patients with low mood and depression. Throughout my career I have worked with a variety of people who have used physical activity to improve their mental well-being.
Beautiful scenery, less pollution and lower impact forces are just a few of the advantages that trail running has over road running, but running off-road isn't as simple as just veering off the pavement and into the woods. Trail running presents its own set of conditions and challenges, and being prepared for those ahead of time can make the experience a truly blissful one.
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Here are four things to consider before you run in the wild. Visions of running all by yourself alongside a mountain stream are certainly attractive, but there are a few reasons why you should consider not going solo on your next trail run. The point of running off-road is that you are far removed from modern-day nuisances like cars, factories and freeways.
But this also means you may not have access to any facilities offering shelter, water or assistance. Some locations may even be so remote that cell phone service is spotty or non-existent. If you do run alone, be sure to take plenty of water with you and let someone know your planned route and when you expect to finish.
Trail running is serene and beautiful, but it can also be dangerous. Slippery rocks, pokey sticks, thorns, mosquitos and even wild animals are a few of the things you might encounter off-road.
I'll never forget the morning I set out on a breathtaking sunrise run through a wooded area along the river, only to find myself pushing through no fewer than 50 spider webs over the course of my three-mile loop. Wearing the right gear can go a long way toward protecting you from bumps, bruises, cuts and bug bites.
A good pair of trail shoes is probably the most important piece of gear. The sole should be sturdy enough to protect your feet from sharp rocks and sticks while providing enough grip to safely navigate a variety of terrain, both wet and dry. It may also be a good idea to run in lightweight pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from insects, as well as sharp, thorny bushes and sticks frequently found along narrow, wooded pathways.
If you're headed out for a long run, it may be wise to take an extra pair of socks if your feet blister easily. Trail running can often result in wet feet from dewy vegetation, small streams or puddles of standing water, and those wet socks and shoes can cause blisters. If you have made it off the road, stay in the vehicle with your seat belt on, make sure the ignition is in the off position, take a deep breath, and start reviewing your options:.
If you are going to ask for help, you need to know where you are. Street signs and street numbers on buildings or homes give you a pretty precise location. Roadside assistance is a common add on feature on auto insurance. Pull out your insurance card. Think about who lives closest to where you are and if they are available not at work. From that list, check to see if any of them have a house with a lawn. If they have a lawn, they probably have a lawnmower, and if they have a mower, they have a gas can.