The dark nights are here. You’re putting on the lights at 7pm, there’s more of a nip in the air, and for many of you, this is where running is put on the shelf.
I’m here to try to change your mind with this post. How? Trail running.
Here are five reasons why you need to try it…
Like running, the trails are yours to run around. You don’t really need a map, you don’t really need to know where you’re going and there is bound to be a trail route near your location, I’ll have a guess around within a 10 -15-mile radius.
It only takes a quick search online to find them, ask a friend who runs, or even a running forum for ideas and best of all, you don’t have to pay to run in them – although, you may have to pay for parking at one or two places, always best to check!
What I love about trail running are the locations. As I mentioned, you don’t have to waste fuel going halfway across the country just to run in one.
When you find a route or area, the surroundings are tranquil. There’s no noise pollution, there’s no buildings and certainly no human traffic. What you get instead, is miles and miles of forestry, wildlife and stunning views.
It’s a great relaxant as well. I sometimes get stressed, we all do, who are you kidding, here? So rather than run the same-ish roads over and over again, I like to escape for a couple of hours and try a totally different trail, no route is the same.
I know the ‘if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen’ crack with running, so here’s an idea – turn the watch off. That’s right, turn it off, put it down and leave without it…go on, you can do it.
Running a trail is significantly different to road running, factor the climbs, the terrain and descents, it’s going to take longer than your PB or normal pace so you might want to leave your running ego in the car or at the start, just smile and enjoy, don’t go looking for a time or you’ll simply burn out and potentially, occur a bad experience.
Forget. The. Time.
You don’t really need one.
As long as you can run or walk, you’re good. When I first heard about trail running, I genuinely thought you had to continuously run, regardless of your ability or speed.
When I ran in Beamish, that myth was abolished.
You certainly do NOT need to run the entire route, you can walk or even stop for a break. Like I mentioned before, you’re not on a time limit – well unless you’re running to beat the sunset – so don’t beat yourself up if you need to walk part of the route, I’ve done it and I’m sure there are MANY who have also done this. It’s part of the fun, for sure!
My only a bit of advice if you come to a descent? Lean back ever so slightly and shout “WEEEEEEEEEEE”
You’ll thank me later.
Running trails costs nothing – like mentioned in my first point, always check, especially for parking.
But what you will have to do, is invest in a pair of trail shoes. Sometimes you can get away with your normal runners, however, that’s more for spring/summer runs. When it comes to winter, moist sections and bogs will make the underfoot more tricky.
Trail shoes have lugs or grips that run from heel-to-toe to provide grip. There are different lengths and models, based on how hardcore you want to go, for example, the longer lugs tend to be used by fell runners.
They don’t really break the bank in terms of budget but it is a worthy investment. You also may want to look at getting thicker tights and a long sleeved technical (running fabric) top and maybe even a backpack.
If you have a brand you run in currently, chances are they’ll have their own trail shoes, so take a look and definitely try them on.
HEADS UP – They will feel different, firmer and have less give than your normal flats/runners.