Running is a convenient sport that is suitable for everyone and easy to organise. You simply need a pair of shoes and place to run at. But running on a trail is different beast altogether, and requires a slightly different set of armaments. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Plan well
Unless you have walked through a trail many times, a new trail can be confusing and even downright intimidating. Worse still if the trail is unmarked — you could end up getting lost. Take the time to plan your route in advance and try not to deviate from it. If you fancy going off the beaten path, do it the next time around after you’re more familiar with the terrain.
2. Pack essentials
Unlike a field or track, a trail is often undulating when it comes to the surface, which makes running more tiring than usual. Do remember to pack essentials such as water bottle and some basic first aid supplies. If you’re going on longer runs, pack some energy bars or gels as well. You never know when you might need them.
3. Run based on time, not distance
Even if you want to set a running goal, run for time instead of distance. This is because a trail has many twists and turns, which can make distance an inaccurate measure of intensity. Time would be a better indicator of how much running you actually accomplish.
4. Wear appropriate shoes
Running on flat land is different from running on a terrain. Unlike the field, there are small pebbles and rock on a trail. As such, you should use a pair of shoes that provide sufficient cushioning and a tough outsole so that your shoes do not wear out easily from contact with the rough ground. Some shoes even come with venting at the sides which allows for excess water to drain out — perfect for those who are considering running on damp terrain.
If you are bored of your usual runs around the neighbourhood, perhaps you can try your legs at trail running. The motions may be the same, but the change in environment just might be enough to stoke that runner’s fire within you!