When someone wants to start in the trail running you are plagued by many questions, whether you come from the asphalt world or if you are totally neophyte in this running, so to throw a lifeline, we have prepared this list with 7 tips to get started in the Trail Running what we hope will be useful for you
Although on a list of seven tips we have tried to synthesize as much as possible while covering as many possibilities and profiles, better, so, in reality there are many more tips implicitly. You could collect a million more, some of which we give you will already know or you will have internalized, possibly we have been some important in the inkwell.
By the way, even if only seven, if you make many, I propose to study one every day of the week and so you have no excuse to say that “I did not have time to read so much or to assimilate so many things at once“. Jokes aside, take a look because I’m sure you’ll find interesting things that you have not repaired.
7 tips to get started on Trail Running
1.- Think and act with trail runner mentality
If you are starting and you have never run before, this will be easier because you start from scratch, with a clear mind and open to everything that will easily soak all the new things that you will discover but if you come from the world of asphalt, be careful because surely you have to do a reset a change of mentality and important philosophy.
Calm down, it will not be traumatic, but it is necessary that you do take to the idea from the first day that many things change: the pace and the distances are relative and charge another dimension, the difference becomes a data especially relevant that can make two distances of the same length are totally different in difficulty and in the necessary time just as the fact of going at a certain pace may be the easiest in the world or impossible to carry, you will walk a lot not only run, the times that you have as reference from the asphalt do not serve you, the pulsations that your heart rate monitor and thresholds are different, the rain, cold and mud cease to be an impediment and become kind of friends or a playground, you will have to train and work in another way…
Running and trail running are not two different sports, but almost.
2.- Advise yourself, let yourself be guided and learn (from others)
I always emphasize that we must seek specialized advice on medical issues, training, choice of material …, but in the case of trail running it is also important to pay close attention to the advice and recommendations of those who already know more about hell than old people, because experience is a degree in this sport.
In trail running you may have lived a thousand experiences but there will always be something that surprises you so learn and imbibe all the advice given by those who are supposed to have already gone through it.
But, beware, in the trail running there is also a lot of “grandmother’s belief”, things that are done “because yes, because they have always been done that way”, without foundation or even being erroneous or at least improvable. Other times, they are things that have been out of date, that you do not have to go as well as who told you.
For example: a thousand times they will tell you to put on Vaseline in a thousand places, that this or that garment is not necessary, you will see people with two pairs of gloves, you will receive contradictory advice, you will see who is super foresighted and carries a thousand things in the backpack and who comes out with almost nothing.
So, you do not give anything of course, but you must listen and try for yourself analyzing how it is going and thus develop your set of good practices.
3.- Analyze continuously and learn from your environment
Always go with the five senses to the maximum to learn the new environment that surely is not the same one in which you live daily and learn to read it, anticipate things, listen to what it says …
Get used to running with “not good” weather (rain, snow, cold, mud …) because you will experience it many times and there is no possibility to “call home and come for me” as in asphalt. Learn to orientate yourself with the signs of the marked roads, the milestones, follow routes or maps…
Analyze how you respond in ups and downs, test your limits and do not exceed them, do not overshoot on the climbs or pass on the descents because they can be dangerous and wear you a lot (although you can see a fast pace in the GPS)…
4.- Choose the material well, both the one you buy and the one you use
The material is always important but in trail running it can be vital and make the difference between the most painful enjoyment and suffering.
Here I do not speak only of trail running shoes suitable for the mileage, terrain, rhythms, distances, conditions, … in which you are going to run but also the textile is equally important (everything from socks to t-shirts and pants or meshes), nutrition (liquid and solid), hydration …
In addition, it appears an amalgam of elements that in asphalt have a secondary character or that almost are not used like the backpacks, fanny packs or belts, sunglasses, leggings, outerwear, warm clothes, walking sticks…
Special attention to safety equipment: thermal blanket, vest or windshield, nutrition “just in case”, first aid kit …
All these are things that you should consider having in your “toolbox” but not only at home but also in the face of choosing what you wear. Look for polyvalent material to serve you for many situations, do not skimp (although do not waste money either), invest in good material and suitable for your needs, think that the weight and durability of the material are important.
5.- Safety before everything
Safety first of all because, although trail running is not dangerous per se, it can give us a few scares and, in fact, it will not be rare when we find ourselves in an unexpected situation.
Be sensible and think that an early withdrawal can mean a victory later and I do not mean a competition but simply to turn around if you see that you have run out of water, if you are not well, if the terrain or the weather is complicating it too much, if you do not see yourself qualified to make a descent.
That in terms of attitude but also think about that “cautious man is worth two” and try to always carry with you a thermal blanket, some nutrition for “just in case”, enough water, warm clothing is practically essential such as the sleeves and a bodywarmer.
Over time you will appreciate this advice better, I assure you.
6.- Train thinking about trail running
Needless to say, your physical form is important and you must work but do not focus only on running through the mountains, in accumulating kilometers and time in plan “the more the better”, not obsessing with pace, unevenness or whatever. Do not always depend on the heart rate monitor – GPS – Clock, learn to be guided by sensations.
Work and train with a head, with a plan based on your abilities and objectives, work strength, mobility, technique, coordination. Do not forget the asphalt or series or plain work. Take advantage of metabolic stress training, changes in pace … Consider competitions, do not train for training.
Train the nutrition in progress, analyze how different foods and drinks feel and try to combine what you like most with what works best for you, which will not always be the same.
7.- Listen to your body
This applies to any sport but in trail running it is especially important because it is not just about going in progression and not progressing faster than we are able to assimilate but it applies continuously. For example, you are running cold and you stopped enjoying, you feel that you are running out of energy and you have no food left, you are with discomfort that threaten injury.
Going back a bit to the first of the tips, have a trail runner mentality and do not fall into the error that “how I’m going to go walking does not count as training” because, even if you’re walking, you may be demanding a lot from your body and maybe it ceases to be an active rest and becomes an overload due to the accumulation of fatigue.
Pay attention to the symptoms that warn you of something that may come later: gastric discomfort that ends up in gastroenteritis, odor of sweat that can indicate that you are already pulling protein because you are going off, feeling sleepy that can mean a fall of sugar, rises or falls in body temperature, start of chafing or blisters.
Surely you have to suffer a thousand times but that is a pleasant suffering, not a suffering just because what counts is to enjoy and continue in the world of trail running for many years.
So what, do you dare to try out trail running?