Tips On Surviving Trail Running

by TaylorR

Good morning and happy Friday.

I am extremely excited for this weekend, Dan and I are going to pick up my mom and head up to Laurel Springs, NC for a trail run invitational.

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Source

In January, I did my very first trail run and realized just how amazing of a sport it is. I also happened to place in that race, giving me a bib for the invitational.

This race means a lot to me as it’s also the first one that my mom has ever attended. It will be great to have Dan and my mom waiting for me at the finish line.

Trail runs are no joke, just as soon as you get comfortable and take a breath to relax, you trip over a root or lose your balance over some rocks.

Just check out the race description…

description

If you’ve been considering trial running then I say go for it. It really doesn’t compare to road races… which I love too. With road races, you can zone out and just put one foot in front of the other, not with trails. Oh no, every step requires attention. If you’re in the NC/SC area, check out Go Run Trails, I love their series!

So I thought it would be fun to share a few trail running tips that I’ve learned this year from the few I’ve run (I already have 4 planned for next year).

Tips For Trail Running

  1. Wear actual trail running shoes. Lose gravel, dirt and uphill climbs require shoes with extra grip. Decrease your risk of injury by actually getting shoes designed for trails. I have the New Balance Minimus, but I am thinking of changing to a more stable shoe. I will let you know as I learn more!
  2. Don’t tell yourself “this isn’t so bad”. The second that you start to relax on a trail and not focus on where your foot hits the ground with each stride is the moment you stumble, trip, twist something, etc. My first race I thought I was getting into the groove of things, right when I told myself this I hyper extended my knee. Don’t do it!
  3. Run with just 1 earbud in or none at all. Trails are skinny, and the races I’ve completed so far have only been wide enough for 1-2 people. Communication is key among runners, if someone needs to pass you then you need to be able to hear them coming up. It’s disrespectful to not move over for a runner.
  4. Find hills. Living in Charleston makes mountain trial running some what difficult to train for. For the first 2 races this year, I didn’t do anything special for my training but I did this time around. I went to the only hill in Charleston… the Cooper River Bridge and added it to all of my long runs. If I could run that incline after already running 6-8 miles, I could tell my strength was increasing. I also have a friend that drives up to the mountains (about 4-5 hours away) on weekends to get extra practice in.
  5. Enjoy the downhills. One of the biggest take aways I learned from Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run boot is to enjoy the downhills. Use them to your advantage and allow gravity to help pull you down… don’t fight it. Some people try to slow themselves down, I use this as time to get ahead from being held back during up hill climbs. If you haven’t read the book do! It’s great.
  6. Forget time. When you’re road racing you can set goal times and go after PRs. Not so much with trail races because every trail is so different and the terrain is not going to allow you to PR. Instead focus on having the best race that you personally can, if you’re competitive the race isn’t against the clock, it’s against everyone else in the field.

With me luck this weekend as I tackle this 10K course! After the run, I am race-free for a month, I’m pretty pumped. I think I’m finally recovered from being sick and ready to go!

Thank you all so much for the great comments on yesterday’s post! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings!

  • Have you ever run a trail race? 
  • What’s one thing you’re doing this weekend?

I’ll share a full race recap on Sunday or Monday (depending on when we get back). I’ll also review our stay, as we’ve decided to go the cabin route which was the same price as hotels!

One last thing…. GOOD LUCK KATIE… my running friend and partner Katie is also doing a 10K this weekend. Last weekend she was just 15 seconds off from her sub 45 goal and is going for it again this weekend. You’ve got it girl!

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

misszippy November 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

My favorite kind of running! I love the NB Minimus trail shoe, too. The only drawback I’ve found is that on really rocky trails, I could use a tad more cushion. It’s a tough tradeoff b/c I love the ground feel I get from them.

And I think earbuds should be outlawed on trails! I was so frustrated this summer during a trail race when I couldn’t pass a couple of people on single track b/c they couldn’t hear me when I was trying to politely say on your left.

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TaylorR November 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

That is so rude! I agree with the no earbud rule!

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Cori @ olivetorun November 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

I’ve done trail running before (it’s been a while though) but I’ve never done a trail race. It is on my to do list!

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TaylorR November 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Definitely need to do one! So much fun!

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Sandra Goldstein November 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

There’s a lot of great information here I can apply to my own trail runs. I love how it’s broken down in a list into bite-size pieces of information.

I think that for those of us who use running as a form of meditation, a trail run doesn’t necessarily provide this. Trail runs are all about focus, footing and being in the moment. But I do find them a great way to leave my worries at the door because the minute I start thinking about something other than my footing, I stumble.

I think that a lot of people use running to get lost, relax and enjoy just being outdoors but when you add in a natural obstacle course (like a trail), there is so much more to consider. The information you provided on running without earbuds is really important. Trails can be secluded places and it’s a great safety point to have all of your senses working at their best. I find the trail provides a great soundtrack without any music. Crunching leaves and birds –I’ll take that any day over my playlist.

For me, trail running is a completely different experience than just my “fun runs.” It’s for times when I’m well-rested, focused and in-tune with what’s around me. You’ve inspired me to look for a trail race in my area! I honestly didn’t know they existed. Good luck with your run!

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TaylorR November 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Thanks! Definitely look into one! I agree, definitely not about zoning out or a form of meditation compared to road runs!

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lindsay November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

great tips! i’ve fallen 2x on the trails. I’ve learned my lesson. LOOK ahead!

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