Running in the natural setting is the best way to de-stress yourself. Interestingly, trail running opens up a whole new world for you beyond paved surfaces. It’s one of the world’s fastest growing sports. More than that, it’s great way to mix up your runs. So, is Trail Running the latest trend or a passing fad? Let’s find out and help first-time trail runners set themselves up for success!
What is trail running and how to prepare for it?
Simply put, Trail running means running in the natural setting. As opposed to running on the road or on a treadmill machine, the trail involves a rugged terrain, climbs and descents. The terrain and the obstacles keep changing. So, at times, you may find yourself climbing rocks, occasionally walking on the grass, and in between pulling up yourself uphill or skidding downhill. This sport challenges both, your body and soul. Moreover, you must remain alert at all times. Although challenging, it offers a humbling opportunity to feel connected with the natural world around you.
While attempting trail running seems like a no brainer, it’s essential to do a bit of research before you set out. You’ll need to keep following things in check.
- The kind of trail you’re running.
- Hydration equipments
- Trail running shoes
- Performance Apparel.
- Neck Gaiter or Bandana
Logistics can have a direct bearing on your race-day strategy and training. So equip yourself with all the essentials.
1] The kind of trail you’re running
Knowing beforehand, the kind of trail you’ll be running will immensely help in determining the gear you’ll require and whether it suits you or not. For example, in Urban Trail, you combine urban elements with nature. It involves crossing roads, sprinting through the park or a ground and running up and down steps. On the other hand, Technical single track with rocks and roots is a type of trail that is usually only wide enough for one person. Many trail races include sections of single-track. If you are a track runner, you need to realize that a trail race of a similar distance will take longer due to elevation changes and differences in terrain.
2] Hydration equipments
Hydration tops the list when it comes to preparing yourself for Trail running. You’ll agree the most important thing you’ll need if you’re heading out for more than one hour of trail running is a system to carry hydration. Handheld water bottles like LARQ work well for shorter runs but when it comes to long hauls, waist belts that hold mini bottles can free up your hands. Besides, it can leave storage space for things like energy bars.
3] Trail running shoes
As the terrain is rugged and uneven, providing proper support to protect your ankles becomes important So, A pair of trail running shoes that fits your feet comfortably and offers different levels of cushion is critical for the longevity on the trails.
4] Performance apparel
Weather can be uncertain at times, especially in regions of higher altitudes. So, if you want to change quickly on the trails, a packable jacket can prove to be a lifesaver. Choose the one that packs down to the size of your fist and is extremely thin and lightweight. Give it a bonus point if it is waterproof as well.
5] Neck Gaiter or Bandana
Among other essential items, don’t miss out a neck gaiter or bandana. This item proves its utility on hot sunny days when you need something to absorb sweat and keep the sun from burning the back of your neck. You can also pull it up and cover your ears when it’s cold and windy.
Why is trail running so much harder?
Firstly, unlike a pavement running or running on Asphalt roads, a trail race of a similar distance take longer due to elevation changes and differences in terrain. Secondly, the recruitment of additional muscles to maintain stability increases the overall demand for oxygen, which is why trail running can feel tougher on the cardiovascular system than running on other surfaces. Still, Trail running helps you develop more strength and become a better-rounded runner.
Hope it makes sense!