How to prepare for a trail run
Weekends are for exploring new surrounds and breathing in the abundance of fresh air that flows outside of the urban streets we live in Monday to Friday. Weekends should be filled with adventures that are worth talking about come Monday morning around the water cooler.
Our preferred weekend adventures are made up of trail running. Embarking on a trail run takes you off road to remote areas surrounded by nature and varying terrain and without a doubt carry more risk than running around your local park or suburb sidewalks. Unlike road running, trail running calls for a lot more concentration so you don’t superman dive over a rock face planting into shrubs or the trail itself.
The freedom of running on trails outweighs any of risks, how can you not feel free when you are surrounded by endless beauty and nature’s solitude? But with this freedom comes a responsibility to always be prepared. You can’t ignore that in summer you might just come across a snake or two and in autumn/winter its very slippery underfoot so you might just loose your footing or become a victim of inclement weather that rolls in when you least expect it. When out trail running you need to be prepared and this means carrying more than just your iPhone.
What to carry on you when trail running
- Running pack for example Ultimate Direction or Salomon
- Nutrition – Gels and raw food bars
- Hydration – Water + Electrolytes
- Gear including thermals and waterproof jacket (especially in winter)
- Small first aid kit including compression bandage
- GPS and/or compass
The above may seem excessive but when you find yourself many kilometers in land with little reception and no other soul in sight, you will be thankful for these items, call them your trail ‘peace of mind’.
When running in a trail race you need to be independent when it comes to hydration and nutrition so getting us to running with a pack on your back with trail essentials makes for good practice.
Other tips when starting out trail running
- Find a local running group if you are unfamiliar with the area
- Map your route; always let someone know where you are going and when you have finished
- Check a weather app and dress accordantly
- Invest in a good pair of trail shoes
‘Bitumen is boring’ so enjoy the beauty and challenges that present themselves when embarking on trail running. It’s a great community to be a part of as well as a great opportunity to explore only those places we can get too by foot.