I often have people inquire about trail running and find they have a desperation to run in nature but the level of comfort is not there. I find it easy to run in nature as opposed to road running next to cars, crossings, mass amounts of people or construction. Don't get me wrong, all running can be fun and invigorating, it truly is a personal preference. I want to motivate those uneasy about trail running, maybe allow you to see the adventure waiting for you to discover. Every run for me on a trail holds purpose and the outcome is ALWAYS positive.
First....... To answer the question on what do I pack and wear? Well, that depends, how far or how remote will you be going. I always recommend some key items. A hydration pack, GPS watch, Buff, chapstick, light snack, trail running shoes, and electrolytes (NUUN). If it's summer I take a hat or shades. And if you're prone to getting lost, please take a map, GPS, or know where you are going. Find out if you'll have cell service.
Second.......The view. One of my favorite aspects on trail running is the VIEW. Most indulge in selfies; I like pics of the mountains, the sky, trail, sunsets, and an occasional selfie. PS. don't let trail runners fool you; they don't typically run the whole course. We'll talk more on that later, but we do stop for photos a lot.
Third......Watch out for hazards. Trails, just like road running, consist of hazards. They are not short of foot traffics, animal traffic, trails blocks, culverts, fires, bridges, unstable rocks, falling debris, cliffs, electrical hazards and as I found out during my 2015 Volcanic 50 race....BEE'S AND HORNETS! Always be alert.
Fourth..... What does a trail consist of? Again, this depends on where you run. Does your trail look like photo A or photo B? Trails can be mud, dirt, gravel, bark, duff, rocks, lava rock, bridges, creeks, rivers and other various forms of natural surroundings (this is where the shoes are kind of important!). Oh and don't forget the elevation. Hills can look calm and rolling or they can literally be a mountain. Be prepared, you’re not pounding pavement. I recommend depending on weather, an extra set of socks to change into, an extra shirt, gaiters, and a lightweight rain coat.
Fifth......In regards to the hills. Trail runners, as mentioned early, don't always run the entire trail. And since you're not setting out to be the famous Stephanie Howe (who I adore by the way and find much inspiration from) I encourage beginners to walk the hills and enjoy themselves. You'll thank me later when you can breathe the rest of your run. Don't let a little hill scare you, you came this far right?
If your complete your first trail run hopefully you feel inspired to continue on the adventure. And don't forget to celebrate!
I embrace nature, driven by progress, passionate about running, live for exploring, crave challenges, promoter of health and fitness, and fulfilled by helping others.