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A Guide To Trail Running

Trail Running Books

Trail running can be a great deal of fun and can also be quite challenging but it also prevents some unique running situations which can be difficult for many runners. As the name implies, trail running typically involves running on trails instead of paved roads or sidewalks. These trails are usually unpaved and meander through woods, forests and parks although they can be located anywhere and may come in a variety of different forms. A few of the difficult elements of running on trails include uneven terrain, steep hills and difficulty navigating the trail. This article will discuss these difficulties and will also provide some advice on selecting gear which is appropriate for trail running.

The uneven terrain on trails is one of the obstacles which is difficult for many runners who are used to running exclusively on paved roads. This may include paths which have holes, tree roots or rocks covering the path. It may also include paths which are rather narrow and twist and turn. This type of terrain can be difficult to navigate largely because of the unevenness. Those who are unfamiliar with trail running will likely learn very quickly that twisted ankles and knees are very common while trail running. There are, however, a few tips which can help a runner to prevent these types of injuries while running on a trail. Specifically keeping an eye on the trail is very important. This may sound very overly simplistic but it can actually be very effective for avoiding injuries. Runners who are used to running on paved trails may not be used to watching the path this closely but paying close attention to the trail will help the runner to avoid stepping in holes or on rocks or roots. A runner who is cautious about his foot placement while running on trails will likely find he is less prone to ankle and knee injuries.

Another great tip for staying safe while running on trails is to select sneakers which are specifically designed for trail running. These types of sneakers typically have soles containing treads which are typically more aggressive than running shoes designed for use on paved trails. These more aggressive treads give the runner greater stability and can help to prevent him from slipping on surfaces such as loose soil, wet grass or sand. When shopping for a trail running shoe, it is a good idea to limit your shopping to stores which specialize in selling shoes for runners. This is because while many stores may include a section of trail running shoes, many of these sneakers are not adequate for real trail running. Many of the shoes which are mistakenly labeled as a trail running shoe are not nearly aggressive enough to really be used for trail running. However, if you are shopping in a store which specializes in helping running, the staff is likely quite knowledgeable about which of the trail running shoes are best.

Steep hills can also be a problem for runners who do not have a great deal of experience with trail running. Running uphill as well as running downhill can both be challenging for novice runners. Most trail runners find it is easier to navigate uphill climbs but they also find these climbs to be more taxing. Running uphill on trails is very strenuous and typically requires a great deal more exertion than running on flat pavement. Runners who are considering the possibility of starting to run on trails should be prepared to encounter a number of uphill segments during the course of their runs. Runners who have a substantial hill nearby can use this hill to begin training for trail running. Many runners find jogging to a nearby hill and then doing a series of sprints up the hill is an excellent way to train for running on a hilly course. This type of workout helps the runner to develop the muscles necessary to run uphill. It also helps the runner to build up endurance. Runners who do not have a substantial hill nearby can utilize a treadmill to assist them in their hill training. Most treadmills have a setting which enables the user to modify the incline during the course of the workout. Runners can do a workout similar to the one mentioned previously by raising the incline for short segments of sprinting and then lowering the incline again to recover between the sprints. The runner may also wish to utilize pre-programmed courses which include hills periodically throughout the workout to train the muscles for a challenging uphill trail run.

Running downhill on trails can also pose a problem for many trail runners. Some runners actually find running downhill to be more difficult than running uphill. This increased difficulty occurs for a number of different reasons. Some runners find running downhill to be quite difficult on the knees. A few tips which can make running downhill more comfortable and less likely to cause knee strain include running with the body perpendicular to the hill, taking shorter strides, striking with the ball of the foot instead of the heel and remaining cautious of obstacles will help to make downhill running more comfortable. Additionally, the runner should be careful to avoid letting himself run too quickly downhill. He should not fight gravity but should also not allow gravity to cause him to run too quickly.

Finally, trail runners may find navigating the course to be one of the more difficult aspects of trail running. Runners who do not have a great deal of experience with trail running should take precautions to avoid getting lost during trail runs. Some of these precautions include staying on clearly marked trails, carrying a trail map and following it carefully, running with a friend who is more familiar with the trail and carrying a cell phone in case of emergency. Runners may also carry a GPS system to assist them during the course of a trail run. These devises can be programmed to provide the runner with information about upcoming turns or they can be used to mark the trail as the runner follows the path to enable him to backtrack back to the starting point if necessary.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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