Hitting The Trails
More and more runners are heading for the great outdoors. Want to join in the fun? Trail enthusiast Andy Mouncey sets the scene ...
What is trail running?
One of the fastest growing areas of running, with more runners starting to ‘have a go’; more new kit being produced; and more events taking place all round the UK. Trail running is for runners of all abilities, and distance and terrain can vary from very short to very long; very flat to very hilly.
How do I get started?
A good place to start is to choose an area that you’d like to visit or which is special to you. For instance, if you love being by the sea, head for a coastal path! Running in beautiful places makes it much easier to find that missing motivation. So, get out there and enjoy the countryside; you’ll soon get fitter and more confident. You might also want to start in your local park; on footpaths or bridleways near your home – if you have a favourite walk, try running it.
And what next?
Before you know it, you’ll want to test yourself - then all you need to do is find a race and enter it. Look for inspiration by visiting runABC's race listing.
What's different about trail running?
It is a breath of fresh air! Less crowds, tarmac, exhaust fumes and noise. More space, trees and sky, and being closer to nature in general. Go trail running, and you’ll discover a huge variety of terrain and often stunning scenery - just remember to keep your eyes open and look around you! But be warned: trail running is addictive, and as you get into it, the distances you can run just keep climbing.
Why does it become addictive?
Trail runs change with the weather and the seasons; it’s not like running on the road, where your regular 5 mile loop is the same today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. It’s all about variety and ever-changing terrain - and that’s what keeps it interesting.
Any good events?
Lots - and there are more by the season! If you’re looking for your first trail run, you’ll be spoiled for choice - just pick your area, and get online and you’ll be amazed at just how much choice you find. The really big, well-known challenges will have a waiting list or qualification criteria, but don’t let
that put you off - there are plenty of races for everyone.
Any specialist kit required?
For your first foray into trail running, up to your first trail race of anything up to 10 miles, no. Road shoes will often be perfectly fine if it’s dry (though specialist trail shoes really come in handy in the mud!). Kit choice becomes more specialist for the upland/hilly longer courses – and once you’re hooked, it can be a whole world of specialism.
What about nutrition and fuelling?
This becomes more important as the distances get longer. You may want to carry water with you, but it’s not until you begin working towards longer runs and marathons that you need to start worrying about specialist fuel for your run. However an energy bar, gel or a few sports beans will always come in handy. Check out or friends at Active Root for some great nutrition options.
What happens next?
Grab your shoes, and go get started!
You can read more from Andy Mouncey at his website.