Fresh air, natural obstacles and unbeatable scenery. Trail running brings all of these things and more, so why not give it a try? No matter if you’re a seasoned athlete, a total newbie or a bored runner looking to make your routine less routine, this trail running guide will help you see why so many athletes love logging miles on the trail.
What is Trail Running?
Trail running is a sport involving running along hiking trails, mountain routes and unpaved paths. Because these routes are generally rougher, they put you face-to-face with a variety of natural obstacles — steep inclines, rocky terrain, wild animals — that can help you gain physical strength and stamina. Unlike the treadmill, the trail can also provide some beneficial fresh air and vitamin D from sunlight.
What Kind of Gear Do I Need for Trail Running?
You want to choose trail running gear that keeps you safe and comfortable when you’re in remote areas of the wilderness, but other than that, you don’t need any specialty items for this activity.
Your phone is the most important piece of equipment for the sport, as it provides music, can keep track of your miles and serves as an emergency communication device should something go wrong. Make sure to grab a comfortable running armband to keep your phone within arm’s reach.
Many trail runners feel safer if they travel with some backup supplies, water and a wearable safety light. Wearing a running vest with a hydration system is not a bad idea if you want to be able to keep hydrated while you’re deep off the grid.
Of course, be sure you have a good pair of running shoes that provide a lightweight, responsive feel — you’re going to need it when you’re sprinting uphill and ducking under branches — and are made of super-durable, protective materials.
Should I Try It?
Absolutely! As long as you’re in a good position to handle whatever unexpected things might come your way out on the trail, including inclement weather and wild animals, then there’s no reason not to head off the beaten path.