Trail running FAQs - Women's Running

Trail running FAQs

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  April 7, 2022

Making the transition from road to trail can be tough. Runr share their advice on the most asked trail running FAQs

Trail running is becoming incredibly popular across the globe and many roadies are thinking about giving it a try.  Escaping traffic and fumes, reducing the number of road crossings and encounters with vehicles and pedestrians, feeling more immersed in nature and green spaces and the wellbeing benefits that can bring, visiting new places… The list of reasons why we want to give trail a try goes on.

But we also know that making the switch from flat, fast tarmac to lumpy, muddy footpaths can be daunting. So, we talked to runr (who make excellent running kit), who shared their advice on trail running FAQs.

Not sure how to get started with trail running? Try our Trail Running Guide for Beginners! 

Am I more likely to twist an ankle on trail?

The ground conditions on your trail run may well be more uneven than a road route. It’s important to get yourself a decent pair of trail shoes with suitable grip and support. It may feel a bit hard going and wobbly for the first few runs, but as your ankles get more used to the range of movement encountered, they will become stronger.

You can even try some exercises at home to help strengthen your ankles. One of the easiest is to practise standing on one leg whilst doing everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or boiling the kettle. A simple but effective ankle and balance improver!

I’m used to running on the flat. How do I handle hills?

One of the joys of the trails is the varied terrain, and often this does include hills. Please don’t fear them! Even some of the best trail runners out there don’t run up every hill they encounter.

Use the hills to your advantage, for example as an opportunity to slow down and take on a drink or snack. When you get to the top, you will be ready to run again. The more you do them, the better you will become and soon you might find yourself able to run to the top of hills you never thought possible before.

Rather than avoid them completely, you might even want to incorporate a hill rep session into your training and watch the gains roll in!

How do I avoid getting lost?

Heading away from the familiarity of the roads and onto trails and footpaths that might be a little bit harder to navigate is a common concern. Think about your route in advance, plan it out on a map or app and let someone know where you are planning to go.

Make sure you have a copy of your route on paper with you as well as your phone app or watch route just in case technology fails. You might find having a compass in your kit a handy addition.

Will I be safe?

Safety is a concern for everyone out running on their own, whether on the trails or roads. There are practical things we can all do to help us feel safer. As above, make sure someone knows where you are running and what time you plan to return. That way, if you don’t make it back on time for whatever reason, there is someone who will be able to check in with you.

Try to have a phone handy, in case you need to ring for help if stuck or injured. Think about carrying a small first aid kit in case of emergencies. If you are somewhere a bit more remote, it is advisable to carry some essential kit in case you get caught out by the weather. For example a survival bag, spare clothing layers, waterproofs, a whistle, a high energy snack and drink. Depending on the time of day, a torch might be useful if you think there is a risk of getting back after sunset.

Will I get muddy?

Yes, you well might! Embrace it, splash about in puddles and slide around in the slop! You can invest in waterproof running shoes and socks if you a really worried about this but otherwise, just remember to pack an old towel and change of clothes for afterwards!

Why am I slower when I run on trails?

Your time for a trail half marathon is likely to be very different to your time on a road half marathon as there are so many more variables that have an effect from the terrain to the weather conditions. Instead of worrying about your pace, try to focus on the experience.

You can find more advice from the runr team on their running blog.

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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