Trail Running: Basic guide to get started
Trail running is one of the most popular endurance sports today. Millions of people all over the world are calling out to the mountains and enjoying the great outdoors by running in natural landscapes, in the outskirts of their cities, in rural areas or in totally captivating landscapes. There is a real fever for mountain running. Doing so, however, is no joke. An activity with a high level of impact, which runs through rugged terrain requires some very important aspects to take into account, especially if you are just starting out.
Deporvillage wants to help you get started successfully in Trail running, for this, we propose the following tips:
1. Be careful with your choice of footwear.
There are an infinite number of manufacturers and technologies in trail running shoes. Get professional advice on which type of shoe is best for you. Make sure it has good stability and absorption, key factors to be able to run with guarantees in the mountains. Do not skimp on this aspect, good shoes are the best investment you can make if you want to practice Trail running and not get injured at the first change.
2. Don’t pretend to be epic, start with the basics
We often get absolutely epic images of trail running. This should not influence us and if we are starting out, we should be aware of our level and physical capacity. The mountains contain epic, magnificent routes, but also tremendously hard for running. Let’s leave the big slopes for when we have a better level. The most advisable is to look for routes with little incline, practically flat, if possible, in your first weeks or sessions in this sport.
3. Avoid technical areas
In the mountains it is easy to find rocky areas, with unevenness, roots or very bumpy terrain. Avoid these places as much as possible while you are starting out. In addition to being more physically demanding, running in technical areas substantially increases the risk of injuries such as sprained or strained ligaments in knees and ankles or falls. Forest trails with good soil and little slope will be the ideal environment for beginners.
4. Eccentric work, progressively
One of the factors that makes running and trail running in particular, harder than other sports, is the eccentric phase that the muscles undergo repeatedly during the gesture of running. We refer to the phase in which we support the foot and our muscles make a “braking” movement to stabilise us.This phase is responsible for the pain (known as stiffness) after the first sessions of Trail running if we have no previous experience or training. It occurs whenever we run, but especially when we run downhill, on descents. Therefore, in your first sessions avoid running on long downhills or if you can’t avoid them, walk on these stretches instead of running.
5. Intensities, moderate
Although due to the profiles, running in the mountains tends to increase your heart rate, if you are just starting out it is advisable to set some kind of limit on your heart rate, to start progressively and not incur excessive fatigue or exhaustion. The goal would be for you to keep running and evolving and to do so, you should start gradually, also in terms of intensity. We suggest that you do not exceed, at least systematically, 90% of your anaerobic threshold heart rate or 80% of your maximum heart rate.
6. Wortk the Core
Having a strong core region will help you run longer and with less risk of injury. This is what we know as the Core zone, which comprises the musculature that surrounds the abdominal, hip and back areas.These muscles act as a girdle that reduces tension in the back and pelvis area, better supporting the mechanical impact of running on foot. Special attention should be paid to girls, who should strengthen the pelvic floor to avoid injuries in this area derived from running on foot, injuries that have been shown to have a higher incidence in women than in male runners.
7. Strengthen your legs in the gym
In addition to working the core, it is highly recommended to strengthen the muscles and tendons of your legs, the real protagonists when you run. Having better muscle and tendon tone will not only improve your performance, but will also protect you to a greater extent from possible injuries, especially those caused by overload that can be generated by running on foot in the mountains, a terrain full of slope changes and irregularities.
8. Consider your hydration
Drinking while running is important, even more so when you are just starting out and your body is not yet fully efficient at cooling down. It may seem impractical if we advise you to carry water with you to hydrate while running, however, nowadays and especially for trail runners, there are many solutions to carry water comfortably. We are referring to lightweight vests, waist packs or other very comfortable options. Keep them in mind, you will be able to hydrate on the go and avoid dehydration and loss of performance.
Find all the products to get you started in Trail running at Deporvillage