The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running – Benefits, Equipment, Safety, Breathing, Accessories

Trail running requires body and mind training. The trails lead beyond the beaten paths, on country roads, over hills and valleys. Today I thought of compiling for you the complete beginner's guide for trail running: benefits, equipment, safety, breathing, accessories.

It is known that running on mountain trails is less demanding for the body than running on asphalt. On the trails your body lands differently with each step you take, helping to reduce injuries due to overload.

Running on routes, with the variation of ascents/descents, twists/turns, uses a wider range of muscles, tendons, ligaments. By strengthening more connective tissues, the joints are better helped and protected.

At the same time, approaching such terrains improves your balance and agility. Due to these benefits, marathon athletes train on mountain trails.

In addition to these physiological benefits, you can enjoy the scenery, the fresh air, flora, and fauna while running.

Trail running requires body and mind training. The trails lead beyond the beaten paths, on country roads, over hills and valleys. Today I thought of compiling for you the complete beginner’s guide for trail running: benefits, equipment, safety, breathing, accessories.

9 Advantages / Benefits of trail/ mountain running:

1. It will make you feel free and closer to nature.

2. You will look at running from a (more) spiritual posture.

3. You will return to the simple things.

4. You will feel much more zen… it is good and normal to feel like that by replacing the sound of cars with the chirping of birds.

5. The risk of injury will be lower.

6. The pressure on the tendons, the muscles being lower due to the softer surface. Also, running on uneven surfaces will strengthen and balance your muscles.

7. Your overall fitness will be improved. You will lose “like a miracle” the surplus you have.

8. Your lung capacity will also be greater inspiring clean and strong mountain air.

9. You will reach new places that you have learned in geography class at school and you will conquer peaks that will give you a unique feeling.

Running in the mountains is the best. It is the most beautiful sport you can practise. Why? Nature helps you recharge your batteries, but without the right equipment and training set up, it is impossible to get better. Here are some tips in this direction:

Equipment used for trails running.

Because trails running requires a certain type of clothing, let’s see what is right for you and how to choose the right clothing and footwear for a running tour.

Here we can tell at least a whole day. Mainly you should know that there are special sneakers for trails running and they are the most important thing, which I advise you to have in your wardrobe.

Sports shoes suitable for trail running: 

Using the same pair of shoes and just walking around the city and running is not a good choice. Walking shoes focus on a soft sole and a certain type of comfort while running shoes are made with greater attention to the durability of ankle support.

The footwear used for trail running has a stronger sole, but flexible at the same time.

What to look for: choose sneakers or running boots that have Gore-Tex and/or e-Vent membranes, because they will be useful in rainy or wet weather, they do not allow water to penetrate inside in any form, leaving the skin to breathe.

Always choose more comfortable shoes, even if they are not lighter.

You can also use insoles because they offer more stability and balance. Before you buy the pair of running shoes, make sure that the sole is not too soft, and space, where the toes are, is durable so that you can withstand long-running laps without stretching and, therefore, cause blisters.

T-shirt suitable for trails running:

Even if you feel good in a cotton T-shirt and the idea of ​​wearing a T-shirt that has something synthetic in its composition makes you think that you will warm up and sweat in it, I say that you have to think again.

For a trail running lap, you will need a T-shirt that dries very quickly and can transfer moisture from the skin. Forget cotton!

What to look for: T-shirts suitable for running in hot weather are those that include technologies such as Cool Max or Hy Active, which offer a feeling of freshness and dryness on the skin despite the effort of running.

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Pants suitable for trail running:

Pants suitable for trail running should be a little longer than those you use for walking or camping because it protects the top of your foot from scratches caused by any branches or shrubs.

And, like the T-shirt, the best choice of materials, are those that dry quickly and direct perspiration.

What to look for: the material must not break easily and is treated antimicrobial, to avoid unpleasant odors.

You can opt for pants that have materials such as polyamide and propylene, in addition to Merino wool. Preferably are pants with elastic waist and adjustable drawstrings for a better fit for any body type.

In a long run, tight pants are indicated, tight on the leg, to avoid the sensation of irritation.

This is how you should choose the three parts of your running equipment.

If you take these aspects into account, then the running lap will be pleasant, and you can also enjoy nature and the sun while you put your muscles to work and keep fit.

The terrain for trail running. 

I know you thought so too, but I’ll start by saying that the terrain is different. You will no longer run in a circle, on a flat, paved surface. But on the trail, where nothing is paved and flat.

You will encounter roots, mud, grass, bumps, rock, and when you think you have seen them all, also snow.

Take care of safety when trail running.

When going on the route, make sure you also have running partners. Announce someone where you are going and what route and take a mobile phone with you. 

Leave a ticket with the road you will travel. If you can take a map with the route, mobile phone, and ID card and constantly monitor where you are.

Know the rules of the route.

Talk to other people who have traveled that route. Those who climb should ask for information from those who descend. Stay on the marked routes and go through mud and puddles, do not avoid them (trying to widen the road)

Musculature

Flat running is a different sport than trail running. I am referring especially to the muscles involved in running and the biomechanics of running. When you run on mountain trails, you’re demanding muscle groups that you didn’t even think you had. And the ones you have will tone up and you will become more efficient.

Almost nothing is constantly running on mountain trails. You will not keep a rhythm from head to tail, the technique used on climbs will be different from descents.

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Running at altitude

When running on mountain trails, nothing will make your life easier and there are things you never thought would make your race difficult. For example, it’s the altitude.

Above 1000 meters, the amount of oxygen is lower than at sea level. Your body will behave differently, and you will no longer feel like running.

Glycogen resources (ie blood sugar) will be consumed quickly and you will feel exhausted and weak.

Altitude is just one example that will make it harder for you to run.

How to breathe while trail running 

Once in the forest, start a light warm-up for at least 5-10 minutes, then start running lightly, without getting to breathe through your mouth, jerky. try to run in such a way as to breathe as much as possible through your nose.

You can use this landmark so that you don’t heat up too quickly. Pay attention to your breathing to find a rhythm. What happens is that until you make a rhythm, the tendency is to run too fast, which consumes the running session even in 8-10 minutes.

How long should you run?

My opinion would be that at first, you try to run a 10-15 minute series with 5-minute breaks. If you do 2-3 repetitions on the first run, that’s fine. At this moment you should not be interested in the distance traveled, but only to feel good while running.

If you force yourself and don’t feel good, chances are you’ll find an excuse a second time instead of running.

Use various accessories when you run on mountain trails

Although most trails are in the shade, it is good to apply sunscreen. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from branches and bushes. You can wear a cap and spray yourself with bug spray to protect yourself from their bites. With leggings, you protect your shoes from the mud. 

It is preferable to have a shoulder backpack in which to put your accessories.

It’s all about your comfort. How big or small it is. If you are a colder person, you should not miss a long-sleeved blouse. Running on mountain trails will exhaust you, so a few extra protein bars won’t hurt.

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Take fluids with you when you run on trails.

It is very important to stay hydrated when running on mountain trails. You never know how long will take you to finish running. Some days it may take longer because of mud, water, snow, and the like.

You have three ways to carry your liquids: you can hold them in your hand, you can use a can belt or a trail backpack.

After running on trails

If you feel muscle cramps or pain, immediately after running you can eat a banana. Cramps are generally caused by potassium coming out of muscle cells during exertion.

Do you practice trail running? Share with us in the comments what works in your case for the best results! See you on the mountain trails!

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