Whether you’re an avid runner or enjoy a run around the neighbourhood in the morning to wake yourself up and stay fit, transitioning from road running to trail running can be difficult. Trails are a more challenging experience because you’re on difficult terrain that changes at every step. There are hills, rocks, and obstacles on trail runs that you don’t have running on the road. Here’s how you can transition from road to trail running.
While running is a great way to prioritise your health and stay in shape, where you choose to run is important. Running the same distance on a trail that you would on the road can take more time because it’s a higher level of difficulty.
You might find yourself taking more breaks after running up hills or dodging large rocks. It’s best to plan ahead because you don’t know how long this run will take you. A mile on the road may take you 10 minutes, while a mile on new terrain takes you 25 or more. You may want to choose to start running on a trail on the weekend so that you’re not rushed to make it on time to prior commitments.
You should also try to map your walk as best you can beforehand so you know the task in front of you. Running is easiest when you know your route and which ways to turn. Not only that but mapping your route can keep your mind focused on the run and not worried about getting lost.
Track Your Progress
While you discover how difficult it is to transition from road to trail running, it’s best to track your progress. It might feel like you’re learning to run all over again, but that’s because running on a trail is much more difficult than running through your neighbourhood. With a heart rate monitor, you can track each run to see how you’ve improved. Make sure also to time yourself so that you can see that practice can improve your pacing.
Wear the Right Shoes
The right shoes are necessary for your success transitioning from road to trail running. While you may have a favourite pair of tennis shoes that make your feet feel comfortable during a run on the road, they may not be effective for running on a trail. Women’s trail running shoes are designed for trails, which means that they can provide you with the comfort and support your feet need in order to keep you running strong on your next trail run.
While practice makes perfect in trail running, you can still continue to train more and improve your running skills to make the transition smoother. Running training can help you become an overall better runner, teaching you the necessary techniques to reduce the risk of injury and improve your ability to run.
You should also utilise other workout routines so that you can build up your overall fitness level, ultimately building your endurance and stamina for trail running. Low impact exercises like swimming or using an elliptical can help you build muscle and endurance while keeping you fit on days that you just can’t make it outside for a run.
Not only that, but strength training can keep your legs and body strong so that you have more balance on your runs and more power in your legs.
Trail running can be more fun than running on the road because you get away from all of the distractions like cars or people. Being in nature can have a calming effect on you and help you focus on your goals while enjoying beautiful views. Even if you’re not doing as well as you had hoped on your first trail run, you can enjoy the overall experience of getting out into fresh air and working towards a goal.
This is a guest post. Alycia Coloma is a mother to four beautiful girls and loves to craft DIY projects in her spare time. She enjoys finding new ways to work with tight budgets and spreading her knowledge to parents everywhere. Alycia is a staunch advocate of continuing education and believes that an insatiable hunger for knowledge is the key to better finances, a warm family, and fulfilling life as a whole. She’s also a kitchen connoisseur on the side and has been known to whip up some mean empanadas.