How to Start Trail Running

Daylight savings time and warmer temperatures mean one thing - more time outside! And it’s the perfect time to try something new! Trail running is a hobby that many newcomers and longtime runners alike find themselves longing for to get some much-needed fresh air, change of scenery, and time in nature. 

Once you take that first step onto the soft terrain of a beautiful trail, you’ll be hooked. It’s going to be harder and different than running on the road or treadmill and require different muscles, so instead of focusing on pace and performance, get focused on enjoying the experience.

Here are a few tips for how to get started:

  • Find the right shoes! This is the biggest rule when it comes to trail running. Everyone’s feet are different and what works for your favorite blogger might not work for you. Head down to your local running store and get professionally fitted. While it might seem intimidating because you’re typically fitted by very seasoned runners, they are always eager to help newcomers and love helping them into the sport.
  • Find the right hydration method. Whether it’s a bottle with a grip, light hydration backpack, or fanny pack, you will need to figure out which works best for you based on length of trail, how dry and/or warm it is outside, and what you feel comfortable running with. 
  • Decide on a trail length. If you’re a newcomer, stick to something under 3 miles that’s a simple loop. The trail should be well marked and short enough that you can walk spots without losing a ton of time, but long enough that you still get a great trail running experience. 
  • Be okay with slowing down or walking. Trail running can be tough and taking breaks to walk up sections or stopping for a quick break is completely okay. We all start somewhere and if you keep coming back to the same trail you may find that each time you are able to run a bit further than last time before needing a break. This is a great way to measure progress.  
  • Get outside and GO! 

We hope these tips have helped and inspired you to get outside and start a new sport! Remember that we all start somewhere. Just be sure to have fun, enjoy the experience and take that time to unplug from everyday life and get in touch with our primal roots of running through the forest.