Trail Running

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Dec 27, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
    If there any one here who are into trail running? After years of running on a paved road , I am looking for something different like running on a dirt trail. Except for a few competition, there hardly anything available for this type of games. I know a trail for runner in some wood (eventhough you have to share it with mountain bikers), that are available for training.

    How different is trail running in comparison with running on the road? How to avoid injury and prepare yourself? Probably some folk like to share their experience with a beginner like me.

    Appreciate it.

    zak
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    Dec 27, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
    I run on trail almost every week and it is a bit different from paveled road. For starters be careful where you step, for you can easily injure your ankles by stepping on the wrong place. There are shoes that are designed specifically for trail running and provide a very good support for your feet. Unlike flat sole like that for roads, here you get a bit friction support on your sole. Plus always be vary of where you are going, make sure its safe and find trails where you have company in case something happens.
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    Dec 27, 2009 4:45 PM GMT
    I run almost exclusively on trail - be prepared for everything below your knee to be sore when you first start, since you will work a lot of ankle stabilizers you don't work on pavement. My best advice is to start slow - decrease your distance and speed, and work distance up slowly. I wouldn't try to run too fast (ever) on trail - if you want to do speed work, do it on a smooth surface.

    Hills are great training - I will often backtrack and run the same hill 3-4x. You will be amazed at how much farther you can run on flat land after you get used to hills.

    Oh, and take rest days, even though ground is soft and technically easier on your joints, I think it's easier to get shin splints.
  • Neon_Dreams

    Posts: 352

    Dec 27, 2009 4:50 PM GMT
    Good advice Mr. Green Eyes. icon_biggrin.gif

    Also, make sure to wear the right shoes!!!


    Joe
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    Dec 27, 2009 5:00 PM GMT
    Trail running is awesome, more challenging, and generally more intense. As a result, you may be prone to injury more, in particular your knees and ankles as has been mentioned above.

    The other thing to be aware of is wildlife, depending on where you live. At my home in the Pennsylvania mountains, we have bears, coyotes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, and skunks. I generally run with mace in case I come up on a bear or coyote, and SHOULD run with a snake-bite kit, but I make so much noise the only thing I've ever seen was a 4 point buck running along side for a while after I scared the beejeezus out of it.

    Which brings me to another point: know your area. We have hunters up here that hunt during the season and poach off-season, so a bright orange vest is part of the gear for me, since I don't want to wind up getting shot.

    Finally, know the area before you go on small trails that you aren't familiar with. You don't want to wind up lost with no-way out. I bring my cell phone, as I get service most of the places I run and could drag myself to a spot with signal if I got hurt, snake-bit, or mauled by a bear. Hahahaha

    Be safe, have fun. It's much more interesting than running on a road with the smog of a million cars choking your lungs!
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    Dec 27, 2009 5:05 PM GMT
    jimbobthedevil saidTrail running is awesome, more challenging, and generally more intense. As a result, you may be prone to injury more, in particular your knees and ankles as has been mentioned above.

    The other thing to be aware of is wildlife, depending on where you live. At my home in the Pennsylvania mountains, we have bears, coyotes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, and skunks. I generally run with mace in case I come up on a bear or coyote, and SHOULD run with a snake-bite kit, but I make so much noise the only thing I've ever seen was a 4 point buck running along side for a while after I scared the beejeezus out of it.

    Which brings me to another point: know your area. We have hunters up here that hunt during the season and poach off-season, so a bright orange vest is part of the gear for me, since I don't want to wind up getting shot.

    Finally, know the area before you go on small trails that you aren't familiar with. You don't want to wind up lost with no-way out. I bring my cell phone, as I get service most of the places I run and could drag myself to a spot with signal if I got hurt, snake-bit, or mauled by a bear. Hahahaha

    Be safe, have fun. It's much more interesting than running on a road with the smog of a million cars choking your lungs!



    Also really good advice. We have mountain lions where I run; I've seen one exactly once, and it was more scared of me than i was of it, but I'd hate to run into one that was sick/crazed.
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Dec 27, 2009 5:21 PM GMT
    My favorite workout of the week is doing a 1-2 hour trail run down by the river. I've run trails for about 10 years. It's more challenging and a lot more fun than running on the road.

    Sure, you have to be careful where you step and you will have a fall or two...it's just part of your rite of passage...consider it trail initiation! Running trails will improve your agility and balance because you have to step and move over rocks, roots, etc.

    Hilly trails are also so much better for working your legs. A mile on the trail is equivalent to 1.25 miles on the road (or more depending on the trails).

    I also wear trail shoes as mentioned earlier. The extra stabilization and support help prevent twisted ankles and other mishaps.

    Some of the best trails on the East Coast in Richmond. That's why the Xterra has the east coast championships here! There are lots of off-road trail races and runs too...just have to get hooked into that scene. Come join me anytime for a trail run bud.


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    Dec 27, 2009 5:52 PM GMT
    zakariahzol said ...Probably some folk like to share their experience with a beginner like me.

    Appreciate it.

    zak

    The US Army began a program in the early 1970s called "Run For Your Life" which involved trail running. The goal was to create real-world running conditions, in which soldiers might actually find themselves in combat, rather than the artificial circumstances of flat track running.

    I loved it, most of the measured 2-mile courses I ran being through wooded land, with little hills to go up & down, lots of turns and things to look at and think about, rather than on a barren, mind-numbing athletic track.

    The quality of the course is crucial, as some here have noted, because you run the risk of injuries due to a highly uneven running surface. There was some value to obstacles for soldiers, because it was unlikely the real world would be too accommodating to us. But for recreational purposes you want the risk factor a bit lower, so avoid courses that are too rough.

    BTW, I was very quick in those days, winning awards for having the fastest recorded time on some courses. The natural surroundings would inspire me, and instead of grimacing in some slavish slog around a track, I was smiling the whole time, truly in my element. Given the choice, I'll take a good trail over a flat track any day.
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    Dec 27, 2009 10:11 PM GMT
    I love trail running. Get out in the woods instead of running on the street and hard pavement. A bit slower than road racing, but hills and turns make up for it to work out different leg muscles. Where I run by the river there are few people, so usually have my shirt off to stay cool and catch rays. Trail running shoes make a big difference, so get a pair.
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    Dec 27, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    Trail running is great fun except the darn SNAKES! urgh! Snake sightings do keep me alert and run with a purpose... icon_lol.gif
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Dec 28, 2009 12:00 AM GMT
    Trail running is SO much more fun than regular running. It's 100 times more mentally engaging... challenging in so many ways... I find it's a lot easier on my fucked up knees, and my body develops in more rewarding ways.
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    Dec 28, 2009 12:08 AM GMT
    danisnotstr8 saidTrail running is SO much more fun than regular running. It's 100 times more mentally engaging... challenging in so many ways... I find it's a lot easier on my fucked up knees, and my body develops in more rewarding ways.


    So true...not to mention, it's extremely hot to get blown outdoors icon_rolleyes.gif
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Dec 28, 2009 12:19 AM GMT
    collegekid2004 said
    danisnotstr8 saidTrail running is SO much more fun than regular running. It's 100 times more mentally engaging... challenging in so many ways... I find it's a lot easier on my fucked up knees, and my body develops in more rewarding ways.


    So true...not to mention, it's extremely hot to get blown outdoors icon_rolleyes.gif


    Yup, that too. ;)
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    Dec 31, 2009 1:18 AM GMT
    trail running wins over road running for sure. ( i'm biased)

    i use all our local mountain bike trails to run .Son there's lots of drop offs, tight single tracks, slippery stuff, rocks, roots ,mud, steep climbs and descents , lots of hills of course .
    So if you have bike trails in your area, access them. Bikers won't mind if you come across some.
    Wildlife has been addressed already.
    In my area it's a no brainer, all we have are coyotes , deer, and squirrels . Sometimes a partridge will scare the shit out of me from flying off at the last second. lol
    no bears, no snakes . Yet in July deer flies will attack non stop unless i'm covered with Deep Wood , no matter how fast i'll run.

    advice: wear a cap, scarf, bandana for light head protection.
    i als wear my long fingered mtbike gloves. You often grab branches as you run. And if you fall flat on your face , tripping over a rock ( and it WILL happen ) you'll be happy to have them. icon_smile.gif