You always read articles about tips to make you better at something. Well, I don't have enough trail running experience (only about a year), to give you that but I can tell you some tips, (some comical) on what not to do when setting out on your next trail run if you, too, are in the beginner boat!
1. Don't wear road shoes! Don't say I didn't warn you. Been there done that. Here's what happens.
On the descent I went down and I wasn't injured in the fall so it is comical now to look back on! There is a reason trail shoes exist. The terrain is different than the road and you need to be equipped for it.
2. Don't pick an unmarked trail- you will get lost and the Blair Witch Project will start to haunt you. I may be aging myself but I've been lost my fair share of times and at dusk I seriously get the heebie-jeebies and start thinking about this movie from the late 90s. In it, two filmmakers disappeared while hiking and their film footage is discovered a year later. I don't want my Gopro footage to be the last remembrance of me so I stick to marked trails these days... hey, it could happen.
3. Don't shuffle -you will fall. Pick your feet up. There are lots of obstacles on the trails and after you trip over something, like a root, you'll remember this one.
4. Don't run your road pace - you will sputter out. The trail is not the place for ego or pride. Check it at the trail start. Your main concern is your safety, not your speed. Your pace will be dramatically slower than on the road. The scenery will also be worth looking at, so don't speed past it. The first time you do try to run your road pace will be your last.
5. Don't run empty handed - you will die. Joking, but a vest, pack or belt of some sort to carry hydration and fuel is a good idea. This is where no matter how short of a trail run or hike you think you are going on, you may end up doing #2 and get lost, so you would be wise to be stocked up on water and fuel. I like to carry my Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1. I can fill the pockets up with fuel, chapstick, my phone, my Gopro, additional water if necessary, my keys, and even fit a change of clothes.
6. Don't wear headphones - then you can't hear the snakes and bears, just kidding, I meant then you can’t hear nature's beauty, of course! Truthfully, it’s a safety concern. Not wise to wear them. Save them for the road.
7. Don't look up while running - I don't think I need to explain. You’ll faceplant.
8. Don't be afraid to walk - with steep inclines, declines and different terrains, it's okay to walk. It's a trail! Enjoy it.
9. Don't forget your phone - for Uber. Joking! In case of emergency and for pics of course (an action camera is great, too)!
I'm guilty of all of these "don'ts" so I feel like I've excelled at not excelling at trail running. I'm hoping my bad experience can help you avoid making some of the same. I plan to keep at it and continue to learn as I go! Do you have any "don'ts" to add to my list? Would love to hear from you!
Jess Runs Blessed