Trail Running Tips
"Trail running satisfies a primal need for movement through nature, presumably left over from our days as hunters. When things spin out of control in an age of iPads and Droids, running in the woods is one thing we can count on to be pretty much the same as it’s always been…and getting dirty makes me feel way more badass than I am." Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits blog (listed in TIME’s top 25 blogs in the world)
The Green Corridor Run course is more challenging than running on the road. The terrain can be uneven at times and the surface varies between grass, clay, rail rocks and mud. Runners need to be more alert when running on a trail and adjust their technique accordingly. Here a few tips on good trail running:
You can expect to run about 20 percent slower on trails for a given level of exertion than you would on roads. You’ll find steeper hills (Green Corridor Run is actually quite flat), more side-to-side movement, and lots of obstacles to deal with. Trail running is most fun when you forget about pace and do what feels good.
Take short, quick strides.
Shorten your stride so that your weight is over your feet most of the time; this allows you to react quickly and maintain balance. You’ll find that trail running works your core and stabilizer muscles more than road running, so it may help to focus on keeping your core engaged. To prevent tripping over obstacles, lift your feet — especially your toes — slightly
higher than you would if you were running on pavement or indoors on a treadmill.
Look ahead and Pay Attention
Keep your head up and your eyes on the trail ahead (about 3m ahead), so you can see the upcoming terrain and avoid any obstacles. Try not to look down at your feet.
Don't Be Afraid to Walk
Walk if you're approaching a tricky obstacle or if you are unsure of the terrain ahead, but keep moving until you feel comfortable again.
When going through a puddle that takes up the width of the track, it’s often safer to walk directly through the water than to try to tiptoe around it. (You’ll avoid being called names, tooJ). It’s trail running; you’re supposed to get muddy and wet!
Share the Path
Don’t run side by side. If you’d like to run with friends, run behind or in front of them. When you approach a person from behind, loudly say, "Passing on your right [or left]." Let faster runners pass, it’s more relaxing for both of you.
Take care when passing
When passing, be mindful that the person in front may side step to avoid an obstacle. Don’t go too close to the edge of the trail unless you can clearly see the ground in short grass. Don’t be aggressive when passing; everyone deserves to enjoy their race.
Expect slower times
Don't expect to match your road racing times per kilometer. For the same amount of effort, your times will be slower on a trail than running on the road.
Feel like a kid again
Enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to get dirty. "Trail running is a chance to get down and dirty, to grab hold of our authentic selves," says trail running coach and sports psychologist Terri Schneider.
Your shoes will get dirty
Essential gear for a trail runner doesn't have to be anything fancier than a crusty pair of trail shoes, an old race tee and socks that will never be white again. Normal running shoes with good grip are fine, but expect them to get dirty.