Looking for a change from your regular road run? A trail run is just the thing. Away from the monotony, noise and dangers of the road, a trail run is an adventure playground for adults! Mark, from The Sports Room in Wicklow Town, gives the low-down on the benefits of trail running and why he likes it so much….
In my experience, trail running can be more difficult than road running but infinitely more rewarding, fun and exhilarating. Even if I run the same trail, it’s always different – dry, muddy, debris to dodge, a fallen log to hop over, different sounds, amazing light and the rewarding view when we reach the top of the mountain. It’s so good to leave the headphones at home and tune into nature for a change. Often, for an added bonus, we’ll see deer… needless to say, we keep away from each other!
What are the benefits of trail running?
Although trail running is not as convenient as road running and can be more challenging due to the varying terrain, inclines, downhill and technical trails. I’ve noticed how trail running provides a completely different workout to road running as more muscle groups are activated.
The benefits of trail running are increased balance and stability from dealing with the varying terrain, increased leg and core strength, less impact than the pavements and ultimately the fun to be had.
New to trail running?
If you’re new to trail running, take my advice, start on the fire roads and lower trails. This will give you time adapt to the different techniques required for trail running. Increase the climbs gradually before hitting the big hills to the top. That way, your core and leg strength will naturally build up. It might be a good idea to build up your core strength at home too. Check out these six-minute six-pack core strength videos from triathlete Lesley Paterson – http://6min6pack.com
Those of you who are used to running on the road may find that on the trails your pace per km is likely to be slower. Watch instead for your rising heart-rate as you climb higher and tune into the benefits of that. A Garmin or fit-bit with a heart rate monitor will ensure you are running at your optimum pace.
What do you need for trail running?
If you’re starting out trail running – join a group or go with a friend. Try sticking to trails you know and make sure you have a phone with you. It’s handy to have a run partner on the trails in case you have an injury too. Other than that, the most important thing you need for trail running is a proper pair of trail shoes. They offer ankle support, grip and toe protection – nothing worse than a stubbed toe! Try Inov-8 trail running shoes – at The Sports Room we have the Mudclaw, Terraclaw, the Roclite and X-talon in stock…
A good pair of socks is also an investment worth thinking about. You can pick up a pair of Inov-8 trail socks or Hilly Vista trail running anklets at The Sports Room. They are a great trail running and walking sock with silver-fibres to provide wicking and anti-microbial properties. As they are fast drying they are perfect for muddy, tough terrain conditions, these socks have protective ankle fenders, full Achilles heel protection and ventflex panels for improved breathability.
As you get hooked on trail running, you’ll be out longer and might even start training for your first trail race. Invest in a camel back to hold your water. Try Inov8 Race Ultra Vests. The close to the body fit ensures stability and zero bounce when running over even the longest distances. The rear can hold up to 5 or 10 litres of kit, while and extra zip allows access to a separate reservoir compartment.
Remember, leave the trails as you found them – clean and rubbish free :o)
If you are interested in trying trail running, we have a ladies intro to trail running morning on Wednesday 8th June and we run every Wednesday evening with more experienced trail runners, you are more than welcome to join. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.