How To Start Trail Running
The great outdoors is the best natural gym. Not only is it free, it offers novel challenges and beautiful views, and is usually extremely accessible. Trail running is one of the best ways to take advantage of this natural gym. Both seasoned and new runners can enjoy the benefits of trail running, with its reduction of impact stress (compared to road running) and increased emphasis on enjoying nature.
Why Trail Running?
Running on trails is far kinder to your bones and joints than running on asphalt or pavement. This results in fewer injuries and more time for running. Trails are also free of motor vehicles, so you can run without worrying about breathing in noxious fumes. Moreover, trail running can help transform your physique as well: the variable trail surfaces forces you to engage core muscles for improved stability, running downhill trains your quadriceps (your body’s natural brake system), while running uphill activates your gluteal muscles for power and lateral stability. Trail running has also been shown to burn more calories than road running, and increase cardiovascular endurance as well.
How to Pick Trails
Uphill trail running can help improve your running time. It is ideal for strength training, improving lung capacity, and building endurance and speed. Remember that trail running takes longer than running on pavement. Factor in an additional 20 minutes per hour when you are running on a trail. Pay attention to elevation gain, difficulty level, and search for routes that are well marked. If you are new to trail running, start with shorter trails to get comfortable before expanding your trail running repertoire.
Trail Running Safety Tips
Trail running requires you to pay more attention to the trail and your surroundings. Pick up your feet and look out for rocks, roots, and other potential stumbling blocks. Select a pair of shoes with good traction, and continue to adhere to common sense safety precautions: run with a friend, know your route, and understand wildlife risks.
The right running gear can help make your trail running experience much more enjoyable.
A decent pair of convertible pants can protect your legs from the odd brush or bramble you run past. KÜHL offers several pants made of high performance, breathable, waterproof fabric, designed to move with you, not against you.
Comfortable shirts and lightweight jackets (for running through the frigid morning air) are also must-haves. KÜHL’s long sleeved shirts with articulated five-panel sleeves allows for better range of motion and our stylish jackets and outerwear are perfect for cold weather runs.
KÜHL clothing items also feature sun protective fabrics with Ultraviolet Protection Factors of 40 or above (Clothing made of fabrics with a UPF rating of 15-24 offers good UV protection. Ratings of 25-39 offer very good protection, and 40-50+ ratings offer excellent UV Protection), so that you can run freely, without fear of sunburns or ultraviolet damage.
KÜHL’s men’s short-sleeved Renegade shirt, for instance, is a popular item among successful runners, including world-class endurance runner Karl Meltzer (aka “the Speedgoat”) and Alaskan marathoner Jacob Kirk. Made of durable, water-repellent stretch fabric with a UPF of 40, the Renegade shirt follows your body contours for ultimate fit and comfort, and doesn’t chafe no matter how long you run.
Whether you are getting into trail running for the pure joy of it, or you are interested in its health benefits, or you are training to become a better runner, trail running is an excellent activity for you and your friends to enjoy all year round. With a little prior planning and the proper outfit, trail running will help you improve your health, mood, and skills, and become your new favorite outdoor activity.