As much as I love trail running, it feels like it takes a lot more to stay safe than when hitting the pavement. It’s a different beast being out in what seems like the wild (even though most of my trail running has been not too far from downtown Minneapolis) and tackling uneven paths. Here’s some of the top tips I’ve been using to keep myself safe when having fun on the trails!
Keep someone in the loop
If you aren’t running with someone else, let people know where you are planning to run. I love using the RoadID app for all my runs since my husband live-track my runs. However, this wouldn’t work if I lost a cell signal so I make sure he knows where I’m running just in case.
Pay attention to your steps
Instead of keeping your eyes focused on the distance like you do on the roads, pay more attention to your steps while trail running so you see the random root, rock or branch coming up on the path. This helps you avoid stepping in the wrong place and twisting an ankle.
Bring along fuel
Trail running takes a lot more out of your body and I’ve found I need to drink more often and refuel quickly after my run. Unlike road running, you aren’t just covering miles, you are covering twists, turns and rises and dips in elevation which causes an increased heart rate. I carry a handheld with me even if I’m running shorter and I make sure there’s a cooler with a smoothie filled with carbs and protein to drink as soon as I’m done.
Run for time, not for distance
This is especially important when you are running a new trail that you don’t know the terrain of. Trail running is slower than road running and takes a lot more work to cover distance. Figure out a time you can run comfortably ahead of time so you can focus on that instead of your mileage.