Is trail running the right sport for you?

by Elyssa Conley
Is trail running the right sport for you?

Trail Running has become more popular over the past decade, with the number of races increasing by 1000%. And it's no wonder! This sport is exciting, challenging, gets you out in fresh air and nature while providing an excellent workout.

Trail running doesn't require much gear, but experts recommend the following equipment.

Trail running sneakers
Trail running shoes are designed for stability and traction. Perfect for running on uneven and slippery paths. They also offer protection from sharp objects like rocks, roots, and branches.

Compression socks
Compression stockings are perfect for trail running. They help with blood circulation and oxygenation. Compression also helps alleviate tired, achy muscles and shortens recovery time. The knee-high socks also protect your legs from getting scratched up on rugged trails.

Hydration/food pack
Like any other sport, it's essential to stay hydrated. Running on trails is slower than road running, so it's recommended to have a light shoulder pack or vest to keep water, gels, and energy bars with you without getting in your way.

Windbreaker
The temperature can vary throughout the day. Also, you will work up a sweat and may cool down when you stop for a hydration break or slow to enjoy the view for a bit.

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Benefits

There are several health benefits of trail running over road running.

  • Better for your knees
  • Use more muscles
  • Improves balance
  • Fresh air and exercise improve your well being

Risks

With any sport, there are some risks involved as well.

  • More obstacles, which means more tripping hazards
  • Help could be more challenging to get to quickly
  • Higher chance of an encounter with wildlife
  • Risk of exposure due to quick temperature changes
Group of trail runners wearing compression socks

    Tips for new trail runners

    Go with a friend or someone familiar with the trail. You don't want to get lost alone.

    Plan for time spent, not distance. Trails can be much steeper and challenging with obstacles you don't encounter on the street, so your time will be slower.

    Use a GPS or compass. Whether you are hiking or running in the woods, it's easy to become disoriented and lose your way. It's better to be a little cautious than regret losing your way.

    There's a reason Trail Running has become so popular in recent years. If you think this sport is a good match for your abilities and goals, get some gear and go for it!

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