8 important safety tips for new trail runners

To avoid making minor mistakes that could lead to injuries, new trail runners should be prepared to enter this sport gradually. To put your best foot forward while trying this new sport, consider these basic tips.

8 important safety tips for new trail runners

1. Scan the ground ahead, but don't look at your feet

  • New trail runners are often afraid of tripping, but staring at your feet can also cause a fall.
  • Instead, actively scan a few meters in front of you at all times. Your brain will remember the terrain and help your feet avoid pitfalls.

2. Start slowly, even if you're an experienced runner

  • Runners who stick to flat surfaces use the same muscles in their feet and legs for the entire run.
  • Trail running works different muscles depending on the terrain, so it's important to limit your mileage until your body adjusts.

3. Don't start with new shoes

  • Trail running shoes are great for dedicated trail runners, but aren't essential for a beginner.
  • Instead of buying new gear, start with an easy trail while wearing your favourite running shoes.
  • After a few runs, you can introduce new trail shoes, but keep alternating them with your old running shoes until you're comfortable in both pairs.

4. Start cross training

  • Trail runners require good core strength and a mixture of strides to be effective.
  • To ensure that your muscles are ready for the challenge, runners should incorporate some weight lifting and another workouts into their weekly routine.

5. Consider a running partner

  • Long trail runs can take you far outside of civilization-and cell phone reception.
  • Solo short runs on well-populated trails may be worth the risk, but longer trail runs are much safer with a running buddy.
  • If you can't give up your alone time, at least leave a note with your expected location and expected return time at your house.

6. Know how to interact with the local wildlife

  • Do you know what to do if a mountain lion comes across your path? How about a rattlesnake?
  • Do a bit of research before running a trail to determine what animals you're likely to encounter.
  • Then find out how to respectfully interact with these potentially dangerous creatures.

7. Don't be afraid to walk

  • Walking or even hiking up a steep incline is often the safest and most efficient option on some trails.
  • Plus, running up a hill can dramatically boost your heart rate, but may not significantly lower your trail time.
  • Maintain a slower pace for challenging rises and save your speed for flatter surfaces to ensure your best personal record.

8. Consider some gaiters

A pair of running gaiters protects the tops of your shoes and ankles from branches, burrs and other possible debris. They'll also help prevent sand and rocks from getting into your shoe.

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