Trail running is an incredibly freeing experience; one which everyone should try at least once in their life. However, it’s not something you can pick up and attempt without the correct planning and training beforehand.
Trail running involves the art of running off-road, through gloriously beautiful mountains and hiking trails. By taking the time to prepare for this adventure fully, you can drastically increase the likelihood of you genuinely loving your time scaling pistes and feeling the earth move below your feet.
How do you prepare, however? What are the best ways to determine whether this discipline is for you? Take a look at our go-to guide to trail running to discover if pursuit is something you definitely need to try.
Do you have time?
Unfortunately, you can’t wake up one morning and decide to put your shoes on and run up a mountain. Your body and mind need time to prepare for this endurance. Therefore, before you begin, it’s a wise idea to sit down and see if you have the time in your busy schedule to dedicate to training and developing your skills.
Are you committed?
Additionally, commitment is a fundamental aspect of training for trail running. There are going to be early mornings and long nights involved. You’ll also need to change your lifestyle a bit and make this a number one priority if you want to succeed.
What’s going to help you the most as you train is to set realistic goals and follow a correct schedule. After all, you want to make sure that you’re progressing in a positive direction and meeting your weekly and monthly milestones.
Follow a training schedule
Following on from the point above, you can go online to find recommended training programs and distances you should be running each day. You’re going to want to make sure you’re staying on pace for what the experts advise you do so that you’re able to tackle this challenge successfully. If you fall behind, you risk not being in a position to physically or mentally make it to the end.
Invest in the right gear
Your training will be a lot easier for you when you invest in the right running gear. This includes:
- The right socks
- Comfortable and durable running shoes
- Compression clothing
By investing in these, they can not only help you run faster but with more ease also. Starting a new sport can be expensive, so it’s crucial you’re saving up your money early to help support your hobby. Check out financial solutions you can use so that you can secure the funds you need ahead of time. Above all, you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to purchasing the right gear, or you risk getting hurt or injured as you train.
The right diet
Training is about your physical improvements as well as what you’re putting in your body as fuel. You’ll want not only to increase the intensity of your workouts but also eat the right diet. Your diet will impact how you feel on a daily basis and can make a big difference in whether you’re able to get through the long distance runs or not. Remember that you’re burning more calories on a daily basis, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking in enough of the right kinds of foods to keep your energy levels up.
Drink plenty of water
Just as essential as healthy eating, drinking water is crucial for ensuring you are hydrated and can perform at your best. Remember to refill your water bottle frequently and always have a fresh supply nearby.
Make sleep a priority
The reason you need to make sleep a priority when training for a marathon is because you want to give your muscles time to recover in between workouts. Running long distances, working a full-time job and not getting enough shuteye will catch up with you, and you’ll likely crash and burn fairly quickly. Get in the habit of going to bed and waking up around the same time each day to keep yourself on a schedule. Engage in relaxing activities in the evening hours to help you wind down such as drinking tea or reading, instead of playing on your phone or computer. Most importantly, listen to your body and take breaks when it’s telling you that you’ve had enough.
Find a workout buddy
You’ll likely stick with your commitment and have more fun training if you can find a marathon partner or workout buddy. Pinpoint someone who wants to get in better shape and become a better runner with you. Encourage one another to continue when you’re feeling exhausted and hold each other accountable for eating a nutritious diet. You may find that this goal becomes a lot easier to achieve when you have someone else doing it with you. If you can’t find a workout buddy, then you might want to consider hiring and working with a trainer who can help you ensure you’re staying on track.
Get your mind right
Running has to do with your physical body but also your mental stamina and attitude.
Remember: Train your brain just as much as your physical self as you prepare for your upcoming trail run.
It’s easy to forget about how powerful and influential your thoughts can be because you’re so focused on building muscle. One way to get in a better frame of mind is to meditate or practice yoga in between your practice. Doing so will also help you to address and overcome any fears or hesitations you’re experiencing about the upcoming event. After all, you’re going to have to be able to cheer yourself on and remain optimistic when your legs are showing signs of letting up!
Choosing to join the many thousands of athletes who love trail running is a big decision and will definitely require you to change how you’re living day to day in the short-term.
Therefore, take advantage of this guide to help you focus and make sure you’re addressing what matters the most in your journey.
Most importantly, be proud of yourself for committing to such a fun and exciting goal. Don’t let a few bad days or setbacks keep you from training for and finishing this challenge.