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If you haven’t yet been lured by the trails, consider this: a US study found that those who exercised in a natural environment had greater feelings of revitalisation and increased energy and positive engagement, compared to those who worked out indoors. There were decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression as well.
Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction, and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date. So if you’re struggling to keep up with that road running regime, perhaps a switch to trails could provide the motivation you need. Here’s what you need to know before hitting the dirt.
1. Trail Running Tip: Lose the Watch
With tricky terrain and hills to negotiate, don’t expect to stick to the same strict pace that you keep on the road.
2. Trail Running Tip: Take It Easy
“Relaxing while on a trail is probably the number one technique recommendation,” says Kami Semick, one of the world’s top female trail runners. “If you relax, you are less likely to take a big fall, and if you do fall, you are so relaxed you will roll with it instead of bracing against it.”
3. Trail Running Tip: Warm Up
Emma Drake, trail runner and Hong Kong-based physiotherapist, recommends doing a dynamic warm-up with hops, steps, jumps and/or lunges followed by high kicks with good core activation. “So that when you get on the trail, your body is already booted up,” she says.
4. Trail Running Tip: Be Safe
“Run with a friend, take a phone, and bring enough water,” says Claire Price, a Hong Kong-based Briton and Vibram Hong Kong 100 race winner. A map helps in case you get lost.
Next: More tips for beginner trail runners, including how to choose the right trail shoe