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4 tips for better trail running

  • Dec 29, 2014

Jogging or running at the gym can feel unnatural. There's no wind running across your face or real life hills to challenge you. A growing trend among men who want a real, authentic cardio workout is trail running. 

Trail running is a sport or exercise where you can run, hike or jog on unpaved paths, feeling real dirt, rocks and sticks under your feet with every stride. In the U.K. it's called mountain running, but you don't need a mountain, just a great trail and plenty of endurance. If you want to try out this growing trend to get closer to nature or save your joints from the havoc that pavement can wreak, make you sure remember these tips to improve your trail running experience. 

1. Bring plenty of water 
It's always important to stay hydrated when you're exercising, but because you're going off road, it's important to bring a little extra, Competitor.com noted. 

"When running through populated areas, it's normally easy to find water fountains or carry some cash to pick up a drink at a convenience store ... Running on trails requires more forethought and might mean the need to carry your own fluid supply with you, so know your surroundings and how far you're apt to be from a source of hydration at any time," the athletic advice website explained.

Find a carrying system that's comfortable with you, whether it's a bag with water bottles, a bladder-style backpack or a belt holder. Remember you'll be bouncing around more than normal because of the rough terrain, so it shouldn't move around too much. 

2. Watch your feet
Trail running may be a bit better on your knees than asphalt, but it presents its own dangers as well. Trails have uneven ground, rocks, twigs and other obstacles that can lead to a twisted ankle or an easy trip and fall.

Runner's World magazine recommended that athletes keep their eyes on the trail rather than the nature around them. Although it's beautiful, this may be the only way to avoid a nasty tumble. Take a break and enjoy the scenery, but when you're running focus on the trail.

For ankle safety, look for braces or high-ankle running shoes that will reduce the likelihood of injury. This is one of the reasons that people invest in specialty trail shoes. They're lower to the ground with higher ankles and a hiking boot-like bottom for traversing rougher terrain. 

3. Don't try to be good at it
Experienced trail runners agree - you won't be good when you start. The natural inclines and terrain differences make trail running more exhausting than a pavement route. Men's Health recommended giving about 75 percent of what you're used to and preparing to get out of breath. 

When you're getting tried running on a trail, remember to keep your back straight, the magazine advised. Exhaustion can easily lead to bad posture, but this can cause discomfort and stop your lungs from getting as much air as they should. Instead, keep your back straight and use your ankles to do the incline work. 

4. Bring a friend 
Trail running can be a great way to stay in shape, but it's also a riskier sport than running at the gym. If you're injured or lost, people may have trouble finding you. That's why it's always a good idea to bring a friend along for your runs or at least let people know where you're going and leave a note inside your home. 

Although you don't want to carry too much while trail running, items like a watch compass and other survival gear can help you get out of a sticky situation if you get lost.

Some people just can't run at the gym and choose to do trail running instead and get that natural feel. Running in the gym can just get boring. Well before you head out on that run, grab yourself the PRW3000-2. With features like a compass and altimeter built in, it makes the perfect watch to join on your run. You're going to need to find your way home at some point. Pick one up today!