You love the great outdoors but you feel like just hiking isn’t challenging enough for you? Take it to the next level by entering the world of trial running. You can expect muscle cramps, sore feet and a complete re-boost for your mood and energy levels. So put on your running shoes and try something new this fall.

Trail running is relatively similar to hiking, or rather can be described as hiking with a twist. You mix jogging and trekking and the end result is an activity that is equally healthy for your mind and body.  It’s so great, actually that there are amazing communities out there, dedicated trail runners.

In terms of the process itself. trail running is relatively similar to running on paved roads but exponentially more challenging.  If you are about to give this new activity a try, we recommend following the advice of some well seasoned trail runners.

Hiking alternative

1 Start with a trail you already know.

Pick a trail you’ve gone hiking on before, or something close to where you live that you are well familiarized with.  Generally, the best introduction to running off road are the trails that have wide even paths, preferably limestone-based.  As you gain experience you can start testing your skills on more difficult terrain.

2 Always make safety your number one priority.

Once you discover trail running it’s so easy to get lost in the excitement and even take unnecessary risks.  Don’t become overconfident, remember you are in the wilderness and always keep your survival instincts well honed.  Don’t wonder off the path unless you know the area very well and always try to run with a friend or your four legged companion. If you can’t do neither, always tell someone where you are going, have your cell phone with you and leave a note with your trail itinerary home or in the car if you drive to the trail.

3 Always be 100% focused.

Trial running is different in this aspect from normal jogging because you never really know what the terrain has to offer.  A fallen log, a stone, a recent land slide or an abrupt edge can all seriously endanger you so it’s better if you always keep your eyes on the path and stay 100% focused. In time you will discover that staying focused is a sort of meditation alternative that keeps your mind empty and helps you relief stress.

If you are interested in starting trail running, make sure to wear the appropriate equipment and proctect yourself from wind and cold with a ski mask balaclava if you’re running in low temperatures.

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