10 Tips Every Trail Runner Should Follow

TrailrunnerTrail run­ning can be more reward­ing than the monot­o­nous alter­na­tive: run­ning on pave­ment or a tread­mill. Whether it’s through a for­est at sun­rise, up a steep moun­tain­side, or next to a pris­tine alpine lake, trails have a sooth­ing effect while you run. But, before you go, fol­low these handy tips that will not only make your run­ning more enjoy­able, but make sure you run for years to come. 

Stay Wet
Say it with us: Hydra­tion, hydra­tion, hydra­tion. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant if you’re run­ning in the high­er alti­tudes. If you’re not prop­er­ly hydrat­ed, then your body can’t cool itself prop­er­ly and your per­for­mance is com­pro­mised. Not to men­tion your health since heat stroke is a very real dan­ger for trail run­ners. Car­ry at least 1–2 liters depend­ing on your dis­tance and be sure to hydrate before and after your run. 

Choose Your Armor
Run­ning pants with nifty lit­tle pock­ets for your cell phone or iPod are all the rage. But more impor­tant than wear­ing clothes with nifty pock­ets is mak­ing sure that your clothes are well ven­ti­lat­ed, com­fort­able, and make you feel pow­er­ful. Your cloth­ing direct­ly effects your con­fi­dence, so if you’re slip­ping into some­thing that makes you feel attrac­tive and invin­ci­ble, you’ll like­ly have a bet­ter run.

Stretch for Suc­cess
Sim­ply put, if you neglect to stretch, you risk injury. Be sure to stretch out those ham­strings, IT bands, and even those glutes before and after every run. 

Get Your Groove OnGet Your Groove On
Music not only makes a run more enjoy­able but can increase your per­for­mance by pump­ing you up, encour­ag­ing you to go faster and hard­er with each crescen­do. Check out our kick­ass out­door playlist for some songs to add to your iPod.

Always Leave a Note
Whether you’re run­ning near your home or off in the wilder­ness, leav­ing a note, shoot­ing a friend a text mes­sage, and just gen­er­al­ly let­ting some­one know where you are and when you’ll be back is a good habit to get into. You know, in case a moun­tain lion decides to join you for your morn­ing jog.

Mind Those Knees
When you run, your pre­cious knees take a pound­ing. Which is why it’s extreme­ly impor­tant to take care of them with prop­er stretch­ing, diet, and rest. Eat foods that reduce inflam­ma­tion such as leafy greens and cucum­bers. Aloe Vera juice is also excel­lent for lubri­cat­ing joints. Squat­ting reg­u­lar­ly can help you build knee strength and cer­tain sup­ple­ments, such as MSM and Glu­cosamine have shown promis­ing effects for knee pain (though pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures are always bet­ter than reac­tive ones.).

Spice Things Up
Vari­ety is the spice of life, so don’t for­get to prac­tice it when choos­ing your trails. Doing the same, old, bor­ing run every morn­ing can kill your run­ning mojo and, to that, we say no bueno.

The More, the MerrierThe More, the Mer­ri­er
Bring a friend, or five. Run­ning is often more enjoy­able with friends. They hold us account­able and we can grab a beer with them after we’ve gone the distance.

Don’t For­get a Lit­tle R and R
Rest and relax­ation are every bit as impor­tant as your diet, hydra­tion, and stretch­ing. If you push your body too hard, it will turn on you in the form of shin splints, cramps, runner’s knee, and more severe injuries such as menis­cal tears. You ran 6 miles, 5 days in a row?! Good for you! Now park your bootay on the couch and catch up on some Walk­ing Dead.

Stop and Smell the Ros­es
The best part about trail­run­ning is that, unlike the gym, you can com­mune with nature. In place of elec­tron­ic machines and iron weights, you are sur­round­ed by the lush green­ery of our earth, the paint­ed sky, and abun­dant views. Don’t take them for grant­ed. Stop to admire that sun­set, laugh at the bick­er­ing squir­rels, and splash that water on your face from the moun­tain brook. These are your rewards for a trail run, so embrace them.