Trail Love: A Beginners’ Guide on Finishing Your First Trail Run

I fell in love with running three years ago. I joined road races from fun runs to full marathons, and just last year, finished my first ultra-marathon (50K). We are all motivated in different ways to run. Some run to stay fit. Some run because they like to push themselves to accomplish something that they never thought they could do. Others just run for the heck of it. But for me, I find running one of the most enjoyable natural undertakings to do. It gives one the sense of freedom, the feeling of oneness and a sense of peace with everything.

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READ: 6 Life Lessons Mountains Had Taught Me

Trail running is a different story, though. This 2017, running off road is one of the things I want to experience. With a combination of running and hiking over trails, I find trail running more challenging. In trail running, you would enjoy peace and quiet of the trails. And aside from the difficult courses you’ll have to go through on trails, it requires you mental and physical power to start and finish.

But just like road races and running, there are important tips and guidelines on how to hit the trail head. Here are some beginners’ guide on how to finish your first trail run. Here are 9 important things to remember.

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9. No single trail is the same.

Every trail has its own unique terrain and challenge. And that’s what makes trail running more fun. It has various challenges along the trail. So don’t be frustrated if you find some trails more difficult to tread than others.

8. Start slowly.

Road running gives an even, smooth surface that makes it easier to keep your balance. Trail running gives an uneven nature of trail which gives the increase of dangers of tripping or falling. So start slowly and pay attention to the trails.

7. Keep it safe.

Be it road or off road, it is very important to run safe on your races. Keep in hand emergency stuff such as flashlights, whistle, and if possible, bring along on trail your mobile phone and IDs. Always be mindful of what’s going on around you.

6. Know the rules.

In every race there are corresponding rules runners should be aware of. The basic rules in trail running are almost the same in road running. Yield right of way to anyone who is slower than you. It is important to always stay on trail and leave nothing but footprints. It is important to every runner to practice proper trail running etiquette.

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5. Wear proper gears.

There are essential items to be mindful of when running on trail races. The most basic is, of course, your trail shoes. Another essential gear is your race backpack or sometimes called race vest where you can place your hydration bottles, nutrition bars, etc without the hassle of carrying by hand. Gaiters are optional but it is advisable in order to protect your feet from small debris getting into your shoes. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from tree branches and bushes. Wear cap or visor to protect you from heat.

4. Have proper training.

It is important, most especially for those who are new to trail running, to train before joining a race. Improve your speed and run obstacle repeats on the trail to help create new neuro-pathways and boost your technical trail running skills. To improve your trail running performance, include strength and balance exercises into your regimen.

3. Capture every moment.

One of the best things running on trail is you get to taste a natural setting. You come across scenic views on top of hills and even along trails. You will enjoy running in a relaxing and enjoyable environments. So never, ever forget to bring your compact camera, mobile phone, or GoPro!

2. Meet friendly runners and locals.

Yes! Trail running is more communal compared to road running. Runners you meet along the trail will always greet you with a smile. Even locals who live near the race venue you’ll meet along will cheer for you till you reach the finish line.

1. Enjoy the race.

This is the most important tip. Just enjoy your trail run. Besides, that’s what trail running is all about. Enjoying the race while taking the challenge. Have fun, but be careful!

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I finished my first trail run, the Bravehearts Trail Run by MGM Productions, with so much fun! It was not an easy run, but I managed to finish it with decent time, met new friends, and overcame the difficulty of the steep and hilly trails. It’s true what others say about trail running. You’ll fall in love with it. Running is love, but trail running is enhanced love. #TrailLove


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