10 beginner trail running tips

Ready to embark on your first trail running adventure? There are a few important points to consider before heading off-road. Follow our 10 steps to beginner trail running and embrace the countryside.

10 beginner trail running tips

10. Trail shoes

The main difference between trail and road running shoes is grip. Given that trails can consist of anything from rocky paths to muddy trenches, grip is essential for minimising slippage, leaving you to focus on the joys of running. Not sure where to start? Head to your local running shop and try on a few pairs until you find the perfect fit. Once you’ve nailed it, don’t forget to clean your muddy trainers

9. Sock it to me

If you’re heading for the trails, unless it’s midsummer then chances are you’re going to get wet. The key to happy trail running is not necessarily waterproof kit, it’s all about wicking fabric. In short, your feet will probably get wet either way, so opt for socks that will draw the moisture away from your feet and you won’t stay wet for long.

8. Prepare for all weathers

With a distinct lack of malls/bus shelters to hide from the rain in, trail running will leave you exposed to the elements, so wear the right kit for the job. A lightweight rain jacket should do the trick, and opt for a peaked cap to keep the rain out of your eyes.

7. Accessorise

Although it’s not worth buying the whole shop for your first run, adventure accessories will improve the experience and make it easier for you to focus on the job at hand: enjoying the beautiful countryside. Invest in a decent rucksack to carry your essentials and don't forget to pack a GPS watch or a smart phone, your lunch and some emergency sweeties.

6. Bring water and food

Unless you’re trotting around the park, your first trail run might be a long way from home, so come armed with plenty of water and snacks. Anything could happen in the wild so it’s best to come prepared; plus what’s not to love about a picnic on the move?

5. Tell a friend

If you’re heading out alone or with a group of inexperienced trail runners, it makes sense to tell someone where you are. If you’re hitting your local park you’ll probably be fine, but anything further off-road and it’s better to be safe than sorry and save your mum from calling out Mountain Rescue when you don’t make it home in time for tea.

4. Enter a trail race

If you're anxious about hitting the trails alone, enter a trail race. Tough 10 hold accessible 10K trail races across the country that are ideal for beginners. 

3. Allow for extra time

Perhaps it’s the views, the twists and turns of the trail paths or constantly stopping for selfies, but for some mysterious reason trail running takes ages, so leave extra time.

2. Stay on track

If you’re brand new to trail running, try not to stray from the path. As your confidence and orienteering skills improve then there’s nothing better than getting gloriously lost in the hills, but in the early days stick to the trail to be safe.

1. Live in the moment

Forget racing, stick to cruise control and don’t forget to enjoy the view. There’s not much point in hitting the hills if you don’t stop to smell the roses along the way and make the most of our beautiful countryside.

Take your fitness to the next level with our Tough 10 training tips

For an excellent entry level trail racing event, visit Tough 10

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