Run the Trail with Confidence: Safety Tips for Trail Runners

Trail running has quickly grown in popularity. In fact, it is considered to be the sixth most popular extreme sport in the US.

Many runners have shifted from roads to outdoor trails for different reasons. Plain flat roads can become dull after a while. Changing your environment can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. Other runners also find that trail running offers them more challenges than road running.

It also takes little effort to make the transition. Essentially, runners use the same running techniques on the road as on trails. In addition, trails are easy-access routes for many runners. Virtually no trails are restricted for runners unlike mountain bikers and horseback riders. And, of course, It is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

For a lot of athletes, trail running can be intimidating. However, trail running doesn’t have to be scary. It allows you to explore new routes, soak in the beauty of nature, and expand your running skills. So without further ado, here are some safety tips that you can practice when heading out for trail runs!

Run smart

It’s easy to lose your way and momentum toward the end of a run. You lose your form, your speed, and before you know it, you’ve lost track of the path you took. [TWEET THIS!] Remember to always stay alert and pay attention. Lift your feet to avoid snagging on fallen branches and tree roots. These are some of the basic techniques that are easy to forget during trail runs.

Know where you are

Before heading out, make sure to map your route. There is nothing worse than running a trail without having directions with you. To avoid getting lost, carry a map to guide you through the area. Though trail systems can be tricky, a map or your cellphone can help you find your way back to the main road.

If you don’t want to carry a backpack on your runs, we recommend using the Tuvizo 2-GO waist bag. It is specially designed to stay in place while you run and hold valuable items like your cellphone, folded map, and keys.

Keep an eye out for wildlife

Wildlife is another matter to consider during trail runs. “They do not want anything to do with you, and if you announce your presence they will likely get out of your way,” Osprey athlete Ben Clark said.

Take the time to get to know what animals inhabit the areas you plan to run. This will help you know what to keep an eye out for. [TWEET THIS!] Always wear bright colors especially during hunting season so others can easily identify you. In addition, don’t be afraid to make some noise and talk to the animals. You might feel silly doing it but it can be a life-saver!

Be visible

Visibility is a problem that both road and trail runners face. [TWEET THIS!] If you’re used to running in the night, switch up your routine and run in the light for trails.

Even with a headlamp, it is fairly easy to get lost. Always allow yourself ample time to run your route. This is particularly important this season. Remember to wear a high-visibility vest on top of your running gear to help increase your visibility in the area. This can also help hunters take better notice of you and, in case something goes wrong, it can help search teams find you sooner.

Stay hydrated

It is important to always carry a significant amount of water for trail runs as these can often take hours. If you’re out on the trail long enough, you may also need to get a refill from one of the natural water sources present.

“The clearer the better, but also look around,” Clark advises. Remember to purify the water with iodine tablets or a lightweight water filter before drinking. “Don’t trust it unfiltered, unless it’s an absolute emergency,” he said.

Pack wisely

On most trails, runners can complete their routes without any hiccups. However, if you’re planning to run deeper into the backcountry, it’s best to be prepared and pack wisely. Always pack essentials like extra food, gloves, a pocket knife, ultralight down jacket, and a small headlamp. [TWEET THIS!] During trail runs, it’s always best to be ready in case of an emergency!

Watch your pace

Don’t expect to run at your road running pace on trails. In fact, try not to keep close watch on your pace at all. Instead, focus on how you feel, pay attention to your path, and stay alert for possible wildlife around the areas.

Don’t be afraid to slow down to a walk if you need a moment to catch your breath. Trail running takes some getting used to so don’t rush things. Challenging terrain and hills can easily double the time you take to run a mile. “Experienced trail runners cover about six miles an hour. Less-fit runners should target four,” ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek advises.

Watch the weather

The weather can be a tricky thing to predict especially at high elevation trails. In fact, the temperatures can change quickly and storms can roll in quickly so remember to plan accordingly. Remember to bring with you weather essentials like a warm hat and waterproof jacket to protect you from the cold. [TWEET THIS!] In addition, always use sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays but be careful not to apply too much to avoid overheating.

Refuel for energy

Trail running can be exhausting and easily zap your energy. Before runs, remember to fuel up but also bring food with you even on short runs. “Energy bars and gels are good because they’re easy to carry and digest,” Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes author Monique Ryan said. [TWEET THIS!] The carbohydrates will help you refuel your energy and concentrate better on your footwork and surroundings!

Trail running is a great way to work out and explore the great outdoors. It can also help you broaden your running abilities, improve your footwork, and build your endurance. Remember to practice these tips to stay safe on your runs. Always wear a highly reflective vest, belt, and clothing to increase your visibility even during daytime. Trail running is not only about widening your athletic horizons but also exploring the beauty of the world around you!

This article is brought to you by Tuvizo, niche specialists in reflective vests and reflective gear for all Outdoor Adventures.

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