Friday, July 13, 2012

5 Trail Running Myths Debunked

The following article will debunk some of the most common myths, or excuses, people often use to avoid getting into trail running:

1. Trail Running Is too Dangerous Because the Risk of Injury is Far too Great
As long as you take a few precautions, the risk of hurting yourself trail running is no greater than regular running. Instead of running your regular distance, you should instead only run for the regular amount of time that you normally run. Especially during your first few trail runs, make sure not to push your body too hard, so you can remain stable, balanced, and alert. Taking smaller steps will keep you better balanced and will reduce the risk of falling or spraining your ankle. The most important thing to remember when trail running is to always stay alert.

2. It Is too Dangerous Because I Might Get Lost
Though you certainly need to be more careful when trail running, taking a few simple precautions will eliminate the risk of getting lost. If you are unfamiliar with the trail or it is your first time trail running, you would be best advised to go with a friend or a group of friends, or at the very least bring a map with you. You should also make sure to bring your cellphone in case something goes wrong. Instead of running in a loop, you should run to a certain point and then turn around and go back in order to reduce the risk of getting lost. Make sure to take notice of what the trail looks like and look for landmarks. You should also mark the trail regularly for your way back.

3. Trails Are too Rough and Difficult to Run on
Too many people have the wrong idea in their head when they envision trail running. They picture a giant obstacle that is nearly impossible to overcome, but the trails are there for the purpose of being navigated. Most trails are flat, smooth, and easy to navigate. There will be a few obstacles, like deep slopes, streams, and rocks, but as long as you know what to do when you encounter these obstacles, they will seem more like a fun challenge than anything. When you come across a steep ascent, slow down right before and prepare for it. When you are running down a deep slope, make sure you keep your eyes ahead of you and your body in full control to avoid falling. The method of running through trails is really not as technical as it is common sense.

4. Running Trails Will Damage My Race Training Routine
Many race runners think that the difference between trail running and track running will mess up their routine. They liken trail running to train for a race to an NFL punter thinking bench pressing will make him a better kicker. However, this is not the case at all. In fact, trail running, which will develop the exact same muscles you need to run your race, will challenge both your mind in muscles in a way that will encourage development that would not otherwise be possible. By exposing your ligaments and your joints to the different ranges of motion that trail running requires, you will be strengthening them and also lessening the risk of injury in your future. Your mind will also be exposed to different challenges that will help it to persevere through any struggles on the track during a race.

5. I Do Not Have the Right Equipment for Trail Running
Too many people are under the impression that trail running is much more involving than it really is. You do not need to prepare for a three-day hike; you are just going for a run. The truth is you do not need to dress much differently than you would for a regular run. If you have a pair of sneakers and some shorts, you are ready for trail running. Items like bug spray, sun screen, and a water bottle will help make your life easier if running through the woods, but there is no vital equipment you need to go trail running that you do not already have as a runner. If you are unfamiliar with the trail, it would be wise to bring a map, and you should bring your phone with you just in case you get lost.

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