Tips for beginner trail runners

How do I start Trail Running? Five Tips for getting started off road

I love trail running.  I love the peace.  I love the feeling of freedom running through fields and forests with just bird song and my breathing for company.  I love the exhilarating views and yes I even love the mud!

I can remember how nervous I was before hitting the trails for the first time though.  I thought off road running was only for the super-fit. How could I find a trail to run?  What if I got lost?  I was lucky enough to find a local trail running group and did a few guided runs that enabled my off-road confidence to grow.

Run Mummy Run have teamed up with a number of trail guides to bring you group trail runs over the next few months.  Jake from JT Expeditions is leading a run for Run Mummy Run in the Brecon Beacons.  Here are his top tips for beginner trail runners…

1. Get the right footwear: trail running becomes a lot more enjoyable and safe when you have proper footwear. Look for a shoe that has a good solid tread, preferably with plenty of space between the lugs (the grippy bumps on the bottom of the shoe) as this means they won’t clog up with mud and grass and will keep working properly over long runs.

Don’t go for waterproof, just let your feet get wet (they will anyway no matter how hard you try!) and non waterproof shoes will let the water come out. A waterproof shoe will just trap it inside and be really
uncomfortable.

The shoe also needs to suit the terrain, boggy loose terrain will require more
grip from a shoe that harder packed forest or mountain trails.

Recommendations: my favourites at the moment are the Merrell All Out Crush, and Merrell Terra Trail
2. Embrace it!

Lots of people see the rain, wind and wet feet as a negative, but it’s part of the
reason that trail running can be so exciting and exhilarating. I find that once my feet have hit that first puddle or little bog, ‘my head is in it’ and all I’m focusing on is what’s ahead and the freedom of running on trails and in the hills! The challenging days are always the ones you remember the most!

3. Bring the right kit:

If you’re heading into the more remote areas such as the hills or larger
woodland areas then head out with the right equipment. I always bring:
– Small primaloft jacket (lightweight synthetic insulated jacket) such as a mountain hardware compressor
– Lightweight survival bag (not a foil blanket), the best one is a SOL survival bag
– Lightweight waterproof, my favourite at the moment is the Montane Smock
– Snacks/emergency food, TORQ bar are my favourite (mango flavour!)
– Polartech power stretch gloves and lightweight beanie
– Navigation equipment (waterproof OS map/printed off laminated OS map section & a good compass)
Chuck this all in a little rucksack, make sure the clothes are waterproofed inside a plastic bag or dry sack and that you have suitable equipment to keep you warm and dry should you need help or get stuck outside for longer than expected!
4. Build yourself up to it:

Don’t just jump straight into trying to run across hills and mountains if
you haven’t done anything similar before! Build yourself up from regular road running by:
– Join a current group or get a group together to go running through the local woods and get used to the uneven terrain and remoteness! This year JT Expeditions are running guided trail runs in the Brecon Beacons with Run Mummy Run to give people the opportunity to test it out safely and visit some of the best areas!
– Head out with someone who already trail runs and has the skills needed to do it safely
– Go on a course that teaches you the skills for running in the hills and mountains. JT Expeditions run a day long workshop which teaches everything from navigation and nutrition, to mountain safety and equipment with the aim of equipping people with a “toolbox” of skills ready for the outdoors.
5. Don’t be too intimidated by it:

There’s lots of cool photos of people running along knife edge ridges, hurtling down hills as fast as they can and the odd ‘machine’ who can run up any hill,
making the whole business of trail running seem pretty intimidating. Instead see it as an adventure, and complete freedom in the outdoors where you head out with a small amount of kit, a great bunch of mates and generally have an awesome time.

Use trail running as a fast, light and super adventurous way of exploring the outdoors!

Run Mummy Run Guided Trail Runs

Book your place on one of our guided trail runs now!

JT EXPIDITIONS.  BRECON BEACONS GUIDED TRAIL RUN.
SOUTH WALES. 29TH MAY.  Sold out

DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK GUIDED TRAIL RUN.
DEVON. 29TH MAY.

PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK GUIDED FELL RUN.
DERBYSHIRE. 5TH JUNE.

About Jake and JT Expeditions:

Jake runs an adventure training and expedition company, JT Expeditions. He specialises in running overseas trekking expeditions to locations such as Iceland and Morocco, as well as teaching skills and guiding rock climbing, hiking/challenge events and expedition skills as well as providing guided trail running and mountain running skills workshops. Jake is also a brand ambassador for Merrell.  

His passion is for teaching people the skills required to be self sufficient in the outdoors, allowing them to get outside in the mountains, jungles or crags and go have some adventures and explore!

Aside from work and JT Expeditions, Jake is a keen surfer, rock climber, ice climber, trail runner and mountain biker!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.