Our expert says:
It may be that you just need a little more time and training, because your joints and tendons and ligaments are still adapting to the different type of load. And it is very different - your ankle is so used to going forward-backward that when you switch to the trails, suddenly you're going left to right, jumping slightly sideways, landing on rocks and roots and so on, and it's a really different demand. That may take some time to work through, a week or two of training,where you run a day, rest two, run a day, rest two.
The energy thing is also common. I'm not sure how long these runs are - 2 hours, 4 hours? But if they're longer than about an hour, then some energy on the run would be a good idea. The gels are good because you can carry them. The only problem is that you must dilute the gels with water and I'm not sure that you are running with water? If you are, then half a gel once every 15 minutes will be enough to get you through a typical run. I wouldn't try too hard to get ALL the energy before the run, because then you just end up with a really full stomach and feeling heavy and bloated. Your normal breakfast, at least an hour before the start is good enough.
As for the muscle soreness, afraid not - just training and adaptation help there! So just be patient for now, remember that you basically have to treat your body as though it's "new" to the sport and give it the same time to adapt as you would when you began running. If you do, then you'll get there and you'll be OK to run more often without that ache.
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