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Updated 20 October 2016

How to get into trail running

If you’re an avid road runner but feel it’s time to challenge yourself with a trail run, here’s how to get started.

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Trail running is more challenging than road running because of the varying terrain that presents many obstacles. Before you get going it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of good shoes – look for a pair that offers support, traction and flexibility.

Strength training

A possible negative to trail running is the uneven terrain, which could lead to injuries. Include strength and balance exercises in your workouts two to three times a week. Exercises like lunges, single leg squats, bridge, push-ups and calf raises will all help.  Adding a BOSU ball will improve your balance and ankle stability – both critical for trail running.

Watch: Why you need strength to run

Time yourself

Runner’s World suggests that you run according to minutes instead of distance when you first start out because your pace will be slower. Build your trail times slowly – try starting with 30 minutes and gradually increase your time on the trails as your fitness improves.

Read: The running vs. walking debate 

Techniques to help your pace

You’re probably going to encounter a few uphills so try taking smaller steps to get you to the top. Larger steps may seem like a good idea but they’re much harder to maintain.

Asics offers the following tips:

Shorten your stride and lift your knees higher than you normally would.

Move your legs from the hips and transfer your weight to the balls of your feet.

Don’t be tempted to sprint on the downhills. You need to keep your pace under control, or you might fall flat on your face.

Keep your posture as straight as possible and your feet under your body.

Don’t raise your feet too far off the ground.

Read: Run 10km in 11 weeks 

running, exercise, health

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