An Introduction to Trail Running

If you are a follower of the Lliswerry Runners members page on Facebook, no doubt you are used to seeing all the amazing photos that are posted each week, showing all the glorious views available from on top of a mountain? At such a time, what is going through your mind? Maybe a mixture of “oh I would love to see that view” or “yes that looks amazing but look at that elevation, that is way too tough for me”. Perhaps you don’t feel confident coming off the tarmac but at some point you would like to give it a go? Well, there is no time like the present, particularly as we are enjoying a particularly dry summer.

On Sunday 7th August, we are meeting near 14 Locks for our first introductory session for everyone that wishes to just try it out. For just one hour we are aiming to have some fun, check out the difference in terrain (from tarmac to trail) and enjoy the scenery that is right on our doorstep. This route is suitable for runners of all abilities. There are no time trials, no expectations, and definitely no apologies. (In fact, we have an unwritten rule – if you ever feel like you are not good enough to be there and the word ‘sorry’ passes your lips, you are expected to get a round of cake in.

This is the type of track that you can expect if you join us on Sunday. As you can see, there is not one hill in sight. But plenty of trees to hug if you fancy getting up close and personal in the forest. If you have a dog they love it too!

Kit

Someone once told me that its really cheap to run. And that is pretty much true, as you don’t need any special kit to enjoy your countryside. All you need is a pair of trainers that have a sturdy grip or sole. You have most probably already got the shorts and Lliswerry tech t-shirt so there you go, there’s nothing stopping you. Kit can become expensive though as soon as you fall in love with trail running. But then, that is also the case for road runners.

Technique

You’re a runner, right? Well trail running can be a bit more technical than running on tarmac and the more trail you take part in, the stronger the body becomes. You will build more ankle strength, more endurance and faster road runs. You just watch those parkrun PB’s come in. You may find that your stride becomes shorter and your splits become longer. You cannot possibly compare your 10k road run with a 10k trail run so ignore the wearables for now. There are lots more obstacles in the forests too, so we look to the ground ahead to make sure we don’t trip or fall; that means we stop a lot because the views ahead are far too lovely to miss. The terrain may also be more of a challenge than we are used to, so we will be depending on our core strength and balance to keep us upright (yep, our abs benefit from trail running too!) All of these challenges help us to build confidence on the trails so it’s not unusual to start with more caution than you would road running. Confidence gets better just by doing more and believing in your ability.

What’s next?

On Sunday, we will start with a brief overview of how we run off the tarmac, then we will engage the quads and the glutes and practice good posture; thereafter we end the session after 1 hour having breathed in all the forest aromas (no car pollution) , the sun gleaming through the trees and an injection of mental and physical well-being having spent a lovely hour with likeminded others. In the meantime feel free to ask your Lliswerry social media connections any questions you may have.

2 thoughts on “An Introduction to Trail Running”

  1. So ok for a walker to join in. I know I am slow but willing to try. Have signed up for forest of dean trail 5k in November so all advice welcome.

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