If you’re looking for a new workout challenge, trail-running is a great way to break the monotony of the treadmill and get outdoors to clear the mind, improve health and enjoy a bit more of nature.
Three-time off-road triathlon World Champion, National Cross Country Running champion, fitness coach and trail runner Lesley Paterson gives us her expert advice on how to get started and make trail running a regular part of your fitness routine.
Where to go?
Start by finding a local park or trail, and just run! No special equipment needed.
If you are completely new to running, alternate between walking and running for one minute until you can run continuously without stopping.
When you first start, no distance or time is too short – even if you try to run for just five minutes at first. As you build up fitness and strength, you may be able to run for an hour or even longer.
Any special gear needed?
Although you can trail run in regular running shoes, if you decide to do more off road running you should invest in special shoes designed for trails.
Trail running shoes have more grip on the soles, better protection for your toes (to stop rocks and stones hitting them!), and more heel and ankle support to help prevent twisting your ankle.
Most running shops and sports shops sell trail shoes.
Is trail running safe?
Personal safety is always important, regardless of your running experience.
Try to run with a partner if you can, take your cell phone, and be on the look out for rocks or obstacles that could make you trip and fall. Try to look at a map before you run so you know the distance and elevation gain. If in doubt, always start with “out-and-back” runs — running for a set distance or time then turning around and retracing your steps.