Trail running is a great way to train – the terrain is softer on the joints and the technicality is harder than running on road which gains you more strength and endurance, not to mention running up grassy, muddy hills is tough but so much fun and the scenery and views are much nicer than running along main roads!
But as with road running, trail running also comes with its common injuries, which can be avoided with the correct gear, techniques and after care, so here are my top 3 tips!
1) The most obvious one is the fact that trail running involves various trip and slip hazards such as stones, tree roots that are half buried or sticking up, slippery mud after an especially rainy few days, so the easiest way to avoid this is to make sure you have a decent pair of off-road trainers with good grip (best brands for these are Solomon, Hoka, Inov-8, Saucony); run slower than you would off road so that you can take a bit more care where you are running; make sure you are picking your feet up, not shuffling as you will be more likely to trip from your toe catching a slightly stuck up rock! Try not to constantly look down or look ahead, you want to be trying to look down for a few paces and then back up ahead so you are always aware of what’s potentially below your feet but also what’s coming up in front of you.
2) The longer your trail run is and the more hills it involves means you will be more likely to fatigue quicker and more than you would from doing a road run of the same long distance, this is also because a lot of trail runs involve jumping over streams, lifting the feet up more to avoid branches under foot and running sideways or jumping from left to right when navigating rocky descents. This is where the all-important strength and mobility training comes in! By adding in some eccentric leg exercises to your training week such as forward and reverse lunges/jump lunges, box jumps/step ups, kettlebell swings, calf raises, weighted squats and deadlifts (single leg is even better!) you can prevent injury and make yourself more resistant to the fatigue.
3) Stretch!!! One of the most important ways of preventing injury is to stretch! Make sure after your trail runs you have a good 15 minute stretching session afterwards and continue to use your foam roller or massage gun every other day to keep yourself in tip top condition!
As well as those top tips, having regular sports massage ensures that niggles and injuries are kept at bay, so don’t forget to book yourself in every 4-6 weeks! Our clinic is open 7 days a week.
Kaisha – Sports Therapist