Trail Running – Everything you need to Know

Trail Running – Everything you need to Know

Get in direct contact with nature and awaken your wildest emotions. Everything you need to know about Trail Running training

“On the mountain, you learn just how small you are. A falling pebble or a storm can take you right off the map, and that helps you reconsider things a lot and realise what’s important.” Kilian Jornet.

Trail Running Supplements

What is Trail Running?

Trail running is a sport where you and the mountain play on the same team

Basically, it consists of running off-track in the middle of nature. The runner is confronted with steep terrain, steep slopes and slippery gravel. According to the ITRA (International Trail Running Association), it’s described as a form of running “in a natural environment (mountain, desert, forest or flat) with a minimum of paved roads”.

Although the first organised races took place in Canada, England, Australia and the United States during the 19th century, trail running has ancestral origins. The earliest origins of trail running date back to 3,800 BC in ancient Egypt.

Trail Running Runners

Currently, competitions and events are organised around the world, and it’s a sport on the rise

Usually, the distance can vary from under 5 k to more than 100 kilometres, and, as a rule, paved roads can’t be more than 20% of the route

Trail Running and being contact with Nature

Running frees the soul

It puts you in direct contact with nature and awakens your wildest emotions. I’m sure if you’re a running enthusiast, your argument for why you run sounds something like this. And, believe me, you’re right.

Getting in touch with nature and trail running

Trail running has that powerful emotional ability, in addition to the benefits associated with training outdoors

Can you imagine practicing a type of running in which you experience those feelings to the fullest? It exists, and it’s known as trail running

Tips for getting started with Trail Running

You may already be a regular runner and have already taken your first steps in fun runs, but you should know that trail running has little to do with conventional running.

The hostility of the terrain conditions, the running technique and form. So, if you’re thinking about getting started with trail running, there a couple of points to consider before heading out into the mountain.

Trail Running Equipment


As with urban running, you need your clothes to be breathable and comfortable. Many prefer to wear bright colours because, if they get lost, they are easily located. However, if you’re someone who likes to take care of all the details, you should bear in mind that, at the end of the race, you’ll end up much dirtier than usual.

Clothes for trail running

As such, it’s a good idea to wear clothes that you don’t care too much about getting covered with mud and splashes


It’s a mistake to use the same shoes to run in the city and the mountains. For short runs, they can work, but if you really want to take trail running seriously, it’s best to make a small investment in mountain running shoes.

They usually have a much harder sole to protect you from the sharp stones of the road and their non-slip tread gives you stability on gravel and wet grass


In trail running, you burn more calories and start sweating much earlier than when you run around town. That’s why it is essential to always go for a run with a water bottle or something to keep you hydrated.

I know you’re thinking that carrying a bottle around is uncomfortable, and you don’t see yourself running around with your hands full.

Trail Running Backpack

But don’t worry, there are now many systems available that make it much easier to carry your bottle while running.

One of the best systems is a hydration backpack (a camelback)


You’re done worrying about traffic and cars. On the mountain, you can have the whole width of the road without fear of being run over. Even running at night stops becoming an obstacle course where traffic lights, pedestrians and vehicles need to be avoided.

All you need is a headlight to light your way. As mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to wear bright clothing to facilitate rescue if you end up lost in the middle of the mountain.

In fact, in many trail races runners are forced to use a reflective vest and, sometimes, to carry a flare in their backpack

Change of clothes

Most trail runners don’t have the mountain near the house and have to take the car to get close to the foot of the track. It is therefore advisable to always leave a change of clothes for after the training session. 

Trial running equipment

Rest assured, you’ll end up completely drenched in sweat and mud and you’ll appreciate some dry socks for your return home

For your first Trail Running races

The only way to know if you like something is to try it. There’s nothing else to it…

If you have not yet faced the mountain, I encourage you to try it at least once. You might be afraid of the unknown, don’t know which routes to follow or how to get started. It’s best to find a group of mountain runners and ask them about routes near your home. If you dare, you can accompany them on one of their outings.

When you start out with trail running, you’ll get used to climbing slopes, sliding through mud and overcoming steep hills.

Starting out with trail running

Soon you’ll find that trail running technique plays a much more important role than you might have imagined

To help you adapt quickly and completely, we’ve set out a series of tips to help you take your first steps in the mountains.

Start off with gentle runs

There are two types of trails, technical and non-technical.

My recommendation is that, when you start, you do so with easier runs. Even in a natural environment, non-technical trails include more affordable and easier trails for beginners. The technical ones, on the other hand, are full of steep hills and narrow paths that you will certainly not want to start testing your legs on.

Take it easy.

Usually, you run 20% slower on trails than in normal races. Partly because the route is more irregular than normal and you have to negotiate, constantly, with slopes and hostile terrain. It is therefore normal if you take it more slowly than usual on some sections of the route.

Trail route

The important thing is getting there

Don’t worry about walking

For many experienced runners, it would be unthinkable to start walking in the middle of a race. But trail running has little to do with running. Here, nature competes on your side, so don’t try to bend or ridicule it.

If you find yourself on a steep hill, don’t be afraid to slow down and start walknig

Scan the route

In the mountains, you have to pay special attention to where you put your feet. That’s why you have to get used to running while constantly scanning the route. Ideally, fix your gaze 3 metres ahead of you.

Mountain Trail

If you come across steep rocks or roots, you should raise your knees a little higher than normal.

Prioritise safety

Common sense is the least common of the senses. Even if the trail awakens your wildest side, don’t forget to use your head before you start. Everything related to safety is always a good idea.

Running with a friend, studying the terrain beforehand, carrying a first aid kit in the car, or carrying food, are just some of the things you should consider

Related Entries

  • All about Obstacle Races
  • Endurance Race Day Nutrition
  • Carbohydrate Intake in Ultra Endurance Races
Review Trail Running

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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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