20 Trail Running Tips for Beginners (Part 1)

Updated: Nov 26

This Beginner Trail Running Guide provides everything you need to know before getting started with trail running. Using these simple, practical, safe, and not difficult tips, you will have wild fun training and a successful trail running experience!

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Female Trail Running in YMCA Camp Moody Trail Event

20 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

1 - All Trails Are Different.

Every trail run is an unique experience since every path is distinct. While some trails are flat, dirt tracks that weave softly through a park, are the majority of the types of routes that come with a range of unique challenges and characteristics like roots, boulders, gravel, stream crossings, steep climbs, and rapid descents.

2 - Trails Have Rules

This is the first of the trail run commandments: leave no trace and don't litter. Respect other trail users by moving aside politely (hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians). Run through all puddles while following trail paths that have been marked. If you're running downhill, pay extra attention. In those situations, downhill runners should let uphill runners pass because they have a better field of vision and it is simpler to go downhill than uphill.

3 - Running Pace on Trails

When you first begin your training, you will notice a noticeable drop in your run pace (slower) and an increase in the time it takes you to complete the same distance on one of your regular road routes. The best thing you could do to truly appreciate nature and embrace trail running is to put your ego aside, disregard your watch, forget about Strava segments, slow down, and concentrate on developing your own movement rhythm.

Suzy, an experienced trail runner in our tribe, shared with our team - “if you stick with it, in a matter of weeks, you’ll be running up hills you used to walk, and you’ll embrace being one with the terrain”.

4 - Trail Buddy Safety System

Since trails are frequently remote and sparsely populated, we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE trail runners to purchase a Road-ID safety bracelet or shoe charm and if it's possible, go for a run with your training partner or bring your dog.

Local Run Tribe Tip: In the Austin area, there are designated off-leash running trails.

Our Tribe's safety advice includes telling someone where you'll be going on the trail, carrying a fully charged phone for security, bringing extra water, fluids, and food, having a copy of the trail map on you or taking a screenshot of it, and using one of the tracking apps or alerts that come with the majority of our fitness trackers or watches. Lastly, If you run alone, always be mindful of what’s going on around you and only use [1] earbud if you plan on listening to a podcast/music.

5 - Trail Sighting Scan 3x3

Beginner trail runners when running usually will look down at their feet thinking it will lead to an avoidance of tripping or even ogle at the beauty of nature around them, but doing so can quickly lead to tripping/falling.