Training Tips For Beginners – Tip #2

So you are probably thinking, “Okay, I know how to run now.  How do I take it to the next level?”

Once you feel comfortable in your running shoes and you feel confident in your running skills, it’s time to bump it to the next level.  Whether you’ve been a stroller strider, treadmill champ or sidewalk soldier, take to the dirt!

Your journey begins just off the paved road.

If you are training for a obstacle race or mud run, guess what?  Your event will be in the dirt!  I’m sorry if I scared you.  It’s not so bad.  I think you will actually enjoy it once you get out there and get a little dirty.

Trail running is  a whole different experience than running on a hard surface like asphalt or concrete.  You will have much more cushion in your step and it’s a great way to help strengthen your your ankles, legs and core.

If you want to bump up your training but don’t feel you are ready for the challenge of running on dirt, try walking it first or a good hike.  This will get you familiar with the feeling of the ground without having to pay extra close attention to where your feet are landing.

Walking a trail first is a great way to get comfortable on the dirt.

It’s a good idea to get familiar with trails in your area.  Your first trail should be relatively flat with little elevation change.  You don’t want to be motivated to take on a trail run for the first time and find out you accidentally chose the trail called The Beast.  That won’t be fun, and it may turn you off from ever wanting to get your shoes dirty ever again.

Once you are familiar with the trail you want to try and ready to take on the dirt,  keep these things in mind:  When running trails, you generally want to be looking ahead about 10 to 20 feet.  This way you can anticipate how to get over nature’s obstacles should there be any.  Try to step around rocks and roots, not on top of them.  You don’t want to risk any unnecessary injury while training.

Some beautiful views await you once your on a trail.

You will notice that trail runs require more energy, so try to pace yourself.  You don’t have to sprint up every hill.  Make sure to listen to your body and slow down if you need to (See Tip #1).  You can always go to a slow jog or power walk to get you up steep hills.  Shortening your stride will also help you make it through a trail run.  Take shorter steps and you will be able to keep going longer.

You will find that running trails keeps your mind challenged because you never know what your next step will be. You might have to run through a small body of water, run on loose ground, bypass rocks, avoid snakes, or maneuver up hills.

Trail running or walking is a great way to test your cardiovascular strength, strengthen your core and get you ready for a Mud Run.

Step out of your comfort zone.  Try it, you’re gonna like it.  Embrace the scenery and watch yourself get stronger.

Check out these bad boys. We have been through a lot of mud together.

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