So… you decided to run a trail race?

Written by Cara Zerbel

I’m outdoorsy. Kind of. At least if you looked at my Instagram feed you’d think I was. I do love hiking, running, all the things that outdoorsy people love, but I’m still a newbie to the granola gang. I get lost easily, I sometimes worry more about matching my outfit than remembering bug spray and I’m lazy about bringing water with me on an outdoor trek because it’s heavy. But… I LOVE being out in the woods, so I did some digging in the dirt to find the 10 things any newbie like me should know about getting active outdoors and on the trail.

Tip for Trail Running Beginners

  1. Tall socks. Getting dirty on the trail is fun, until it gets in your socks and if that happens, you may as well have lined your shoes with sandpaper.
  2. Shoes with lugs. It helps to have at least a little bit of grip when you’re hiking or running up and down even the smallest hits. It could make the difference between just muddy shoes and a muddy rear end. Hoka ONE ONE has some great options. 😉
  3. Bring water. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but running and hiking on trail is a workout and hydration is so important (especially in the summer)
  4. Speaking of drinking water, learn how to pee in the woods discreetly. Dig a small hole and aim carefully. It’s better for the environment if you make sure to bury it. Ladies, you can even grab a tree for balance if you need to – whatever it takes to stay upright. Gentlemen, you’ve probably got the staying upright thing figured out.
  5. Tell a friend/roommate/SigOt where you’re going and how far you plan to be gone. Even better? Bring a friend!
  6. Check yourself for ticks. Gross, I know, but summer is tick season. If you bring your dog, make sure to check your furry friend for ticks too.
  7. Since we’re talking about dogs… PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET. Please and thank you.
  8. Review the trail map. Most trails have a map at the trailhead. Review it before you head out. You can also check out the All Trails app, but many natural areas have garbage cell service, so don’t plan to rely on that only.
  9. Bring snacks. Dirty trail runners and hikers are fine, but no one wants to deal with a hangry one. Plan for about 100 calories per hour of activity. Just make sure that you pack out everything you pack in. Be a good steward of the environment, darn it!
  10. Have fun! Seriously, we live in this beautiful state- take advantage of it!


One thought on “So… you decided to run a trail race?

  1. Monica says:

    I’m with Cara–I get lost easily. Worse yet, I’ll look around me on a trail and not know if a piece in the winding distance is something I just ran or if it’s still coming up! So, regarding number 8–don’t just review the trail map, snap a picture of it. Then you don’t have to rely on cell service or an app. Just pull it up in your album!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *