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Newbie thinking about trail running

ab1ht
Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 2
Massachusetts, United States
Posted: Tue 21 Sep 2010 03:04 pm GMT   topTop
Hi all,

New to the forum but have been running for a couple of years. Done two marathons, two halves, and a half iron man. I'm tired of the roads and the trails look appealing.

Some questions:

1. Do I need special running shoes or can I use the same ones I've been using for the road.

2. Is there any special training plan to transition from road to trail?

3. Is there a good website that will tell me about local races? I know about CoolRunning, but that's mostly road races.

Thanks.
backcountryrunner
Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 188
Utah, United States
Posted: Tue 21 Sep 2010 09:11 pm GMT   topTop
I'd suggest hitting the trails right away - don't worry about shoes or training plans. Pick a trail and go. Of course don't do a long run right away - maybe 3 miles on an easy trail. Also, just take it easy - the key is to enjoy it, enjoy your surroundings off the pavement. Walk up hills if you need to, or just because you want to. It's not the same as road running where you feel compelled to run continuously to get it done. Look around and have fun. If you thoroughly enjoy it, which I'm sure you will, then you can start to think about gear and training for serious/regular trail runs or races.

The thing is - regular road running shoes will do just fine for a shorter non-technical trail, especially when you're just testing it out. Don't put it off just because of shoes. People even run trails in Vibram 5-finger shoes or barefoot! - of course you do need to train your feet and body for that :-) It's sort of like the belief that you have to wear hiking boots to go hiking - you don't really *have* to for most terrain. Anyway, regular road running shoes are fine for most trails anyway, even for long runs. Trail shoes do come in handy when you're going on rocky/rough trails for longer periods because of support and stability.

As for the transition - no special training needed -- the trails ARE your training. Trails are typically easier on the body and joints anyway.

For local races, this website is attempting to be a comprehensive list but isn't there yet (see Trail Races in top nav). Other websites probably have a hard time keeping up with all the new events as well. I'd suggest visiting a local running shop and asking around - they should have a list - if not, someone will know of a local trail running guru or club that knows about events.
ab1ht
Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 2
Massachusetts, United States
Posted: Tue 21 Sep 2010 09:46 pm GMT   topTop
Thanks for the tips :-)