Trail Running

By the time you read this post I will be Whispering Winds camp grounds for my daughter's Cross Country running camp.  I am not the "campy" type so I am only looking forward to 1/2 the trip. . .well, wait a minute AND I will be with teenagers AND I'm scared of mine. . .so. . .maybe a 1/4 of the trip will be enjoyable.  LOL! No, just kidding, I will a lot of fun!  I am looking forward to running for the next 4 days to kick off my 1/2 marathon training.  Also to see where I am at when it comes to running a bit faster than normal because my daughter and her team are FAST!

My daughter says that it's the best trail running that they will get all season.  She also said that it can get pretty hot out there and some of the trails are very hilly.  So, I am pretty nervous but ready to rock and run!  We are both preparing for some good runs and excited that we are going together.  

If you are interested in heading to the trails this week or weekend, here are a few Trail-Running Tips that you can useful on and off the trails.

Run upright. When running up hills, keep your eyes forward and look up towards the crest of the hill.  This will keep your body upright and less hunched over.  It's easy to get tired and lean forward.  That's actually more work than just running with your chest up and focus on getting to the top.


Shorten your stride when running uphill. Use your entire foot by planting the whole foot on the ground and not use your toes. Using your toes will tire your calf muscles much faster.  

Be loose on the downhill. Let your body fall forward and roll out freely.  Do not slow yourself down by pulling your body back and braking.  Let your body naturally fall forward and run freely.

Watch where you are going. When running, watch your step and strategize where your foot will land.  This will prevent most falls and 

Focus on time, not distance. Running on trails, sand and road are all completely different.  So, do not concentrate on distance but on the length of time you are running.  Understand that times will be a bit slower than your road time but will really prepare you for those fast road runs when time to break away from the trails.

Be Safe. Never head out on a trail alone.  If you are a guy or gal, don't go alone. I ran on a trail once with my running group and one runner fell and cracked a tooth.  If we were not there, should would have been there for quite some time before someone was able to help her up.

Stay on Track even though it's a Trail. Never head off in a direction that is NOT the trail.  There is usually a reason why the trail doesn't cut through certain areas.  

Have fun! Have a blast running downhill fast, jumping over rocks and possibly running through streams.  Enjoy the outdoors the way it should be enjoyed and just be a kid at heart!

Have a great week!

Nicol Hodges

Nicol Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events.