Running is awesome exercise that can improve your overall health and your physical well-being. Trail running is similar in many ways to road running, but there are a few things to consider before you head off the beaten path.
Trail running is a popular workout to get out into nature and away from some of the hectic parts of civilization. But because you will be running with fewer (or no other) folks around, running on trails has different potential dangers than running in populated areas or on tracks and fields at schools or parks.
If you run into trouble on a trail, there are generally less people around to help with threats or injuries. To help you enjoy a safer jog or run, here are three trail safety tips you should read before your next run.
Do Your Research
Trail running can be full of new twists and turns. Whether you're exploring a new trail or running a routine path, it’s important to know the details of your run. Many map apps will let you download GPS data to keep you safely on route even if cellphone signals are weak. It’s also best to take a look at elevation data to get an idea of how steep the incline will be and whether you might need to bring along extra hydration.
Many trails will have details online giving information on trail lengths, terrain information (like how rocky, hilly, or clear the path is). Finally, chances are that you won’t be the first person to run a trail. There is a plethora of running websites that provide reviews and tips for specific routes and trails to help give you a full idea of what
Know The Potential Dangers
Although it may be painful to admit, sometimes we can become our own worst enemies. Out on the trail, it’s easy to trip over tree limbs and rocks or slip on gravel, mud or other debris. A bad fall could potentially lead to a serious injury like broken bones or worse, especially if you were to slide down an incline. It’s also possible to become lost or disoriented on the trail if fatigued or dehydrated.
To get help in these situations, it’s wise to carry a personal alarm when you’re trail running. Small, compact and user-friendly, these can be activated to summon anyone around you for help when you’ve become disoriented or lost.
Alarms can also scare off potential attackers. Personal alarms specially made for runners can be worn around the wrist for immediate accessibility. Other options to pick are personal alarms with LED lights that can help you find your way back home when darkness falls.
Bring Extra Protection
It’s a sad fact that in the history of mankind, there is no question that human beings are one of the most dangerous threats to each other. Even in the most remote and isolated spot in the most pristine and beautiful country, it is possible to encounter someone who means you harm. The closer you are to towns and cities, the more likely you are to run into other folks on the trails. 99% of these people will be perfectly fine. It’s the 1% you want to be prepared for just in case.
That’s why it’s a good idea to carry a canister of pepper spray or pepper gel. These provide a quick, easy and legal way to deter any unwanted actions. Special runners’ pepper sprays are available that are light and comfortable to carry while you run.
Trail running doesn’t have to be scary – it should be freeing and enjoyable. By planning for your exercise outdoors proactively, you’ll ensure a safer and more powerful run. Keep running with confidence knowing you’re fully prepared for your trail run all season long.