Your First Trail Race: Consider the Terrain

A quick guide to running in the woods

Jun 3, 2013
Outside Magazine
trail racing trail racing training terrain

   Photo: Blazej Lyjak/

You might be a speed demon on the roads, but expect to be slower on the trails, especially if you’re route involves stark elevation changes and technical terrain. “Don’t head out for a run that is beyond your capabilities,” Hobbs says. If you struggle to run a half-marathon on the road, consider a 10K for your trail running debut.

Also, keep your eyes on the ground. Sure, one of the perks of trail running is the great views, but newbies should pay more attention to the trail than to the panoramas. “Most trail running injuries occur when a runner glances upward for a split second and immediately is on the ground with a sprained ankle, twisted knee, or bruised hand,” Hobbs says. “To enjoy the view, stop running and look around you.”