Beginner Trail Running Tips

April is all about the trails! Getting into trail running can seem daunting. Where do you go, what are the best shoes, and what should you wear are a few of a bunch of questions that have probably run through your mind. Today we will be tackling some beginner trail tips/suggestions to get you started on the right foot. 

Places to Run:

There are a lot of great trails in and around Charlotte. Here are some of a few that are our favorites.

  1. 1. Reedy Creek Park – Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve has 10 miles of trails offering hikers and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains while enjoying scenic views of the small lakes, forests, fields, and streams. 
  2. 2. Latta Plantation – Latta Nature Preserve has 16 miles of trails offering hikers, nature enthusiasts, and horseback riders the opportunity to explore a variety of terrain while enjoying scenic views of the lake, forests, and streams. 
  3. 3. U.S. National Whitewater Center – The Whitewater Center is currently comprised of over 1,300 acres of protected land offering 50 miles of trail and access to the Catawba River and Long Creek. There is a $6 parking fee, but totally worth it for all the fun. There is a mix of easy to moderate trails. 
  4. 4. Anne Springs Close Greenway – Nestled amid beautiful lakes and hardwood forests, the Anne Springs Close Greenway is a nature preserve more than twice the size of Central Park. Minutes south of Charlotte in Fort Mill, SC, its 2,100 acres serve as a natural buffer from urban development and provide a wide-open space for countless activities – from hiking, biking, and horseback riding to picnics, kayaking, and more.

Trail Shoe 101:

Trail shoes are just as diverse as road shoes when it comes to cushioning. One thing that differentiates trail shoes from normal road shoes is that they don’t typically come in a stability option. But don’t rule them out for that reason! While you’re running on the trail, you’re not typically going in a straight line. The goal for stability shoes is to keep you going straight ahead, which wouldn’t be super useful on the trail. If you do need a bit more stability in your trail shoe, however, you can always add an insert. Different brands will have different options in terms of cushion, so if you aren’t sure where to start then you could always go with the cushion level you’re used to. Want to try on different options in person? Come down to one of our locations and we’ll help you make the best decision for you. 

Some of our favorites:

Altra – Lone Peak – medium cushion & Timp – high cushion (Updates soon!)

Hoka – Speedgoat – medium cushion (Updates soon!)

Brooks – Cascadia – medium cushion & Caldera – high cushion

Trail Running Tips:

  1. 1. While trail running, it is best to keep your stride short, shorter even than when you’re road running. This way you can better maintain your balance and keep up with where your foot falls to avoid tripping over roots or rocks. 
  2. 2. Keep your eyes down while trail running, more so than you would while road running, and try to keep your gaze at least 10 to 15 feet in front of you.
  3. 3. Your form on the trail is just as important as your form on the road. Make sure you are running with a strong core as that will help you to keep your balance.
  4. 4. Keep your back straight up and down hills so you are not overworking your body and shorten your steps even more.
  5. 5. Wear proper clothing that is cotton free. In the spring and fall months dress in layers so you can add or take off clothes as you see feet. Make sure your socks are also cotton free and that they are ones you feel comfortable in without feeling as though you are slipping and sliding in your shoes. 

We wish you the best of luck in your trail endeavors, look out for our trail event featuring the new Hoka Speedgoat 5 at Latta Plantation on May 7, 2022, at 8 AM. Sign-up will be available soon.

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